Back when the first Star Wars movies were released, there was a dearth of strong female characters in the franchise. But with time, the mega-franchise saw the addition of Padme in the prequel trilogy and Rey in the sequels, alongside Carrie Fisher’s iconic Leia Organa. Nonetheless, the franchise has always been short of powerful female role models for a long time. However, with the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, female fans of the franchise could finally resonate with characters like Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, Cara Dune, Fennec Shand, and her majesty, Bo-Katan Kryze. Reprising her role from the critically acclaimed animated series, Katee Sackhoff made her first live-action appearance as Bo-Katan in Chapter 11: The Heiress of the second season of The Mandalorian.
Since her appearance, Bo-Katan has become wildly popular among the more casual fanbase of Star Wars. As a result, the second season finale of The Mandalorian potentially set-up Bo-Katan as an antagonist against Din Djarin for the throne of Mandalore for the third season. Despite the character’s limited screen time, Katee Sackhoff’s performance has received wide recognition. However, in a recent episode of Inside of You podcast with Michael Rosenbaum, Katee Sackhoff has revealed that she expected someone like Scarlett Johansson to be cast as Bo-Katan Kryze for the live-action adaptation. Having previously lent her voice for the character in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, the actor was unsure if she would become the first choice for Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni for The Mandalorian. In the podcast, she also reveals her childhood dream of being a part of the Star Wars universe, and her journey so far.
“When I was a little kid, I idolized male action stars because there were not a lot of female ones in the ’80s. We had the Sigourney Weavers, and we had the Linda Hamiltons and Lucy Lawless, but we also had Princess Leia who was smart and feisty and gorgeous and a ball buster and capable and caring and so well-rounded. So from a young age, I loved Star Wars. I always joked that when I first moved to California, ‘Now look, there’s only one thing I’ll always do. If they call me to be a rock in a Star Wars movie, just say yes. I’ll be a rock just to be in this world.”
About a decade ago, Sackhoff got a call from Dave Filoni if she was interested to play the role of Bo-Katan in The Clone Wars. Without wasting a single minute, she accepted the offer as she candidly revealed in the podcast. “I jumped,” she recalls. “It wasn’t even like a think twice. I was like, ‘Of course. That’s amazing. A female Mandalorian warrior? Uh, hello, of course.'”
Since her time with Dave Filoni at The Clone Wars, the duo was always joking about a live-action adaptation of the character. But naturally, she had always assumed that the role would go to someone like Scarlett Johansson, who was taking the industry by storm with her strong acting performances and widely acclaimed movies. Having starred in movies like Lost in Translation, The Prestige, Match Point, and Vicky Christina Barcelona, the actor had also landed the role of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow for Marvel Studios.
At Star Wars Celebration, Katee Sackhoff once again met Dave Filoni when The Mandalorian was first announced. With a real opportunity of bringing Bo-Katan to the flesh, Sackhoff nudged Filoni for an opportunity while still keeping the ‘joking’ part intact. And as fate would have it, the actor finally found herself with Jon Favreau, the original creator behind the entire idea, with the offer of a lifetime to reprise her role from The Clone Wars in The Mandalorian.
“It took me halfway through that meeting to realize that he was actually talking about me doing Bo-Katan. I’m still pinching myself, not only that they have the thought to do this but that they believed that I could and that they ultimately let me.”
While there’s not an iota of doubt that Scarlett Johansson would have been a phenomenal choice for the role, Katee Sackhoff’s determination, persistence, and passion for the character of Bo-Katan deservedly make her the perfect choice that Favreau and Filoni could have made.
The third season of The Mandalorian will start filming this April. The first two seasons are currently streaming on Disney+ exclusively.