Ralph Brown is an English-born actor. He has played roles in the MCU and the “Star Wars” universe. For fans of Marvel’s “Agent Carter”, he is best known as Dr. Ivchenko, aka Dr. Faustus. Those who have seen the “Star Wars” prequels may recognize Brown from a minor role in “Episode 1: The Phantom Menace“. In that film, Brown plays Ric Olié, a pilot character perhaps most famous for teaching a young Anakin Skywalker the basics of how to fly.
Brown is married to actress Jenny Jules, another English-born performer. The couple met while working in the same theater in London, though only one of them was working as an actor at the time.
Here is what you need to know about Ralph Brown, his wife, and his career.
1. His Wife Played Hermione Granger
No, he’s not married to “Harry Potter” film actress Emma Watson. Ralph Brown is married to actress Jenny Jules. While Emma Watson played the role of Granger in the Harry Potter films, it was Jenny Jules who played the role of an older Hermione in the US Broadway production of the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. On stage, the role of Hermione is often played by black actresses. According to the LA Times, when actress Yanna McIntosh took the stage for the show’s San Francisco production, she was the eighth black actress to play the role across multiple productions and countries.
Jules was profiled by Theatermania, who asked the stage star whether she felt the choice of making Hermione black for “Harry Potter” stage adaptations was “color-blind or color-conscious”. She responded:
“I’m so thrilled to stand up and to take responsibility and to try and deliver something that honors the imaginings of young women of color — and young men!
There have been a couple of moments where I’ve felt that women have been looking at me kind of on the side, like, ‘You’re not the Hermione I read in the book.’ And I don’t know what to say to that. I don’t have anything to say to that… Personally, I think we’re all too tribal, and we all just see our own skin when we all look in the mirror and that’s where we feel safe… And it doesn’t matter to me because I’m a human being and I’m a woman of the world and a person of the world.”
According to an interview the couple gave to BroadwayWorld.com, the two first met while working at the same London theater. She was working as an usher, while he was on stage. Despite being 25 minutes late to their first date, Ralph Brown eventually won Jenny Jules over. According to Playbill.com, the couple have been married for nearly 30 years.
2. His ‘Star Wars’ Character Got a Cool Comic Book Spinoff
While the prequels are not universally beloved, those who have seen “Episode 1” can generally recognize Brown, who plays the pilot to Queen Amidala, Ric Olié. Brown’s character spends time on screen with both Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn. Some fans, including fans on Reddit, nickname the character “Captain Obvious” for his habit of calling out the events of the plot as they happen around him.
The character of Ric Olié also appears in “Star Wars” tie-in comics. It is within the comic books that the character’s arc reaches its conclusion, with the character of Ric Olié dying in the comics despite surviving the events of “Episode 1”.
In the comic book “Star Wars: Darth Vader” Volume One, Issue #4, Darth Vader is en route to the tomb of Padmé Amidala. Before he reaches the tomb, Vader encounters someone he once knew as Anakin: Ric Olié. Sadly, as Comic Newbies shows in their reporting on that specific issue, Vader stabs Ric with his lightsaber during their encounter, killing the man who once taught him how to fly.
3. His ‘Agent Carter’ Character Doesn’t Appear to Be Returning Anytime Soon
Given that Dr. Ivchenko’s arc on “Agent Carter” ends with him in jail, and with his cellmate being Dr. Zola, it’s fair to question whether Brown might ever reprise his role in a future MCU project. Two upcoming MCU projects seem like they could be a fit from a story perspective, given Dr. Ivchenko’s ties to the Winter Soldier program and the Red Room.
The first is the upcoming Disney+ series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, set to premiere on March 19, 2021. Given Dr. Ivchenko’s known association with Dr. Zola, it’s not out of the question that Dr. Ivchenko could appear in a flashback sequence looking at the Winter Soldier program (and Bucky Barnes) in the past. However, this appears extremely unlikely, as Ralph Brown is not listed on the full cast and crew list on IMDB for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”.
The character of Dr. Ivchenko is no stranger to the “Black Widow” program operating out of the Red Room. Ivchenko and Carter first meet during the events of the “Agent Carter” episode “The Iron Ceiling”, an episode that focuses on the origins of the Black Widow program. Therefore, it’s not crazy for fans to wonder if Ivchenko might appear in the upcoming “Black Widow” MCU film, either played by Brown, or by another actor. However, this also seems unlikely. The IMDB page for “Black Widow” does not list Ralph Brown, or any character with the name “Ivchenko”.
4. Ralph Brown Has a Law Degree
Brown’s Wikipedia page states that, prior to becoming an actor, he graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Bachelor of Laws (also known as an LL.B) in the late 1970s, but doesn’t provide a source for that fact. Brown confirmed his educational background in an interview with Otakus & Geeks in 2015. When asked how he got his start in the acting profession, Brown stated, simply:
“Edinburgh Festival 1977 – I was doing a Law Degree and found that all of the rest of my colleagues were at Drama School. I saw the light, finished the degree anyway, then started auditioning. I didn’t turn professional until I was 25 yrs old.”
There are a surprising number of sci-fi actors with law school backgrounds. “Star Trek” actress Majel Barrett, who played Nurse Chapel among other roles, famously dropped out of law school after flunking one of her key courses. Additionally, “Star Trek” guest star Melvin Belli may be known to sci-fi fans for his TV work, but he’s arguably more famous for his real-life lawyering. Belli famously represented Jack Ruby, the man who was found guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald himself was suspected in the assassination of JFK, but was shot and killed before he could be taken to trial.
5. Decades Before ‘Hamilton’, Brown Wrote His Own Rap Musical Called ‘Sanctuary’
Before he appeared in the MCU, Ralph Brown wrote a play that was described as a “rap musical” about the homeless by one Washington Post reviewer. The Washington Post, in reporting on a different play (“Angel” by English playwright Stuart Browne), noted some key details about Brown’s production of “Sanctuary” and its history:
“AFTER LAST YEAR’S “Sanctuary D.C.” — a rap musical about the troubles facing the District’s homeless people — the No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company found itself with the challenge of following up a surprise success.
No-Neck co-founder Helen Patton, who saw the original “Sanctuary” at Joint Stock and brought its playwright Ralph Brown to America to tailor it for Washington, saw the potential of “Angel” and invited Browne to develop his script over here.”
On page 118 of“British Theatre Companies: 1980-1994”, author Graham Saunders notes that Ralph Brown’s “Sanctuary” won the Samuel Beckett Award for Best New Play in 1987. Scripts.com has a biography of Brown, which notes that “Sanctuary” was originally written for Joint Stock Theatre Company, an experimental theatre company based in London and founded in 1974. The play ran in London in 1987 before being updated for audiences in D.C. Photostage UK has archived a limited number of images from the London production.