The Mandalorian is one of the biggest things to happen to the Star Wars franchise in a long time. In fact, one could argue that the show's success is even more impactful than the entire sequel trilogy, specially given the general reception of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
It's success only grew more so with its second season, as the show started to expand into further reaches of Star Wars continuity. It was the first time that events and characters from shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars were ever addressed in live-action.
So when characters like Bo-Karan and Ahsoka Tano showed up, fans around the world collectively lost it. The best part? A majority of these highly anticipated characters happened to be female, giving us not only important representation in the Star Wars universe, but also strong leading characters.
Sadly though, something like that would have brought more ire from some people only a few years back.
In an interview with Looper, The Mandalorian actress Katee Sackhoff was asked about the general attitude towards women in space, at least in the fictional story-telling sense.
Sackhoff played a character named Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. At the time of the casting, there was a pretty vocal group of fans that made their anger about the situation very clear.
Now, come The Mandalorian, things have seemingly changed. Sackhoff’s role of Bo-Katan was not only pivotal in the story, but it also received virtually no backlash from fans. In fact, it was mostly praise and positivity.
Does Sackhoff think the attitude has definitely changed over the years?
“Absolutely. Yeah. Well, first and foremost, one of the reasons why Starbuck worked was that we never mentioned the fact that she was a woman. She was just a well-rounded, interesting, creative character in a world that was fun to watch. She just happened to be a woman.”
Sackhoff continued to elaborate on why she thinks her role in The Mandalorian worked so well.
“The reason why that scene at the end of Mandalorian worked was they didn't talk about the fact that they were women. They were just the best people for the job and they were there. And they did it, and they succeeded. We didn't stop to be like, "Female power, woo-hoo! You take the lead because you're the prettiest!" You know what I mean? This was just the crew that was available.”
What’s changed since then?
"...And I think that what's changed, not only the genre but in our industry, is that we don't feel like we have to quantify a female's existence anymore by saying, "Well, she's a woman, she's a 'strong female character.'" We don't have to do that anymore. Now, it's just like, "Isn't that awesome to watch? Holy crap, that was amazing." That's not to take away from and negate the fact that they're obviously women. I think that's what's changed the most in the industry — we have so many amazing women to watch.”
Pulling up a recent example, Sackhoff points at Chloe Zhao’s recent critically acclaimed film Nomadland.
“Look at Nomadland. Look at Frances McDormand. I mean, that performance, that is a strong woman. They never talk about the fact that it's unsafe for her to be living this life because she's a woman. They don't talk about it. They show the difficulties for everyone living this life, men and women. That was so beautiful to me because it's like I think it allows us as viewers to really just get lost in something and not go, "Oh, there's the explanation there."
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Not only are Katee Sackhoff's words wise, but they ring true in every sense. Having these characters simply be, and exist organically in the story being told, is always the stronger path.
As Sackhoff pointed out, it's an approach that seems to work quite well, seeing as her appearance on The Mandalorian was a hit, and that she is very likely to take a leading role in the future. This could also be the case with the story potentially pivoting to retaking Mandalore, a storyline that has deep roots in Star Wars lore.
So needless to say, fans will certainly be seeing Bo-Katan again. The same goes for Ahsoka Tano, as she has her own solo outing coming up. With Mando reportedly showing up in Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett, Bo-Katan may not be too far behind.