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"Rogue One" star Alan Tudyk talks finding the voice for K-2SO

You won’t see Alan Tudyk’s face in “Rogue One,” but he’s a big part of the “Star Wars” standalone film. 

Tudyk stars as reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, the latest in a line of beloved, scene-stealing “Star Wars” robots, after R2D2, C3PO and BB-8 -- though his is a much more serious, battle-ready droid. Tudyk talked to CBS News about the pressures of taking on such a role. 

How do you wrap your mind around being the latest droid added to the Star Wars universe?

I’m only starting to get a sense of it now. I guess that’s not true, because when we were on set, the character, even though I was motion-capture and I’m there wearing a silly suit, there was so much respect given to the character. He wasn’t a second-class citizen, he wasn’t anything like that. He was important in the world, so I felt it then. But I don’t know, I feel like if people are excited about K-2SO at this moment before they see the movie, that could ruin it completely when they watch it. But I’m starting to see it through other people’s eyes, as opposed to my own.

What was the process of finding his voice like? Did you worry about slipping too much into C-3PO territory? Like when he gets fussy or indignant?

That’s a note that C-3PO hits frequently. He is the best at indignant, he’s got that one dialed in. The voice was decided early on, I auditioned with it three ways: an American accent, a standard American accent -- which to an American’s ears almost sounds like an English accent, that old style that actors were taught at Juilliard?

The mid-Atlantic?

The mid-Atlantic speech, that’s it, thank you. And then I did an English accent and we decided that English was best because in the Empire, a lot of the high ranking people had English accents and he’s from the Empire. And there was someone to keep me on track when I went off.

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Diego Luna, Felicity Jones and K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) star in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Jonathan Olley/ILM

Your character provides a lot of humor. How much of that was improvised and how much was in the script?

The improv was always based on something that was there. It was always take the lines, take what was written and when some smart-ass type extra thing came to me, it pretty much came out of my mouth -- and by complete surprise they used a lot of it. And I’m so very happy about that. If you restrict your actors or performers -- at least for me, if you start telling me what I can’t do, I have such a problem, I just shut down. If you say, “Do what you want,” I’ll give you what you’ve written but I’ll add a little extra if you want that as well. I will embellish them a little bit more, given that permission.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” hits theaters Friday.