The Mandalorian star Katee Sackhoff says her “mind was blown” to play Mandalore ruler Bo-Katan in season two after she had played her for so long in animated series.
The former Battlestar Galactica star told StarWars.com: “I really do continue to pinch myself… I keep saying ‘surreal’ because I have no other word for it. It truly is. Especially having lived her for so long.”
She made her debut as Bo-Katan in 2012 voicing her in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which eventually saw her progress from being a twisted part of the renegade Death Watch gang to her regal position in Mandalore.
Sackhoff has now played Bo-Katan in three different points in her life. “As the years went on, I put a little bit more of my own spin on her, of course,” she said, deepening her voice to reveal more experience in Star Wars Rebels.
Sackhoff knows she’s nailed her character when they start getting in her head. “That is how I do a lot of my backstory work. I know that I’ve found a character when I start to dream as them. And I have dreamt as Bo-Katan for many, many, many years. I’ve seen myself as her for many years. And to finally have that moment where I’ve got it on and I was staring at myself in the mirror, it truly was a dream.”
Bo-Katan made a surprise appearance in Chapter 3: The Heiress episode of The Mandalorian and she revealed she hadn’t watched it yet.
“I want to live in this fantasy just a little bit longer,” she says, “because my expectations are so high not only for myself but for Bo in this world. And I just don’t want to dive in yet. I’m a little terrified, actually.
“I will. Tonight! But I will make sure that I have a glass of wine with me,” she added.
The transition from voice actor to live-action star was far from simple.
“I think the main thing is I truly thought that having voiced her for over a decade would help me. And it actually sort of hurt a little bit in the beginning,” she said.
“While it gave me a tremendous understanding of who she was as a person, it didn’t help me to figure out her physicality. It didn’t help me to figure out the way her face moved or the way she walked. I had seen the way she moved, but it was in animation. And so to translate that in a way that didn’t look cartoonish was actually harder than I thought it would be.”
She is the polar opposite of her character. “I’m a crazy person,” she laughed. “I’m moving and I’m jumping around and my face is doing all these weird things… There is a stoicism to Bo-Katan that is very purposeful and intentional. When she moves, she means to do it. It’s thought out. So I really had to find a way of living her and having her move [in a way] that felt calculated, which did not allow for ‘Crazy Katee’ to come into play at all.”
She tended not to watch her performances and had never seen Battlestar Galactica in its entirety.
“Once I watch it one time I sort of put it to bed and I move forward with the character or I put the character to bed, as well. And so it’s strange for me to watch myself.”
Star Wars is different. “I will absolutely watch this. As a fan of the series and the world, I have to watch this. I have to. I have to take my own insecurities out of it and just watch the darn thing.”