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Clone Wars Voicing Sidious: Ian Abercrombie vs. Tim Curry

Discussion in 'Star Wars TV' started by SateleNovelist11, Jan 10, 2015.

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Who do you believe did a better job voicing Sidious/Palpatine in The Clone Wars:

  1. Ian Abercrombie

    91.7%
  2. Tim Curry

    8.3%
  1. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Which do you prefer?

    Personally, I prefer Abercrombie's performance as both Palpatine and Sidious. It's not just that he sounded quite a bit like Ian McDiarmid. In some ways, I almost prefer Abercrombie's performance to McDiarmid's. I think he was very subtle but still chilling as Sidious. He certainly was very grounded and convincing as Palpatine. His January 2012 passing was sad. As to Tim Curry, I like him as an actor, and I enjoy most of his performances. I do feel he does a better job as Darth Sidious than he does at Palpatine. He does a good job as Palpatine, though I prefer Abercrombie's way of handling it. Initially, I had no idea that there was that much unreleased material featuring Abercrombie as Palpatine until I saw Season Six's Banking/Clovis arc. I was happy to hear Abercrombie's performance. I really like how Curry handled Palpatine during the end of the Order 66 arc, the episode featuring the Pykes, and especially how he delivered Sidious' haunting and sociopathic lines during the Yoda arc. But you get my point. What do you think?
     
  2. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Abercrombie, hands down.
     
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  3. TheAvengerButton

    TheAvengerButton Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2011
    You know, I like both of them. Abercrombie was great, but so was Curry. I am pretty sure that Curry voiced him in the CW series, too, right?
     
  4. darkchrono

    darkchrono Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 23, 2005
    I know I read they hired Curry to play Sidious in Rebels. I wonder if it will just be a couple lines here and there in later seasons or he will play a prominent role in the series at some point. I'm assuming they plan on expanding the story a great deal in season 2 because having Sidious in the show at this point would just make it look like he was being shoe horned in as there is not much reason for him to be in it yet.

    As far as Ambercrombie vs Curry they both sounded different and Curry will take awhile to get used to. But then also I felt Lantern's voice as Anakin sounded a little off in the beginning as well until I got used to it and now I think Lantern gives a better voice for Anakin than Hayden did.
     
  5. Vorax

    Vorax Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Snuff out the spark of that Lantern already...

    Ambercrombie had the character down. Curry I guess is alright , he hasnt had much time to get used to but the transition seems ok.
     
  6. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Neither, they aren't Ian.
     
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  7. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    I think Abercrombie stole many scenes, but my favorite line he delivered was this one to Darth Maul about him being replaced. It's so authoritative and cold. http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...rcrombie-vs-tim-curry.50026368/#post-52072382

    Curry does a good job in scenes like this during which talks about victory, and you can tell what he really means by that. I think Curry enjoys playing villains, given his entire body of work. You can see that in the way he delivers Sidious' line about executing Order 66. Goodness.

    I do think that Abercrombie's take on it was more realistic, however. People like Sidious exist in the real world, and they often sound very subtle and even normal despite the fact that they are actually very out there, terrifying, and...insidious. This scene of Sidious talking to Cad Bane shows that Sidious sounds like some grandfathers do, but he's appalling and repugnant. And the way he's talking to and about those children is frightening. Again, Abercrombie manages to combine the kindly, gentle grandfather voice with this disturbing, scary sorcerer, and it makes your skin crawl.
     
  8. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    I meant to include this one as the illustration of my first point.
     
  9. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 16, 2008
    One of them is.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Host, PT Interview Thread/Spam Award Winner star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2014

    But did you really think they could get Ian because he was in the movies and would cost a pretty penny.
     
  11. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Good point. Plus, the man had had a heart attack in 2008. He may have preferred retirement. Also, Ian may not have wanted to fly out of England to record a television show. Christopher Lee refused to go to New Zealand to film the new Hobbit films. He refuses to go anywhere anymore. Due to his age, he remains in England and anyone who wants to film him in a role, whether it's Peter Jackson or Tim Burton, has to come over there to film him. And I don't blame him. Ian McDiarmid probably has a similar position or he just prefers to remain retired. At any rate, I'm glad we got Ian Abercrombie. He did a marvelous job bringing a very human voice to a very inhuman character.
     
  12. darkchrono

    darkchrono Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 23, 2005
    So those actors that were in the same scenes as Lee did they have to fly up to England to or did they do some camera tricks to make them look like they were all on camera at one time?
     
  13. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett Host, PT Interview Thread/Spam Award Winner star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2014

    Thats what I though.
     
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  14. Trebor Sabreon

    Trebor Sabreon LACWACky Mod of SWTV & New Films Force projection star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 15, 2010
    I can empathize, as I feel pretty much the same way. I simply prefer the job done by the originals and, unfortunately, some characters in TCW -- be they Master Yoda, Count Dooku or Mace Windu -- just simply never sounded 'right' to my ears.

