The Force is strong with actress Ming-Na Wen, and she appears to be loving it.
Following The Mandalorian's sophomore season, which brought back her character of Fennec Shand, the actress is set to star in the upcoming Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett, releasing in December, as well as voicing her character in Lucasfilm's ongoing animated series — Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
Considering she's in every current Star Wars project, Lucasfilm clearly has a story to tell with her character. But having been a Star Wars fan long before becoming an actress, Ming-Na Wen has a few stories of her own to share.
MING-NA WEN'S LUKE SKYWALKER CONNECTION
In an interview the Digital Spy, Wen discussed returning to Season 2 of The Mandalorian, her love for Mark Hamill, her connection to Luke Skywalker, and "especially that double sunset binary scene."
"As a kid, I grew up in a very white suburban neighborhood. I was one of maybe two or three Asians there. I always felt like an outsider and didn't fit in. Star Wars, when it came along… I connected so much with Luke Skywalker, especially that double sunset binary scene – when he's looking out at the sunset, wondering what he's going to do with his life; if he's going to be able to follow his dreams. So that has stayed with me forever, that image."
In addition to playing Fennec Shand in live-action, Wen is no stranger to voice-acting or the company that's all about wishing on stars (or sunsets) and making dreams come true. Back in 1998, Wen voiced the titular female warrior for Disney's animated film Mulan.
And while Luke Skywalker was a source of inspiration for her while growing up, she's never lost her love for the character. She, too, was just as shocked as most Star Wars fans that he was brought back for The Mandalorian's Season 2 finale, while expressing that being in a scene with one of her heroes was "just beyond belief."
"To be in a scene where Luke Skywalker has one of the most – I mean, it made fans lose their minds. It was so, so good. Part of me is still reeling about it. It doesn't feel like it's my life, in a way, because I'm living my fantasy, to be in a scene with Mark, with Luke Skywalker. It's just beyond belief."
While a Star Wars chronological release order ceased to exist in 1999 with the prequel film The Phantom Menace, Lucasfilm is currently introducing a myriad of projects falling at all points in the timeline. And that has been great for a Star Wars fan like Wen.
At what other time in Lucasfilm's history could an actor be in a scene with Luke Skywalker at his peak while also voicing the same character during the early days of the Empire?
"I always say to everybody: anything can happen. If you dream it, dream it big, and just believe in making it come true. I love Mark Hamill. Every time he tweets me, I get so excited still [laughs]."
A STAR WARS FAN ON MAKING STAR WARS
For Star Wars fans, it's both reassuring and a blast knowing that others among their ranks are part of the saga's current projects and have just as much of an appreciation for it as they do.
Plus, what fan doesn't love hearing that even the busiest of Star Wars actors still geeks about Mark Hamill?
It's worth noting that Wen's comments that "anything can happen" and "believe in making it come true" echo the Star Wars message of hope.
And while she's a living testament to that message as an actress, her own Star Wars character may come to embody the same themes considering the latest episode of The Bad Batch revealed a heart and conviction under her tough, mercenary exterior.
Perhaps fans can expect more hope and heroism from Fennec Shand as her story continues to play out in both The Bad Batch and The Book of Boba Fett?