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Every Animated Star Wars Character Adapted Into Live-Action

Star Wars is one of the biggest franchises of all time, essentially a modern mythology all its own. With hundreds of pieces of media to its name spanning over four decades, ranging from movies to books to video games and TV/animated shows, the galaxy grows bigger every day. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some familiar faces popping up every now and then. So, here’s every animated Star Wars character who has or will soon be making their live-action debut.

Those who technically first appeared in cartoon form, when the character was still being created for the upcoming movie:

Boba Fett in The Star Wars Christmas Special
Boba Fett in The Star Wars Christmas Special (via Lucasfilm/Disney)

Boba Fett – Few people remember the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, but one of the best parts was the official unofficial introduction to Boba Fett in an animated segment. Ironically, his color scheme and weapon of choice make him more visually similar to the Mandalorian than Boba Fett of the original trilogy. But in any case, the short, animated segment got young fans excited for the character when he did eventually debut in Empire Strikes Back.

Gif of General Grievous fighting Ki-Adi Mundi in Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars 2003 show
via Lucasfilm/Disney

General Grievous – Yet another character who was only shown in the cartoon to get kids ready to buy the toys when the character premiered in the upcoming movie. The General Grievous introduced in Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 Clone Wars animated series was arguably the most intimidating version of the character, and while most of him would be de-canonized following the premiere of Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars show to follow, his abduction of Palpatine and duel with Shaak Ti in the show were alluded to at the start of the Siege of Mandalore in The Clone Wars Season 7.

The Retcons (characters who were turned into animation characters after being pitched/created):

From there we get into Disney-era Star Wars and the Post-Clone Wars era. By this point, Disney is looking in to bring back fans who disliked the prequels, while also engaging Prequel and Clone Wars fans.

Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) Ph: Giles Keyte ©Lucasfilm 2016 LTD.

Saw Gerrera – When creating the rebel extremist character of Rogue One, the team had originally intended him to be an entirely new character. But then someone remembered Saw Gerrera from the Clone Wars series and decided the best way to build a rebellion was to build on what already exists. This does still leave a wealth of continuity errors; Forest Whitaker is about 15 years older than the character as written and none of his Clone Wars background (such as his homeworld of Onderon nor his sister, Steela) is mentioned in Rogue One. But his later animated appearances in Rebels, Fallen Order, and now in Bad Batch (voiced intermittently by Forest Whittaker and Andrew Kishino) serve to close the gap between the two characters

Captain Rex/Nik Sant in Return of the Jedi
Captain Rex/Nik Sant in Return of the Jedi

Captain Rex – Captain Rex is another strange case where the character technically existed before the animated version but has since been somewhat retconned into being an adaptation. Nik Sant in Star Wars Legends was a Lieutenant and an older soldier on Endor in Return of the Jedi who had the distinction of being arrested while wearing Scout Trooper armor.

Dave Filoni has since voiced his opinion that this character is Older Captain Rex, who was now canonically at the Battle of Endor. Unlike Saw Gerrera, it makes sense that Rex would be so much older, given clones are engineered to age twice as fast as normal humans. Though there is the issue of the live-action character having been played by a white actor (known only as L. Burner) while Rex is the clone of a Maori man. I personally hold out hope that we will see Temura Morrison once again acting as a one-man army, playing Rex and any other clones who may appear in live-action series like the Ahsoka show.

The cameos (fun detail for fans but not much else in terms of character or world-building value):

Chopper in Rogue One
via Lucasfilm/Disney

Droids – A majority of the droids you see in live-action Star Wars properties were not created out of thin air but were based on previously existing designs, often. Chopper in Rogue One, and the Rabbit droid and BD droid in Book of Boba Fett are all based on animated/video game droids who serve as connective tissue in the ever-expanding Star Wars galaxy.

