During Star Wars Celebration, Fandom got the opportunity to pose some questions to two of the stars of Star Wars Rebels: Tiya Sircar, who portrays Mandalorian graffiti artist and warrior Sabine Wren, and Sam Witwer, voice of both Darth Maul and the Emperor.
Fandom: We know that Thrawn is coming into Season Three [of Rebels] and he uses art to predict his enemies’ moves and defeat them. As the Ghost‘s resident artist has Sabine now painted a target on their backs?
Tiya: I don’t know. Yeah, potentially. I can’t answer that.
Fandom: This season you get a jetpack and the darksaber and getting more into the Mandalorian history. Was it fun finding out the history you have now with them and how it links to the previous stuff we’ve seen in The Clone Wars?
Tiya: Absolutely. Also I never imagined I’d get my hands on the darksaber. That was incredible. So that was super exciting because when I first got this job, I wanted to know as much about Mandalorian history as I could so I did a crash course in all the Mando stuff from the Clone Wars. And of course I knew about the Darksaber but I never thought Sabine would have any interaction with that. That was really cool. The jetpack I’ve wanted from day one and I’ve been hounding Dave [Filoni] and he’s sort of been like “you’ll get it if you need it.”
Fandom: He finally relented on it?
Tiya: Yeah, maybe I wore him down but I’m super excited. You saw the clip yesterday – I hadn’t seen it until yesterday. I’d read it and wondered what it was going to look like. It was so cool to watch that Mando jetpack chase through the gorge. The stuff we’ve recorded, I can’t wait to see it animated because there’re some really cool showdowns between Sabine and other Mandalorians and some fantastic battle sequences. I’m stoked to see that stuff.
Fandom: You said in the press conference that you only really came into understanding the Star Wars stories that came before when you got the job. Were you surprised to find out the amount of passion the fans have for the franchise?
Tiya: My first experience that was at Star Wars Weekends in Orlando before the show had ever aired, before anyone had seen a second of anything. I don’t even think our little individual clips had aired anywhere. To experience the support and enthusiasm and love that the fans have even before they’d seen a second of the show was overwhelming in the best way possible. And now people have actual real connections with our characters. It’s just incredible. I don’t know that there are any other fans of something else that are like Star Wars fans and it feels really special and such an honor to be a part of this family. From the moment we became a part of this thing, that our involvement was announced, people were overwhelmingly welcoming and supportive and its just gotten better and better since now that they have a real connection with the show and the characters.
Fandom: For the longest time female fans only had Leia and then Padme to look up to. In the last couple of years the female roles have expanded with Jyn, Rey, Sabine and others. What’s it like to be part of that?
Tiya: It’s incredible. I feel so envious of girls now that they have that they have this plethora [now]. They have Rey, Ahsoka, and Hera. To get to be a part of that is gratifying and a little bit surreal. I admire Sabine and love her qualities. I love that she’s a young woman, a teenage girl really and yet she’s so capable and so smart and so not concerned with superficial stuff that so many teenagers might be. It’s really an honor to get play such an impressive character and I aspire to be more like her.
Fandom: You are known for voicing both Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine in [Star Wars Rebels]. How do you take these characters that originated in the films and put your own spin on them?
Sam: With Palpatine it’s all about making it sound like Ian McDiarmid because I think it needs to stay there, especially when he has scenes against James Earl Jones. If James Earl Jones sounds like James Earl Jones, and I sound like my own version of Palpatine, it’s not going to work. It needs to be Ian McDiarmid.
Darth Maul is its own thing at this point. I do what I think I should do and I try to take it in new directions and make it unpredictable. So they’re different challenges. The Emperor is all about giving the illusion of that character that has been very well established by six movies. Darth Maul is an ever-evolving character that I have complete freedom to do what I think should be done.
Fandom: What is the enduring appeal of Darth Maul? He’s a character who was in one film, seemingly died but returned to be embraced by Star Wars fans.
Sam: Its the difference of values. It’s the fact that you’re looking into the face of darkness and evil. What does that mean? What is that? What does it think? What does it want? How is it different from us, but also how is it similar? What is it that we’re fighting against, not just in a Galactic Civil War but in ourselves? What is it that we see in ourselves that is reflected by this creature with horns? I mean, Darth Maul, in a way – he’s the devil. When we find him in the Clone Wars he’s literally in hell. It’s crazy stuff.
Fandom: You’re a big West End Games fan, and last season they kind of adapted Strike Force Shantipole.
Sam: Yes. That’s by the way a prequel to Shantipole. If you look at the way they designed that story, Shantipole, that story can still exist. The Strike Force Shantipole story.
Fandom: But if you could have another [West End Games adventure] adapted for Season 3, which one would you choose?
Sam: What can I say? I’m trying not to give away certain things. I’m sorry. My brain is clouded with things that I know are happening in Star Wars that still borrow from West End Games.
Fandom: So we can say that more West End Games stuff is being brought back in some sense?
Sam: They’re mining everything including West End Games stuff. You saw the Interdictor cruiser, right? Jodo Kast would be fun if that guy showed up. I’m trying to think what were some of favorites. I loved Black Ice, Graveyard of Alderaan, Tatooine Manhunt –
Sam: Domain of Evil would be fantastic. Trinta. Going to Trinta would be fantastic.
Fandom: Regardless of canonicity, would you do a third Force Unleashed game? Is it a story that needs to be told?
Sam: Sure. Haden Blackman had a really cool story for the third one. And when it comes to any Star Wars things you can’t share it even if its not currently in production because you never known when those ideas are going to creep up again.
Fandom would like to thank both Tiya Sircar and Sam Witwer for their time and for answering our questions!