Original ‘Star Wars’ actor Peter Sumner dies

The Australian played Lieutenant Pol Treidum in the 1977 original

Actor, director and writer Peter Sumner has died.

Sumner was best known for his small role in the original Star Wars film – later retitled Episode IV: A New Hope – in 1977. The Sydney-born actor played the part of Imperial officer Lieutenant Pol Treidum, and was the only Australian to be cast in the film.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sumner passed away yesterday (November 23) after battling a “long illness.” He was 74.

Sumner starred in Ned Kelly (1970), The Survivor (1981) and Bush Christmas (1983), but his most famous role came with his bit-part in Star Wars.

Although never named on-screen (his character name is later revealed in the credits), Lieutenant Treidum is shown in a short sequence in a hangar in the Death Star where he notices that two Stormtroopers are missing. Going to the console, Treidum then says the line: “TK-421, why aren’t you at your post? TK-421, do you copy?” Later in the film, Treidum appears to be killed by Chewbacca.


Uploaded by Lee Skillan on 2015-12-06.

As the Herald reports, Sumner was only paid £120 for his two days of filming, but the short role helped him become immortalised in Star Wars legend – he was invited to attend Star Wars conventions for many years after the film was released.

His widow Lynda Stoner paid tribute to her late husband, highlighting his diverse career. “He was best known for Star Wars and [Australian TV show] Play School but he did so much more. He did many Shakespearean plays on stage. He toured a lot with David Williamson plays. He did so many shows on the ABC with Jacki Weaver and Cornelia Frances and other people. He did a lot of comedies. He did a lot of dramas. In the seventies, he was barely off the ABC doing one show or another.”

Sumner reportedly joked last year that “TK-421, do you copy?” would be engraved on his tombstone.