While Ahsoka will be Sabine’s first live-action appearance, the Mandalorian originally debuted in Star Wars Rebels as one of that series' leading characters. There, she was voiced by actress Tiya Sircar for four seasons.
As for what Sabine is like these days, Bordizzo previously teased that “she's been through a lot, and she's still a stubborn cookie.” The actress also noted that “[Sabine’s] only thinking about the obligation she has towards [Ezra Bridger].”
Sabine won’t be alone during her transition to live-action. She’ll also be joined by a majority of her old team, including Hera, Ezra, and Chopper.
Avoiding Copying Rebels' Sabine Wren
In a new interview with SFX Magazine, Ahsoka actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who plays Sabine, talked about why she avoided copying the animated version of her character.
The actress first made sure to clarify that she “loved Tiya Sircar’s Sabine,” but she never “[wanted] to try to copy someone:”
"I loved Tiya Sircar's Sabine!… I loved the energy, the sarcasm, and playfulness that really made Sabine Sabine, but obviously, it's a delicate balance because I never want to try to copy someone. I want to be inspired by the energy they put into the character and then make the role my own.”
Bordizzo also shared how she “watched everything” before filming began, including the animated series Star Wars Rebels, where Sabine is first introduced:
"And of course, I watched everything… including the original films, The Mandalorian and, of course, 'Rebels.' But I didn't watch anything after we started filming because otherwise, it gets too much. You want to have space, take all the experiences and memories and inspirations from everything you've watched, and then let the live action you're creating find its own truth, its own journey.”
The actress pivoted to give praise to Ahsoka’s showrunner, Dave Filoni, claiming that “he really just trusted us:”
"Just to have the creator around every day is a luxury… He's like this bottomless pit of knowledge and the guardian of the story and the characters. Also, he really just trusted us - while we'd go to him for guidance, he'd also say, You are Sabine, so whatever you instinctually feel is right is right.”
It’s good that Natasha Liu Bordizzo isn’t entirely ignoring her character’s history. From the sound of it, she’s honoring Sabine’s previous performances while leaving room for her own quirks.
Fans will also likely be excited to hear that she’s seen all of Rebels before filming Ahsoka.
This is the opposite approach that Rupert Friend took with the Grand Inquisitor for Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he purposefully avoided watching the character’s previous history in Rebels. In turn, the reception to his take on the villain was anything but positive—from his performance to his look.
Changes aren’t all bad, however. After all, even the original Thrawn actor, Lars Mikkelsen, will be making some adjustments for the live-action incarnation of the character. He shared in an interview that he’ll be toning down the “whole melodious approach,” as the actor felt it too much for live-action.
To make those meaningful changes and adjustments to these larger-than-life characters it’s simply important to have a full understanding and picture of them.
One can’t achieve that without being well-versed in them—which, in this case, it seems Bordizzo is. Thankfully, the same can be said for Rosario Dawson, who has previously been adamant about staying true to the character fans have come to know for over a decade now.
Ahsoka is set to debut its first two episodes on August 23.