CODA star Troy Kotsur made history at the 2022 Academy Awards when he became the first deaf person to win an Oscar for acting since Marlee Matlin’s win in 1987. For a lot of actors, that would probably have been the culmination of his life’s work, but for Kotsur, it was just another day at the office, because he’s already achieved his dream by working on Star Wars.
Kotsur played a Tusken Raider in The Mandalorian, which is pretty cool, but he made a much more significant contribution. Kotsur helped create what became known as Tusken Sign Language (TSL). In an interview with The Daily Moth, Kotsur went into detail about how he helped create a new language in a galaxy, far, far, away.
“I did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders. I researched on [the inhabitants of] the desert, called ‘sand people’,” he signed. “That is what Luke Skywalker calls them “sand people.” Anyway, my goal was to avoid ASL. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment.”
Kotsur was also keen to lay out his Star Wars credentials, joking he drove his parents mad by watching the film repeatedly and explaining he’s been a fan since he was eight years old.
“I have been a fan since that age,” he continued. “Remember that in the year of 1977, technology was limited and accessibility for Deaf people were limited, but that Star Wars movie blew my mind. It changed my life.”