The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION interview with Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar
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Monday, October 13, 2014

STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION interview with Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar

Disclosure: I  attended the #VeryBadDayEvent #Disneyinhomeevent #starwarsrebels #maleficent #sleepingbeauty #halloweentime and #fireandrescue events and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Today is the series premiere of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD! Make sure to watch because it is a really good show. If you are a Star Wars fan, like me, or have kids this is the show for you. It held my interest and I really enjoyed it!

We had the opportunity to interview Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar, the two female leads in the show. Vanessa plays Hera and Tiya plays Sabine. Both characters are strong and great role models. These two women were fun to interview. They are strong and intelligent and fun! They talked over each other because they were on the same wavelength. They were so much and cute!

Here they talk about the strong female characters, the rest of the cast and Princess Leia!

Question: I'll ask. Um, so, what was it like auditioning for the role that you had? Was it really nerve-racking?

Tiya: Not, not as much as you might think, 'cause we didn't know what we were auditioning for. So, that helped in that probably you weren't freaking out and if you would've been -- if you had known.

Vanessa: Yeah. No, it’s the same. I think go for it. We’re about the same, yeah.

Tiya: Well, we were told, well, I was under the impression I was auditioning for, a new animated series on Disney called Wolf.

So it wasn't until I actually got the phone call that I had gotten the job, which was great. And they said --

Vanessa: Mm-hmm.

Tiya: And by the way, it’s Star Wars. And I was like, well, you know, it’s like doubly exciting, 'cause I got a job and it’s way more exciting than I even realized.

Vanessa: Well, I didn't know what it was, but I always -- everything’s a Star Wars metaphor for me. I'm a huge Star Wars fan. So, I felt that there were elements of Star Wars within the piece of copy that I read.

Tiya: Oh, wow. You and Freddy both, okay.

Vanessa: Yeah, they said that, um, my character was a strong leader against the tyranny and da da da. And I'm like, alright, alliance.

So, I actually sort of transposed what I know about Star Wars onto the little copy [CHUCKLES] and I got a callback. And I thought, oh, cool, I’m gonna be a wolf. And when I got to the callbacks. . .

Tiya: Oh, you saw a character.

Vanessa: I saw a drawing of the character on the wall, and I know what race that is. I mean that’s not a Trekkie. [CHUCKLES] You know, I know exactly what’s going on here. And it sort of dawned on me in the moment, and I had to pull it together.

Because I'm such a huge fan. If I really thought about it, I’d probably have a heart attack.

But I'm also a professional, so I was able to do my job and I showed up and I did a good job clearly and then I got the call.

Then, then I hyperventilated.

My agent was literally afraid for my life. [LAUGHS] She was like, honey, do I need to call a paramedic?

[LAUGHS] And I mean she probably should have [CHUCKLES], 'cause I couldn't stop going, oh, my God, I was crying.

Tiya: Freddy also says that he figured it out.

Vanessa: Well, I didn’t figure it out.

Tiya: Well, you had

Vanessa: It just lucked out that it was in fact what it projected onto it.

Tiya: Right, right, right.

Vanessa: But, yeah.

Tiya: Freddy he, I think there was some reference to like a sun sword.

Vanessa: No, no. Well, I even said to a friend of mine who read for another wolf, do you think this is Star Wars? And he said, you're such an idiot. [LAUGHS]

Everything is -- Star Wars, Vanessa.

He was like, yeah, you with your Star Wars.

It was probably a good thing that I didn't know what I was doing. [LAUGHS] I would've been terrified. [CHUCKLES]

Question: We were talking about, um, how did [Star Wars Rebels] have strong female characters. So, how do you feel about the part of this have a female character that you can actually portray these strong characters and how, how will you think about it? How you feel?

Vanessa: Hera [Vanessa’s character] is the leader and while she is fierce, she’s a great fighter and a great pilot, she’s also very nurturing, and she sort of plays a maternal role within the crew. And I think she sets a really great example, and I think she does a lot of mentoring to -- Sabine. Now, I will also say parenthetically as a Star Wars fan, she is a Mandalorian. So I personally bow down to her character.

Tiya: But that’s Vanessa not [LAUGHS] --

Vanessa: Yeah.

