‘Star Wars Rebels’: Looking Back With Vanessa Marshall

Vanessa Marshall, Hera Syndulla in Star Wars Rebels, answers questions on four seasons of the award winning show over at ToonZone.com….

TOONZONE NEWS: So doing my research for this, I learned you are a Princeton alumna. You started acting there, correct?

VANESSA MARSHALL: Yes I did. I majored in English with a certificate in theater, when Alan MacVey was head of the theater department there. I was in a play called Cloud 9, which was directed by Carol Elliot. They’re both now at University of Iowa, and I was so close to them that I’m actually godmother to their daughter. I did tons of theater while I was there. I actually wrote plays and did all kinds of creative writing. That was my tribe at school.

TOONZONE NEWS: There was a quote I read in an interview with Lupita Nyong’o where she says something like, “I went to acting school thinking I was going to learn how to be other people, but it taught me how to be myself.” How do you feel about that sentiment, and what did you learn about yourself in playing Hera?

VANESSA MARSHALL: Oh, wow. I started to notice that I have a lot in common with her. I am incredibly focused, driven, compassionate. I have a sense of humor, and ethics are key as far as I’m concerned. I have always been the person to make people feel welcome. I talk to everybody. And if I sense that there’s any injustice anywhere, I don’t know why I think it’s my job to fix it (laughs). I think I bring a lot of those qualities to the microphone and feel very close to Hera. She is a stronger female character to a certain extent, and I am human so there’s that. I feel like she’s better able to not take things personally and get distracted by shiny beads or hurt feelings. I learned from her not to sweat the small stuff and to be impeccable with my word at all times…pretty much all the things she does unfailingly. Whenever I just thought, “Oh, I’m worried about this or that or the other thing,” I would just re-focus and recalibrate myself the same way she always did, and get back into a positive mind frame and get right back at it. A lot of times, she taught me that if I have the capacity to do that while acting, surely I can make those choices in my own life. Where did I begin and end, and where did she lead, I’m not sure. Maybe they’re one and the same, but I do feel like she just wouldn’t worry about half the things I worry about (laughs). I sometimes pretend I’m Hera and then I get through it.

Take the link below for the full Q&A.

James is an active member of the Star Wars collecting community, and is the Brand Director for Jedi News. James is also the host of the Star Wars Collectors Cast, and co-host of RADIO 1138 on the Jedi News Network.