Accomplished voice actor Vanessa Marshall sat down for a Q&A panel at the Boston Fan Expo this past Sunday to talk about her career in the industry and, of course, her time as Hera Syndulla in Star Wars Rebels.
Starting the panel off strong, Marshall was asked what project she worked on that was special to heart. “Star Wars Rebels,” replied Marshall to cheers in the audience. “Hera really manages to incorporate some of the best qualities of humankind, even though she’s Twi’lek. I think her brand of femininity is something that I’ve noticed a lot of younger girls really look up to.”
Marshall also said she received several letters from fathers saying they were able to take out their “old school” Star Wars toys and give them to their daughters because of her portrayal of Hera.
“It’s really cool to be a part of that,” said Marshall.
It’s a sweet bonding moment that links the older generation of Star Wars fans with the newer generation. I remember my own dad showing me his Star Wars collection from when he was a kid. It’s nice thinking about the parents from my generation passing on the torch with great actors like Marshall leading the way.
Star Wars Rebels first aired in 2014, a little over a year before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came to theaters, and ran for four seasons before concluding in 2018. Hera Syndulla was a pilot and Captain of the Ghost crew.
When she wasn’t fighting Thrawn or thwarting the Empire, she was smooching Kanan Jarrus (born Caleb Dume). Hera and Kanan’s relationship was central to the Ghost crew. While Kanan was training Ezra to become a Jedi, Hera was just as involved in the process.
Marshall said that Hera and Kana’s relationship reminded her a lot like Han and Leia’s relationship in Empire Strikes Back. Her favorite moment between Hera and Kanan was when Kanan was teaching Sabine how to use the Black Saber and Hera tells Kanan, “this isn’t about you.”
“That’s what a true partner in life will tell you,” said Marshall. “To me, that illustrated just how much she loved him that she would say something that might hurt his feelings. But it was the truth. That, to me, more than the tender moments they had… demonstrated their level of intimacy more so than anything else.”
With the ending of Rebels, Marshall is still curious for more. She wants to know what happens next just like the rest of us. “I want to know what happened with Ezra,” said Marshall. “I want to know where Sabine and Ahsoka went. I want to know about Hera’s son.”
Dave Filoni left such a rich ending for Rebels that there’s hope for more. The release of Disney+ this November could mean a possibility of more. Marshall isn’t alone in her questions of what happens next, either.
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, Filoni was asked if his animated characters like Ahsoka Tano had the possibility of becoming live-action. His reply was a flustered “never say never.” For now, that’s the answer we will have to hold on to. Never say never.
Marshall said she has some upcoming projects that she’s very excited about but none of which she can talk about now. “There’s so many cool things that I’ve done in the past year that I can’t say yet,” said Marshall. She did, however, confirm that she will voice Wonder Woman in the new Harley Quinn television series from the DC Universe streaming platform.
Star Wars Rebels images from Lucasfilm
In the sixth grade, Kristen participated in her school’s spelling bee and mispelled the word “lake”. Kristen has since pursued a rigorous career in writing where she tries her best to avoid using that blasted word. She studied literature in her undergrad and is now pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at Emerson College. Kristen has written for StarWars.com, where she gets to let her nerd flag fly as a huge Star Wars enthusiast. She’s also covered press events at New York Comic Con and attended the 2019 Oscars where she ran into Laura Dern and managed to hold it together (a true accomplishment). Kristen will stop at nothing to pet all the dogs and she can quote the film Spaceballs from beginning to end. She also has a website, www.kristenkbates.com, and a pretty groovy Twitter: @kristenkbates.