Katee Sackhoff has been working steadily in the industry for well over twenty years, from Battlestar Gallactica to 24 to her Netflix series, Another Life, to Longmire, where getting chewed out by a co-star changed her career. She’s also been featured in a few movies — most notably Riddick — but Sackhoff has never broken out in a huge way.
However, since she was a little kid, Sackhoff has always wanted to be part of the Star Wars universe. “I always joked,” she told Michael Rosenbaum on his Inside of You podcast, “that there’s one thing I will always do. If they call me to be a rock in a Star Wars movie, just say yes. I’ll be a rock just to be in this world.”
That’s exactly what Sackhoff did more than ten years ago when director Dave Filioni asked her to voice the role of Bo-Katan in the animated Star Wars series, The Clone Wars. “I didn’t even have to think twice. A female Mandalorian warrior? Hello! Of course!”
Though it was just an animated character, Sackhoff still often joked with Filoni about being cast as a live-action version of Bo-Katan. “You know, one day, if this happens, you know she could exist in these worlds!” Sackhoff said that she “kept saying tongue in cheek things like that because I was honestly just taking the piss.” She never expected it would actually happen.
“I have had such a beautiful career,” Sackhoff continued, “but I have seen people around me get that huge, massive thing… but it’s never happened to me. This huge thing had never happened, so I always joked with [Filoni] just thinking, ‘Of course, they’ll probably recast her. They’ll probably cast Scarlett Johansson.”
“But when The Mandalorian came out,” Sackhoff said, “I made a joke again to [Filoni]. ‘I’ve been playing characters like this for 15 years, buddy!’ And I never thought it would happen. I was just sort of joking.”
In the end, however, Sackhoff didn’t even have to audition. Jon Favreau — the showrunner on The Mandalorian — thought “outside the box” by hiring the actual person who was voicing the animated character, which “never happens.” In fact, when she sat down for a meeting with Favreau, “it wasn’t until halfway through the meeting before I realized he was talking about me. It was a total out of body experience. I kept thinking while he was walking, ‘Those are pictures of me on the wall. What is happening?!'”
“I’m still pinching myself. My mind is blown that not only did they have the thought to do [hire the person who voiced the character], they believed that I could play the role, and that they ultimately let me.”