In anticipation of her appearance at MCM Comic Con Manchester (July 28th - 29th), STARBURST caught up with legendary voice actor VANESSA MARSHALL to talk about her incredible career, cons, closure, and of course, STAR WARS…
STARBURST: You’re a regular on the circuit in the US, but is this your first UK convention appearance?
Vanessa Marshall: This isn’t my first time in the UK - I’m a huge Anglophile - but this is indeed my first UK convention appearance!
Manchester is honoured! We imagine attending events such as these can be very rewarding…
Absolutely - I’m thrilled to attend this con! I’m looking forward to seeing all of my Star Wars friends and family!
That’s surely one of the biggest ‘pros’, but are there any ‘cons’ to cons; so to speak?
Only that I have to go back home, I wish I could stay forever!
You’ve had a long career playing characters that have either gone on to garner huge fanbases, or, in the case of many of the superheroes, were already wildly popular; but which of them have been the most enjoyable or rewarding to perform?
I enjoyed playing Hera in Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels. As a massive Star Wars fan, this was a dream come true! I was honoured to play Gamora in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, also on Disney XD, as well as Black Canary in Young Justice and Mary Jane in The Spectacular Spider-Man. It was fun to play Irwin in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy too!
Speaking of Hera, those final few episodes of Star Wars Rebels certainly packed a powerful emotional punch for the audience - full disclosure, there were many tears shed here at STARBURST - did those scripts affect you in similar ways when you were performing in the studio?
It was an emotional time for the cast. We knew we were in the final stretch, so every moment was precious. The intense plot points only heightened our awareness of this reality. As an actress, I think I did what I had to do and got the job done.
And how about as a fan?
When I watched the episode, I was devastated. I think it was actually even harder to watch than to perform. I was shattered watching most of Season 4. It was beyond anything I could have imagined. Lucasfilm rocked the animation as usual. It packed a massive punch for sure!
We believe that Rebels is different in that creator Dave Filoni insists that the scripts are recorded with the cast together in a single studio, rather than separated, which is the more traditional approach. Do you find this method more beneficial? Any downsides?
Yes, it’s amazing… so much better as a group! There are no downsides, I loved it.
So we all heard references to Hera Syndulla in Rogue One, and the character has featured in several episodes of Forces of Destiny so far, but can fans expect more of her in the future do you think? Obviously you might face some... Resistance... from Lucasfilm if you were to confirm anything *cough* so we understand if you'd rather stay schtum!
I sure hope so!
Schtum. Nuff said. If you were offered the chance of playing Hera in one of the many future live-action Star Wars projects, would you be interested?
Absolutely. I would be honoured. I have a Masters degree in Acting from NYU, and I’d love to return to on-camera acting.
To be honest, I don’t think fans would accept it any other way!
It would be delightful!
If you could switch roles with any of your Star Wars cast members for an episode, and they weren’t allowed to refuse, which would it be?
Chopper! That would be hilarious!
Perfect! Since first winning the role of Hera and really getting invested in the world of Star Wars, have you noticed a change in the fandom as a whole?
The fandom has always been great! I feel less alone with all my new Star Wars friends and family, so I’m forever grateful for all their kindness and support.
Moving away from Star Wars, are there any characters out there in pop culture that you would still love to play?
Readers, let’s start campaigning for that to happen! Talking of your fans, if any of them want to follow in your footsteps and dream of becoming a voice actor one day, what advice would you give?
I would say check out Dee Bradley Baker’s website www.Iwanttobeavoiceactor.com. Also, take tons of classes and never give up!
What projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to? The ones you’re allowed to tell us about, that is…
The Star Wars Rebels Season 4 DVD is being released in the US on July 31st, there’s new Forces of Destiny episodes coming soon to the Disney YouTube channel, and Guardians of the Galaxy Season 3 continues in 2019! You can hear my voice in the new Teen Titans movie, and I have exciting news coming soon about new cartoons and video games either on my Twitter, @VanMarshall, or Instagram, @VanessaMarshall1138.
Stealth George Lucas reference noted! So will you be making any more UK convention appearances after this, just in case any fans can’t get to Manchester this weekend?
We’re trying to arrange more visits, but there are no concrete plans yet. That said, I hope to return to the UK as soon as possible!
Be sure to catch the wonderful VANESSA MARSHALL while she’s a special guest at the upcoming MCM Comic Con Manchester, July 28th - 29th
Photo credit: Cherie Crowder