British actor Alfie Curtis passed away on 12/26/2017. He is best known as Dr. Cornelius Evazan in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He was 87.
Dr. Cornelius Evazan’s Important Star Wars Role
Forty years ago, audiences were whisked away to a galaxy far, far away for the very first time. The resulting space opera captured the hearts and minds of everyone. Star Wars was a massive hit. Much of the film’s success came from its inventive world and colorful cast of characters. The movie featured astonishing make-up effects in seemingly every frame. However, the audience’s first hint that the world of Star Wars is vast and unpredictable lies in Mos Eisley Cantina.
The bar, dubbed a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” by Obi-Wan Kenobi, serves as our introduction to Han Solo. Furthermore, it’s packed with all sorts of unsavory characters hailing from all over the galaxy. Unfortunately, Luke Skywalker runs afoul of two of these criminals immediately. In an attempt to get a drink from the bar, Luke accidentally cuts in front of Ponda Baba, angering him. Dr. Cornelius Evazan rushes in to help his friend and exchanges some heated words with Luke. Before the situation escalates, Obi-Wan steps in and cuts off Ponda Baba’s arm.
The scene is instantly memorable to Star Wars fans. Furthermore, Evazan plays an important role in Star Wars lore. His confrontation with Luke signals the first time the audience sees a lightsaber used in self-defense. Of course, without Evazan’s goading, audiences would have seen a lightsaber in action either way. But this scene demonstrates how swift and devastating a blow from a lightsaber is. It efficiently sets up the stakes for Obi-Wan and Vader’s lightsaber duel halfway through the film.
Alfie Curtis’ Long Life
Behind the heavy prosthetics of Cornelius Evazan is Alfie Curtis. Alfie Curtis was a British character actor with a distinctive, crooked mouth. Following Star Wars, Curtis appeared in three more films, including David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. However, he found much success in British television. Though his total Star Wars screen time is minimal, he is an instantly recognizable character. Heck, he’s so recognizable that Evazan and Ponda Baba appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. And, as with anything set in the Star Wars universe, he received an extensive backstory in the comic books and novels.
Alfie Curtis holds a special place in Star Wars history. He represents everything that drew fans into the world of Star Wars. Evazan is a character that audiences see and think, “I’d like to know what his story is,” and their imaginations run wild with possible origin stories. Additionally, he had a long and storied career outside of Star Wars.
It’s been a tough year for Star Wars fans. We lost Carrie Fisher, David Prowse retired from convention appearances, and now Alfie Curtis is gone. It’s inevitable, especially as these actors are reaching certain ages. But to so many, these performances are like warm blankets, and losing parts of them is never easy. However, they will continue to live on for generations in one of the most iconic films of all time.