When Andy Serkis was cast in Star Wars Episode VII, it led to many questions about whether his role would be live action or motion capture. Motion capture technology is when an actual human performs a role in a studio while using certain special effects gizmos that allows animators to create a computer-generated characters on top of them. It means that the animators don't have to create a CGI character from nothing, and can use the movements, facial expressions, and overall performance of the actor in their animation. Serkis is most famous for his motion capture roles, including Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; King Kong in the 2000s film of the same name; and Caesar the ape in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its upcoming sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Now, Serkis has confirmed that his motion capture studio, the Imaginarium, will be working on Star Wars. "The Imaginarium is now involved in all of the performance capture on the Star Wars projects, and I'm playing a character in that," Serkis told SciFiNow. Whether this means he's actually playing a motion capture role remains to be seen.
Although he can't say what role he's playing, he did tell SiFiNow about what a thrill it was to be cast given that he's been a Star Wars fan since he was a kid. He talked about how he was offered the role and how there was an "incredible kind of vibe" between him and director J.J. Abrams. He met with Abrams who said "You'd fit really well in this universe," to which Serkis agreed." The read through with the entire cast, Serkis said, "was just extraordinary. It was an amazing event; being with the original cast was just incredible. I just think the script is so wonderful, and both the old and the newbies in the cast are just so thrilled and excited to get together."