Why Ming-Na Wen’s ‘Star Wars’ Casting Just Makes Sense
The cross-relations of Disney and Star Wars was always inevitable in a marketing sense, which we now see at a grandiose level with attractions at Disneyland/Disney World like Galaxy’s Edge.
Casting crossovers were also more than predictable, though we haven’t seen a lot of them in Star Wars yet.
Now we are with Ming-Na Wen being hired for a substantial role in Disney+’s The Mandalorian. If you’re not familiar with Wen, you’ll recognize her voice from the original animated version of Disney’s Mulan. Plus, she’s had some involvement with Marvel if you include her role as Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series on ABC.
This Disney connection isn’t necessarily coincidental. Wen recently recounted in an interview she was a Star Wars fan when she was younger.
Proof of how much ‘Star Wars’ has meant to so many
According to Wen, watching the Star Wars movies changed her life as it did for many who’ve grown up with it since the beginning. You could say Wen was a little fanatical about Star Wars media as a little girl, long before it branched out into the giant media universe it’s become.
Considering she’s 55 now, Wen grew up with the original trilogy, likely seeing A New Hope at the impressionable age of 14 in 1977. Those of us who didn’t see the first film on the big screen for the first time can’t really appreciate what the feeling was like for people like Wen.
For her, it was a lot like many fans: Almost making it like a sideline religion. As scary as that might sound, Wen admits she eventually made The Force 1/3 of her prayers.
Whether facetious about it or not, she said she eventually started praying to God, Buddha, and The Force. She says things always turned out well when she did.
Does fandom make casting easier for things like ‘The Mandalorian’?
All reports say Wen will be playing a significant character in The Mandalorian, but nobody knows what yet. After her role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we know she can take on any type of action role possible.
In The Mandalorian, we’re going to see the true rough side to the Star Wars universe, one involving continual action. We’re just glad to see a 55-year-old woman finally gain a role like this and become a significant factor in its success.
Wen is busier than ever thanks to working on other Marvel projects (e.g. voice work in Guardians of the Galaxy), including going beyond these properties in an upcoming Transformers online series.
Now that we know how much of a Star Wars fan she was, how much more will Star Wars reach into the Disney talent pool and extract more talent? Let’s also flip this and ponder how much Disney will take from Star Wars in future projects.
Will we see cross-casting between Disney and ‘Star Wars’?
One could argue casting departments would have it a lot easier being able to borrow from the vast Disney-Marvel-Star Wars talent roster. Don’t be surprised to see Disney start to employ familiar people from prior Star Wars projects into their own movies, particularly as voice actors.
With voice acting a major side career for actors nowadays, we’ll likely see Disney woo in the new trilogy actors to voice characters for future Disney/Pixar movies.
Having all this talent together under one giant conglomerate umbrella might sound almost monopolistic. On the other hand, it brings back a bit of a missing piece of old Hollywood where one studio entity has all the gold and keeps producing gold for audiences.
May Marvel and Disney at least step up their diversity as much as Star Wars has.