The Women of ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2 Were the Real Stars of the Show
Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze) and Mercedes Varnado (Koska Reeves) break down behind-the-scenes secrets.
Katee Sackhoff has been part of the Star Wars universe since 2017, but this year marks the first time she really got her hands dirty as Bo-Katan Kryze. Physically, that is.
The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels character is no stranger to a bit of rough and tumble—she’s a former member of the formidable Death Watch, a terrorist group hell-bent on making their native home of Mandalore a warrior nation once more.
But up until The Mandalorian season 2, Sackhoff only ever voiced the fan-favorite character.
For the live-action Disney+ series, the actress needed to bring a completely different kind of performance.
“I played the voice of her for so long I can picture her in my head,” Sackhoff tells ELLE.com.
“I dream as her but I’ve never actually moved as her, and that was something that took a lot of work.”
Bo-Katan makes a striking debut in episode 3, “The Heiress,” alongside Mandalorian cohorts Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) and Koska Reeves, played by Mercedes Varnado, aka WWE’s Sasha Banks.
These Mandalorian not only inform the series’ eponymous hero of the diversity of his adopted people’s beliefs and traditions, but they save Baby Yoda (several times) and provide a significant narrative undercurrent to the series: the pursuit of a deadly weapon called the Dark Saber, which Bo-Katan believes can help restore their nation’s planet and power.
In the season 2 finale, Mando wins the Dark Saber in combat, which means the only way for Bo-Katan to claim it, according to Mandalorian tradition, is by defeating him in combat too.
There are two sides to her warrior leader, Sackhoff says: one regal, thanks to her dynastic upbringing; the other a fighter whose weapons and blasters are almost an extension of her body.
“That was something I wanted to pull from the animation and that was definitely not the easiest thing to do,” Sackhoff says.
“I also have an amazing stunt double, Caitlin [Hutson]. She makes me look good with that jet pack, and that I cannot lay claim to.”
That’s not to say Sackhoff didn’t do as many of her own stunts as possible. The 40-year-old is a natural athlete who once planned a career in swimming until a knee injury prevented that path.
But her competitive drive has never gone away, and while filming with Varnado, she wanted to hold her own in front of the professional wrestler.
“Mercedes is very good at the physical stuff,” Sackhoff says. “She does this for a living and I pretend to do this for a living, and there were definitely those moments on set where they’re like, ‘Well, we’ll let Mercedes do that, but you know, Katee, we’ll have Caitlin do that.
’ I said, ‘I can do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it!’”