Star Wars Rebels began last week with a bang! The pilot movie had my kids cheering with excitement for the new series that starts Monday night October 10th at 9 PM on Disney XD. We will have our DVR set on record because we don’t plan to miss a single episode. TO help you guys get even more excited about the new series I have an interview with two of the female lead characters, Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar.
Question : I’ll ask. Um, so, what was it like auditioning for the role that you had? Did you freak out?
Tiya : We didn’t know what we were auditioning for. So, that helped in that probably you weren’t freaking out and —
Vanessa : I [LAUGHS] — no, I —
Tiya : — if you would’ve been — if you had known.
Vanessa: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
Tiya : Well, we, uh, we were told — well, I was under the impression I was auditioning for, um, a new animated series on Disney called Wolf. Um, and so it wasn’t until I actually got the phone call that I had gotten the job, which was great. And they said —
Vanessa : Mm-hmm.
Tiya : — and by the way, it’s Star Wars. And I was like, well, you know, it’s like doubly exciting, ’cause I got a job and it’s not — it’s way more exciting than I even realized.
Vanessa : Well, I didn’t know what it was, but I always — everything’s a Star Wars metaphor for me. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. So, I felt that there were elements of Star Wars within the piece of copy that I read.
Tiya : Oh, wow. You and Freddy both, okay.
Vanessa : Yeah, they — well, they said that, um, my character was a, a strong leader against the tyranny and da da da. And I’m like, hmm, well, all right, well, alliance.
So, I actually sort of transposed what I know about Star Wars onto the little copy [CHUCKLES], and, um, and I got a callback. And I thought, oh, cool, I’m gonna be a wolf or [LAUGHS]. And when I, when I got to the callbacks —
Tiya : Oh, you saw a character.
Vanessa : — I saw a, a drawing of the character on the wall, and I know what….
Vanessa : — race that is. I mean that’s not a Trekkie. [CHUCKLES] 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. I — if I really thought about it, I’d probably have a heart attack. So, 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.
Tiya : Enough, yeah.
Vanessa : 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?
[LAUGHS] And I mean she probably should have [CHUCKLES], ’cause I couldn’t stop going, oh, my God, oh, my — you know, I was crying. Ohh, anyway.
Tiya : Freddy also says that he figured it out, because Freddy and Vanessa —
Vanessa : Well, I didn’t figure it out. I just — it just lucked out that it was in fact what it
Vanessa: No, no. Well, I — but I even said to a friend of mine who read for another wolf, um, he [CHUCKLES] — I said — do you think this is Star Wars? And he said, you’re such an idiot. [LAUGHS] Everything is — Star Wars, Vanessa.
Vanessa : Yeah, exactly. He was like, yeah, you with your Star Wars. [LAUGHS] Yeah, anyway. But, um, so, it was, um, it was go– probably a good thing that I didn’t know what I was doing. [LAUGHS] ’cause I would’ve been terrified. [CHUCKLES]
Question : How do you feel about being a strong female character ?
Vanessa : Hera is the leader and, and while she is fierce, she’s a great fighter and a great pilot, she’s also very nurturing, and she sort of plays a maternal role, uh, within the crew. And I think she sets a really great example, I think she does a lot of mentoring to — Sabine. Now, I will also say parenthetically as a Star Wars fan, she is a Mandalorian. So I personally bow down to her character.
Right. Getting back to Hera. Um, but, but I do think it’s really wonderful, uh, that Star Wars Rebels embodies two, uh, female characters that we all can aspire to act like them 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. Um, we’re, we’re united towards doing the right thing. So, while they are strong, female characters, it’s also kinda cool that there’s this different element that even transcends those distinctions.
Tiya : And not to get too, you know, well, social commentary on you, but — you know, there are, in my own personal opinion, there are,so many female personalities that, well, for better or worse, 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.
So, it’s — such an honor you know, and I, and I — it makes me cringe, you know, I don’t have kids, but it makes me cringe to think like all little girls are like — this is, this is what they have to look up to and to aspire to be, and it’s worrisome for me. So, to me, it’s such an honor to get to play this female character who, you know, Sabine’s a teenager and yet she is so intelligent and so, uh, uh, uh, like not even concerned about the superficial stuff whatsoever. She’s never taken a selfie in her life, you know. [LAUGHS]
And if she knew what that was, she wouldn’t be interested. So I think it’s really — I think it’s amazing to get to play these two smart women. They are right there alongside the guys, beating up the bad guys. I hope that, 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 like really smart and savvy about it while they’re doing it. So, I, I hope that’s like, you know, uh — I don’t know.
Vanessa : Yeah. Yeah. And I think also that, that what we’re all driven by is hope. Once again in transcending gender that I hope that kids take that hope, that, that it’s important to have faith, to have morals, to have ethics, um, and, and adults could probably [CHUCKLES] learn from, from that as well. And, um, some of those, those bigger human values that are not often embodied in, say, the people who are famous for things less than, you know, desirable. But, um, it — it’s really cool. There are some very wonderful, delicious ideas, uh, that are also in– inspiring over all, you know. Um, but I agree, definitely. These are really cool women, for younger girls to emulate.
