Katee Sackhoff has been a part of the Star Wars universe since 2012 as Bo Katan Kryze in Clone Wars and eventually Rebels, but 2020 was the year that Katee herself first showed up on the screen in a Star Wars project as Bo Katan in The Mandalorian.
Katee spoke with StarWars.com about how the transition to live action and how she perceives Bo Katan as a character.
“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. 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.”https://www.starwars.com/news/bo-katan-lives-katee-sackhoff-the-mandalorian-interview
Katee admits that she had to pull back from some of her voice over quirks to bring Bo Katan to life in live action.
“I’m a crazy person. 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.”
Bo’s character arc in Star Wars is one of the most interesting in the animated series. From attempted usurper to protector of The Mandalorian culture, Bo Katan has changed both physically and mentally over the 20+ years we have known her as a character in this series, and that journey is something that Katee has not lost sight of.
“You’ve seen her grow up and grow as an individual and as a leader. A lot of people forget. In the beginning of Clone Wars” — which is not required viewing for The Mandalorian but certainly deepens the backstory of Lady Kryze and the Mandalorian culture — “she was not a very good person when we first met her.”
“For a person who started out on the wrong side of this fight and to see her grow and broaden her mind and be open to change is such a metaphor for life and forgiveness. And how people can change. Because she did.”
As a lifelong Star Wars fan herself, it was not only a dream come true to bring a character to life in live action, but it was also a big step to usher in the next generation of female creators and characters in Star Wars.
“What I find so empowering about being around strong women is that the strongest women are also the most humble. And I find that with Mercedes and also with Bryce; they’re just so kind and so great to be around. When I found out that she was directing this episode, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve been a fan of her for a very long time as a performer, but then also as a director. And seeing the voice that she is developing for herself in this industry as a director and as a teacher is really important. One of the great things about Bryce is that she knows that she doesn’t know everything. So not only is she there leading you and teaching you, but she’s learning at the same time. And that’s what makes a great leader. She’s such a great director and she’s such an actor’s director.”