As Star Wars continues to expand its universe across various media platforms, fans eagerly await the upcoming live-action series that will introduce beloved characters to the franchise.
Yes, introduce because from the beloved The Mandalorian to the much-awaited Ahsoka, the Star Wars universe is giving several fan-favorite characters from other mediums, including games, animated TV shows, and comics their due, by introducing them into live action.
If anything, this establishes the larger Star Wars univer…. er, galaxy, where characters are introduced, and can subsequently appear anywhere, so while live-action films remain the primary storytelling medium, games, animated TV shows, and comics add to the lore, and play a crucial role in expanding the universe and providing in-depth backstories for characters and events.
And we’re not talking the one off character who appeared in a cartoon, who finally had a cameo in the live action movie. Interesting fact – famed Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett actually made his debut in the animated segment of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, albeit in a slightly different coloured armour, but it’s the same guy.
Let’s get ready to dive into the galaxy far, far away, and meet some new (and familiar!) faces, as we take a closer look at existing Star Wars characters who have made or will be making their live-action debuts and what we can expect.
Ahsoka Tano, one time Jedi padawan to Anakin ‘Darth Vader’ Skywalker, first appeared in The Clone Wars animated series in 2008 and was part of an ensemble cast that included Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, et al from the prequel trilogy. However, towards the end of the series, Ahsoka was wrongly accused of terrorism and left the Jedi Order, never achieving full Jedi status.
Ahsoka later appeared in the Rebels series and in an audio cameo in The Rise of Skywalker, but fans still eagerly awaited her live-action debut. In the second season of The Mandalorian, Rosario Dawson portrayed Ahsoka Tano, bringing the beloved character to life on-screen. Her popularity led to the announcement of her own Disney+ series, Ahsoka.
The Shadow Council has been recently introduced in The Mandalorian, with one of the attendees being Brendol Hux, the father of General Armitage Hux, the villain from the Star Wars sequels. Interestingly, Brendol Hux is portrayed by Brian Gleeson, the brother of Domnhall Gleeson, who played Armitage Hux, the future son of Brendol, making it a fun Easter egg for fans.
During the scene, Hux reveals that Project Necromancer is underway, with the intention of finding new leadership for the Empire other than Grand Admiral Thrawn, which suggests a possible connection to the origins of Snoke or Palpatine’s clone in The Rise of Skywalker.
Moreover, Hux alludes to the cloning research of Dr. Pershing, which Moff Gideon asserts has been lost to the New Republic. This could potentially hint at Palpatine’s revival through Project Necromancer.
In The Clone Wars animated series, Bo-Katan Kryze was introduced as the ruthless second-in-command of the Death Watch terrorist group and the sister of Duchess Satine Kryze, the leader of Mandalore’s pacifist government. Unlike her sister, Bo-Katan was depicted as a ruthless warrior who was willing to betray anyone necessary to gain power. She is known for her expertise in combat and leadership skills and became the leader of Mandalore after the deaths of Pre Vizsla and Duchess Satine.
Katee Sackhoff, who provided the voice for Bo-Katan for over a decade, reprised her role in The Mandalorian season 2, marking a significant moment for both the character and the actress. The seamless transition between the two mediums legitimized the animated shows in a new and exciting way, and fans were thrilled to see the character’s live-action debut.
Cad Bane is one of the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunters. He first appeared in the animated series The Clone Wars, where he became the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy after the death of Jango Fett, demonstrating his lethal skills as both a marksman and a strategist throughout the series.
He was trusted by both the Hutt Clan and Darth Sidious and took on any job for the right price. Cad Bane also made an appearance in The Bad Batch, but ultimately failed in his mission to deliver Omega to the Kaminoans. In The Book of Boba Fett, he made a surprise live-action debut, where he was still voiced by Corey Burton but physically portrayed by Dorian Kingi, and ultimately met his demise at the hands of Boba Fett.
Ezra Bridger, played by Taylor Gray, was the primary character in Rebels, an animated series that followed the adventures of a Force-sensitive child from Lothal. He meets Hera and Kanan Jarrus, a former Jedi Knight, and has a remarkable ability to use the Force to bond with animals.
