At 23, as she excitedly took on the role of Laura Vasquez in the sci-fiction comedy ‘Men in Black II,’ Rosario Dawson had no idea that her breakthrough role would propel her acting career to where it is today.
In a recent interview with Starwars.com, Dawson, the now 41-year-old actress, spoke about the advice she received from executive producer Dave Filoni on preparing for her role as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian, discussed her determination to make her character look as authentic as possible, and whether or not she will return to the show.
Ahsoka Tano’s first on-screen appearance was in the animated television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, so the actress felt she needed to examine the characters’ changes and growth throughout the years.
“There was so much material to work from. I think that was definitely a huge benefit for me. I was marathoning the show from beginning to the end, putting in the movies. It was really fun to see how Ahsoka’s physicality changed, and her facial expressions changed, and her voice and her tenor changed as she just evolved.”
Dave Folini’s classical references made a considerable impact, with the Executive Producer of the series advising Dawson to look to some classical film influences for a character reference/s.
“If you know Dave, then you know he’s got a lot of classic samurai references. She’s wandering the galaxy, helping those in need. She always, for me, was a true Jedi, even if she technically wasn’t a Jedi anymore. She represented the best of what the Jedi Order could be.”
Dawson also spoke about how the costume and the technology surrounding her helped her better play the character. She strived to be as authentic to Ahsoka’s Clone Wars animated series look as possible.
“There was one point, actually, where Dave was curious whether I should wear the contacts or not. I had tried them on so I knew what a difference it made. Also, in talking about the fans, I was like, ‘You can’t do this to me. I can’t not have blue eyes. That will just not be okay.’ [Laughs] And it really made all the difference. Because, you know, you have the whole headpiece, and the costume, and the whole world because we’re there on this set — it’s incredible, with these huge screens, you feel all of it there. You’ve got lightsabers. But the contacts would go in and it just dropped you into this character. I wasn’t Rosario playing dress-up cosplay. I was Ahsoka.”
Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, titled appropriately “The Jedi,” was notably slim on details regarding Ahsoka’s future in upcoming episodes; however, Dawson seemed keen on the idea of returning to her role if the opportunity presented itself.
“I mean, I would love that opportunity. I think it’s so cool that this show exists. I think it’s so cool that I got to show up and give information about this character, the Child, that everyone’s loved so much. You know, that she was not so much showing up as a cameo, but really being a storytelling device for new fans that have fallen in love with yet another new character that we’re getting to see grow. Little Grogu is just amazing. It’s interesting watching The Mandalorian, realizing you’re not seeing lightsabers, you’re not seeing a lot of what we love about Star Wars. It was really amazing to be able to have that gift of being able to bring that into this series and into this space, and I’m really grateful for that opportunity.”
Finally, Dawson said the franchise has been, with regards to being a Jedi, overwhelmingly male until this point and that there was something significant that no other Jedi had.
“So many of the wonderful, awesome Jedi that we love and have gotten their stories told, are male, and you saw them older. When you got to see Anakin grow up it made such a huge difference. I think as people grew with her and aged with her and the story, they grew themselves, and evolved. I think it gives complexity to good and bad and right and wrong in a way that we don’t always get to have story-wise. It’s just fantasy. And I think she represents something stronger than that, about will and determination and audacity and tenacity. She really has pushed herself and evolved in a way that I think her heroine story is one that is not easy to find in other spaces. It’s really cool to see her still out there on quests and having things teased about that world still being very much alive.“ She said. “On top of that, she’s got two lightsabers. There’s that.”
“The Mandalorian” is available on Disney+.