Tiya: Hera.

Vanessa: Right. Getting back to Hera. I do think it’s really wonderful that Star Wars Rebels embodies two female characters that we all can aspire to act like them whether we’re adults or children or even little boys or little girls.

I've said before that the empire universally oppresses all races and all gender to where it sort of neutralizes elements. These aren’t good women or good female characters. They’re all good people.

Tiya: Mm-hmm.

Vanessa: So that we’re not even thinking in terms of gender or class. Um, we’re, we’re united towards doing the right thing.

Tiya: Mm-hmm.

Vanessa: And while they are strong, female characters, it’s also kinda cool that there’s this different element that even transcends those distinctions.

Tiya: And not to get too social commentary on you, but there are, in my own personal opinion, there are, so many female personalities that, for better or worse, may be famous not for a specific skill

Vanessa: Yeah.

Tiya:  talent but just famous for the sake of being famous. And maybe not for the right reasons, if you know what I mean.

Vanessa: Yeah.

Tiya: So, which I think you do -- because you're all nodding. So, it’s such an honor and it makes me cringe, you know, I don't have kids, but it makes me cringe to think like all little girls are like this is what they have to look up to and to aspire to be, and it’s worrisome for me. So, to me, it’s such an honor to get to play this female character. Sabine’s a teenager.

And yet she is so intelligent and not even concerned about the superficial stuff whatsoever.

Vanessa: Right.

Tiya: She’s never taken a selfie in her life, you know. [LAUGHS]

Vanessa: No, exactly. Yeah.

Tiya: And if she knew what that was, she wouldn't be interested. I think it’s amazing to get to play these two smart women. They are right there alongside the guys, beating up the bad guys. I hope that, that young girls and young boys, I mean can aspire to be like these characters, because they’re fighting for the greater good. They’re doing the right thing and they're just like really smart and savvy about it while they're doing it. I hope that might replace some other stereotypes out there.

Vanessa: Yeah. Yeah. And I think also that, that what we're all driven by is hope. Once again in transcending gender that I hope that kids take that hope that it’s important to have faith, to have morals, to have ethics and adults could probably learn from that as well. And some of those bigger human values that are not often embodied in, say, the people who are famous for things less than, you know, desirable. It’s really cool. There are some very wonderful, delicious ideas that are also inspiring over all, you know. I agree, definitely. These are really cool women for younger girls to emulate.

Tiya: And they're still fun, too. It’s not all about --

Vanessa: Yeah. They're hilarious.

Tiya: You know, how the moral like high ground and it’s not all like --

Vanessa: No.

Tiya: like that stuff. It is fun and --

Vanessa: Yes.

Tiya: Sabine can be a little sassy and she has a little attitude

Vanessa: Exactly.

Tiya: Meanwhile she’s also like fighting the empire.

Vanessa: Yeah, it’s cool. Those things are sort of hidden beneath all the, the jokes and, and the high stakes.

Tiya: The banter.

Vanessa: Exactly.

Tiya: Yeah.

Vanessa: Yeah. It, it very much feels like the original trilogy. It has the same wit and, you know, get this walking carpet out of my way. You know, we talk to each other like that.

Tiya: Yeah.

Vanessa: as well.

Tiya: In real life.

Vanessa: Yeah.

Tiya: Oh, you mean on the show? Yeah, yeah.

Vanessa: Oh.

Tiya: No, that, too.

Vanessa: Right.

Tiya: Yeah.

Question: Talk a little bit about how you guys do it all together while you're -- instead of being in a room by yourself. You actually do this script all together.

Vanessa: I love it.

Tiya: For me, it’s such a treat

Vanessa: Oh, yeah.

Tiya: You've done far more voice overs than me.

Vanessa: Well, oftentimes in animation and animated series, they try to get the entire group together. The previous Star Wars video games that I've done, I've been in a room by myself on a quote unquote Jedi counsel talking about people.

Tiya: [LAUGHS] Me, too. No.

Vanessa: Luckily, I know enough about the different places and things in the Star Wars universe, but it’s so much easier to interact with people. We all love Star Wars, but that collective energy in the room is something that I think viewers will feel. I think it’s a real advantage. Like I said, the, the writing of the scripts is so great. It’s really not that hard to do.

