mandalorian kims convenience

Kim's Convenience star appears on The Mandalorian and Toronto can't handle it

If you haven't seen episode 2 of season 2 of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (or, as some of us knew it up until recently, "The Baby Yoda show,") I'm going to warn you that there's a spoiler ahead — but only one, and it'll likely have you grinning from ear-to-ear.

Okay, so you know Appa from the award-winning Canadian sitcom Kim's Convenience? The loveable patriarch of a Korean-Canadian family who runs a convenience store in Toronto's Moss Park whilst learning and teaching important life lessons to his children and customers?

In actual life, Appa is an actor named Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who you may recognize from dozens of films and television shows dating all the way back to 1989.

While best-recognized these days for his role on Kim's Convenience due to the program's widespread popularity and acclaim, Lee has appeared over the years in everything from Hollywood blockbusters (Robocop, Harriet The Spy) to CanCon classics such as Degrassi and Train 48.

His most recent role, however, is the coolest one yet for an avid Star Wars fan who literally spends his free time building ultra-realistic costumes from the Disney-owned sci-fi franchise.

Behold, one of the most-beloved Toronto actors in existence as Captain Carson Teva in S2:E2 of The Mandalorian:

The latest episode of the wildly popular Disney+ show, set in the Star Wars universe, came out at 12:00 a.m. this morning, Pacific Time, or 3 a.m. in Toronto.

Tons of keen Canadian fans had already seen the episode, however, as of 8 a.m. on Friday, proving that people will either stay up really late or wake up really early for that Baby Yoda goodness.

Twitter is absolutely alight this morning with mentions of Lee's guest appearance on the show.

"Jealous? YES! Insanely PROUD?? YES!" wrote Lee's Kim's Convenience co-star and TV son, Simu Liu, who himself was tapped by Marvel last summer to star in the forthcoming superhero movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

"Okay, so here's the thing: For all the Imperial armor [Lee] builds, he would absolutely be a member of the Rebellion if he had to pick a side," wrote NOW senior film critic Norm Wilner of the surprise Mandalorian cameo.

"So seeing this, and knowing what it means to Paul to be part of the STAR WARS canon, made my goddamn year."

Lee himself has been graciously answering questions from fans all morning on Twitter, noting that it was very difficult to keep the dream role secret until today's episode aired.

Fans familiar with the actor and writer's Star Wars costume builds thought that maybe he brought his own wardrobe to set, but Lee says that his suit was made entirely by "the awesome wardrobe department" on the show.

"I did help them a little though with some reference pics from my own build!" he said on Twitter, later noting that his affinity for building Star Wars costumes "Kinda helped with casting though. A wonderful convergence in the force."

The 48-year-old actor and U of T alum also showed off a coin given to him by Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau on his first day of filming.

"I cried during the costume fitting. For real," said Lee in response to one fan's query on Twitter about the experience. To another who asked what it felt like to be in the cockpit, he answered: "I didn't want to get out."

Exciting as the role may have been for him, it seems as though fans in Toronto are even more overjoyed to watching someone so deserving have a dream come true — and we could all use a little more joy in our lives right now.

Here's to hoping we see Umma and Janet in similarly-badass space roles sometime soon.

Lead photo by

Simu Liu

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