It's true that she's no Jedi, but Ahsoka is no doubt one of the most anticipated Disney+ series coming to this galaxy in 2023. While Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano is the show's titular character, her series is also expected to be a sort of a semi-sequel to Star Wars Rebels. During Star Wars Celebration 2022, audiences were introduced to the actress portraying Sabine Wren in live-action; and now fans are learning more about her experience of being cast.
Star Wars Rebels was an animated series set between The Clone Wars and Rogue One and which ran from 2014 through 2018. The show followed a team of rebels who sought to undermine the Empire during the earliest days of the Rebellion, with occasional cameos from Ashoka Tano.
One of those rebels was Mandalorian warrior, artist, and former wielder of the Darksaber, Sabine Wren.
While she was voiced by Tiya Sircar in Star Wars Rebels, Celebration confirmed that Natasha Liu Bordizzo is the one who will be portraying her in live-action alongside Rosario. However, according to her, she was cast in the role surprisingly quickly, even though she initially didn't know what she was auditioning for.
Sabine Actress Explains Why She Was Quickly Cast for Ahsoka
In talking with Entertainment Weekly, Sabine Wren's Natasha Liu Bordizzo revealed what Ahsoka's casting process was like and why she went with a "Han Solo vibe" in her audition, despite reading "scenes from a completely different film that had nothing to do with Star Wars:"
“I have been cast for a year now, so it’s been a while that I’ve been holding onto this. I thought I’d have to hold onto it ’til the show came out so the fact that I got to be part of Celebration was so special and unexpected. Yeah, I sent in a tape. I didn’t know what I was auditioning for. I read scenes from a completely different film that had nothing to do with Star Wars, so I wasn’t told it was for this. I saw the scenes and just by chance, my friend and I were like, ‘This kinda feels like a young Han Solo vibe kinda thing. Maybe you should emulate that.’ We weren’t given any information."
According to Bordizzo, her being cast in the role was "a very, very quick process", which she later learned was due to producer Jon Favreau, saying,
"And I sent them in and it was a very, very quick process. I was suspicious! I was like, ‘Wait, I have the offer for this?’ I met Jon Favreau later, and he was basically like, ‘I get it. I’m an actor. I don’t want to put you through the ringer, and I don’t want to make you do a million takes and auditions and tests. We know we want you, and that’s it.’ I really appreciated that.”
In regards to Jon Favreau, Bordizzo recalled her first meeting with him where he explained that "everyone we work with is nice:"
“I remember when I first met with Jon and Dave, one of the first things Jon said to me was like, ‘First thing you need to know is everyone we work with is nice. Just, everyone’s nice. And that’s just the way it is.’ It’s like, ’Okay, that’s a cool requirement.”
As for Dave Filoni, who not only created Star Wars Rebels and the character of Sabine but is also directing most of Ashoka's episodes, Bordizzo shared with StageRightSecrets that Filoni had assured her that "You are Sabine. You're making the correct choices. Because you're Sabine:"
“Sabine is someone that I know Dave has been working on for 10 years now. So I felt a lot of pressure at the beginning. But they’ve been nothing but kind. And I think Dave and Jon as well, like they really cast people who they feel have like a similar spirit in some way to roles. And so the feedback has been very freeing, because when I go to him for feedback, he’s always like, ‘You are Sabine. You’re making the correct choices. Because you’re Sabine.’ And I’m like, ’Wow, that is very… that’s really, really nice.”
But even though Bordizzo has a similar spirit to Sabine, that doesn't mean the actress didn't do her Star Wars homework.
In talking with Variety, Boridzzo confirmed that she's watched Star Wars Rebels, saying, “I feel like I’ve just been adopted into a new family. I know how much Sabine means to you, and after watching ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ she means so much to me as well.”
While there's no doubt that Sabine and Ahsoka will be reunited in the upcoming series, when Collider asked who else Bordizzo would like to see Sabine work with, her answer was, "Bo-Katan:"
"Bo-Katan. I want Sabine and Bo-Katan to cross paths again, because they did in Rebels. So, there’s a really interesting relationship that could happen there."
The Pride of Mandalore Joins the Mando-Verse
Sabine Wren isn't just a beloved character from Star Wars Rebels, but also a relevant one in terms of the post-Return of the Jedi era that the Disney+ Mand-Verse currently occupies.
While Din Djarin's relationship with Grogu is the heart of The Mandalorian, the live-action series has been exploring Mandalorian history, mythology, and beliefs from the first episode. Season 3 is expected to dive even deeper with Mando journeying to Mandalore and Bo-Katan seemingly in pursuit of the Darksaber.
Even though Sabine Wren and Ahsoka are expected to be searching for Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn in the Ahsoka series, Lady Tano has already crossed paths with Mando more than once. Given Sabine's heritage and her history with the Darksaber, it's possible that Favreau and Filoni have bigger plans for the character beyond Ahsoka.
If so, Bordizzo's hopes to cross paths with Katee Sackhoff's Bo-Katan is likely more than just wishful thinking.
This is why it's surprising to hear that Bordizzo was cast so quickly. But at the same time, it's also reassuring, as it sounds like Favreau and Filoni feel she's the perfect choice for the role.
Her comments about the producers also offered a glimpse of what it's like to work for the now-iconic duo. As Bordizzo shared, Favreau understands what it's like being an actor and is taking that into consideration when casting. Meanwhile, Filoni knows the characters she and the other show's stars are bringing to life and sounds extremely supportive in helping them to do so.
While Star Wars fans had plenty to look forward to with Ahsoka, Bordizzo's statement should put to rest any concerns. It certainly sounds as if Sabine Wren is in good hands.
Ahsoka is expected to debut on Disney+ in 2023.