Troy Baker has stated that the reason why he did not reprise his role as Rhys in Borderlands 3 is that he would not take on a ‘non-union gig’, and Gearbox Software did not change its position on that front (via VG247).
Baker voiced one of the playable protagonists in Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands. The game was very well received, and the ruthlessly ambitious but slightly dorky character became a fan favourite. When Rhys appeared in promotional material for the next instalment in the looter-shooter series, Borderlands 3, everyone was excited until it became clear that Baker wasn’t coming back.
Earlier this year, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford explained that Baker would not be voicing Rhys. ‘You’ll have to ask Troy,’ he told a fan. ‘I was told by the audio director that he turned it down. Fortunately, with how Rhys appears in the game, I don’t think it actually matters at all. You’ll see for yourself when the game comes out and you may disagree with me on that or not.’
Then, Baker said that Gearbox had chosen a different actor to voice Rhys, although he expressed interest in reprising his role. 'If Gearbox decides that they’ll let me do it, that’ll be awesome,' he said at the time. 'I have no idea. There was a possibility that I was gonna be in it, then I saw that epic, epic trailer, and everyone’s like "oh my God, there’s Rhys!" And I went, "well, there we go.".'
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'I’ve never done this before, but I would love for Gearbox to know that it’s not about me, it’s about that character,' Baker explained. ‘If they’re going to bring back characters from Telltale Borderlands, it should be the people that originated the characters.' VG247 were able to catch Baker at a fan event. They asked him what led to his missing status from Borderlands 3, and whether what Pitchford relayed was lost in translation.
‘So they came to me, and they were like, “Do you want to do this?”,’ Baker answered. ‘Which I said, “Absolutely.” And then they made it impossible for me to do the role. It had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with money. They just simply would not go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done. So then it was like, I never said no.’
The complicating factor wasn’t to do with money, nor was it to do with scheduling conflicts. ‘It was simply a matter of they wouldn’t go union,’ he clarified. ‘And I can’t do a non-union gig. And without getting too deep into the weeds of that, we had long conversations about this. We always knew going into it, that this was going to be the thing.’
‘I’ve been waiting for this call. They were like, “Do you want to do this?” And I said, “Yes”. They never, because they would never move from that position. I’m not mad. It’s invariably a completely different character, but it still stings.’
Borderlands 3 is out now on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One, and Gearbox is currently addressing the multitude of technical problems that players are experiencing with the new game.