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Wait, Gary Oldman Voiced A Star Wars Character Before George Lucas Had To Pull His Performance?

Gary Oldman leans back in his chair with his feet on the desk in Slow Horses.
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

There are long running movie franchises, and then there’s Star Wars. Generations of moviegoers grew up with the galaxy far, far away, and it’s a dream for even established actors to join a Star Wars movie. That includes the great Gary Oldman, but did he really voice a Star Wars character before George Lucas had to pull his performance?

There have been a few rumors about Gary Oldman’s possible roles in the Star Wars franchise, claiming he almost appeared in both the prequels and J.J. Abrams’ sequels. The acclaimed actor was recently asked by Josh Horowitz about these rumors on his podcast Happy Sad Confused, sharing the clip on Twitter. Oldman responded honestly saying:

I did a voice for Star Wars. I can’t remember, was it General Grievous? [...] It was something to do with union and non-union stuff.

Well, there you have it. It looks like we could have had Gary Oldman voicing the villainous General Grievous in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. What’s more, Oldman recorded the droid’s dialogue, but was ultimately removed from Episode II due to an issue with union rules. Talk about FOMO.

Gary Oldman’s comments confirmed a long standing rumor about his possible role in Star Wars. While he was indeed set to voice General Grievous was unable to do so since he was a union actor. Instead that role would end up going to sound editor Matthew Wood.

Not only did he record dialogue for General Grievous, but Gary Oldman actually worked with Star Wars visionary George Lucas to bring the character alive. During the same interview Oldman shared this tidbit of information, while also revealing that he was never up for a role in J.J. Abrams’ sequels. As he put it,

He directed me in the whole thing. He was terrific. No regrets about that. The other stuff is rumors.

To be a fly on the wall during that recording session. Given Gary Oldmanm’s immense talents, he no doubt would have helped to make Grievous even more iconic. But in the end his performance never made it to the theatrical cut of either Episode II or Episode III. C’mon Lucas, release the unused audio!

The Star Wars franchise continues to expand on the small and silver screens, so perhaps Gary Oldman will get to finally have a role sometime in the future. Live-action shows are constantly being released on Disney+, while there are a few developing movie projects also in the works. Although we shouldn’t hold out hope of him ever stepping into the role of General Grievous; film voice actor Matthew Wood continues to voice him in projects like video games.

The next Star Wars movie expected to hit theaters is Taika Waitti’s project, although he’ll first be focusing on the release of Thor: Love and Thunder. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.