There often is a nice groundswell of support for voice actors to portray their characters when they are brought into live action. However, many of those voice actors do not get the live-action opportunities to play the character we all know and love. Sometimes it’s because the voice actor not wanting to do the live-action, and sometimes it’s because they want to have a more prominent name take that role to help put behinds in the seats. More often than not, though, it’s the latter more than the former. This is the movie and entertainment industry, where the main thing for the studios is to make money. Bigger stars typically equal bigger paydays for all involved.
As with all rules, there are exceptions to those rules. Katee Sackhoff comes to mind as a voice actor also being cast as the live-action version of their character. With Katee, though, the animated version was designed to look like her. It’s rumored, although without hard factual evidence to prove it, that Filoni modeled Bo Katan after Katee Sackhoff. Katee admits in an interview with Culture Slate that she was surprised that Disney didn’t recast her with a bigger named star like Scarlett Johansson. She said, “It never happened to me, like that big, huge thing had never happened, so I always joked, ‘of course they’ll recast it, they’ll probably hire Scarlett Johansson.'”
So when the news broke that Ahsoka was coming to live action, some fans wanted Ashley Eckstein to play the character. Ashley has been the only voice of Ahsoka since the animated The Clone Wars movie and has become a fan favorite at comic cons and expos. Ashley, however, wasn’t selected to be Ahsoka in the upcoming series. So many fans picked Rosario Dawson to be Ahsoka in live action, Disney along with the Holy Filoni (hallowed be thy name), and his favorite Favreau had no choice but to listen to the majority of fans. So Rosario it was, and Ashley was left out of the live-action production.
But it is commonplace to have the original actor or voice actor make a cameo performance in the show they are famous for, although not portraying the character they are known for. For example, Tara Strong voiced Harley Quinn in multiple video games, animated series, and shows. She appeared in the CW show – “The Arrow” as the “Deranged Squad Female”. And as another example, Laura Bailey voices Ellie in The Last of Us Part II video game but made a cameo in The Last of Us show episode 9, where she was a nurse in the hospital scene. There are many other examples of actors who acted in an animated series or video games who went on to make a cameo in the live-action series or movie.
Many have hoped Ashley Eckstein would make a cameo in the upcoming Ahsoka series. Will we be seeing the voice of Ahsoka any time soon in Season 1? It would appear not. In a recent interview with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Gazette, Ashley Eckstein said, “I was invited for a set visit. It wasn’t a cameo! I want to set the record straight. Everyone thinks I’m dropping a hint, but unfortunately, I don’t have a cameo in the first season. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed and throwing my dreams out into the universe that maybe if there’s a season 2 or some sort of spin-off that I’ll eventually do a cameo, but I did get to visit the set..”
August 23rd, 2023, Disney+ delivers us the first 2 episodes of the exciting new Ahsoka series with Rosario Dawson in the titular role and, unfortunately, Ashley Eckstein nowhere in sight. Here’s to hoping for something in season 2!