‘Ahsoka’ Actor Teases New Changes for Her Character

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Character Hera Syndulla; 'Ahsoka' Movie, Star Wars

Credit: Inside the Magic

Ahead of her Disney+ debut in Ahsoka, one franchise newcomer is explaining what changes fans can expect between her Star Wars Rebels portrayal and her live-action counterpart. 

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in her own solo series
Credit: Lucasfilm

Written and directed by Dave Filoni, the highly-anticipated Ahsoka series is set to land on Disney+ this August, and with it, the live-action debut of several beloved animated characters from Star Wars Rebels.

Starring Rosario Dawson as the titular ex-Jedi, the show will bring several members of the starship Ghost to life, including Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). The crew will join forces to face off against a familiar—and particularly dangerous—threat: Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).

Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

Fans got a first look at the characters at this year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe, as well as an official Ahsoka trailer. Check it out below:

Winstead will be taking the reins from Vanessa Marshall, who voiced the fan-favorite Twi’lek in all four seasons of Rebels. A gifted pilot and Rebel leader, Hera acted as the team’s steadying influence and respected captain, navigating the crew through dangerous run-ins with the Empire.

In the series finale, it was revealed that Hera had a son, Jacen, with slain Jedi Kanun Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.). She also fought at the Battle of Endor, bringing an end to the Galactic Empire’s 23-year reign of terror.

hera syndulla (left) and grand admiral thrawn (right) in star wars rebels
Credit: Lucasfilm

With Hera set to have a leading role in Ahsoka, Winstead recently broke down some of the key differences between when we last saw Hera in in Rebels, versus her live-action iteration in the new show.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly on EW’s Dagobah Dispatch podcast, Winstead teased a more “maternal” leader of the crew, who’s “something of a legend in her own right” at this point in the story:

I see Hera as an incredibly strong but complicated person… She is very maternal, but also she’s this leader of this crew. And as we see, she continues and becomes a general. And so she’s leading quite a lot of people and she’s become something of a legend in her own right.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

However, Winstead was also careful to point out how Hera’s military leadership and expertise are just one facet of the character, as she can also be “very soft and warm:”

She’s also very soft and warm, and people come to her for advice and solace and comfort. Seeing those things combined is very unusual, and something that I really wanted to play on screen, because that’s such a aspirational thing, I think, as a woman — or just a person — to be able to be all of those things in one.

Still, like any well-rounded, well-written character, Hera is far from perfect—something Winstead is keenly aware of:

She’s certainly not perfect, but she does have all of those qualities that make her somebody that you can really look up to in a way. And I like to try to be that on film. I don’t know that I quite live up to it in reality, but it’s someone to try and try and reach for.

ghost crew in rebels
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Ahsoka actress then called playing a character that already existed in Star Wars canon “incredible,” as she can dive into the “storylines and complex histories” instead of filling in the blanks herself:

Having a character who’s already existed and has such a rich history on something like ‘Rebels,’ as an actor, it’s incredible. Because sometimes we’re tasked with creating our own backstories or trying to flesh out a character that doesn’t really have that much on the page. And so to play a character that has season after season of storylines and complex histories with everyone in their life and relationships and experiences was really something I’ve never experienced quite like that.

While Ahsoka will stand on its own as a solo story (despite major connections to the greater “Mando-Verse”), there will still be plenty of connective tissue between the new series and Rebels, which will act as a de facto Season 5 of the animated show. However, as described by Winstead, the characters will be a little older and wiser since the last time fans saw them in Rebels, as demonstrated in Hera having “become a general.”

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla in 'Star Wars: Ahsoka'. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Plus, different actors mean a different interpretation of the character—something we’ve seen a lot of in recent live-action Star Wars projects. While Winstead will undoubtedly bring something new to the table, it seems like her version of Hera will bring about familiar feelings for fans of Rebels.

Ahsoka arrives on Disney+ this August.

Are you excited to see Hera back in action for Ahsoka? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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