By George Bate and Josh Reilly B.
If you’re like us, you love insights from behind the scenes of Star Wars. Interesting facts, behind the scenes stories, and reveals add so much depth to our beloved adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Next month, we’ll have a chance to go behind the scenes even further to discover how the most iconic Star Wars’ heroes were brought to life. Star Wars: The Galaxy’s Greatest Heroes is an upcoming collection of interviews and articles from Titan Comics. In this new collection, actors and creators discuss the ins and outs of bringing iconic characters and stories to life. The collection includes interviews with George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, to name a few.
Check out here an exclusive preview of a feature on Ahsoka Tano and an interview with Ashley Eckstein.
AHSOKA TANO – From a Padawan learner to a Jedi to an exile from the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano’s emotional journey gave Ashley Eckstein an opportunity to create a unique character in the Star Wars saga.
Making her Star Wars debut in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie, Ahsoka Tano soon became a much-loved character in the Star Wars mythology. When we first meet her, she is an effervescent youngster placed under the mentorship of Anakin Skywalker.
Ashley Eckstein’s performance as the character would take the young Togruta in a multitude of surprising directions, not least when she brandished two lightsabers!
Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano): Two lightsabers are always better than one! I thought that was awesome that she got a second lightsaber. One of them is shorter, almost like a lightsaber dagger, which I thought was really cool. She definitely toughend up. She spent so much time with Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Plo Koon that she began taking on their fighting skills, especially Anakin’s. Ahsoka has no fear, no fear at all. She just goes right at it. Sometimes Anakin is so spontaneous that he doesn’t think about the Jedi way of doing things. Obi-Wan is more by the book. Ahsoka is definitely a combination of them both. I wouldn’t say Anakin is a bad influence, but he’s not necessarily the best influence for promoting the Jedi way. Anakin does things his own way, so Ahsoka has definitely become more like Anakin. At times she acts in ways that would be against what they would teach at the Jedi Temple. But thinking outside the box like Anakin and Ahsoka do is sometimes the best way to accomplish what you want. You have to take the good with the bad.
The third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars featured a trilogy of episodes set in the mysterious world of Mortis.
Ashley Eckstein: The scripts of the three Mortis episodes really blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that they were allowing us to tackle that storyline. There are some heavy questions about Anakin and who he is. It really affects the movies and ties them into our series. I think that’s what was so nice about our show—as we went along, we helped explain things that happen in the movies and answer people’s questions about why things are the way they are.
When we first started, some fans complained because our show would be part of Star Wars canon, but now I think they welcome the fact that they’re getting some answers they always wanted. I had to approach them differently because Ahsoka goes through many personality transformations during this story. She grows up, and she goes through some extremely tough times. Just having to explore those different personalities, but still keeping them true to Ahsoka, was quite difficult for me. There was one scene I wasn’t quite hitting on the first try. Usually when we record an episode we only to three takes on every line, and then we move on. It’s rare to do more than three takes of something, but this one particular scene we were doing over and over again. I was getting really frustrated that I couldn’t nail it. I was so blessed to have James Arnold Taylor [Obi-Wan] in the studio with me. He came over and said, “Okay Ashley, calm down, you can do this. Try it this way,” which was completely different than how I was doing it. It worked and that’s the take they ended up using. It was like going to school every time I went into a recording session. I’m constantly learning from the cast. The animation in that particular scene just blew my mind. The animators continued to raise the bar, but they really went to town for the Mortis episodes. There’s some stunning shots that we truly haven’t seen before.
As an actress you always look for challenging opportunities and roles. As the cast all became more and more familiar with our characters, it could have become routine because playing your character becomes second nature. We’d been working on the show for five years, so you automatically know how your character would say certain lines. To have opportunities that are challenging and [that] give you the chance to stretch your talents is definitely something that I always looked forward to. Putting Ahsoka into different situations, whether she seems evil, or whether she grows up, or exploring where she is heading is something that can be very rewarding to perform.
For Eckstein, there was a feeling of unfinished business as she returned to play an older, wiser Ahsoka.
Ashley Eckstein: I’m a huge fan of the characters in Star Wars and so, as a fan, I became so invested in them. We spent six seasons on The Clone Wars getting to know these characters so deeply—we really did. They’re animated characters, but we became emotionally attached to them. I can’t say enough about Captain Rex and what he means, but also Hondo Ohnaka is a personal favorite of mine. So for The Clone Wars to end like it did, kind of on a cliffhanger and not knowing where these characters ended up, it meant so much for them to come back in Star Wars Rebels because we needed more from these characters. We need more of their storylines, we need to know where they went and what they’ve been doing, and what happened to them.
Star Wars: The Galaxy’s Greatest Heroes is out February 15 and available to purchase here.
Images courtesy of Titan Comics