Hera Syndulla's New Live-Action Actress Reveals Biggest Changes from Rebels

By Klein Felt Updated:
Hera Syndulla Ahsoka Star Wars

As Star Wars Rebels character Hera Syndulla awaits her live-action debut in Ahsoka, the actress behind the beloved Star Wars pilot revealed what changes fans can expect from the character. 

With Hera and the rest of the Ghost crew set to appear in the upcoming Disney+ series, the fan-favorite Twi'lek will have a new look with Birds of Prey actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead stepping into the role

Winstead is taking over for voice actor Vanessa Marshall, who has been supportive of the live-action Hera actress.

Marshall remarked upon Winstead's reveal as that character that she is "so excited to watch this with [her] #starwarsfamily," showing the love for the Ahsoka cast and what they will be bringing to these celebrated characters. 

Changes for Hera in the Ahsoka Series

Hera Ahsoka

As part of a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hera Syndulla actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead described how the character has changed since fans last saw her in Rebels

Winstead noted that the biggest distinction between Ahsoka's Hera and the version featured in Rebels is that this older iteration is "something of a legend in her own right" and is now even more of a "maternal" leader of the crew:

"I see Hera as an incredibly strong but complicated person... She is very maternal, but also she's this leader of this crew. And as we see, she continues and becomes a general. And so she's leading quite a lot of people and she's become something of a legend in her own right."

She also called the character "very soft and warm:"

"She's also very soft and warm, and people come to her for advice and solace and comfort. Seeing those things combined is very unusual, and something that I really wanted to play on screen, because that's such a aspirational thing, I think, as a woman — or just a person — to be able to be all of those things in one." 

But, according to Winstead, that does not mean her Star Wars character is perfect:

"She's certainly not perfect, but she does have all of those qualities that make her somebody that you can really look up to in a way. And I like to try to be that on film. I don't know that I quite live up to it in reality, but it's someone to try and try and reach for."

Ahoksa star called playing a character that already existed in canon "incredible," as she can dive into the "storylines and complex histories with everyone in their life and relationships" instead of filling in the blanks for herself:

"Having a character who's already existed and has such a rich history on something like 'Rebels,' as an actor, it's incredible. Because sometimes we're tasked with creating our own backstories or trying to flesh out a character that doesn't really have that much on the page. And so to play a character that has season after season of storylines and complex histories with everyone in their life and relationships and experiences was really something I've never experienced quite like that."

She added that having Rebels and creator Dave Filoni on set was "a luxury" for that reason:

"To have 'Rebels' to refer to, and to have ['Rebels' and 'Ahsoka' creator Dave Filoni] to speak to about it every day on set, was a real luxury for sure."

What's Different Between Ahsoka & Star Wars Rebels? 

For the most part, Ahsoka and Rebels share a lot of connective tissue. The upcoming streaming series has basically been called a "continuation" of that Rebels story.

But just because Ahsoka will be a defacto Rebels Season 5, there are still going to be some major differences. 

Time has obviously passed by the time Ahsoka rolls around, with much of Rebels (aside from its cliffhanger epilogue) taking place before the events of A New Hope

So these characters will be a little older, having lived lives since fans last saw them. This is demonstrated in Hera "become[ing] a general," as described by star Mary Elizabeth Winstead. 

And the biggest differences will come as new actors take on some of these iconic Rebels characters. While some familiar faces will continue on with their parts from the Disney XD animated series, others will be reimagined as new actors step in for the Ahsoka

These new stars will bring about familiar feelings but ultimately different interpretations of the beloved Ghost crew. 

Ahsoka is set to release sometime in August.

- In This Article: Ahsoka
Release Date
August 22, 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.