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'Star Wars Rebels': Vanessa Marshall would die to see Hera 'traipsing around Tatooine'

If you read my Star Wars Rebels recaps, you’ve likely seen my numerous exclamations of love for Hera Syndulla. Hera’s my favorite character on the show and, while some of that is writing, it is mostly due to what actress Vanessa Marshall brings to the role. I recently had a chance to interview Vanessa and it didn’t take long to realize that Hera’s strength, compassion, drive, and kind heart are all very much imbued by the woman playing her.

When I was prepping for this interview, I asked people if they had any questions for Vanessa. One of them came up repeatedly, so it’s what I started with. Because I love you guys and because, well, I wanted to know, too.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: On a scale of not space married to super-duper definitely space married, how space married are Hera and Kanan?

VANESSA MARSHALL: So not space-married … these people have no clue if anything they’re doing is going to make a difference. Where revolution starts, someone has a great idea, and then the real people take action and live by those principles. It’s not just an intellectual revolt. They’re actually taking lives, getting food, getting fuel, and can die on a daily basis for that cause. When you put romance into that, I don’t even think they have time to consider such luxury items as that. I really feel like it’s such a time fraught with so much tension.

There’s so many other things to be thinking about …

I swear I’m not evading the question. I just don’t think it applies. If it does and we discover that together, then you and I will both learn simultaneously that’s what’s going on. Of course, Kanan is a Jedi. I think most of us defer to his Force sensibilities. It helps her to have people think he is running the show, because if the Empire catches them he can’t ruin the mission, because he doesn’t know anything. But if they know I’m in charge and if I get captured then I’m done for, and there goes our whole Rebel cell.

How far after A New Dawn does Rebels start?

That’s a really good question. I’m not sure precisely. I want to say within five years or less.

What do you like best about playing Hera?

She inspires me to walk the walk, to really live an ethical life and say what I mean and mean what I say. And just stand by my word … There’s something about Hera’s ability to be so physically agile and loving and compassionate at the same time. It’s such a really cool blend. I think the coolest part of bringing those aspects out in myself for the role is discovering that I even had them … I don’t fly planes, but I do think the best parts of me, I can locate and resource for Hera. And that has been something that has really made it so much more enriching, to just make a daily commitment to be a better person the way she is. In other words, not get concerned with petty nonsense and really be about the solution and not the problem.

Were you into Star Wars before you got the role?

Yes. I saw the movie in 1977 and was a huge fan. It has morphed over the years. Initially it blew my mind; it was a magic carpet ride, a space opera, like nothing I’d ever seen in my whole life. And I responded to it on that level. As I went to college … I started writing, and I started to respond to the mythic elements in [George Lucas’] writing. The narrative arc. And it became a sort of gold standard by which I would strain my own writing through—I would say, well, how does this compare to Luke’s moment of metamorphosis? It’s been sort of like a compass throughout my life for different reasons.

Getting this part in Rebels has literally blown my world wide open. I now have friends all over the place. I feel at home anywhere I go. If you’re wearing a Star Wars shirt there’s no way I will not talk to you. The gas lady came to my house … and she’s like, “Well, you missed my shirt yesterday for Father’s Day: ‘Luke, I am your father.'”

I said, “Well isn’t that interesting. I happen to have these special T-shirts that I had printed of stormtroopers carrying bananas indicating their inability to fire properly. Would you like one?”

She literally wept. You know how we get. I love it! You just never know where you’re going to find family.

What sort of mission do you want to see Hera in? What kind of stuff would you like to see her do? Would you like to see her go undercover, or what kind of cool mission would you like to see her do?

If I could go to Tatooine … I think I would have a heart attack if my character were traipsing around Tatooine. If I could see that. That’s Vanessa talking. Because, you know, that also makes me cry. Very interesting. I can only hope that’s what we saw in The Force Awakens trailer.

What’s something fun about Hera that we don’t know about her?

I think we all know precisely the same amount about her. I wish I could tell you how she found Chopper. I have no idea, so I can’t regale you with that, but I’d love to see how those two came together. Someone asked how she took her caff. I would say she’s straight caff. Straight up.

Do you know anything about her upcoming story that you can tell us?

Nope. I do, but I can’t tell you. The season finale took my breath away. Just reading it on the page I hyperventilated. It’s just, bam! It’s a home run. Bam! It’s so good. I cannot wait to see how they animate it. I haven’t seen it animated. It’s so good. It will not disappoint.

What would you like to see happen to Hera if you could project her story into the future? Where would you like to see her end up?

I would like her life story to come full circle and reveal why she is doing all this. What maligned her to inspire her to risk her life on a daily basis? It had to have been pretty horrible. Granted, what she witnesses is pretty horrible and inspiring enough—in other words, watching innocent people be exterminated, I would hope that would motivate many of us to do the right thing … but there are a lot of people who see injustices in the world and say wow, that’s awful, and they don’t do anything about it.

So I have one last question. I want to know if you can go through your castmates and tell me a bit about what it’s like to work with each of them.

We are very much like our characters. I’m constantly making sure everyone’s okay. If they’re hungry, I’m on it. If they’re thirsty, can I get you something? Now, granted, I have a catering background and I am obsessed with food, so there’s that. But it’s amazing how hungry we get when we’re recording. The T-shirts I made with the stormtroopers and bananas are born out of the fact that I keep bringing everyone bananas because they’re the easiest thing to eat while you’re recording. So I guess you could say I’m the mother of the crew.

Then you have Steve [Blum], who is very much the prankster. That guy can make more sounds with his mouth that no human should make. Someone will be in the middle of a very touching moment and he’ll just make a horrible noise. It’s very Zeb. Zeb’s constantly taunting Ezra, throwing stuff at him. Steve doesn’t mean any harm by it. He’s also just as loving as Zeb.

Then you’ve got Freddie [Prinze Jr.] and Taylor [Gray]. Freddie has so much experience as an actor that he tends to give Taylor advice if we’re struggling to figure out a scene. Taylor takes the direction willingly. The two of them conspire … It really is sort of a Jedi and his Padawan.

Tiya [Sircar] is awesome. Tiya likes football as much as I do … I love what she wears. She wears all these really cool colors. She reflects Sabine’s artistry in a way too.

I would say we’ve created a motley crew for the cartoon, but we also have one that’s quite similar in our own way just naturally. The stakes are high. We’re carrying a franchise that so many people love and care about and really want to see put forth properly. No pressure. But we manage to have a really good time, as they do in the original trilogy attempting to blow up the Death Star. They too have wisecracks and laughter and drama.

Life is imitating art.

Star Wars Rebels airs Mondays at 9/8C on Disney X D.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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