Allow me to cut right to the chase: the guy with a white beard on Endor in Return of the Jedi is NOT Captain Rex. Period.
Honestly, I am not sure what else to say about this topic because, on the one hand, it is dumb, while on the other hand, it is dumb. Yeah, you heard me, it is dumb. I tend not to be this blunt when it comes to debates within the Star Wars fandom but on this topic, I have decided that blunt honesty is for the best.
Okay, let me give you some context just to make sure you and I are on the same page. A long time ago, after Captain Rex was re-introduced in Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels, some fans began to speculate that Rex was one of the strike team commandos in Return of the Jedi. The reason why people thought this? Because this older version of the clone captain had a white beard and, oh my gosh, so did one of the Rebel commandos!
A white beard, that was it, that was the connection. Clearly this superficial similarity must mean that the commando and Captain Rex were one-and-the-same! Except, another pretty obvious and glaring problem was hiding in plain sight with this “fan”-tastic theory. Nik Sant, the commando in question, was portrayed in Return of the Jedi by L. Burner who is white. Captain Rex is a clone trooper and his likeness as a clone is based Jango Fett who was portrayed in Attack of the Clones by Temuera Morrison, and he is not white, he is Māori.
Nik Sant, white guy. Captain Rex, not white guy.
Pretty easy and simple to figure out that they are not the same person. Except, for some reason, this “debate” about whether Captain Rex is in Return of the Jedi just loves to pop-up periodically with people teasing the idea that maybe, juuuuuust maybe, it actually is Captain Rex. But it isn’t because, again, Nik Sant is white, and Captain Rex is not white.
“But Imperial Talker, sir, you have to admit it is pretty wild that Nik Sant is an old guy with a white beard AND Captain Rex is also, around that same point in the Star Wars timeline, an old guy with a white beard.”
Yes, how incredible wild! It is as if more than one character in Star Wars can be a guy with a white beard, and not just any white beard, but an immaculately groomed beard.
Here, how about we compromise: rather than continuing to speculate (as this recent Screen Rant article does) about whether Captain Rex is or is not the guy with a white beard on Endor (he isn’t), we instead make it a canonical fact that both Rex and Nik Sant were best beard buddies. Hell, let’s imagine that Nik Sant, having met Captain Rex one day roaming the corridors of Home One, was convinced by his new clone friend to grow and groom his facial hair just like Rex. Thus, their beards can be canonically linked whilst ensuring that Nik Sant and Captain Rex are not only maintained as individual characters but, perhaps most importantly, two silver foxes kicking the shit out of the Empire.
Allow me to also cut right to the chase: the guy with a white beard on Endor in Return of the Jedi COULD be Captain Rex. Period. To say definitively one way or the other (based on hazy skin pigmentation no less) in the absence of an official statement, which likely isn’t going to be forthcoming, is ridiculous.
Rex is based on a Māori actor, Nik Sant was played by a white actor. Pretty easy to figure this out.
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There are no Maori on Star Wars. So what if Nik Sant was played by a white actor and Rex by a non-white actor? We barely see the character in question on screen, certainly not enough to see any obvious difference in skin color. Both are ruddy skinned, and one isn’t lily white and the other isn’t very dark skinned. Also, it seems that Rex’s elder years likeness to the bearded rebel goes beyond coincidence. But again, nothing official has come out either way, so it is foolish to take it upon one’s self to decide the issue as if one has the authority to do so.
To say there are no Māori in Star Wars is to deliberately ignore the fact that Morrison is Māori. His identity as a person-of-color cannot and should never be ignored. Good lord, imagine being a child who is Māori and hearing someone say, “there are no Māori in Star Wars.” TNever-mind the fact that literally the entire clone army is based on the likeness of a Maori actor, as is Boba Fett. Oh, and btw, Daniel Logan, who played young Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones, is also of Maori descent. It is as if George Lucas knew what he was doing when he hired Morrison and Logan to play the character.
The point is this: it is not okay to retcon a character played by a white actor and say it is actually a character who is distinctly based on a person of color. The inanity of that idea is why this entire debate was, and still is, a massive problem and is, as I said, dumb. It is a form of reverse whitewashing where diversity has to be forced into the franchise by imagining a white person as a person-of-color. Star Wars fans need to do better and use their brains to imagine Rex participating in the battle in a way that doesn’t involve him being the white guy in the background.
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Nice strawman, attempted derailment and false outrage. Let me be specific on my minor comment regarding Maori in this discussion about you arbitrarily deciding for all that Rex can’t possibly be Nik Sant, since ridiculously it is necessary. There are no Maori in the Star Wars universe. Yes there are Maori actors and yes they are not white, and yes the Maori actors that have portrayed the clones and Boba Fett, adult and young, have done an amazing job, but again, there is no Maori in the Star Wars universe and the Clones and Boba Fett are not Maori. Because there is no Earth in the Star Wars universe. No South Pacific, and they are in the Star Wars universe whatever ethnicity Jango Fett is in that universe. And then your about face to defend the whiteness of an bit actor that played Nik Sant when the character had mere seconds of screen time and is frankly lucky to even have name. Rex is a beloved, deep, major character. Nik Sant all by himself is not. If Rex turns out to be Nik Sant, it enriches the Star Wars universe and Rex as a character even more because it means that Rex saw things through to the end, met and served the son of Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi he loved and whose fall he grieved over. If Nik Sant is just Nik Sant, then he is just another rebel, commendable, but just another boot on the ground. I think it serves Star Wars better if Nik is Rex. But neither of us actually knows whether he is or is not and again it isn’t for you to make the call, and the fact that one actor is white and the other is not in our universe doesn’t give you that call. Again, both actors actually have skin tones that are fairly close, neither being extreme pigment examples of white or brown, and again it seems that efforts have been made to make old Rex look a LOT like Nik Sant. And just in parting, by your silly reasoning regarding disrespecting the white bit actor that played Nik Sant by considering that his character might turn out to be a character played by a non-white actor, the original Boba Fett actor was white. Darth Vader was physically a white guy with a black guy’s voice. Oh the outrage!
Thanks for clearing that up.