Last month on my trip to LA I was lucky enough to interview Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar #StarWarsRebels Spark OF Rebellion. The voices behind the two lead female characters. Vanessa Marshall (voice of Hera) and Tiya Sircar (voice of Sabine). I find this new Disney XD series to be very inviting since typically it’s a “male” that plays the hero’s rather than the female. Move over Barbie, there are real female role models in this world!
For those of you that may not know, Star Wars Rebels is a brand new series that premieres October 13 on Disney XD. It’s really a great series! And is perfect for the little girl in your life that may be looking for strong female character leads. Vanessa Marshall plays the pilot of The Ghost, which is a space ship and
Tiya Sircar, is a weapons expert.
Question: What was it like auditioning for the role that you had?
Vanessa : Ohhh
Question : Was it really nerve-racking?
Tiya : Not, not as much as you might think, cause 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 : Yeah, we were both — we were under the inf– or I’ll speak for myself.
Vanessa : Yeah. No, it’s the same. I think go for it. We’re about the same.
Tiya : Well, we were told — I was under the impression I was auditioning for a new animated series on Disney called Wolf.
Vanessa : Yeah.
Tiya : — wolves, you know. Arrrgghh.
Vanessa : Yeah, right. [LAUGHS]
Tiya : 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. I was like, well, you know, it’s like doubly exciting, ’cause I got a job and 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 said that, my character was a strong leader against the tyranny and da da da. 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, I got a callback. And I thought, oh, cool, I’m gonna be a wolf, when I, when I got to the callbacks —
Tiya : Oh, you saw a character.
Vanessa : I saw a drawing of the character on the wall, and I know what — [OVERLAP]
Tiya : You were like a wait a minute.
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.
Tiya : You probably —
Vanessa : Because I’m such a huge fan. I really thought about it, I’d probably have a heart attack.
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 I hyperventilated. My agent was literally afraid for my life. She was like, honey, do I need to call a paramedic? I mean she probably should have [CHUCKLES], ’cause I couldn’t stop going, oh, my God, oh, my — you know, I was crying.
Tiya : Freddy also says that he figured it out, because Freddy and Vanessa —
Vanessa : Well, I didn’t figure it out. I just —
Tiya : Well, you had — [OVERLAP]
Vanessa : — it just lucked out that it was in fact what it
Tiya : Right, right.
Vanessa : — projected onto it.
Tiya : Freddy, I think there was some reference to like a sun sword. Do you already —
Vanessa : — you mean a light saber? So, he, claims anyway to have figured it out. I don’t know.
Vanessa : I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt.
Vanessa: No, no. Well, I even said to a friend of mine who read for another wolf, I said do you think this is Star Wars? And he said, you’re such an idiot. Everything is Star Wars, Vanessa.
Vanessa : Yeah, exactly. He was like, yeah, you with your Star Wars. Should’ve bet him money.
Vanessa : [LAUGHS] Yeah, anyway. So, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t know what I was doing. So, ’cause I would’ve been terrified.
Question : We were talking about, how having strong female characters in this generation when we had these girls, you know, to include them in this beautiful world? So, how do you feel about the part of this have a female character that you can actually portray these strong characters and how, how will you think about it? How you feel?
Vanessa : Well, Hera is the leader 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, within the crew. I think she sets a really great example, and 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.
Tiya : But that’s Vanessa not Hera.
Vanessa : Yeah.
Vanessa : Right. Getting back to Hera. I do think it’s really wonderful, that Star Wars Rebels embodies two, 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.
Tiya : Mm-hmm.
Vanessa : So that we’re not even thinking in terms of gender or class. 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 : Not to get too, you know, well, social commentary on you, but there are, in my own personal opinion, there are, so many female personalities that [CHUCKLES], well, for better or worse, you know, there, there, there 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.
Vanessa : Yeah.
Tiya : So, which I think you do — because you’re all nodding.
Tiya: So, it’s such an honor you know, and it makes me cringe, I don’t have kids, but it makes me cringe to think like all little girls are like 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 not even concerned about the superficial stuff whatsoever.
Vanessa : Right.
Tiya : She’s never taken a selfie in her life, you know.
Vanessa : Exactly.
