The brand-new half-hour series, Star Wars Rebels, premieres tonight (October 13) on Disney XD! Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Vanessa Marshall, who voices the character Hera, and Tiya Sircar, who voices the character Sabine, in Star Wars Rebels. This interview was part of the #DisneyInHomeEvent | #StarWarsRebels | #VeryBadDayEvent press trip. Though travel and accommodations were covered by Disney, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos in this post are courtesy of Disney (except for the premiere shot of Hera, which is from my phone).
About Star Wars Rebels:
STAR WARS REBELS continues the epic tradition of the legendary Star Wars saga with all-new exciting, action-packed adventures. It is a dark time in the galaxy, as the evil Galactic Empire tightens its grip of power from world to world. As the series begins, Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet, ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives of its people. The clever and motley crew of the starship Ghost is amongst a select few who are brave enough to stand against the Empire. Together, this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, encounter colorful adversaries, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.
After viewing the premiere of Star Wars Rebels (we had the chance to see both the premiere movie, which debuted on the Disney Channel Friday, October 3, as well as the series premiere, which debuts on Disney XD tonight, October 13), we sat down with Vanessa and Tiya to discuss their roles as Hera and Sabine in the series. Here’s a little but about their characters:
Psst: Missed Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion or can’t wait to see it again? It is available on DVD everywhere as of October 14!
Hera is the heart of the Ghost crew from Star Wars Rebels. The Twi’lek is an ace pilot and able fighter.
Hera, voiced by Vanessa Marshall, is an especially gifted pilot. While she is strong-willed, she is also warm and nurturing and holds the group together like a mother figure. Interestingly, that nurturing role carries over from her acting to the interactions that the main cast has with one another.
Vanessa Marshall said of her character, “Hera is the leader and while she is fierce, a great fighter and a great pilot, she’s also very nurturing, and she sort of plays a maternal role within the crew. I think she sets a really great example, and I think she does a lot of mentoring to Sabine. Now, I will also say parenthetically as a Star Wars fan, Sabine is a Mandalorian. So I personally bow down to her character.”
Sabine, a Mandalorian, is a key member of the Ghost crew in Star Wars Rebels. Feisty and spunky Sabine has a great understanding of weapons and combat, especially for someone so young. She is also an artist, which is reflected in her hair, her personalized armor, and her graffiti calling cards.
In the end, Sabine is a strong, no-nonsense heroine. As Tiya said, “I think she’s kind of an inspiration.”
On getting lead roles in a new Star Wars series:
When Vanessa and Tiya auditioned for the parts of Hera and Sabine, they were not aware that they were auditioning for a Star Wars series. Vanessa said that she was grateful that she was kept in the dark until after she had gotten the part because, as a die-hard Star Wars fan, she would have had a hard time keeping her cool.
Vanessa Marshall: “They said that my character was a strong leader against the tyranny and I’m like, hmm, well, all right, alliance. So, I actually sort of transposed what I know about Star Wars onto the little copy, and I got a callback. And I thought, oh cool, I’m gonna be a wolf. And when I, when I got to the callbacks and saw a drawing of the character on the wall and I know what race that is. You know, I know exactly what’s going on here. And it sort of dawned on me in the moment, and I had to pull it together. Because I’m such a huge fan. f I really thought about it, I’d probably have a heart attack.
But I’m also a professional, so I was able to do my job and I showed up and I did a good job clearly and then I got the call. Then, THEN I hyperventilated. And my agent was literally afraid for my life. [LAUGHS] She was like, honey, do I need to call a paramedic? And I mean she probably should have, ’cause I couldn’t stop going, oh, my God, oh, my — you know, I was crying.”
I love hearing not only her enthusiasm but her passion for her character and the whole show.
“Every time we get a script, I am breathless with anticipation. I cannot wait to read what’s next because I want to see where we’re going, too.” – Vanessa Marshall
Strong female roles models in Star Wars Rebels:
I love that movies and TV today seem to be providing our daughters with so many more strong, female “heros” and role models. While there will always be an abundance of bad influences out there, I am grateful to have female role models for my girls to look up to. Hera and Sabine are awesome role models for girls.
Vanessa said, “I do think it’s really wonderful that Star Wars Rebels embodies two female characters that we all can aspire to act like whether we’re adults or children or even little boys or little girls.
I’ve said before that the empire universally oppresses all races and all gender to where it sort of neutralizes elements. These aren’t good women or good female characters. They’re all good people. So that we’re not even thinking in terms of gender or class. We’re united towards doing the right thing.
Tiya added, “There are, in my own personal opinion, so many female personalities that, for better or worse, you know, they may be famous not for a specific skill or talent but just famous for the sake of being famous. And maybe not for the right reasons — if you know what I mean. You know, I don’t have kids, but it makes me cringe to think all little girls are like — this is what they have to look up to and to aspire to be, and it’s worrisome for me.
So, it’s such an honor you know, to get to play this female character who is a teenager and yet she is so intelligent and so not even concerned about the superficial stuff whatsoever.
And, I hope that young girls and young boys can aspire to be like these characters, because they’re fighting for the greater good. They’re doing the right thing and they’re just really smart and savvy about it while they’re doing it. So, I hope that maybe they- might replace some other stereotypes out there.”
Vanessa continued, “And I think also that what we’re all driven by is hope. I hope that kids take that hope, that it’s important to have faith, to have morals, to have ethics, and adults could probably learn from that as well.
Can’t wait to see Star Wars Rebels? You don’t have to wait any longer! Tune in tonight and every Monday at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Disney XD. BONUS: The Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion DVD is available to purchase as of October 14!
Follow @DisneyChannelPR and @StarWars for the latest news on #StarWarsRebels, and check out StarWars.com for more exciting news on the series.
Star Wars fans – check out my Star Wars Rebels Activity Sheets, my interview with Freddie Prinze Jr and Executive Producer Dave Filoni, my previous interview and Star Wars Day dinner with Vanessa Marshall, and more Star Wars Rebels-inspired crafts and activities.
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shelly peterson says
This looks like a great show for kids, my son would love it. I wished we had cable for him to watch it. What a great interview.
How fun! This looks like something my nephews would really enjoy :)
Nicole Dz says
My kids are going to love this! They love Star Wars! Awesome interview! Love the extended preview!