Dumbo actor Joseph Gatt has compared his character in upcoming 2019 Disney remake to that of Star Wars‘ Darth Vader. Dumbo is the latest animated feature from Disney’s pantheon to receive a second look. With the direction of Tim Burton, 2019’s Dumbo aims to upgrade the 1941 animated original for a new audience by bringing in live-action actors and tweaking the story.
One of these changes involves the villains in the movie. The antagonists of the original Dumbo are a bit more nebulous. The only real villain is The Ringmaster and he’s more selfish than outright evil, but this won’t be the case in the remake. Burton’s Dumbo is going full tilt with evil characters offering fans characters who torment Dumbo so hard that they’re evidently reminiscent of Lords of the Sith.
Joseph Gatt is playing one of several new characters added to Dumbo for the remake, Neils Skellig. Skellig is an employee of the main villain V.A. Vandemere, who will played Michael Keaton. During Screen Rant’s visit to the Dumbo set in November 2017, we asked Gatt to explain his character. He revealed:
The way I like to describe Skellig – Neils Skelling – is, if you imagine that Vandevere, Michael Keaton’s character, is the Emperor, I’m Darth Vader. So basically he does all… he’s the more powerful, you know he’s in charge of everything, and I just do his bidding and go around being evil. I’m his head of security, and I’m a hunter. I don’t like animals very much, so as you can imagine I get along really well with Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo. And we have a lot of interesting interactions that don’t end very well, generally for me.
Gatt is an actor who is not a stranger to playing brutal and violent characters. Gatt’s best known role is probably as a member of the cannibalistic Thenns in Game of Thrones, specifically their warg. It was Gatt’s Thenn Warg who tried to attack Samwell Tarly during the series’ Battle of the Wall and he ended up being murdered by Sam in self-defense. It sounds as if Dumbo will see Gatt fill a similar role being the terrifying muscle of a much larger villainous force.
It’s easy to forget because of his importance to the overall saga and connection to Luke, but Darth Vader isn’t all that important to the wider Empire in Star Wars. It is the Emperor who is really keeping The Empire afloat in the original trilogy; he’s the source of all the power even though he only appears (properly) in Return of the Jedi. Gatt might be over-estimating his role in the Dumbo remake. (Skellig probably isn’t going to get as much screen time as Darth Vader.) It is an interesting way to look at his character nonetheless.
Skellig probably won’t also share an ending with Darth Vader either. Vader is redeemed at the very last moment and sacrifices himself to take out The Emperor. Skellig likely won’t take pity on Dumbo and his mom, especially since Gatt claims his characters doesn’t much care for animals. It’s far more likely that Dumbo and/or his mother will take their revenge on Skellig in a fatal manner by the close of the remake. Disney villains, especially unrepentant ones, don’t tend to survive their films.