By Bonnie Burton – StarWars.Com – February 5th, 2010

      Comedian, actor and TV game show host Greg Proops, who first invaded the Star Wars saga as Fode, one half of the two-headed Podrace announcer in The Phantom Menace, returns as the evil Senator Tal Merrik in The Clone Wars episode “Voyage of Temptation.”

      While many fans might recognize Proops from his improv hijinks on both the US and UK versions of the celeb game show Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, as well as the UK game shows Space Cadets and Mock the Week, Proops has an impressive list of credits with voice acting roles in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bob the Builder, Brother Bear and Asterix and the Vikings. Fans might also know Proops as Max Madigan on Nickelodeon’s show True Jackson, VP. chats with Proops about how much fun it is to play the bad guy for a change, and why sci-fi is the new kind of western.

How exciting is it, not just as an actor but as a fan, to be part of the Star Wars saga?

      I went to see Star Wars when it came out when I was in high school. I’m a fan of Star Wars and sci-fi in general so it’s very exciting for me to be part of all of it. Star Wars fans are probably more devoted than any other fans. I get letters from fans in Norway and all over the world.

How did the role of Senator Tal Merrick come along?

      They simply asked me to do it, and I said “yes” immediately. Everybody involved is top notch. It was tremendous fun because I got to play a bad guy!

Was acting in The Clone Wars a different experience for you than it was playing the role of Fode in The Phantom Menace?

      The Phantom Menace role was definitely a comedic part in a very exciting action scene in the movie. We were there to break up the tension and add some humor into the scene. And the part I play in The Clone Wars is a straight-up bad guy, and I really enjoyed doing that.

Which kind of character do you prefer to play – funny or evil?

      I love doing both, obviously because I do comedy for a living. But my goal is to always play bad guys, because they’re so much more fun. I got to be cunning and evil and threaten the Duchess.

The villains in Star Wars saga always seem to be having a lot of fun.

      Darth Vader was always my favorite character in the saga. He’s the most interesting character because he was good then bad. He was a force of pure evil who tried to corrupt our hero. What I love about bad guys is the energy it requires to be bad. You have to spend all your time thinking about evil, and it’s fantastic!

Why do you think fans love Star Wars and now The Clone Wars so much?

      The whole point of Star Wars is to be entertained, to spur your imagination and to think about what might be. That’s the thing about science fiction that people find so compelling. It’s kind of replaced the western in our world. All these great characters like the lone gunman, the man with the past, the hero with the heart of gold — have moved over into sci-fi, which is great.

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