This week, news broke that Lucasfilm was ramping up production on Ahsoka and looking for an actress to play a live action version of the popular Rebels character, Sabine Wren. Naturally, I was taken aback by the phrase “looking for” because an actress already plays Sabine and her name is Tiya Sircar.
Granted, hiring a different actress to play a live action version of an animated character isn’t out of bounds. Hell, fans were similarly dejected when it was announced Rosario Dawson was taking over for Ashley Eckstein when making Ahsoka’s live action debut on The Mandalorian. Dawson’s appearance quickly won over fans so much that the character has spun off into its own streaming series for which they are now casting Sabine — which was obvious considering how Rebels ended.
Ordinarily, shifting away from a voice actor to a more established one for live action is standard operating procedure in Hollywood. However, for Sabine, there are three primary reasons why Tiya Sircar deserves to be considered for the role.
1.) Katee Sackhoff
Disney and Lucasfilm have already set a precedent that original voice actors can play their live action counterparts. When Katee Sackhoff returned to the role she voiced on Clone Wars and Rebels in season 2 of The Mandalorian, not only did she generate massive amounts of buzz for the show’s sophomore season, Bo-Katan became as much of a breakout in live action as she was in animation.
Fans celebrated and even Dave Filoni welcomed her back to the family. Some actors are just forever linked to the characters they play, and Sackhoff is no exception. That said, it can be argued that Sircar is just as indelible to the creation of Sabine Wren. If Sackhoff can make the leap, so can Tiya.
2.) Tiya is an established TV star
The Mandalorian is a test case of both casting options for live-action adaptations of popular animated characters. Despite a voice-only cameo in Rise of Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein was ultimately replaced as Ahsoka Tano by Rosario Dawson. While this upset some fans, having a bona fide Hollywood A-lister like Dawson — who had been a top fan cast for years — was a no-brainer. Similarly, Katee Sackhoff is a top-draw, especially in the world of sci-fi and fantasy after playing Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. So bringing her into the fold of live-action Star Wars makes a lot of sense.
With apologies to Ashley Eckstein, Tiya Sircar — like Katee Sackhoff — is a well established television star. Not only was she memorably Vicki in the award-winning series, The Good Place, she was also co-lead of the Zach Braff sitcom, Alex Inc. While maybe not as high profile as Sackhoff’s stints on Battlestar or The Flash, Sircar can more than hold her own outside the recording booth.
3.) Sabine is an Asian American Star Wars Icon
The one thing that can’t be ignored about Sabine is her importance to Star Wars canon, in particular as the franchise’s first Asian American-coded main character. While Temuera Morrison was the first prominent Pacific Islander actor in the Prequel Trilogy, Sabine Wren’s debut in 2014 was a watershed moment for Asian American representation in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Thank you to everyone involved with creating this show and creating a character like Sabine and then casting an actress of color to voice her. Thank you Rebels for giving us an Asian human female hero who not only can hold her own but has more to her character than being action girl. Thank you for finally bringing a character like this to the forefront for hundreds and hundreds of young girls to look up to.
Allowing Tiya Sircar to continue the groundbreaking work she started on Star Wars: Rebels over seven years ago is the main argument I can make for why she deserves at least an audition for Sabine. At least we know Tiya is paying attention to the fans:
Let’s hope Disney and Lucasfilm are listening too!