    Now, I understand that actors who ply their trade mostly in feature films wouldn't sign-on to a professional commitment of who-knows-how-many seasons of an ongoing television series; I get why Lucasfilm got who they got. But I can't help it, anyone who wasn't (in this case) Mr. McDiarmid was naturally going to feel weird at first. So it took me a little time to adjust to Mr. Abercrombie.

    But over time, adjust, I did. I still preferred McDiarmid, of course, but I eventually found myself comfortable enough with this new take on the Chancellor.* The same thing happened with JAT's Kenobi. For my money, nobody is a better young Obi-Wan Kenobi than Ewan McGregor, but in the end, I actually rather liked James Arnold Taylor's warm and humorous take on the character.

    *I say I liked Abercrombie's 'Chancellor,' because, while I eventually embraced Ian's Palpatine, his Sidious just never felt quite right to me. Not that he had much Sidious material to work with, but it is what it is.


    As for Mr. Curry? Well, love him for some of his past work as I might, his Chancellor simply never sounded right to me. His presiding over the trial of Ahsoka Tano just felt awkward, and his Season Six mispronunciation of "Valorum" ('VAL-or-um, rather than Va-'LOR-um) -- especially when, per TPM, we already knew how Palpatine pronounced the name ("May I present Supreme Chancellor Valorum") -- was cringe-inducing. Note, this is plainly the fault of the episode's Director/producers, and not Curry, himself. There's no reason to think that Tim would have looked at the script and known any different. But, fair or not, it still factors-in to my overall opinion of Curry's work.

    My impression of the guy's work was also not likely helped by our introduction to him: The head-scratching decision to needlessly force Tim's very first line as Palpatine ("They're just petty crooks") right into the middle of the Abercrombie Chancellor's denunciation of Maul and Savage. Weirdly jarring and worse, just... unnecessary. Without Curry's words, the context of the speech would have remained unchanged. Not to mention that, as the line in question was delivered during a quick moment when the 'camera' was not even on Palpatine, the scene wouldn't even have required any re-editing to make things work without the quote. [face_dunno]

    But perhaps the one presiding factor keeping me from fully enjoying Tim Curry as Palpatine is the fact that, when the sad news of Mr. Abercrombie's passing was made public (and the TCW team confirmed that someone would need to step-in to finish some of the voice work for the character), I thought that there was only one obvious person who was right for the role.

    I'm speaking, of course, of Ian McDiarmid. Although most of us may not necessarily have seen the immediate cancellation of the TCW coming, I think that, by the time of Abercrombie's death, a lot of us felt that the end of the series was somewhere in-sight. So why not ask the Master, himself, to come aboard and help finish the job?

    It might have been wonderful. And I think the sense of disappointment I felt when we learned that it wouldn't be Mr. McDiarmid stepping into the role was the kind of thing which would have colored my impression of the job the next fella did; whoever it might have been.


    Now, all of this said (and in an ironic twist from my opinion of Abercrombie's work), I thought Tim Curry's Darth Sidious was much, much better than his Palpatine. I'm actually cautiously optimistic that Curry's Emperor might turn out quite well, indeed. I welcome seeing how it all plays out in Rebels.
     
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  15. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Well said. I wasn't considering the ins and outs of the trade nor was I aware Ian had health[​IMG] issues personally. I simply prefer the original in most cases particularly when it is regarding sound and manner. If it ain't Ian, Chris, and yes Peter it's good odds I won't accept them as Sids/Palps, Dooku, and Tarkin. The characters are inherently different with each person that meddles with them. I tend not to like this as often I read it as distorting the characters.
     
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  16. Darth Valkyrus

    Darth Valkyrus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Neither of them are as good as Sam Witwer.





    Sam frickin' is the Emperor! :eek:

    Assumin Ian McDiarmid himself isn't available, they should totally use Witwer for Rebels.
     
  17. Deputy Rick Grimes

    Deputy Rick Grimes Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Abercrombie AINEC
     
  18. Kablob

    Kablob Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Yeah I was kind of surprised they didn't use Witwer for Palps on TCW. Then again he's only ever done the Sidious voice and not the Chancellor voice.

    Curry's Sidious voice was fine enough but his Chancellor was just weird.
     
  19. cwustudent

    cwustudent Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Officially speaking, has Curry been confirmed for Rebels?
    Seeing as we won't ever hear kind old man Palpatine anymore, just full-blown evil baddie Emperor Palpatine, I want Witwer. No more Curry, please and thank you. I have my fingers crossed that, since Witwer was confirmed rumored for Rebels, he'll take on the role.

    http://makingstarwars.net/2014/10/rumors-two-new-voice-actors-added-star-wars-rebels-rumors/

    Oh, and re: topic, Abercrombie was the best. The scene in the Chancellor's office during Friends and Enemies, its one of my absolute favorite scenes in all of Star Wars, period. The way he so smoothly manipulated Anakin, and when he undermined Mace - it was just brilliant!

