Have you ever read a book, played a video game, or watched an animated series and found yourself wondering who you would cast in a live-action adaptation of said media?
This entertaining little pastime is known as “fan casting”. Even Claudia Gray, author of the sensational Star Wars novel Bloodline, has been getting in on the action. If you’d like to know who Gray would cast as the young, ambitious senator Ransolm Casterfo or the conniving Lady Carise Sindian of Arkanis in a live-action adaptation of her novel, check out her Pinterest account or this handy graphic on Reddit.
Anyway, one #TanoTuesday, I asked my followers on Twitter and Tumblr who they would cast as Ahsoka Tano in an entirely hypothetical live-action film set in either the Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels era.
Here were some of their suggestions:
1 – Ashley Eckstein
The overwhelming majority of fans who took part in this fan-casting challenge chose Ahsoka’s voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, and I guess it’s not hard to see why.
Unlike most of the other Jedi in The Clone Wars, Ahsoka was an original character created specifically for the animated series and thus had no live-action counterpart in the prequel films. Not only did Ashley lend her voice to the feisty young Padawan, she also infused a little of her own personality into the role.
Fans have therefore come to associate the character almost exclusively with Ms Eckstein and many would simply find it hard to accept another actress in the role.
And after spending the better part of a decade bringing the character to life on the small screen, they felt it was only fair that she should get first dibs on bringing Ahsoka to life in a live-action film, whether it be through motion-capture or prosthetics.
2 – Zoe Saldana
With blockbusters such as Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Star Trek reboot franchise under her belt, Zoe Saldana is certainly no stranger to the sci-fi/space fantasy genre, motion capture technology, prosthetics, or vibrant body paint.
This former ballet dancer turned actress performs a lot of her own stunts and fight sequences on screen so she could easily step into the role of the nimble and athletic Togruta.
Will we ever see Ms Saldana swap her phaser for twin lightsabers? Who knows? The Force is known to work in mysterious ways…
3 – Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Another popular choice was British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who’s best known for her leading roles in the 2013 British period drama film Belle and 2014 romantic drama Beyond the Lights.
Her name has cropped up in relation to Star Wars: Episode VIII on numerous occasions throughout the past six months but there seems to be no official confirmation that she has been cast in this highly-anticipated follow-up to The Force Awakens.
Based on physical appearances alone, Mbatha-Raw would be an excellent candidate for a live-action Ahsoka Tano, albeit a tad on the short side at just 5’4″. Still, there’s nothing a little creative costuming and camera work can’t fix.
4 – Zendaya
Next on the list is American actress, singer, and dancer, Zendaya Coleman.
Better known simply as Zendaya, this 19-year-old California gal is best known for playing one of the leads in the Disney Channel sitcom, Shake It Up, and has been cast in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
She may be a couple of years older than Clone Wars-era Ahsoka but her youthful demeanour, dynamic personality, and popularity amongst the tween demographic make her a prime candidate for the role.
5 – Orli Shoshan
Perhaps one of the more obscure names on the list is Israeli actress and model, Orli Shoshan. However, unlike all the other actresses listed here, she actually has some experience of playing a Togruta in a live-action Star Wars film: she played Jedi master Shaak Ti in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, though most of her scenes for the latter were cut from the theatrical release.
Like many Israeli nationals, Ms Shoshan was conscripted into the Israel Defence Forces in her late teens and spent two years receiving weapons and hand-to-hand combat training.
Her skills in melée combat would certainly give her an edge over the other candidates in this list as far as action sequences are concerned, but this probably wouldn’t be enough to make up for her extremely limited filmography.
But, hey, if a live-action Clone Wars film ever gets made, Shoshan could always reprise her role as Shaak Ti.
6 – Keke Palmer
Another contender for the role is Illinois-born actress, singer, and presenter, Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer.
Ms Palmer made her acting debut back in 2004 and has since starred in numerous films and television series, including the inspirational 2006 drama Akeelah and the Bee, and the horror-comedy TV series, Scream Queens.
This versatile actress has something of a rebellious streak but many young woman have come to see her as a role model due to her active involvement in anti-bullying campaigns and the Embrace Girls Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes positive self-image, self-esteem, and academic excellence.
7 – Kiersey Clemons
And last but not least, another name put forward for a Clone Wars-era Ahsoka Tano was American actress and singer, Kiersey Clemons.
Like Zendaya and Keke Palmer, Clemons is a Disney Channel alumnus and a talented singer; she’s previously worked with Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell Williams and appeared in Lady Gaga’s hard-hitting music video, “Til It Happens To You”.
Her history of playing smart, strong, sassy young women on screen and her cheeky nature make her well suited to playing the role of Anakin’s headstrong Padawan in a live-action feature.
While Ashley Eckstein would be my first choice for a live-action Ahsoka based on her long history with the character, I’d fully support and welcome the casting of a woman of colour in the role as a) it’d be in keeping with Lucasfilm’s ongoing commitment to improve racial and ethnic diversity in its media and b) I’ve always imagined a human Ahsoka Tano would be of black or mixed heritage.
Of course, the chances of a live-action appearance are slim at best, even in the upcoming anthology film Rogue One, but a fan can always dream…
So, tell us. Who would *you* cast as Ahsoka Tano in a live-action Star Wars film or television series?
Special thanks to @AndrewinBelfast, @SappDoyle, @ecphonemes, @ShaunaRust, @Finn_serio, @lHambonel, @vegasdude83, @JLFan888, @Itz_Bradlee, @PattyBones2, @PhilsStalkers, @Pikminister, @SLToyHerder, @Alex_Aguilar_5, @spearxxi, @averyktano, and anyone else who sent me their suggestions through Twitter or Tumblr.
- Dave Filoni Talks About the Women of Star Wars
- What We Know About the Ahsoka Novel So Far
- Ashley Eckstein: “Ahsoka Started a Movement”