A Death Watch warrior saving a young Din Djarin (The Mandalorian)
A Death Watch warrior saving a young Din Djarin (The Mandalorian via Disney/Lucasfilm)

Death Watch – While most casual viewers saw the Mandalorians who saved child Din Djarin as normal Mandalorians, Clone Wars fans immediately recognized them as the Death Watch, a Mandalorian terrorist group determined to overthrow the non-violent, neutral regime. This also served as a bit of foreshadowing that the cabal that took Din in might not be as good as they seem.

Illustration of Pre-Vizsla and Paz Viszla, two Mandalorians voiced by Jon Favreau in The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian.
fanart of Pre and Paz Vizsla via (ownership of characters goes to Disney/Lucasfilm)

Pre Vizsla vs Paz Vizsla – technically not the same character but Jon Favreau voiced two different but related Mandalorians in The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian: Pre Vizsla, who was governor of the Mandalorian moon of Concordia turned leader of the Death Watch, and Paz Vizsla, member of Din Djarin’s covert of Mandalorians. Both of them are descended from Tarre Vizsla, the only known Mandalorian Jedi and creator of the Dark Saber, the weapon that denotes the ruler of Mandalore. Both also seem to operate on the idea that only the strongest will rule Mandalore.

Rey stares into the camera, holding up a blue lightsaber in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer.
Rey in Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm/Disney)

The Voices of Jedi Past – Technically, while they do not physically appear in Rise of Skywalker, the voices of Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, and Adi Gallia all speak to Rey in the climax of Rise of Skywalker, voiced by their Clone Wars / Rebels actors.

The Pyke Syndicate in Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Clone Wars.
The Pyke Syndicate in Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Clone Wars via Disney/Lucasfilm

Pyke Syndicate – the Pyke Syndicate (aka the defacto drug manufacturers of the galaxy) first appeared as one of the many crime syndicates in The Clone Wars. They first appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story as the aliens in charge of the Spice Mines of Kessel, before taking the role of main antagonists in The Book of Boba Fett.

Hondo Ohnaka Animatronic at Galaxy's Edge
Hondo Ohnaka at Galaxy’s Edge via Disney/Lucasfilm

Hondo Ohnaka (both actor and animatronic) – Hondo Ohnaka was a fun case in that he wasn’t just in a live-action property but is one of the faces of the Smuggler’s Run ride at Galaxy’s Edge. Portrayed by both an animatronic and an actor (while being voiced by his Clone Wars/Rebels actor, Jim Cummings), Hondo is a delightful callback for fans of the animated shows who blends in seamlessly with the storyline of Smuggler’s Run (though we all know he’s not going to give the Falcon back to Chewie if he can avoid it).

Ray Park as Darth Maul in Solo: A Star Wars Story
via Disney/Lucasfilm

Maul – “Formerly Darth now just Maul” is a wonderful case of combining both the live-action and animated portrayals to create a more well-rounded character. Ray Park returned to play the role in Solo: A Star Wars Story after almost 2 decades away, with Sam Witwer doing the voice of the former Sith Lord. While Solo is unlikely to get a sequel and the character was cut from the Obi-Wan Kenobi show, many fans are still open to seeing the return of Maul to live-action.

The Saga Continues (characters whose stories were started in animation and are being continued in live-action):

Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan
Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze (via The Mandalorian/Disney+)

Bo-Katan Kryze (played by original voice actor!) – Bo-Katan Kryze was every fan’s pipe dream; getting to see not only a character brought directly from animation into live-action as a continuation of their story, but also played by her original voice actress, Katee Sackhoff. It’s a wonderful payoff for both the character and the actress, allowing for a seamless move between the two mediums and legitimizing the animated shows in a way never before seen.

Ahsoka Tano and Grogu
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano (via The Mandalorian/Disney+)

Ahsoka Tano – a character who went from one of the most hated to one of the most loved, who fans had been wanting to see in live-action for years. And Season 2 Episode 5 of the Mandalorian finally gave us our wish. While some miss the voice of Ashley Eckstein and others miss the longer Lekku and Montrals of Star Wars Rebels Ahsoka, most agree that Rosario Dawson has done an excellent job at capturing the physicality and personality of the Not!Jedi.

