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Let’s talk about Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest.

In our look back at the career of the great Rickman, we have yet to touch on his role as Sir Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, the beloved comedy about actors in a Star Trek-like show who find themselves thrust into an actual intergalactic adventure in which they have to play their characters for real. Rickman plays a caricature of himself: A Shakespearean actor by training who is compelled to take on a cheesy sci-fi role for television that he finds completely beneath him. (The actual Rickman, of course, threw himself with gusto and evident glee into all his roles, serious and frivolous alike.) Dane’s predicament is best captured by the geeky catchphrase he grudgingly must recite, “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged!” But over the course of the movie, as he further becomes the character Dr. Lazarus, the line starts to take new meaning, as shown in this clip below. It is one of Rickman’s funniest roles, but it also conveys a thesis that should be familiar to all actors: that we are shaped by what we create, erasing the distinction between being and appearing.