Katee Sackhoff practiced Bo-Katan's dramatic throne pose in The Mandalorian
Warning: This story contains spoilers from The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2: "The Mines of Mandalore."
The Mandalorian has only been on the air since 2019 — but Katee Sackhoff has been playing Bo-Katan Kryze for well over a decade.
The Battlestar Galactica alum first joined the Star Wars universe in 2012, lending her voice to the tough, no-nonsense Mandalorian warrior in The Clone Wars. Since then, Bo-Katan has become a key player in a galaxy far, far away, ultimately making the jump from animation to live-action. Now, Sackhoff takes on an expanded role in season 3 of The Mandalorian, which follows the one-time leader of Mandalore as she clashes with Pedro Pascal's Din Djarin.
After a brief appearance in the season 3 premiere, Bo-Katan steps into the spotlight in the second episode, "The Mines of Mandalore." The once-tenacious warrior has lost her drive to reclaim her throne — but, after Grogu begs for her help, she begrudgingly returns to help rescue an incapacitated Din. There, she once again wields the Darksaber and begins to wonder whether her home planet might be salvageable after all.
The 42-year-old Sackhoff opened up to EW's Dagobah Dispatch podcast about Bo-Katan's return to Mandalore — from teaming up with Grogu to how she perfected that dramatic throne pose.
Lucasfilm Ltd. Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze in 'The Mandalorian' season 3
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You spend a lot of this episode exploring Mandalore with Grogu. What's it like to film these big scenes with a puppet as your scene partner?
KATEE SACKHOFF: You know, it truly feels like just another scene partner. Over the years, I've worked with so many children and dogs and tennis balls that, at this point, the fact that he is animatronic and has the brilliant puppeteers controlling him, it truly makes it feel like you're in a scene with someone. So, I actually find him quite easy and enjoyable to work with.
It's gotta be fun to be poking around these dark ruins and exploring Mandalore with him.
Absolutely. The main thing for me is that when we're walking next to each other, he's usually on a track. And Bo-Katan, she doesn't really look at her feet that much. She sort of instinctively always knows where she's walking. So, for me, I can't look down at him or at the track, so I'm usually trying to figure out where I am and not trip — because that's not very Mandalorian of me. [Laughs] I'm quite clumsy.
I imagine that's especially tricky when you've got the helmet on.
It is. I'm really lucky, because the owl eyes of my helmet sort of slant down a little bit. So, I actually have a little bit more peripheral vision than the guys do. My helmet has these plastic plates that lock me into it, and, if I keep those off, I can actually see quite a bit down the bottom of my helmet. But it definitely takes away focus. [Laughs]
When we see Bo-Katan at the beginning of this season, she almost seems like an entirely different character. She's usually so intense and driven, and here she's very disillusioned and kind of exhausted. What interested you about how she starts this season?
It's the culmination of the last 10 years that we've known this woman and every single thing that she's been through. It's the emotional toll and exhaustion of the directive she's given herself, which is to unite and lead and bring her people together. She always tries to do what she thought was the best for Mandalore, and she has failed mercilessly, multiple times. I think it has finally wore her down, and I think that she gave up. She's sitting there, reevaluating every single thing that she's done in her life.
One of the driving forces behind Bo is that she has so much guilt from the death of her sister, and if she could just make it right, it would in a certain way atone for that. All of that is going through her head. She's lost everything. She's lost her home world. She's lost her family. She's lost her team. She's lost Mandalore. She's lost the Darksaber. Everything she thought she needed is gone, so that's a pretty devastating place to start.
We see that especially in her first scene, where she's sitting by herself in this cold, empty castle. She's alone on this enormous throne.
You know, I really wanted to embody the throne with disrespect. Jon [Favreau] and Rick [Famuyiwa] and I really sat there and took pictures and tried to figure out what was the best angle for her to sit at, what looked the most purposefully disrespectful. And not just disrespectful, but also bored.
We settled on that [pose] partially because I'm so dinky compared to the actual throne. When they built this throne, I don't know who they thought was going to sit on it. Chris Hemsworth I am not. [Laughs] I think all of a sudden I sat on it, and they were like, "Oh. She's little." We had to figure out a way to take up more of the space because it's such a massive space.
