Live-action Sabine Wren in 'Ahsoka'
(Disney+)

Sabine Wren’s Casting In ‘Ahsoka’ Sparked Controversy

Who plays our favorite Mandalorian artist?

Sabine Wren is one of the main characters in both Ahsoka and in Star Wars: Rebels, and is a Mandalorian graffiti artist and explosives expert who was instrumental in the liberation of Lothal. But who plays her in live-action and why is it important?

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The casting of Sabine Wren

Australian actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo plays Sabine in Ahsoka, which marks the live-action debut of the character. Liu Bordizzo is likely best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, a Netflix-produced sequel to the original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. However, Liu Bordizzo’s casting was not without controversy.

Liu Bordizzo is mixed-race (of Chinese and Italian descent), and some fans noted that she was not South Asian like Sabine or her voice actress, Tiya Sicar. It should be noted that while Sabine Wren’s mother, Ursa Wren, is shown to be East Asian, Sabine herself more closely resembles her father, who is implied to be South Asian (or the Star Wars equivalent).

The criticism of this casting is about longstanding issues with Asian representation, such as colorism and how East Asians (Japanese, Chinese, and others from the region) are over-represented in fiction when compared to South Asians, though all Asians still struggle to be well-represented in “Western” media. Disney has previously faced similar criticism over Raya and the Last Dragon when East Asian actress Kelly Marie Tran was cast as the South Asian Raya.

This conversation does get a little more complicated when talking about individuals of mixed race, as it can sometimes feel like gatekeeping who is and is not Asian. At the same time, it is an important conversation to have and acknowledge, especially if Sabine Wren’s family is eventually brought onto the show.

(featured image: Disney+)


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Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She 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.