You Cast ‘Star Wars: Heir to the Empire’: Captain Gilad Pellaeon


Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Heir to the Empire was a blockbuster and boundary breaker: It broke out of the fan underground and onto the New York Times Bestseller list, broke down the boundaries between film and written word, proving succinctly that a story is never truly over as long as someone wants to hear more, and broke through the known limits of the Star Wars universe, exploring places that the original trilogy never did. Would we have had an Expanded Universe without Heir to the Empire? Probably not.

Heir to the Empire picks up five years after Return of the Jedi. The galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war after the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins and Luke Skywalker is now the first in a long awaited new line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away the last of the Emperor’s warlords-the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn-has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet. He’s ready it for war and aimed it right at the heart of the fragile new republic.

Fans would love to see an Heir to the Empire movie, and we would too! To celebrate the 20th anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, we’re going to indulge in a little game of what-if, and we’d like for you to play along. We thought it would be fun to try to cast each of the book’s major roles, and after a little email brainstorming, we came up with a list of likely candidates to portray the key characters. We’d like our readers to help narrow them down and cast the movie.

Starting today, we’ll list a character each weekday and the five actors we think are right for the part. You simply vote for the actor you want to see win the role. Don’t like our choices? Cast a write-in vote using the embedded poll software! We’ll announce our final cast on September 20.

Oh, and we should mention that since it’s been decades since Return of the Jedi was filmed we’ll need to recast all of the characters, so we’ll be asking you to cast new actors in some of the saga’s most iconic roles. Controversial? Maybe. Fun to discuss? You bet!

Today’s character is Captain Gilad Pellaeon.


Captain Gilad Pellaeon: Born on Corellia but raised on Coruscant, Gilad Pellaeon dreamed of becoming a Naval officer. Falsifying his age, 15 year-old Pellaeon was accepted to the Raithal Academy. After making a name for himself in the Clone Wars, Pellaeon continued his Naval career under the Galactic Empire. During the Battle of Endor Pellaeon assumed command of the Star Destroyer Chimaera and eventually issued the order to retreat after the destruction of the second Death Star. Pellaeon remained a prominent officer in what was left of the Imperial fleet and eventually served directly under Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Here are five actors we think might make a good Captain Pellaeon. Click the links to view their IMDB profiles, and then vote for your choice:

Sam Elliot
Tommy Lee Jones
Robert DeNiro
Jeff Bridges
Dale Dye

Click here to vote for round two: Talon Karrde

  • The Mighty

    I’m thinking either Sam Elliot or Dale Dye. Probably Dye as I think he’d fit not only the physical body-type but also the demeanor. The others listed would probably do a fine job acting the part, no doubt, but I think the two I mentioned above really stand out.

  • Peter

    I went with a write in of Gary Oldman. Sam Elliot is perhaps closest to the character looks wise, but not sure he can break out of his Wild West bit long enough to play a star destroyer captain.

  • Darth Verous

    Michael Caine with a mustache… simple and effective.

  • Gary Oldman is a great idea – I myself put down Matthew Macfadyen. I think he has the necessary intensity, and he makes a wonderful supporter. Additionally, he’s just starting to get to the right age – I think most of the actors here are good for Pelleaon later in life, but for Heir to the Empire, I’d go with someone a bit younger.

  • David

    Captain Dale Dye. He’s former military. Thoroughly solid actor for military roles, which this part requires.

  • ImperialGirl

    Uh, guys? He was raised on CORUSCANT, went to the Academy and served in the IMPERIAL Navy. And you list a bunch of Yankees? Let’s try and stay vaguely consistant here. There are 1001 British actors to choose from. I would have said John Thaw but as he’s no longer among us, I suggest his in-character protege (Lewis to his Morse), Kevin Whately.

  • JoeB

    So, Coruscant is a British colony now? Funny I don’t remember reading that anywhere. Juts because he was in the Impeial Navy and went to the Imperial Academy does not mean he has ot be British. The United States has a Naval Academy and the largest most powerful Navy on Earth. So tell me again why he has ot be British?

  • David R VanLangeveld

    I voted for Sam Elliot. Yes, he’s best known for his rolls in Westerns, but he has played a military man with a similar personality to Pellaeon: that of real-life Civil War veteran John Buford, who led the Union Calvary at Gettysburg. Imperial Girl’s complaint that only “Yankee” actors are listed at first glance seems valid, because Brits were primarily cast as Imperials in Star Wars and ESB. However, that changed with ROTJ. Further, the backstory of Han Solo (played by “Yankee” actor Harrsion Ford) has revealed that he graduated from the Imperial Academy as valedictorian, but was drummed out the Imperial Starfleet when he rescued Chewbaaca. If Brits are included in the list, I would suggest Michael Caine.

