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Troy Baker Reveals Why He Didn't Return To Voice Rhys In Borderlands 3

Many fans were heartbroken when they learned that Troy Baker would not be returning to reprise his role as Rhys in Borderlands 3. When the news first circulated, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford stated they had offered Baker the role but that he "turned it down." It turns out the situation may have been more complex than the developer wants us to believe.

Troy Baker has an established career within the video game industry and has voice several beloved characters, including: Joel in The Last of Us series, Magni in the 2018 God of War, Shinnok in the Mortal Kombat series, and Higgs, one of the main antagonists in Kojima's upcoming title, Death Stranding. Baker is also a member of SAG-AFTRA, a union that represents performers such as voice actors. According to Baker, it was his union membership that prevented him from working on Borderlands 3.

"They came to me, and they were like, 'Do you want to do this?' 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," Baker told VG247 in a recent interview. "It was simply a matter of they wouldn't go union."

Baker previously expressed his desire to return as Rhys on more than one occasion. "I really want Gearbox to know – if they are going to bring back characters from Telltale's Borderlands, it should be the people who originated the characters," Baker said during a panel at Supanova Melbourne. "They shouldn't just recast willy-nilly, because as a fan that matters to me." 

The actor addressed the topic again during an OnlySP interview. "I said I would love to come back. They [Gearbox Software] said I'm not coming back," Baker stated. "Their timeline tells an interesting story. I think it's interesting that Randy Pitchford tweeted out that I turned it down, and then he said he heard that I turned it down. I would fact check before I tweeted out to the internet."

To remain in good standing with their union, SAG-AFTRA members can only work on projects that have been properly contracted through the organization. Being a union member comes with a number of benefits, including guaranteed minimum rates. It's unclear why Gearbox refused to use union performers. The company already has a spotted history when it comes to their voice actors, so another dispute of that nature does not come as a surprise, especially with Pitchford at the helm.