In the recently released Borderlands 3, several characters are returning from previous entries in the series. One somewhat surprising addition to the cast was the character Rhys, who originally appeared in Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands. Acclaimed voice actor Troy Baker originally played Rhys but was not brought back to portray him in Borderlands 3. This has been the cause of some controversy.
After it was revealed that Baker wouldn’t be returning as Rhys, fans began to ask Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford why this was. Pitchford replied in part, “You’ll have to ask Troy. I was told by the audio director that he turned it down.”
Baker has since stated on multiple occasions he did not turn down the role, but that in fact, he was the one turned down. Why exactly this would be hasn’t been entirely clear until now.
In a recent interview with VG247, Baker explained that he wasn’t allowed to take the role since Gearbox wasn’t hiring union actors. “It was simply a matter of they wouldn’t go union,” Baker explains. “And I can’t do a non-union gig.” Baker is a member of the union SAG-AFTRA, which provides various labor protections to actors. Baker goes on,
We always knew going into it, that this was going to be the thing. They were going to take these characters, and put them from the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale, into Borderlands proper. 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.
Despite this unfortunate circumstance, Baker will be appearing in several other high-profile games coming up. He will be playing the character Higgs in Death Stranding, Bruce Banner in Marvel’s Avengers, and will be reprising his role as Joel in The Last of Us Part II.