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[This story contains spoilers for episode six of The Book of Boba Fett.]
The Star Wars experience for Jennifer Beals has been overwhelming — and deeply rewarding.
Beals connected with the franchise in her youth when she watched A New Hope for the first time, and found that Star Wars — as it does for so many fans — spoke to her on another level. Decades later, the actress ended up smack dab in a galaxy far, far away playing Garsa Fwip in multiple episodes of The Book of Boba Fett.
Sadly, it appears the character’s time has come to a shocking close. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Beals not long after “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger” dropped on Disney+ to discuss how she became involved with the series, her unique contributions to the character and Garsa’s (possible) fate, among much more.
How did you become involved with The Book of Boba Fett?
My agent called and said Jon Favreau wanted to talk to me about a role in what they called then The Mandalorian. I Zoomed with Jon, Robert [Rodriguez] and Dave [Filoni] about the character and really loved what they had come up with. I had a couple of suggestions, but I made sure to tread carefully, as they are the gatekeepers of this extraordinary canon. They were incredibly open to what I had to say and implemented some ideas.
Mind sharing some of your ideas they added?
In the Sanctuary, in the original script, my employees referred to me as “Master.” And I said, “Given that Garsa is trying to create a literal sanctuary of beauty and balance in a world that’s lacking both, I think that we could choose other language. I am not anyone’s master. I am their employer.” I feel proud to have played a free, prosperous Twi’lek who has seen her share of battles. Another thing they let me add was the scar that runs from her collarbone to her sternum. I said, “To have been through the war, you don’t come out unscathed. And maybe there is a way we can show that without having to say anything about it.”
How arduous was your makeup process?
Actually, it didn’t take much time. My hair and makeup took less time on The Book of Boba Fett than it did on The L Word. And I think it was because I was just doing the makeup [for Garsa]. The Lekku [head] had already been created. And [makeup artist] Alexy [Jukic-Prévost], who is just brilliant, created stencils for the eye makeup. They’re wizards over there.
What was your level of Star Wars fandom before Book of Boba Fett, and where are you now?
The first film was seminal for me in that, as a child, I was always curious about God. And I had a real sense that there was something else than what I was seeing. So when I saw A New Hope, when they talk about the Force, I went, “Oh! That’s what I was looking for!” It just felt familiar. So I was a big fan as a kid. I am obsessed now. (Laughs.) I look at things differently now.
I loved that the Sanctuary, like the Mos Eisley cantina, was an actual set with the decor and vibrant characters physically there, not CG. What was shooting that like?
I thought I was going to have a greenscreen the whole time. And I walk into the Sanctuary, and I don’t have to imagine anything in terms of my environment. The creative and technical excellence is unparalleled on that set.
How has fan reaction been? Different from any other project of which you’ve been a part?
Well, The L Word fandom is amazing. I am just going to say that. They are incredibly present and lovely. But it is a smaller show. The Star Wars fans are so excited, and they are just so many of them! They have been incredibly welcoming, and it’s fun to see; it is fun to see their joy and their wonderment. It’s been an unbelievable experience to step into the pleasure dome.
How did you feel when you read about the bombing of the Sanctuary which occurred in today’s episode?
They gave me all of my episodes at the same time, so I could read where I started and where I ended. And I was OK. Of course, I would have loved to go on and on, but there is the moment of acceptance in that this is the story. I feel very fortunate to have stepped, for even a brief amount of time, into the Star Wars universe.
Any sliver of hope Garsa Fwip survived?
You’d have to talk to Dave and Jon about that. (Laughs.) We know she’s a survivor, so who knows.
Finally, I know you are producing a number of projects that you can’t discuss at the moment, but can you share the creative satisfaction derived from that as opposed to acting?
They are very connected to me in that I am always led by the heart of the story. And when it resonates, it is like a bell that awakens my soul and leads me to places I haven’t been. There are so many stories I want to tell. I love to tell underrepresented stories in all genres, big or small, that explore people redefining their power, finding their path and perhaps even lighting the way for others.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
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