Newsarama’s Lucas Siegal sat down with voice actor Vanessa Marshall recently and she discussed her new character Hera Syndulla, her Star Wars fandom and reactions from herself, her family and fans to the announcement of the Star Wars Rebels cast. The interview is extremely well done and in-depth and you can check it out on Newsarama. For our purposes I pulled out some choice quotes that I think give us more information about the character of Hera and the larger story of Star Wars Rebels.
I also really admire her leadership qualities – her integrity and her passion for the Rebel cause. It motivates me to stand up for my own convictions in my daily life!
She truly walks the walk. She puts her life on the line, and comes through for her crew consistently. She’s sort of the getaway driver, if you will. What I love is that her bravery is just quietly noble.
The role of getaway driver is something we have seen in the Expanded Universe a fair bit with Chewbacca often playing that role, picking up Han Solo when he gets tangled up in adventure after adventure. It also may speak to a bit of what we will see from the show in terms of hit and run attacks by the heroes against Imperial forces. What it makes me also think of is of gangster stories or heist stories with Hera as the wheelman.
In the artwork we have seen of Hera she has a very small blaster pistol, which indicates to me that she may not use that as much as other crew members use their weapons. In effect the Ghost is her weapon of choice.
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.
Again we get reference to Hera’s maternal role as well as her leadership. She seems to be a character with a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy. Marshall’s references to her strong-will and very personal reasons for rebelling against the Empire make me think Hera may be one of the most zealous Rebels we see in the series.
Well, like I said, she’s the getaway driver. She owns the Ghost, it’s her machine, so in that sense, she runs the ship. Kanan is the leader, 100%, and he has to be, but as far as the nuts and bolts, keeping the characters emotionally grounded and connected and on point, Hera is a leader in that capacity. But yeah, Kanan, as a leader, as a Jedi, he’s the man!
This quotes further confirms that the Ghost is Hera’s ship, but even more interesting is the way it describes the two leaders of the group Hera and Kanan. It’s a bit like a gender swap of Princess Leia and Han Solo’s roles in the OT. Kanan may roughly outrank Hera in terms of leadership within the group, but on the ship Hera is the boss.
I think what she lacks in force-sensitive abilities, she makes up for with a true passion and a desire to see her mission through to the other side. I think that love for the cause will fuel her in a way that will make her a great pilot.
Well it doesn’t seem like we are going to be getting any Force-using surprises out of Hera. With Kanan and Ezra it is probably smart to keep the rest of the cast as not Force-sensitive. She is the Wedge Antilles of this group able to keep up with the Force users based only on her skills and training.
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!
This is a rather beautiful sentiment about the crew and how despite their differences they unite to form a family. It also may indicate that in Rebels, the Empire is just as oppressive to human populated worlds as it is to worlds populated by the alien races.
I would say universally, that Hera is a maternal figure to the members of the Ghost. She mentors Sabine, she encourages Ezra, and manages Zeb’s temper at times (laughs). And I know she has the utmost respect for Kanan and believes in his Jedi capabilities. Ultimately, I think that she guides and inspires everyone to dig deep and discover the kind of ruthless selflessness that’s necessary to fuel and complete the mission.
It is interesting to learn how Hera and Kanan find each other because based on this she isn’t buying into the Imperial anti-Jedi misinformation campaign. I like how Marshall describes Hera taking a different approach with each crew member.
I would say I’m most surprised by my interactions with Chopper ! It is so much fun! I’m reminded by C3PO and R2-D2 interacting, and how without words we always knew what R2 was saying. Whether it was just a “wheeeeoooo” as he went flying across the room or whatever. Similarly, Hera interacts with her astromech, being fluent in his language, and there’s that similar instant comprehension. It’s hilarious! I just love it. I love watching him interact with Zeb, too, they taunt each other and it’s just fun.
This is some new information, Chopper is Hera’s astromech and she is able to understand his droid language.
I would say Star Wars Rebels has that exact same pacing, energy, and endearing quality. As I said, Hera has assembled this motley crew – they’re slightly dysfunctional and brutally honest with each other. This chosen family, whose bond is almost stronger than blood, they face impossible odds, they learn to trust each other, take action in the face of injustice and oppression… and all the while, it’s wisecracks galore!
The tone of the sounds like a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see just how dysfunctional this crew is.
For more Star Wars speculation, you can follow Pete on Twitter @PeteMorrisonLR.