Tiya : And they’re still fun, too. It’s not all about —
Vanessa : Yeah. They’re hilarious.
Tiya : — there’s, there’s, you know, Sabine’s c– can be a little sassy and she has a little attitude, but —
Vanessa : Yeah, it’s cool. Those things are sort of hidden beneath all the, the jokes and, and the high stakes. Yeah. It, it very much feels like the original trilogy. It has the same wit and, you know, get this walking carpet out of my way. You know, we talk to each other like that —
Question : Talk a little bit about how you guys do this script all together.
Vanessa : I love it.
Tiya : — for me, it’s — yeah, it’s, it’s so — such a treat, because —
Vanessa : Well, uh, yeah, oftentimes in animation and animated series, they try to get the entire group together, uh, but, uh, the previous Star Wars video games that I’ve done, I’ve been in a room by myself, uh, on a quote unquote Jedi counsel talking about people — [OVERLAP]
Tiya : [LAUGHS] Me, too. No.
Vanessa : You know, I mean, luckily, I know enough about the different places and things in the Star Wars universe, but it’s so much easier to interact with people, you know. We all love Star Wars, but that collective energy in the room is something that I think viewers will feel. I think it’s a real advantage. And, uh, and like I said, the, the writing of the scripts is so great. It’s really not that hard to do.
Vanessa : I feel like we don’t do much [CHUCKLES], you know.
Tiya: It doesn’t feel like work certainly for me.
Vanessa: No. I mean not that we don’t — yeah, I mean we — obviously, it’s a job and we do work very hard. We research and all that, but, um, I think, uh, working as a group, I think that is a part of why it bristles with so much love and energy. Yeah.
Tiya : And also I think, uh, what’s really, special — makes the experience so special, aside from the fact that you know, we — I think that like getting to act the — actually act these scenes out in a room together — you know, not is it more enjoyable for us, but it infuses the scenes and hopefully makes for a better show. But aside from that, I think we really forge, you know, this, this, this family, uh, you know, this Motley Crew of people. Like we have this Motley Crew of characters.
Vanessa : Exactly.
Tiya : And so, we’ve like created this, this bond, uh, as a, as a crew, you know, the, the five of us and, and also, you know, our guest stars and — but the five of us really have like [STUTTER] kind of, uh, embodied these — the, you know, the same dynamics, familial dynamics as we have on this show. And so — yeah, as, as [CHUCKLES] Vanessa was saying, you know, she kind of is this maternal figure making sure I am not hungry — do I have — need a snack — am I cold; do I need to borrow her cardigan. I mean it’s the it’s just the best.
Freddy is like the big bro and making sure everything’s …..cool and under control. And —
Steve is like the, the clown —
Vanessa : The prankster.
Tiya : — that’s like cracking us up —
Vanessa : He is hilarious.
Tiya : At inappropriate times. So, it’s fun to like get to kind of be part of this, crew that we’re actually getting to, you know it, it — art imitates life, imitates art. Whatever. [CHUCKLES]
Vanessa : Yeah. Yeah. That — that’s, that’s fortunate that we all have, have sort of fallen into a groove that’s very similar to what we need to —
Tiya : To do and embody —
Question : I love your, um — Sabine’s character, because she’s very multidimensional. Like she’s out there shooting and fighting with them, but then she’ll like be gone over doing some technical stuff, like shutting down the field and all of that stuff. But one thing I notice about her character, she’s the only one that wears a cover over a face, like wears the [INAUDIBLE]. Do you know if there’s a significance to that?
Tiya : Well, she’s Mandalorian, so that’s like Mandalorian armor, the full thing. The only difference is that, um, I think she’s probably the only Mandalorian that has armor that’s been graffitied [CHUCKLES], because she designs her own. Yeah, she, actually like sort of, uh, embellishes her armor, but, yeah, that the significance of the helmet is that she’s a Mandalorian and that’s full Mandalorian, like, warrior armor.
Question : Um, who are you guys’ favorite characters in the Star Wars universe? Can you pick one or?
Vanessa : Well, you know we both love Princess Leia, because she’s a strong female character, but I also don’t wanna forget Ahsoka from the because Ashley Eckstein is so wonderful and she’s really a — she’s also a wonderful character that we watched grow from being a young padiwan, you know, towards becoming a Jedi. Um, but I think it’s the same principles.
Uh, women who are strong on so many levels that, uh, they’re really inspiring. So, I would say, overall, probably Princess Leia. Yeah.
Tiya : And I have a soft spot for Han Solo, but who doesn’t? I mean — [LAUGHS]
Vaenssa : Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Tiya : But as inspiration, Leia. [CHUCKLES]
Vaenssa : Yeah, exactly.
Tiya : [OVERLAP] For my own viewing pleasure, Han Solo. [LAUGHS]
Vanessa : You know, it’s really — it’s, it’s hard to choose. I mean —
Tiya : It’s true. There’s so many good ones.
Vanessa : Yeah, ’cause I, I sort of believe that I love Chewie, but I think that’s born on the fact that it was my first action figure that I got. But, you know, in terms of things that have really touched my heart, I would say Leia.