Tiya: Right.

Vanessa: I feel like we don’t do much [CHUCKLES], you know.

Tiya: It doesn't feel like work certainly for me.

Vanessa: No. I mean obviously, it’s a job and we do work very hard. We research and all that, but I think working as a group, I think that is a part of why it bristles with so much love and energy. Yeah.

Tiya: And also I think [that] makes the experience so special, aside from the fact that we -- I think that like getting to actually act these scenes out in a room together -- you know, not is it more enjoyable for us, but it infuses the scenes and hopefully makes for a better show. But aside from that, I think we really forge, you know this, this family, this Motley Crew of people. Like we have this Motley Crew of characters.

Vanessa: Exactly.

Tiya: And so, we've created this, this bond as a crew. The five of us and also our guest stars and -- but the five of us really have embodied the same dynamics, familial dynamics as we have on this show. As Vanessa was saying she kind of is this maternal figure making sure I am not hungry -- do I have -- need a snack -- am I cold; do I need to borrow her cardigan. I mean it’s just the best.

Vanessa: [CHUCKLES]

Tiya: And then, you know, like Taylor is the youngest, and so we're always giving him a hard time.

Vanessa: Yes.

Tiya: And he’s like okay I get it. And Freddy is like the big bro and making sure everything’s cool and under control. And Steve is like the, the clown.

Vanessa: The prankster.

Tiya: that’s like cracking us up --

Vanessa: He is hilarious.

Tiya: making [CHUCKLES] crazy noises.

Vanessa: Yeah.

Tiya: At inappropriate times. So, it’s fun to get to kind of be part of this this crew that we’re actually getting to, you know art imitates life, imitates art. Whatever. [CHUCKLES]

Vanessa: Yeah. Yeah. That’s fortunate that we all have, have sort of fallen into a groove that’s very similar to what we need to

Tiya: To do and embody --

Vanessa: Uh, yeah.

Tiya: in the script.

Question: I love Sabine's character because she’s very multidimensional. She’s out there shooting and fighting with them, but then she’ll like be gone over doing some technical stuff, like shutting down the field and all of that stuff. But one thing I notice about her character, she’s the only one that wears a cover over a face. Do you know if there’s a significance to that?

Tiya: Well, she’s Mandalorian, so that’s like Mandalorian armor. The full thing. The only difference is that I think she’s probably the only Mandalorian that has armor that’s been graffitied because --

Vanessa: Hot pink.

Tiya: She designs her own. Yeah she actually embellishes her armor, but the significance of the helmet is that she’s a Mandalorian and that’s full Mandalorian warrior armor.

Question: Who are [your] favorite characters in the Star Wars universe? Can you pick one?

Vanessa: Well, you know we both love Princess Leia, because she’s a strong female character, but I also don't wanna forget Ahsoka from the Clone Wars.

Tiya: Absolutely.

Vanessa: Because Ashley Eckstein is so wonderful and she’s really also a wonderful character that we watched grow. But I think it’s the same principles.

Women who are strong on so many levels that they're really inspiring. So, I would say, overall, probably Princess Leia. Yeah.

Tiya: And I have a soft spot for Han Solo, but who doesn’t? But as inspiration, Leia. [CHUCKLES]

Vanessa: Yeah, exactly.

Tiya: For my own viewing pleasure, Han Solo. [LAUGHS]

Vanessa: You know, it’s really hard to choose.

Tiya: It’s true. There’s so many good ones.

Vanessa: I sort of believe that I love Chewie, but I think that’s born on the fact that it was my first action figure that I got. But, you know, in terms of things that have really touched my heart, I would say Leia.

Thank you Vanessa and Tiya for a fun interview!! 

Join the Rebellion! Star Wars Rebels premieres tonight on Disney HD!! 


  1. WOW! There sure are a lot of TV stations because I have not heard of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD. I think that this looks like an interesting show. It is great that there are strong character leads in this show. I like Star Wars, TOO!!

  2. Our son was really into Star Wars when he was young. Brings back fond memories. Nice this new movie has strong, intelligent female characters, and teaches some good life lessons as well. Thanks for sharing the interview.