Recent Star Wars projects, such as The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, have drawn from past projects more than any before it. In fact, they’re the first live-action properties to actually try to integrate animated shows such as The Clone Wars and Rebels. Characters such as Ahsoka Tano , Cad Bane, and Bo-Katan Kryze have now transitioned over from the world of animation for the first time. But who might be next?
With Ahsoka right around the corner, fans know that Sabine Wren and Hera will be making the jump, with Ezra and Thrawn likely right behind them. But there’s another character whose involvement is long overdue: Hondo Ohnaka.
The space pirate was first introduced as a villain in The Clone Wars but then became somewhat of a mentor to Ezra Bridger in Rebels. The character has even transcended those shows and become a prominent part of some rides at both Disneyland and Disneyworld, not to mention leading his own spin-off book.
So when exactly will he make the jump to live action, if ever?
When Will Hondo Make the Jump?
While The Direct was in attendance at Atlanta's Dragon Con this last weekend, Jim Cummings, the voice behind Star Wars: Clone Wars' and Rebels' Hondo Ohnaka, talked about the possibility of reprising the role for live-action.
When asked if we might be seeing Hondo in live-action in the near future or in The Bad Batch Season 2, the actor replied, "probably... but they haven't talked to me about it:"
“Probably, yes and yes, but they haven’t talked to me about it. I don’t know why, I mean… yeah. I’m there. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
Currently, the only way to experience Hondo live in the flesh is through an animatronic at Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Walt Disney World Resort. A live-action version of the Weequay also led Disney World's dedication ceremony for the Star Wars-themed land.
As for what character he would want to interact with the most as his smuggling character, Cummings responded, in his Hondo Ohnaka voice: "it definitely would be Ahsoka; the poor kid misses me. I can't deny her of me."
Jokingly, the actor then added:
"... can you believe he didn’t put me in [The Mandalorian]? Whatever. My girlfriend was in it! That’s where I’m pissed.”
A fan then asked what it was like to work with someone like Dave Filoni, Cummings noted that "he's a fantastic director," especially since he "kept all [his] ad-libs:"
“Oh yeah, that’s for sure. Yeah, he’s a great, great guy and he’s a fantastic director too, and by that I mean he kept all my ad-libs. No, but he was great. It was just a lot of fun. And you know, he lets it be organic. He lets us go for pages at a time… And he’d let us go for four or five pages at a time, so you really got the flow… and I think it shows in the performances.”
Another audience member came up and asked how he got involved with Hondo Ohnaka and how he went about creating such a unique character. The space pirate "looked really cool" to Cummings, and then later in the process, he aimed to give the character "an accent where nobody knows where the hell this guy's from:"
“What they’ll do is they’ll send out a callsheet. My agent said, ‘Well, you could read for this, you could read for that.’ I forget, I read for somebody else, ‘(puts on voice) some lesser character.’ And so, it was just a lot of fun. And I saw Hondo, and he just had a certain something about him that… he looked really cool… And they said that they wanted him to have an accent… See, everybody in the Star Wars universe up to that point, with the exception of Jar Jar Binks, and nobody knows what that accent is… It’s slightly Jamaican. So [I went] ‘Okay, well, I’m gonna do an accent where nobody knows where the hell this guy’s from…’ And just off the top of your head, does anybody where Hondo is from? Like if he was French, or Russian, or Irish, or… any guesses as to who that is?”
The actor revealed that his accent is a combination of "two character voices... Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner:"
“… Hondo is two accents put together, two character voices put together. And I always ask [audiences who the two voices are], but no one ever, ever, ever gets it right. And it’s two bodacious character actors in their own right. And it was Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner… So I put them together and out came Hondo Ohnaka.”
Charles Bronson is known for his works Once Upon a Time in the Wild West (1968) and Death Wish (1974), while Yul Brynner starred in projects such as The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Westworld (1973).
Does Hondo Have a Live-Action Future?
Hondo is a really fun character and a fan favorite, making it odd that he has yet to see live-action love. Even stranger is how, despite that, he’s currently a part of Disney’s Galaxy's Edge and even has a realistic animatronic.
Cummings clearly seems enthusiastic about the possibility of playing the character again, no matter the form. However, the real question is: would he even come back for the role if Hondo was brought in live action?
The character could be introduced similarly to how Cad Bane was in Book of Boba Fett, with a stunt actor embodying him onscreen, but the original voice actor coming in to dub his lines after the fact. Or, Lucasfilm could hire a named actor to do the whole thing—body and voice.
Either way, it seems to be only a matter of time before Hondo transitions over from animation. Next year’s Ahsoka seems like it could be a fantastic entry point for the character.