A Star Wars fan has identified a previously unknown actor from The Empire Strikes Back.
The character ‘Willrow Hood’ isn’t even mentioned by name in the movie but became known amongst fans the Ice Cream Guy thanks to the weird item he’s seen holding during his appearance in Bespin.
Now, it looks as though he’s been identified as actor and extra, Egbert Sen.
“Egbert Sen was born in 1930s Pakistan, and travelled to the UK in 1957,” said wookiepedia user, Keelman2001. “He became an actor and extra appearing in, among others, Octopussy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and undisputedly most famously Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”
The character’s first appearance was seen very briefly in The Empire Strikes Back when he can be spotted running through a corridor in Bespin.
Seemingly holding an ice cream maker, the character became a significant background character to Star Wars fans, even becoming the focus of a yearly tradition at Star Wars Celebration.
The tradition, known as The Running of the Hoods, sees fans dress up in orange jumpsuits reminiscent of the character’s costume, put on fake moustaches, and run around the event holding ice cream makers.
The Mandalorian even features a container that’s similar to the one used by Hood in the Empire Strikes Back – potentially a nod to this weird, obscure character.
Here, the item is known as a ‘camtono’ and it’s actually a kind of safe, as revealed by Jon Favreau.
Although the character has been a part of the galaxy far, far away since 1980, he was only officially named in 1997 as part of the card game, Star Wars Customisable Card Game: Cloud City Limited. It’s here that he was given the name, “Willrow Hood”.
You can even unlock him as a playable character in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
Unfortunately, Sen never realised he had such a following.
“He passed away in circa 2019, aged roughly 87, never realising how beloved among fans his character was,” said Keelman2001.
In fact, he appeared in an unconnected Guardian article in 2011 that interviewed a group of elderly Asian people who were now in care homes.
“I have no friends here, so I am not happy,” he said. “The Gujaratis keep themselves to themselves; the Patels do the same. I wish there were more Pakistanis here.”
He’s thought to have married back in 1970 or 1980 and is survived by five children.
It’s a shame that Sen had no idea of the impact his small role in The Empire Strikes Back has had, but lets hope Star Wars fans continue celebrating him and his ice cream maker for years to come.