Fennec Shand has quickly become a fan-favorite character. Fans were immediately drawn to her in season 1 of The Mandalorian, disappointed by what seemed to be her death, and thrilled by her unexpected return in season 2.
This was only the beginning for Fennec as she also played an important role in a couple of episodes in season 1 of The Bad Batch and will be starring in the upcoming live-action series The Book of Boba Fett.
Ming-Na Wen is a big part of what makes Fennec such a popular character. Fans already adored her as the voice of Mulan and as Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that adoration only increased through the palpable joy that she shares on social media and interviews. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, Wen expresses so much enthusiasm and gratitude at being a part of Star Wars and is clearly having so much fun. She also posts a great deal of fan art and interacts with fans.
These are five little-known facts about the fan-favorite who continues to become more prominent in a galaxy far, far away.
1. She and Dave Filoni went to the same high school
Not only are Ming-Na Wen and Dave Filoni both from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but they also attended the same high school. Wen and Filoni are both alumni of Mt. Lebanon High School, with Wen graduating in 1981 and Filoni graduating in 1992.
Her first episode in The Mandalorian — “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger” — was directed by Filoni. Wen has spoken about how they bonded over their Pittsburgh roots and were surprised to learn that they’d attended the same high school.
Wen was also the president of her school’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Club. She recently posted about this on Twitter, showing how dreams can come true with hard work as she went from the extracurricular club to eventually starring in The Book of Boba Fett.
2. She also thought Fennec Shand died in season 1
Fans weren’t the only ones who thought that Fennec Shand was killed for good by Toro Calican. Fennec Shand was meant to be a one-off character and was supposed to die at the end of “The Gunslinger” episode.
Through being a fan-favorite character, the connection she made with Dave Filoni, and Ming-Na Wen’s own persistence about the character’s survival, Fennec was given a second chance. Before this came to fruition, though, Wen believed like everyone else that Shand was dead.
Of course, she had to keep her character’s survival under wraps, which made her season 2 return in The Mandalorian all the more exciting.
3. She recorded her Bad Batch lines in the closet during lockdown
Being a fan-favorite Star Wars character isn’t always glamorous. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Ming-Na Wen had to record her lines for The Bad Batch in her closet. In an interview with ASAM News, Wen explained why this was necessary and what the experience was like:
"What we were able to do is having very compact and expensive equipment sent to my house. We set it up, the computer, the recording, everything, in my closet, because that had the best sound. With all the clothes, it kind of muffles everything."
She is far from the only individual to record lines this way during the pandemic. Fellow Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran also recorded lines for Raya and the Last Dragon in her closet during lockdown.
The next time fans watch Fennec talking to Omega or Cad Bane in The Bad Batch, they can imagine Wen recording the lines in her closet. This speaks even further to her dedication to playing Fennec and how she makes the character feel effortlessly authentic in all situations.
4. Meeting Deborah Chow at a party led to Ming-Na Wen being in The Mandalorian
Before meeting Dave Filoni, Ming-Na Wen connected with another director of The Mandalorian and this connection is how Wen first became Fennec Shand. During a party, Wen’s friend introduced her to Deborah Chow. Her friend knew what a big Star Wars fan Wen was and wanted her to meet Chow.
Even though Wen claims that she is not good at schmoozing, she and Chow did hit it off, opening the door for Wen to join The Mandalorian. Chow promised she would pass Wen’s name along and Wen didn’t even have to audition for the series.
Wen did not appear in any of The Mandalorian episodes directed by Chow, but hopefully, both of them will continue to be part of Star Wars for a long time and eventually be able to collaborate. There’s always a chance that Fennec will appear in Chow’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series…
5. She performs about 75% of her own stunts
With all the action in The Mandalorian, there is a great deal of stunt work that goes into making the show. Ming-Na Wen has shared that she performs about 75% of her own stunts. This is incredibly rare and speaks to Wen’s athleticism and the commitment that she brings to her role. Even she has her limits, as revealed in an interview about stunts and more with StarWars.com:
"I don’t do some of the dangerous stuff. The helmet is very tough to work in, you have peripheral problems, you can’t see down a lot so it just depends on the stunt. But I try to do as much as I can…"
Fennec’s scenes with the Stormtroopers in The Mandalorian season 2 episode “The Tragedy” are even more thrilling knowing that she is doing so much of that stunt work. The Book of Boba Fett trailer teases many more impressive stunts to come for Fennec in the gritty, action-packed series.
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