Tiya : If she knew what that was, she wouldn’t be interested. So 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. You know, I hope that young girls and young boys, I mean 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 are doing it.
Vanessa : Definitely.
Tiya : — maybe they might replace some, some other stereotypes out there.
Vanessa : Yeah. Yeah. I think also what we’re all driven by is hope. Once again in transcending gender that I hope that kids take that hope that it’s important to have faith, to have morals, to have ethics, and adults could probably learn from that as well. Some of those bigger human values that are not often embodied in, say, the people who are famous for things less than, you know, desirable. It’s really cool. There are some very wonderful, delicious ideas, that are also inspiring over all, you know. 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 : You know, how the moral like high ground and, you know, it’s not all like that stuff. It is fun.
Vanessa : Yes.
Tiya : Sabine’s can be a little sassy and she has a little attitude, but meanwhile she’s also like fighting the empire.
Vanessa : Exactly.
Vanessa : Yeah, it’s cool. Those things are sort of hidden beneath all the, the jokes and, and the high stakes.
Tiya : The banter.
Vanessa : Exactly.
Tiya : Yeah.
Vanessa : Yeah. It, it very much feels like the original trilogy. It has the same with get this walking carpet out of my way. You know, we talk to each other like that.
Tiya : Oh, you mean on the show? Yeah, yeah.
Question : Talk a little bit about how you guys, do it, altogether instead of being in a room by yourself. You actually do this script all together.
Tiya : It’s such a treat, because you have done far more voiceovers than me.
Vanessa : I love it. Well, oftentimes in animation and animated series, they try to get the entire group together, but the previous Star Wars video games that I’ve done, I’ve been in a room by myself, “quote unquote” Jedi counsel talking about people .
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. Like I said, 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 work, I mean we obviously do, it’s a job and we do work very hard. We research and all that, but I think working as a group, I think that is a part of why it bristles with so much love and energy. Yeah.
Tiya : I think what’s really, special it makes the experience so special aside from the fact that we, I think that like getting to act these scenes out in a room together. It is 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 family, you know, this Motley Crew of people. Like we have this Motley Crew of characters.
Vanessa : Exactly.
Tiya : We’ve like created this bond as a crew, you know,the five of us and also, our guest stars but the five of us really have like embodied the same dynamics, familial dynamics as we have on this show. As 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 best it’s just the best.
Tiya : And then, you know, like Taylor is the youngest, and so we’re always kind of, you know, giving him a hard time. He’s like okay, okay, I get it.
Vanessa : Yeah.
Tiya : — Freddy is like the big bro and making sure everything’s cool and under control
Vanessa : Mm-hmm.
Tiya : Steve is like the, the clown, that is cracking us up.
Vanessa : The prankster, he is hilarious.
Tiya : — making crazy noises at inappropriate times. So, it’s fun to like get to kind of be part of this crew that we’re actually getting to, art imitates life, imitates art. Whatever..
Vanessa : That’s fortunate that we all have sort of fallen into a groove that’s very similar to what we need to —
Tiya : To do and embody in the script.
Question : I love 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. One thing I notice about her character, she’s the only one that wears a cover over a face. 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, I think she’s probably the only Mandalorian that has armor that’s been graffitied.
Vanessa : Mm-hmm. Hot Pink.
Tiya : — she designs her own. Yeah she actually like sort of, embellishes her armor, but, the significance of the helmet is that she’s a Mandalorian and that’s full Mandalorian, like, warrior armor.
Question : 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 Clone Wars.
Tiya : Sure. Absolutely
Vanessa : Ashley Eckstein is so wonderful and she’s really a wonderful character that we watched grow from being a young padawan, you know, towards becoming a Jedi. I think it’s the same principles.
Women who are strong on so many levels that they’re really inspiring. So, I would say, overall, probably Princess Leia.
Tiya : And I have a soft spot for Han Solo, but who doesn’t? But as inspiration, Leia.
Vanessa : You know, it’s really — it’s, it’s hard to choose.
Tiya : It’s true. There’s so many good ones.
Vanessa : Yeah, 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. You know, in terms of things that have really touched my heart, I would say Leia.
The New episode premiers 10/13 on Disney XD at 9 PM EST. DON’T MISS IT!