I saw this fantastic TikTok where this woman dressed in Bo cosplay is sort of hanging out, bored. All of a sudden, she hears a ship, and she's like, "Oh no!" So, she starts taking off her sweatshirt and putting her boots on and basically trying to answer the door and look like she doesn't care. That's the humorous side of things, for sure. Whether or not she knew [Din] was there and she did that for his benefit is up to interpretation.
You've talked about how when you first got the job on The Clone Wars, you assumed you'd do a few episodes and be done — and now you're here, 10 years later, playing Bo-Katan in live-action. What's that journey been like for you?
You know, when I got the call to play Bo [on Clone Wars], I really thought it would maybe be for an episode or two. I really didn't have any expectation other than I was excited to voice a character in a Star Wars animated show. It was such an exciting moment for me, growing up as a Star Wars fan. And to be a female Mandalorian warrior? I was like, "Oh my God, of course I'll do this!" Every episode I got asked to come back was icing on the cake.
When [The Mandalorian] happened, I was genuinely moved that not only was she making the jump to live-action, but Jon and Dave [Filoni] wanted me to do it. It was a really profound moment in my career. Voicing Bo is one thing, but being able to play her in live-action… I feel like if anything had been different in my career, in the 25 years leading up to this, it may not have happened. I spent many, many years playing characters that are physical and complicated and, on paper, pretty similar to Bo. I think it made sense.
It's sort of weird to look back on my career as a whole so far and realize that it was all potentially leading to this place. With the benefit of hindsight, it's kind of awesome.
So, we have to talk about the Darksaber. We see Bo-Katan rescue Din, and she briefly wields the Darksaber, but, ultimately, she doesn't take it. I think some fans might be wondering whether she could have — and whether she would have had a legitimate claim to it. What did you make of that moment?
I think that is the thing that has finally shifted in Bo-Katan: She doesn't want it anymore. I know that's hard to understand, but when you covet something for so long, and it's so elusive, and you have failed at every turn… We saw her not take it at the end of season 2. I don't really think it ever occurred to her that she had it in her hand. I think she was legitimately just trying to do the right thing, which is such a beautiful thing to see her do. She removed her ego long enough to save Din and Grogu. And that is the way.
You talked about the physicality of playing this character, and there's a great fight scene in this episode. Did you learn any new skills or stunts this season that you're particularly excited about?
One of the coolest things about this show — and the benefit of the helmets — is that we can put the exact right person in the suit who is an expert at that one thing and can make Bo-Katan the warrior that she is and so captivating to watch. This season, four other women wore this suit, all for different reasons and purposes. It would be incredibly narcissistic to believe that I could actually do what they do. [Laughs]
That being said, any time they let me do something, I absolutely do it. There's definitely some swordplay that I had a hand in. There's also an amazing knee-slide they let me do repeatedly — so many times that I actually have holes in the knees of my suit. When that episode airs, I'm going to post that picture on Instagram. There's a picture of me with the knees out of my suit, and the look on my face is just pure joy. I was so happy! I got home from work that day covered in bruises. My husband was like, "Oh my God," and I was like, "It was such a great day!" [Laughs]
When you think back to filming this episode, what was your most memorable moment or day on set?
I love the scene with Bo when she's making the pog soup. She's sitting there with Grogu, and Din is coming to, and she's talking to him about the irony of certain things. We see a different side of Bo, and we see a humorous side of her. She's finding humor in the irony of their differences. That's incredibly important that she is becoming interested and fond of this person because she finds him so childlike and so different than the Mandalorians that she knows. She's intrigued by his life and the person that he is, and she is slowly gaining respect for him. She maybe feels just a hint of responsibility for him because she may have sent him to a place that was going to be dangerous.
At first, she was kind of like, "Okay, you're gonna go to the mines? You're on your own! Good luck! Don't get kidnapped by a giant cyborg!"
"I'm just going to sit on my throne!"[Laughs] But she knows that she made a mistake, and Bo doesn't want to be responsible for the loss of any more lives. She's taken responsibility for a lot of the things that she's done, and I don't think she wants to lose another Mandalorian on her watch.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For more Mandalorian coverage, check out EW's Star Wars podcast Dagobah Dispatch, where every week we'll be breaking down the new episodes and bringing you exclusive interviews with the cast and creators, like Pedro Pascal, Katee Sackhoff, Jon Favreau, and Dave Filoni.