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The Star Wars Star You Didn't Realize Was In Penguin Bloom

Even today, in the age of cinematic universes, there are few fictional places that can claim the sheer number of beloved figures, cultures, eras, and settings which comprise a certain galaxy far, far way. While die-hard Star Wars fans can recite the names and backstories of every character to ever hold a lightsaber (or face down against one), the wealth of characters who populate the series — comprised of three movie trilogies, spin-offs, TV shows, and more — is so vast that even some of the more interesting B-list characters have disappeared from pop culture at large.

Revisiting movies from the past, though, has a way of reminding you which characters stuck out. And when you go back to 2002's Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones — a much-maligned movie that has, thanks largely to The Mandalorian, gained new importance in the mythos — one oft-forgotten character who probably did not get enough time onscreen is Zam Wesell, the bounty hunter who is played by Leeanna Walsman. The character, as you may recall, is a shape-shifting Clawdite, depicted as working for Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) to assassinate Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). 

Unfortunately, Zam Wesell's role in the film doesn't last particularly long, and she's largely unexplored in any depth — between getting her arm cut off by Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and getting killed by Fett herself, her big mission doesn't go well — but to be fair, the same could've once been said of the mostly silent Boba Fett in the original trilogy, who nonetheless made his triumphant return at the end of 2020. Could a similar comeback be awaiting this bounty hunter, as well? For now, nothing is rumored, but while fans dream up story ideas for a Zam Wesell spin-off, Leanna Walsman has continued acting in movies and TV shows, ever since. 

Most recently, as it happens, she nabbed a role in the hit Netflix-Roadshow movie Penguin Bloom

Leeanna Walsman plays Kylie in Penguin Bloom

Penguin Bloom, the Australian-American film that has recently been making waves on Netflix, is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive. It tells the real life story of Sam Bloom, as played by Naomi Watts, who was partially paralyzed in a devastating accident, followed by a period of deep depression, only to find new hope when she and her family adopted an injured baby magpie. This little bird, with its black and white coloring, is the "Penguin" of the title. 

Amid actors like Watts, Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead), and Rachel House, the former Zam Wesell performer appears in the film. Here, Walsman trades in her shape-shifting bounty hunter gear for a more realistic role as Kylie, Sam Bloom's sister, who is portrayed as trying to help Sam adjust back to everyday life in the midst of her depression.  

Though Walsman has dozens of credits, mostly on TV — including the TV series Cleverman, the psychological thriller Safe Harbour, and the 2005 TV mini-series Hercules — her role in Attack of the Clones has, so far, continued to be her most well-known performance. However, given Penguin Bloom's recent success, it wouldn't at all be surprising if we start seeing her more frequently in the future ... whether that future involves a Zam Wesell resurrection or not.