Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vanessa Marshall Talks Hera and 'Star Wars Rebels'

By: Dominic Jones

The good folks over at Newsarama have a brand new interview with actress Vanessa Marshall who will be providing the voice of Hera in the upcoming Star Wars Rebels.  The interview goes into quite a lot of depth and demonstrates just how deep Marshall's love and knowledge of Star Wars goes.  Below we have some interesting quotes from Marshall from the interview, which you can read in its entirety over at Newarama.

First up, Marshall describes her reaction when she got the part,
"Now when I got the call for Star Wars Rebels, that I booked Hera, I hyperventilated, fell to the ground, I think I was sobbing, and my agent then asked if she should call an ambulance. (laughs) Truly, of all the roles I’ve ever played, this is by far the most epic. I look forward to the long-term implications of interacting in the Star Wars universe. It’s really, really thrilling."

Marshall also discussed Star Wars' history of strong female roles,
"I will say that in a greater sense, I’m not so sure that there’s a stigma for the people who are buying those toys. In a real way, I think that George Lucas kind of destroyed the stigmas as far as gender is concerned, and raised the bar for future filmmakers. The fact there are female Jedi straightway levels the playing field. There are so many alien races that gender is sort of the least of the issues (laughs).

You look at Princess Leia, and Mon Mothma, Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress – even to go to the games and EU [Expanded Universe – the Star Wars stories that are told in novels, comics, and video games], Jan Orrs or even Mara Jade - the women in the Star Wars Universe just kick butt, in a way that transcends gender. And each in their own way.

I’ll say, even the female characters in Rebels each have their unique strengths – it’s another reason I’m so excited to be a part of this show. Just to get into Hera a bit again, she’s strong-willed, but she’s also nurturing. She really knows how to bring out the best in her team. She leads with humility. Her agility and physical skills are admirable; she can pull just the right punch at just the right moment and get the job done, and that’s how she delivers. Her very personal reasons for rebelling against the empire, I think, are things viewers are going to delight in uncovering each season."

She also discussed what it's like playing a Twi'lek,
"Well, perhaps it’s an opportunity to, I dunno, come clean on a few things – I’ve had friends ask me “why does she have legs coming out of her head?” I say, “Um, those are Lekku – brain tails – they’re advanced organs for communication and cognitive functions – those are not legs.”

Then they’ll ask me, “wait, are you the one who dances for Jabba?”

Look. While many Twi’leks have been enslaved, Hera is not a dancer. She is an ace pilot, a supreme fighter, perhaps approaching the Twi’lek Jedi Master Aayla Secura, who fought in the first battle of Geonosis, as we know. Obviously, Hera’s not a Jedi, but you see that Twi’leks have the capacity to fight, and fight very well. So she’s in that category.

So yes, it may shed more light on the diversity of the Twi’lek community. But I don’t think there’s a focus on her alien nature so much, not only because all the characters are equally antagonized by the Empire regardless of their race, but also because the Ghost crew really creates a cohesive family – one that truly transcends any and all racial distinctions. I think race becomes irrelevant. So while it will elucidate some things, it will also equalize others, and unite us all in the fight against the Empire!"

You can read the entire interview over at Newsarama, it's quite a long one and covers many aspects of Rebels, Marshall's career, and Star Wars in general!  It's definitely worth a read.

You can follow Dominic on Twitter: @DominicJ25


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