    Curry doesn't come close to Abercrombie. In Orders, when he's shouting, "Guards!" I cringe, because its not Palpatine, its Curry. [face_sick]
     
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  20. Trebor Sabreon

    Trebor Sabreon LACWACky Mod of SWTV & New Films Force projection star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 15, 2010
    TBH, I don't recall. I was just taking 'chrono at his word. :D

    I did take a mini-break from all things Rebels over the holiday break. For all I know, something might have been announced (or spoiled) then?

    As for Sam Witwer? Like I said, I'd be okay with Curry as the Emperor, but yeah, I think Sam in TFU did about as good job with the Emperor as anyone not named McDiardmid. I'd be very cool with that. Personally, if he's going to make an appearance, I'd like to see Witwer voice Starkiller in Rebels (maybe as one of Vader's agents, or something). But that's neither her, nor there.
     
  21. cwustudent

    cwustudent Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 25, 2011
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  22. Trebor Sabreon

    Trebor Sabreon LACWACky Mod of SWTV & New Films Force projection star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Not to speak for 'chrono, but I imagine that's likely what he was recalling. It's definitely nothing like official confirmation, but the source sounds pretty sure of themselves.

    Anyway, as you say, time will tell. :)

    I'm just excited to have the Emperor back on-screen in some form! Hopefully, if he does make an appearance, it will be something in-depth and awesome (whoever is voicing him).
     
  23. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015

    Whenever you see Christopher Lee in recent movies, a camera crew films him in England. Strangely, I know for a fact that he never interacted with any of his fellow actors in the Hobbit films. He's digitally inserted in the film with them. I'm certain he could use his imagination to act with and against people who aren't there. He just prefers not to fly out of England due to his age. Similarly, we find this type of behavior in voice acting. As many of you know, an actor who is portraying a character's voice often records her or his lines without the actors present. But this is done for different reasons.
     
  24. Jedi_Kenobi32

    Jedi_Kenobi32 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Ian Abercrombie all the way. Curry's Palpatine voice sounded like someone with a really bad head cold.

    Now I was fine with/tolerant of Curry's Sidious voice but overall Abercrombie's performance gets my vote.
     
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  25. SateleNovelist11

    SateleNovelist11 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2015

    I can see why you a lot of this. I, too, feel that it was unnecessary to insert Tim Curry saying, "There just petty crooks," right in the middle of Ian Abercrombie's dialogue. It's bizarre. And if one considers this, it doesn't make that much sense. Palpatine saying, "So, let him. Let him play with the rabble. It is no concern to the Senate compared with the Separatist threat." Adding the petty crooks part is a bit redundant. It would also make Mace, Yoda, Obi-Wan, and even Anakin think that Palpatine was not always that smart to say that such dangerous Sith Lords were not that much of a threat. I think that was Palpatine's intent insofar as he wished to draw attention away from himself. Anyway, maybe I'm over-thinking that. I would agree that usually Curry did a better job as Sidious than he did as Palpatine. That is strange how Curry mispronounced Valorum. But Palpatine may have been doing that on purpose in that scene. He was acting a little less intelligent and senile on purpose in that scene, anyway, to try to fool Yoda into thinking he was an ordinary old man. He pretended to not remember Sifo-Dyas' name after hearing it a minute prior to that. So, I don't mind that as much. I did think that Tim Curry voicing Palpatine was awkward at Ahsoka's trial. It didn't sound bad, but it was different. And sometimes the way he handles Chancellor Palpatine just sounds different than both Ian McDiarmid and Ian Abercrombie. He presents him with such a deep, strong voice, but I think he got better at it. But the man was born to portray villains, and so his version of Sidious is great.

    Now, back to Abercrombie. I don't think his take on Sidious is bad. It's not that different than his interpretation of Palpatine. But that's the point. He wasn't lowering his pitch too much or doing anything too different because it's realistic. He still knows how to make the same voice somewhat different and scarier. It's a subtle performance, and I like it. I like Ian McDiarmid's performance a lot, but I almost feel that what we saw would be better as a stage performance than a film performance, which is understandable, given how we are discussing an actor who primarily acts on stage. Sometimes, his voice is a bit too flowery, too charming, or too nice as Palpatine. On the other hand, Abercrombie sounds more convincing as a crafty politician who is presenting himself as humble, grandfatherly, and kind. And his performance doesn't sound that wicked or over-the-top. That's realistic because oftentimes there are some people who are indeed megalomaniacal, horrifying, repulsive, sadistic, and despotic like Palpatine who do over-the-top things but relatively normal-sounding or subtle voices. That's my take on it.

    "I must say you're not at all what I expected for someone with such a soft voice."
    - Obi-Wan, to Osi Sobeck
     
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