Boston Fan Expo 2019: Vanessa Marshall Talks Star Wars Rebels at Q&A Panel

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Vanessa Marshall discussing her career in animation and time voicing Hera Syndulla in Star Wars Rebels. Photo by Kristen Bates.

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. 

Captain Hera Syndulla serving smirks because she knows she is cool. Image from Lucasfilm.

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.”

Hera and Kanan SMOOCHING on Star Wars Rebels. Image from Lucasfilm.

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