‘The Mandalorian’: Bo-Katan Wasn’t the First Animated ‘Star Wars’ Character to Get the Live-Action Treatment

The Mandalorian might be the biggest Star Wars series to hit television, but it certainly wasn’t the first television series.

There have been several hit cartoon series based in the galaxy far away from Clone Wars to Rebels. When Katie Sackhoff took on the voice role of Bo-Katan Kryze in Clone Wars and Rebels, she likely didn’t think she’s get to play the role in live-action, too. However, despite how strange this seems, she’s not the first animated Star Wars character to make it to the live-action world. 

Who is Bo-Katan? 

Katee Sackhoff
Katee Sackhoff | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Bo-Katan is a Mandalorian warrior who is a member of the Death Watch. A fiercely loyal fighter who will stand up for what she believes is the essence of the Mandalorian way, Bo-Katan has similar makings of the Jedi warriors that Star Wars fans know and love.

Bo-Katan is hellbent on finishing off the Empire. Sackhoff spoke about the character in an interview with Deadline.

“She’s a warrior and she has struggled tremendously with being a leader,” Sackhoff told Deadline. “For her, I think there is a struggle and a story about who she becomes in peace, if that were to ever be accomplished and what kind of ruler she would be. She’s never really, that we’ve seen, gotten that opportunity, and whether or not she’s ready for that. Just because she thinks it’s her rightful place, doesn’t mean she’s ready or equipped to rule Mandalore.”

A similar character to the Mandalorian, Bo-Katan operates in the moral gray area that makes her something of a loose cannon. Despite this, her devotion to her beliefs makes her a fascinating character to behold. Fans of the cartoons are excited to see Sackhoff continue her tradition on live-action. However, it is not the first time that a beloved character started as a cartoon. 

The Star Wars Holiday Special

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The Star Wars Holiday Special might be as infamous as its film counterparts are famous. Debuting in 1978, the television special had the makings of a galactic Christmas special, but with a made-up holiday many galaxies away that somehow managed to feel dated as soon as it entered the scene.

Gone were the big budgets, good acting, and believable stories, and in were strange cameos by Golden Girls, disco singers, and a family of Wookies speaking only in growls. 

The special was a disaster. Despite bringing in the main cast of the original Star Wars, it had more in common with the strange variety programs of the 1970s than anything seen on the big screen. There were musical numbers, comedy bits that didn’t quite work, and low-cost effects that looked less like a Star Wars movie and more like a fan film.

It was so lambasted by fans and critics alike that George Lucas tried to have all copies of it destroyed, although low-quality videos of the special remain online to this very day. The special wasn’t entirely a loss, however. While the bulk of it was nonsensical, one short animated toon introduced audiences to Boba Fett before making his grand debut to the galaxy far away. 

Boba Fett’s introduction

In one segment of the special, The Story of the Faithful Wookie, Han Solo and Chewbacca experience some difficulties after a mission to receive a sacred Talisman. Luckily, they encounter a bounty hunter named Boba Fett. After he earns their trust, however, they learn of his true intentions. It helped set up the morally gray world of Mandalorians that still exists today. 

The Holiday Special was, by most means, an unmitigated disaster. However, the Boba Fett cartoon still has a place in people’s hearts. Now that Star Wars fans are inundated with new material, it’s easy to forget a time when it was just a movie and some toys. This entire ordeal helps show just how much the universe has expanded since its premiere.