So Max von Sydow is the new Alec Guiness?

Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless

So Max von Sydow is in Star Wars 7.

His casting would appear to be the equivalent of Sir Alec Guiness as Obi Wan. What role is he playing? Jedi or Sith or other? We don’t know but what are is acting his credentials? After all, Alec Guiness was an Oscar winner prior to joining A New Hope.

Let’s start with where he’s from. He’s not English as you may suspect, he’s Swedish.

Born in 1929 he began his acting career in the 1950s. His first mega hit film was The Greatest Story Ever Told in which he played Jesus. Three Days of Condor and The Exorcist showed he had the big acting chops. Indeed his role as father Merrin in The Exorcist is considered one of the great acting performances. He has been nominated for an Oscar twice for the films Pelle the Conqueror and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

MAX VON SYDOW actor starwars
A more recent photo of Max

But what are his science fiction credentials? (Not that Guinness had many….)

Sydow has appeared in many popular science fiction films. Have you ever heard of a film called Flash Gordon? You, know the character that directly inspired George Lucas? Sydow was the bad guy in that. Minority Report with Tom Cruise? Sydow was the bad guy in that.

He was also in Stallone’s version of Judge Dredd – he was actually one of the better parts of that film! Conan the Barbarian as a fantasy film was pretty popular too.

So Sydow is no stranger to science fiction, his acting credentials are fairly impeccable and we wait to see what role he will actually play in Ep 7.

Internet Scuttlebut is suggesting that Sydow is actually Boba Fett – that would seem to suggest that at some stage he killed the Boba Fett featured in Attack of the Clones and assumed the Fett identity. Time will tell.

More recent rumours suggest that Sydow is playing a character known as the Vicar.

Update: Sydow played Lor San Tekka.

Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing articles, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.