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In Light Of Ahsoka, Sabine, And Hera's Succesful Jump To Live-Action, Let's Not Forget The Original Voice Actors

Remember the originals!

By Kristy AndersonPublished 9 months ago 4 min read
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Live Action Ahsoka, Rosario Dawson, poses alongside the character's original voice, Ashley Eckstein

So far, Disney Plus's Ahsoka series has proved a hit with fans. Now that the series has arrived, it seems clearer than ever that it is something of a sequel to creator Dave Filoni's earlier animated series, Star Wars: Rebels. As well as Ahsoka Tano, who made her live action debut back in season two of The Mandalorian, the new series brings a number of popular animated Star Wars characters into live-action, including Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla, and Hera's beloved droid, Chopper.

Transitioning animated characters into a live-action setting can be tricky, but for the most part, Filoni and Jon Favreau's Star Wars shows have managed it successfully. In some cases, the character's original voice actor has been able to reprise the role in live action. The most notable example of this is Katee Sackhoff as Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan, with a more recent one being Clancy Brown reprising his Rebels role as Ryder Azadi in the first episode of Ahsoka.

This hasn't been the case with Ahsoka, Sabine, or Hera, who have all been recast for live-action. While their live-action appearances have so far been praised, many fans are eager not to forget where the characters came from. So, let's give some love to the original voice actors.

Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano

Ashley Eckstein began acting in her youth, starting out in live-action roles such as Jan Brady in the TV movie The Brady Bunch in the White House, and the recurring role of Muffy in That's So Raven, before she was cast as the voice of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker's previously unseen Padawan Apprentice, in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She continued in the role in the long-running animated series that followed.

While Ahsoka is now one of the most beloved characters in the wider Star Wars universe, that has not always been the case. Clone Wars early run was difficult for Eckstein, who had already become attached to Ahsoka, as fans dismissed the character as annoying. Many saw no point in getting attached to a character they assumed was doomed to die in Order 66.

However, as Ahsoka grew and changed over the course of the series,with her story taking a few unexpected twists, so too did fan opinion, moving in a more positive direction. Eckstein reprised her role as Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars sequel series Star Wars: Rebels, and recorded a voice cameo for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Most recently, the actress voiced Ahsoka in Disney Plus's Tales of the Jedi short anthology series.

Eckstein is devoted to the character and her fans, regularly attending conventions and other fan events in Ahsoka themed outfits. She has also completely embraced Rosario Dawson, who plays the live-action Ahsoka Tano, with the two sometimes offering dual photo ops at cons where they are both in attendance.

Dawson says Eckstein remains the heart of Ahsoka, and that she has closely studied the animated episodes, taking note of the different inflections in Eckstein's voice work to help inform her own performance. She also welcomed Eckstein's presence on the few occasions she visited set during filming of Ahsoka.

Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren

Credit: Disney

Like Ashley Eckstein, actress Tiya Sircar has worked in both live-action and animated work. While many will recognise her as 'The Real Eleanor Shellstrop', a woman accidentally sent to Hell in place of Kristen Bell's less pleasant character of the same name in the comedy series The Good Place, Star Wars fans will know her best as the voice of Mandalorian rebel Sabine Wren.

Sircar voiced Sabine in all four seasons of Star Wars: Rebels, as well as a few of the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny shorts. Sircar's performance as Sabine has been praised by both fans and critics, particularly in the episodes dealing with the character's backstory as a former Imperial Cadet, and her sometimes complicated relationship with her Mandalorian family and heritage.

Actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo plays the live-action Sabine in Ahsoka. Bordizzo watched the entire run of Star Wars: Rebels in preparation for her role.

Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla

Vanessa Marshall is a much loved fixture of the voice over community, having lent her voice to various animated incarnations of iconic characters, including Mary Jane Watson, Black Widow, Gamora, and Wonder Woman. At one point, she even ran a voice over production company.

From 2014 to 2018, Marshall voiced the role of Hera Syndulla in Star Wars: Rebels. Hera is the Captain of the starship Ghost, and co-leader of the Spectre Rebel Cell around whom the series revolves. Over the course of the series, Hera rises through the ranks of the Rebel Alliance, becoming a Squadron leader, and eventually, a General. She reprised the role of Hera in the 2020 video game Star Wars: Squadrons, and later voiced a younger Hera in a two-episode arc for the first season of The Bad Batch. For the latter, Marshall relied heavily on her French language skills, as natives of the planet Ryloth speak in what sounds like a French accent. Hera has lost this accent by the time of Rebels, except when speaking to her Father.

The live-action Hera Syndulla is played by actress Mary-Elizabeth Winstead. Winstead often joined Dawson and Bordizzo in studying Rebels episodes in between filming Ahsoka.

As brilliant as the live-action versions appear, we cannot forget the wonderful stories of the animated shows, or the voices who brought those stories and characters to life.

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About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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