With our thoughts on Shadowkeep, the latest expansion for the Destiny franchise, published, we got a chance to sit down with Morla Gorrondona, the voice behind one of the series’ most ruminating and conflicted figures, Eris Morn. As an expert in Hive lore, it’s never a surprise when Eris rears her scarred, three-eyed face throughout Destiny’s best expansions.
She was prolific in The Dark Below and The Taken King, acting as the vengeful catalyst for our war against literal gods. It might feel like the doses we get of her in Shadowkeep are smaller than days gone by, they’re far more potent as Eris becomes one of Destiny’s most heartbreakingly relatable roles.
It’s no coincidence that Eris Morn plays a large part in a lot of Destiny’s better expansions (see: The Taken King). How difficult is it to portray a character so shrouded in mystery and intrigue, or is it an actor’s dream?
Oh, definitely an actor’s dream. Well, at least this actor’s dream. I love that there’s no possible chance of getting caught up in any kind of tropes or something that’s been done before. She’s so unlike any other character that I’ve played, I feel that it’s brand new. It’s exciting and full of discovery every time.
There’s obviously real darkness and a strange cadence to Eris Morn’s delivery. How do you get into character to deliver those incantations of hers?
It’s interesting that you mention the cadence. I will say we came up with a term for it. It was the Eris pentameter, her very specific cadence. And the question again was how do I get into that character? I pull from my own experiences. I want to connect her experiences to something real, I want her to not ever be a caricature. I want her to be relatable.
So yeah, I pull from my own experiences. It just depends on what the situation is. With her fireteam and the idea of having lost, I’ve lost people in my life.
And the idea of the totems, there’s this specific one time talking about a totem and I recall father had this little bottle of cologne. They call it Aramis. And I dunno, for whatever reason, that’s what came to my mind and I just imagined myself holding that and thinking of him fondly as I recall my fireteam.
We all have the things that our loved ones leave behind. It’s in ways like this Eris is relatable, and it’s odd to say but we all have our suffering.
Do you get much input on Eris and her direction or is it left to the writers and those designing the narrative?
Sure, initially with The Dark Below, when we were getting started with Eris, I feel like I had a pretty good sense of her going into The Dark Below. Just from the audition, I feel that the development team and I understood each other really quickly then it was just a matter of refining.
Now I definitely feel that there’s a lot of trust.
They give me space to be Eris, and in Shadowkeep it’s different, she’s had experiences. Where she is is different and what she’s experiencing is different. We have us all get on the same page with where she is and then they more or less set me free.
Do you ever find the time to play Destiny yourself?
Yeah, I do. I do. I’m not very good at it.
Well, we saw recently, I don’t know if you saw, it was very controversial, that Lance Reddick was caught playing as a Warlock despite voicing Zavala, a decorated Titan. So my question is, do you play as a Hunter?
(laughs) I do know this, I know this. And that is exactly why I never say who it is I play as.
That just means you don’t, doesn’t it?
Well, I dunno. I just like to avoid all controversy. People have very strong opinions and I don’t want how I play, how I main, to colour anyone’s vision of Eris.
Of course. You’ve obviously got a lot to chew on with Shadowkeep, what does it mean for you personally to be the face and driving force of this expansion?
Oh, it’s humbling and an honour. It’s emotional and unbelievable. I feel grateful, that’s the main thing. I feel incredibly grateful for this honour. That Eris is being brought back at this specific time is not lost on me. It’s a significant time.
Of course, being Bungie’s first time stepping out on their own with Destiny, that shows a lot of trust.
I don’t take it lightly, and I feel all the more honoured and grateful.
I’ve always found Eris to be a sympathetic character. Do you think the events of Shadowkeep, without saying what they are obviously, show signs of her moving on from her loss? I got the sense, when I finished it, that there was a little bit of hope about her.
Yeah, thank you for picking up on that. Eris is Eris, and her suffering is so much a part of who she is, but I do feel from this particular type of suffering, with it being so heavy and burdensome on her, visibly so, I definitely feel that there is release and relief that comes from the ending.
That she is unburdened in the process. Where she is at the end of all of that remains to be seen, I wouldn’t even want to actually speculate. In her core, Eris is Eris and that holding on is a part of her. But I do agree that there is some lightness that comes in.
When you reflect on your time with Destiny, what are some of your favourite Eris moments so far?
Mm, I still love the trailer for The Dark Below. The line “Crota, he took everything from me,” that still feels like the essence of the character. But then I also love Festival of the Lost, I love how serious she was and, in that seriousness, there was great comedy.
I love her raisins and I still love “Eris, get your rock off my map” and that exchange, that whole scene is legend. It is canon. It really touched on something and resonated with Guardians.
And here, I love this journey she’s on now with this bearing of soul in a different kind of way. And that’s fun. (laughs) Well, fun maybe isn’t the greatest word, it’s thrilling to do, to be. It’s gratifying as an actor for sure to dive deep and bear soul emotionally.
Despite saying earlier that your hope is for Eris to stand on her own and not follow other tropes and become a caricature, are there any inspirations that you do draw from when you portray her?
I would say, if anything at all, it would probably be Cate Blanchett from The Lord of the Rings. I think more tonally than performance-wise. I really do feel that her voice and her character came as collaboration, it was not attached to anything else. I feel she is so unique and so organic.
You might have seen recently the fallout from discussions between Gearbox Software and Troy Baker where he refused to reprise his role as Rhys because they wouldn’t go union. What does it mean to you, as a fellow SAG-AFTRA member, for an actor of his standing to be transparent and public about those matters?
I think it’s important to. It’s important for people to know why he’s not there and it’s important to shed light on the fact that choices are made. He’s right for standing with the union and for shedding light on the result of certain choices. I stand in solidarity with Troy Baker for certain. It may not be the most comfortable thing for him to stand up and be outspoken but it is the right thing to do.