When Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in 1977, many fans fell in love with the crazy environments and outrageous alien races created by George Lucas. One such alien who instantly conveyed the gritty and grimy scoundrel world of the Star Wars universe was none other than Alfie Curtis' Dr. Cornelius Evazan, who made history by accosting Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisely cantina. The character has become burned into the history of pop culture and science-fiction, but today we have sadly learned that Curtis has passed away at the age of 87.
As many of you self-respecting nerds will likely remember, Alfie Curtis portrayed the grotesque and angry Dr. Cornelius Evazan during the now-infamous cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. He was responsible for translating the alien gibberish of his longtime pal, Ponda Baba, and making sure to tell Luke Skywalker that neither of them liked the young farmboy very much. The material from the Expanded Universe (which is no longer considered canon by Disney and Lucasfilm) substantially fleshed out Cornelius Evazan in the years since A New Hope introduced him to the world, but the film definitively established that he had "the death sentence on 12 systems."
Alfie Curtis was 87 years old at the time of his death earlier this week. At this point, the Jedi News report of his passing has not established a definitive cause of death.
The death of Alfie Curtis has not gone unnoticed by insiders in the Star Wars franchise. Specifically, Mark Hamill took to social media shortly after the announcement of Curtis' passing and crafted a short and sweet (in every sense of the word) tweet to mourn his one-time work colleague. The post said:
The iconography of Alfie Curtis' contribution to the Star Wars lore was set in stone last year with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Among the Star Wars spinoff's many references and nods to other areas of the mythology, the film specifically took a moment to give Dr. Cornelius Evazan (albeit portrayed by a different actor) a cameo during the Jedha sequences.
Of course, Alfie Curtis wasn't merely known for his brief work in the Star Wars franchise. Cornelius Evazan may represent his most well-known and revered work among the nerd community, but he also had credits in films such as The Elephant Man and The Wildcats of St Trinian's. However, in the nerd world, we will always remember him as Dr. Cornelius Evazan.
The emotional gut-punch of Alfie Curtis' passing is made even more profound by the fact that it is the one-year anniversary of another significant death in the Star Wars family. More specifically, it has officially been one year since the death of Carrie Fisher. The new era of Star Wars films have relied heavily on themes of torch passing and the introductions of new characters, but the downside to that idea is that we have had to say goodbye to many icons in too little time.