At the conclusion of the series, Ezra made the decision to forego rescue in order to prevent Grand Admiral Thrawn from escaping. With the help of the Purrgil, both Bridger and Thrawn vanished into hyperspace, leaving fans to speculate about their fates. Despite only appearing as a holographic projection in the Ahsoka teaser, played by Eman Esfandi, fans are optimistic that Ezra will have a significant role in the upcoming series.
The Ghost has already appeared in live-action during the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and once again in The Rise of Skywalker. The VCX-100 light freighter first appeared in the animated series in 2014, serving as the primary vessel for the Ghost crew – a group of freedom fighters who opposed the Galactic Empire.
The crew, including Hera Syndulla, Kanan Jarrus, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios, Chopper, and Ezra Bridger, became increasingly involved with the Rebel Alliance, even encountering key figures such as Mon Mothma and a young Princess Leia who supported their cause against the Empire.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
During the Ahsoka panel at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, the most significant announcement was the official reveal that Lars Mikkelsen would reprise his role as Grand Admiral Thrawn in the highly-anticipated series.
Mikkelsen previously voiced the art-loving Chiss strategist in Rebels. With striking blue skin, red eyes, and an angular face, Thrawn is known for his brilliant strategic mind and ruthlessness. The last time we saw Thrawn was on the bridge of a Star Destroyer alongside Ezra before being taken to the Unknown Regions with the assistance of the Purrgil.
Hera Syndulla had a key role in the Rebellion as one of their most accomplished pilots and a general who fought in numerous battles during the Galactic Civil War. In Rebels, she played a maternal role as the “space mom” alongside Kanan Jarrus, with whom she had a son by the end of the series.
While Hera has previously appeared in other animated series and video games, she will finally make her live-action debut in Ahsoka, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Here’s a fun fact – Winstead is married to Ewan ‘Obi-Wan’ McGregor.
Ahmed Best, the actor who portrayed Jar-Jar Binks, played the character of Kelleran Beq, created for the Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge gameshow. In The Mandalorian, Beq was given the crucial responsibility of keeping Grogu safe. With his impressive Jedi abilities, he managed to rescue Grogu from Order 66 and fled the Jedi Temple with the youngling under his protection.
During his time as a Jedi Master, Beq was responsible for overseeing Padawans as they completed their Jedi Trials. Beq himself had fond memories of his own Jedi Trials, which earned him the nickname “The Sabered Hand” during his time as a Padawan.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s upcoming portrayal of Sabine Wren in the Ahsoka Disney+ series has excited Rebels fans. Sabine, a Mandalorian rebel and a key member of the Ghost crew, was a central figure in the popular animated series.
Having dropped out of the Imperial Academy, Sabine left the Empire after they used one of her weapon designs against her people, the Mandalorians. Once joining the Ghost crew, she took on the role of the team’s weapons and explosives expert while also creating anti-Imperial murals and graffiti.
The Grand Inquisitor
The Grand Inquisitor served as one of the primary antagonists in the first season of Star Wars Rebels. He was a former Jedi Temple Guard who fell to the dark side and became an Inquisitor for the Galactic Empire. His role was to hunt down and eliminate any remaining Jedi who survived Order 66. He was a formidable adversary, skilled in lightsaber combat and force abilities, and was responsible for the deaths of many Jedi.
The Grand Inquisitor was played by Rupert Friend in Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, and together with the Fifth Brother and Third Sister, searched for any last Jedi they can find, eventually arriving on Tatooine and executing a young human who revealed himself to be a fugitive Jedi after utilizing the force to save a civilian.
Zeb Orellios, also known as Garazeb Orellios, is a character in Rebels. He is a member of the Ghost crew and is the team’s muscle and brawler, often using his strength to solve problems. Zeb is a Lasat, a species that was almost wiped out by the Empire, which led to his involvement in the rebellion against them.
He recently made his live-action debut with a cameo appearance in The Mandalorian, becoming the first living member of the Ghost crew to do so. The character, like Cad Bane, was produced by mixing his voice actor’s (Stephen Blum) voice with motion capture and CGI technology.
With the introduction of beloved characters from other mediums, the Star Wars universe is set to get even more exciting than it already is. It’s not just about the familiar faces we know and love; it’s also about the new characters who will bring their own unique stories to the saga.
In the end, the live-action debuts of these Star Wars characters are a testament to the franchise’s enduring legacy. With the introduction of new characters and stories, the Star Wars universe continues to captivate and inspire fans across the world.