Giancarlo Esposito is having a moment. The acclaimed television and film actor has recently starred in some of the biggest franchises around, including The Mandalorian, The Boys, and Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. But with almost 200 acting credits to his name, there’s so much more to love.
Here’s our list of some of the greatest sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and Star Wars roles Esposito has played so far over the course of his four-decade career. They range from key parts in some of our favourite series to lesser-known appearances that might make you do a double-take. I’m sure it’s only the beginning of what we’ll be seeing from Esposito, one of the most standout actors around, over the next decade or more. So here’s to making the list even bigger in the future. Hopefully with more sexy vampires.
Moff Gideon: The Mandalorian
This is Esposito’s latest and (possibly) greatest role, starring in Disney’s The Mandalorian as the Baby Yoda-stealing, Darksaber-wielding Imperial officer, Moff Gideon. It feels like the role he was born to play — the perfect mix of suave, silly, and threatening. Moff Gideon can joke around with Grogu one moment and commit genocide the next, all without batting an eyelash. At this point, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing this part the way he does.
Mickey: Sesame Street
Esposito has been acting since the early 1970s, but his big break came when he got a role on Sesame Street, playing Big Bird’s camp counselor Mickey. He appeared on seven episodes of the series, in 1982 and 1984. Hopefully, all of them featured those short-shorts.
Phantom Blot: DuckTales (2017)
The Phantom Blot is a masked agent of F.O.W.L. (or Fiendish Organisation for World Larceny), an international criminal organisation that plays a major part in the 2017 reboot of DuckTales. He’s a tech genius who hates all magic — mainly because Magica De Spell used her powers to destroy his village — and has invented a gauntlet that can absorb and dispel magic. What’s interesting about this role is he’s actually one of the oldest baddies in Disney history. The Phantom Blot, or “The Blot,” first appeared in a daily comics strip back in 1939, and he served as one of Mickey Mouse’s arch-nemeses for decades.
Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror/Genie: Once Upon a Time
The role of Sidney Glass was an excuse for scenery-chewing at its finest (much like most of Once Upon a Time). He’s the editor of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror, albeit one with zero ethics, who also happens to be the Magic Mirror from the Enchanted Forest of long ago. The show cleverly intertwined the role of the Magic Mirror with the Genie from Aladdin, turning Sidney Glass’s origin story into a tragedy of forbidden love and queenly manipulation.
Lex Luthor: Harley Quinn
Esposito has played quite a few characters in the Batman animated universe, including R’as al Ghul in Son of Batman and Black Spider in Batman: Assault on Arkham. But his standout turn in the DC Universe so far has been his dry comedic take on Lex Luthor in Harley Quinn, a series that isn’t afraid to let its actors cut loose and have a good time.
While live-action productions were dealt a significant blow this year by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the animation industry was in a prime position to step up to the plate and tell some of 2020’s most riveting stories. Here are the ones that transported the Gizmodo staff to far-off worlds and...Read more
Tom Neville: Revolution
Hey, remember Revolution? That’s OK, no one else does either. This was NBC’s answer to the growing popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead, only instead of a zombie invasion, it was an apocalypse where all the world’s power had gone out at the same time. It was a pretty generic show with a run-of-the-mill antagonist in the form of insurance salesman-turned-militia leader Captain Tom Neville. But Esposito gave the role a depth and gravity beyond the writing, turning this generic baddie into a surprisingly complex character.
Stan Edgar: The Boys
Put Esposito in charge of everything…then again, maybe not. The actor takes on the superhero and pharmaceutical industries as Vought International CEO Stan Edgar — an imposing figure who towers over even the most powerful supes in the series, even though he (presumably) has no powers of his own. His strength comes in his absolute confidence in himself, his company, and the work that they do. As evil and terrible as that work may be.
We might have seen a shortage of new movies in 2020, but one thing we still got a lot of was television shows. This was a year of saying goodbye to many beloved series while introducing some new ones into the fold. Some sparked, others fizzled. Here are the TV...Read more
Vampire: The Hunger
The Hunger was a horror anthology series that aired on Showtime back in the ‘90s, telling stories of monsters, mayhem, and horrific sex — mostly as an excuse to show some soft-core erotica. In the season one episode “Fly-by-Night,” Esposito played an unnamed vampire who forms an attachment with a war veteran after the two of them find themselves in the same mental health facility. Surprise no surprise, the two of them have sex….because it was a requirement in every episode of The Hunger. If you’re craving some Esposito vampire nudity and non-pornographic sex scenes, the episode is on YouTube. In Italian.
El Lazo II: Westworld
The Man in Black (Ed Harris) spent most of season one travelling around Westworld with the revolutionary leader El Lazo, otherwise known as Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.), who William believed would lead him to the centre of The Maze. Things took an unexpected turn in season two when William and Lawrence found themselves face-to-face with a new El Lazo, this time played by Esposito. This version of El Lazo was there to tell William that he was meant to play the game “alone” before ordering himself and all his soldiers to die by suicide. It was a reminder that Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was still in control of Westworld, even in death, and that any host’s story or world could be changed at his whim.
Jorge: Maze Runner series
I’ve got to be honest — this addition has nothing to do with Maze Runner. I don’t know who Esposito plays in this franchise, and frankly, I don’t care. Jorge is on this list for one reason and one reason alone: that hair.