Mary Elizabeth Winstead Reveals Surprising Truth About Her Ahsoka Transformation

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Hera in Ahsoka

Mary Elizabeth Winstead's makeup routine for Ahsoka was different from other Star Wars and Marvel stars. 

In Ahsoka on Disney+, Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Hera Syndulla, the Twi'lek pilot from Star Wars Rebels, a New Republic General, and mother to Jacen Syndulla.

To bring Hera into live-action, Mary Elizabeth Winstead had to look like a green-skinned Twi'lek. However, her transformation was surprisingly different than what fans might expect.  

Ahsoka Star's Makeup Revelation

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera on Ahsoka
Star Wars

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly's Dagobah Dispatch podcast, which was conducted prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Mary Elizabeth Winstead admitted her Hera Syndulla makeup process only took "about an hour:"

“Yeah I sort of just for the sake of a story, I’d love for it to be really complicated and say it was an eight-hour process, but thankfully it wasn’t. They got it down to about an hour which is a pretty normal time to be sitting in the makeup chair for any project. So I was so grateful for that, I think everyone came into it wanting it to look right but also not be too torturous a process for me."

Granted, Winstead noted the process wasn't always an hour. In fact, early into production, she noted, "it was a bit longer:"

"So the first few days that I came to set I thought that it was a bit longer. I think that our first test day was about three hours, but they worked on it and worked on it and streamlined it to the point that I came in, I got painted green, I got my headtails on, and I was Hera, and I was ready to go.”

This information from Winstead is somewhat shocking given that other stars playing make-up-heavy characters are often in the makeup chair for upwards of three hours. 

For instance, Zoe Saldaña spent three and a half hours in the chair to play the green-skinned Gamora in 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Meanwhile, her fellow co-star, Karen Gillan, needed around four hours to transform into Nebula for 2023's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

According to Ahsoka Tano's own Rosario Dawson, Lucasfilm seems to have been actively streamlining how much time stars spend in hair and makeup. 

In a previous interview, Dawson revealed the time spent on her Ahsoka transformation "came down to 90 minutes" while it hovered around three hours for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett:

"We were very proud! We timed ourselves every single day. Depending on how much skin was showing, sometimes it would go up to two hours. And that's tough: We were going in at 4 in the morning every day so that we could be ready when the crew is there at 6. We'd have a full day, and then it would still take at least half an hour to take it all off."

Is Hera Syndulla Ahsoka's Most Faithful Adaptation?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera on Ahsoka
Star Wars

The fact Ahsoka's makeup artists trimmed Mary Elizabeth Winstead's prep time to an hour is incredibly impressive, especially since her character requires both body paint and prosthetics. 

Hopefully, this accomplishment ushers in shorter and easier processes for future stars needing to transform into their characters. 

Of course, bringing a character from animation to live-action is no small feat for the show's makeup artists or the actors. But in this case, it sounds as if both were succeeding.

Among the Star Wars series three leading female stars, Mary Elizabeth Winstead's portrayal of Hera has received little criticism and just might be the best-received.

As Ahsoka approaches its conclusion, the question fans have is how much more of Winstead's Hera should they expect given the events of Episode 6

New episodes of Ahsoka drop on Tuesdays on Disney+.

- In This Article: Ahsoka
Release Date
August 22, 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.