How actor and lifelong Star Wars fan Ming-Na Wen became Fennec Shand

Ming-Na Wen is Fennec Shand in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney.
Ming-Na Wen is Fennec Shand in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney. /

Ming-Na Wen is quite literally living out her dream. Like so many long-time fans, she always wanted to appear in Star Wars. Her various roles with Disney — including Mulan and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — eventually led to her appearing as Fennec Shand, first in The Mandalorian and then again in The Bad Batch.

The actor will continue that role in The Book of Boba Fett, coming to Disney+ this December.

Despite her Disney cred, however, it was actually thanks to another job that she found herself in the supporting cast of The Mandalorian.

How Ming-Na Wen was cast in The Mandalorian

In a recent interview with the Inside of You podcast, Wen discussed how her dream of being in Star Wars came true. As it turns out, it really is who you know in Hollywood — and sometimes, going to parties is about more than having fun. She recalled:

"“I was at a party, throwback to Joy Luck Club and Tamlyn Tomita, a dear friend and amazing human being. She knew what a huge Star Wars fan I was and at that party was Deborah Chow, who was directing The Mandalorian, and [Tomita] came up to me and she said, ‘You have to meet Deborah! You and she know everybody!’ She’s the social butterfly which I’m not. I don’t even know how I succeed in this business, seriously. I don’t schmooze.”"

But schmooze she did. And thus, Fennec Shand came to life. Briefly.

It turns out she was just as surprised and heartbroken as we were when the script implied Fennec didn’t survive her initial appearance, saying: “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I’m reading it and I’m like, ‘Oh yes! Yes! Yes! She’s an assassin and she gets shot in the gut and dies.’ It’s like, ‘Oh.’ It just like broke my heart so totally.”

But thankfully, Fennec and Ming-Na Wen’s Star Wars journeys were only just getting started. There’s much more of both to come, and much sooner than expected.

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You’ll see Ming-Na Wen again as Fennec Shand this December in The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+.