Cad Bane looks menacing in a hat in The Book of Boba Fett
Cad Bane in The Book of Boba Fett (Lucasfilm/Disney+)

Cad Bane – many fans of The Clone Wars recognized him by his hat alone when he appeared at Mos Pelgo. Like Maul before him, the character was brought to life with a combination of his voice actor (Corey Burton) doing the talking and another actor (Dorian Kingi) providing the muscle. While his introduction may have led to his death(?), it also opens the door for Bane to appear in later (earlier?), live-action shows beyond the Bad Batch series.

The Grand Inquisitor flanked by The Fifth Brother and Third Sister Obi-Wan Kenobi | Official Trailer | Disney+ Credit: Disney+

The Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother – though the Grand Inquisitor’s fate is currently ambiguous, his and the Fifth Brother’s appearance does mark the first time seeing the Inquisitors in live-action. Though they differ somewhat visually from their original Rebels looks, they are relatively faithful in personality and intimidation and also serve to highlight the backstabbing nature of the Inquisitors.

Obi-Wan looks at Tera Sinube, who is frozen in amber.

Tera SinubeTera Sinube was an older Jedi Master who helped Ahsoka recover her lightsaber during a one-off Clone Wars episode. Instead of being killed in Order 66, he and many other Jedi were revealed in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show to be entombed in Amber.

The Purrgils – A blink and you’ll miss it cameo in season three of The Mandalorian, Grogu finds himself awestruck as he looks out into hyperspace and sees a pod of purrgils surrounding him and Din Djarin’s ship. The space whales played a major role in the Star Wars Rebels finale with Ezra Bridger calling on them to destroy the Imperial Blockade of Lothal and capture Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Zeb Orrelios in 'The Mandalorian' season 3

Garazeb Orellious – Zeb is the first (living) member of the Ghost crew to make his live-action debut, having a cameo in The Mandalorian. Similar to Cad Bane, they brought the character to life by combining his voice actor (Stephen Blum) with a motion-capture artist and CGI.

What lies ahead (the recently and yet-to-be-announced):

Natasha Liu Bordizzo will be playing Sabine Wren in the Ahsoka show (via Disney/Lucasfilm)

Sabine Wren – Her casting has only just been confirmed, but already fans are happy to see Sabine coming into live-action, played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo.

Huyang – We don’t know for sure that Huyang is the same droid we saw in the leaked Ahsoka teaser or if he will be voiced by David Tennant if it is him but given Ahsoka’s tendency to investigate ancient Sith and Jedi sites, I wouldn’t put it past her to search out the old droid as a favor to Luke to aid his students in the creations of their lightsabers.

UPDATE 4/7/23: The Ahsoka teaser trailer confirmed that David Tennant will be reprising his role as Huyang.

Hera Syndulla – Casting for Hera Syndulla has not been announced but the character did appear in the leaked Ahsoka teaser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ivanna Sakhno have joined the show with yet to be announced roles.

UPDATE 4/7/23: It’s now confirmed that Mary Elizabeth Winstead will be playing Hera Syndulla in the Ahsoka show.

Grand Admiral Thrawn as he appears on the cover of one of his new DIsney novels
via Disney/Lucasfilm

Grand Admiral Thrawn – Again, casting for the live-action character has yet to be announced but the character’s live-action debut is almost inevitable. He was voiced by Lars Mikkelsen (brother to Rogue One actor and best creator of Death Star weaknesses, Mads Mikkelsen) and there have been plenty of fan manipulations imagining him playing the role in live-action too.

(H/T to Phoenix Fan Fusion and podcasts by The Wampa’s Lair and Star Wars The Saga Continues)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. Dhe has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.