  • Imperial man

    @Joe B: A cursory glance through any and all of the movies will show that Imperial personnel, universally, have an received pronunciation – the Queens English. I have no idea why you’re trying to make comparisons to Earth, anyhow.

    By this train of thought, it would stand to reason that more British actors would be included on the list. As in 4 out of 5. But instead we have Robert Di Niro, who can totally be believed to be a high ranking military officer. Or I might be thinking of high-ranking mobster.

  • Darth Levi

    Well, the USA is an Imperealis state. Besides, I think it would be either Robert De Niro or Adam Sandler (just to get things interesting)

  • Jorge Garcia

    Terry O’Quinn!!!

  • Snoogens1977

    I put Alan Rickman. There has to be a certain darkness and english style demeanor to anyone brought up on Coruscant. Perfect IMO

  • Gonk

    Gary Oldman was my first and last thought.

  • Pickle

    Sir Derek Jacobi. He’s got the presence, the class, and I could go on and on. Pellaeon has always been one of my favorite characters, so I’d hate to see him miscast!

  • Sean

    William Hurt for Pallaeon. The picture even looks like William Hurt.

  • raine204

    I threw down Paul Hogan from Battlestar Galactica fame.
    He’s the perfect Captain to match up with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
    His acting skills in this type of role are already established as seen as Colonel Tigh in previously said BSG series. Beats all the others down easily. Dont believe me, go watch the episodes when he has to take over as Commander of the rag tag fleet after Adama is shot. He’s absolutely brilliant.

  • Madman007

    I do like the look of Dye and he does have the military demeanor down pat with former roles. As far as Imperials being “English” from Coruscant, remember Admiral Motti was not English, the actor is from PA, USA. I tend to think of Coruscant having different areas where they speak differently like in the US between a Mississippi accent vs a Boston accent. Same planet. Same country. Different accents.

  • RKoth

    I’m thinking Bernard Hill on this one…

  • George

    This is the best they could come up with? WOW. I wrote in Robert Vaughn because I was looking for an older, respected actor with the right level of charisma, but I think Derek Jacobi is spot-on.

    I like Rickman and Oldman, but they tend to play characters with more straight-up charisma (I think either of them would actually make a passable Karrde or C’Baoth!). Michael Caine is another excellent choice, but when the trilogy came out originally, I mentally cast Caine as Thrawn, so it’s a tough transition for me. 🙂

  • David

    Peter said: “Sam Elliot is perhaps closest to the character looks wise, but not sure he can break out of his Wild West bit long enough to play a star destroyer captain.”

    The proof that he CAN is in a film titled “The Contender” starring Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman, William Peterson and Elliot. I would suggest everyone watch this awesome story!

  • Rob

    Palleon needs to be a 2nd tier character actor. He cannot be a flashy ‘NAME’. His role is that of ‘vice-president’ with a dash of ‘student’ as well. Maybe Brian Cox or Tom Wilkinson.

  • Dark Father

    Bill Nighy, hands down.

  • Majicou

    It was in ESB that Irvin Kershner declared all the Imperial officers would be British, and ever since it’s been considered a fact in the EU that the \Coruscanti accent\ is British RP, more or less.

  • Rabid_Ewok_Hater

    Pellaeon may not play an Hyper important role in this movie, but as the movies continued, (presuming that that more books would be made movies) he would be important Role in Imperial politics, and we all know that the Empire will never be Forgot in any Book they chose.

  • lizrdgizrd

    Dale Dye!

  • A Whovian

    For an older Pellaeon, Bernard Hill would certainly be a good choice. I might also suggest Tom Kane(Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Admiral Yularen, Narrator, Yoda) o

  • OhioJones

    Surprised Sam Neill wasn’t top of this list. But I’d like to see some more progressive, open-minded casting options, so I’m going to throw out some other names throughout the polls. For Pellaeon, why not Laurence Fishburne or Ken Watanabe?

  • Chancey

    Sam Elliots not bad , think that was the firts list I didn have to use other on hehe 🙂

  • Thrymm

    Robert Duvall

  • Bob

    How about Alan Rickman.. he HAS to fit somewhere in the Empire, idc where.

  • christian

    hey, I´m in South America, big fan also. I wa thinking about William Hurt. for a brit, what a bout a shaved and cleaned David Thewlis?…40 years ago, I would have said Gregory Peck (Space Hornblower?) or a younger Sean Connery (love his accent )

  • christian

    Hello there, I´m in South America, big fan also. I wa thinking about William Hurt. for a brit, what a bout a shaved and cleaned David Thewlis?…40 years ago, I would have said Gregory Peck (Space Hornblower?) or a younger Sean Connery (love his accent )

  • Nathan LaFortune

    what about R. Lee Ermey, the drill sgt. from Full Metal Jacket

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