Disney XD's "Star Wars Rebels" Season 2 Finale Event - Arrivals"Star Wars Rebels" voice actress Vanessa Marshall's job would make other equally devoted fans of the space fantasy franchise green with envy.

That's because, as the admitted "Star Wars" super-fan among the cast, she's living her fangirl dream by playing Hera Syndulla, the steely-nerved, green-skinned Twi'lek pilot and Rebel leader at the helm of the Ghost. As the second season of the critically hailed animated prequel series bows on Blu-ray and Season 3 premieres Sept. 24, Marshall joined Moviefone to reveal what's ahead for Hera and reflect on just how much she's enjoying her tenure in a galaxy far, far away.

Moviefone: Knowing how much you love "Star Wars" personally, you must just be pinching yourself every day that this great series keeps moving forward.

Vanessa Marshall: Yeah, pretty much! It's funny, I just had a friend over. She has a son, and I have a "Star Wars" room. And she said, "Is there any way ... Do you have a blaster?" I was like, "Sure! What do you need?" She came over and she said, "Wow, you are really in your element, aren't you?"

So yes, I do pinch myself every day. The "Star Wars" room is turning into the "Star Wars" house, with all the cool new action figures, the Black Series ... Yeah, every day is Christmas!

Now I have to ask: what's your prized possession in that "Star Wars" room?

That's hard to narrow down. I think it's my first Chewie action figure from 1977. I have a soft spot for that.

What was, for you, the high point playing Hera in Season 2 and where her story went in that particular season?

I really enjoyed the episode where she flew the B-wing for the first time. I thought that was awesome. My dad is a pilot, and there's something about people who choose to fly. There's something about their psychology and their sense of ethics, dignity, and sense of adventure, and fearlessness.

There's so many things about pilots that I really admire, and I thought it was cool that they gave her a chance to speak about why she would take to the air, and what it symbolizes for her. Plus, she really killed it in the B-wing, so that was fun to watch!

Given that inside knowledge and respect you have for pilots, how did you try to translate that into Hera, probably from the get go when you started playing her?

Definitely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah I mean, I've gone flying with my dad. My dad has an open cockpit biplane. He likes to do aerobatics. I used to fly with him a lot more than I'm able to now.

Yeah, I was able to utilize that experience in various scenes. I could sort of see them in my mind's eye. Obviously, I wasn't flying in space with my dad, but some of the aerodynamics apply. Yeah, that was really helpful to give me a sense of my surroundings while I'm essentially just standing in front of a microphone. I was better able to envision things, I think.

Your involvement in the franchise is a fan's dream come true, as you mentioned. Tell me about some of the great opportunities and encounters that you've had since you became part of the "Star Wars" family.

One in particular: it's been a year now, I was at Dragon Con last year, and a boy came up to me and asked me to sign something, and I did. His father came up to me afterwards and he said, "I can't tell you how much that means to me. My son is autistic, and the only thing that makes him relax and feel better is Hera, for whatever reason." He said, "I just want you to know what you've done for him on this day. He'll treasure this forever and ever."

Sometimes you think, "Oh well, we're doing an animated series, and this and that." It's interesting how many lives are touched by these characters in ways that one wouldn't even expect. That really moves me.

That was one thing, but also, on May the Fourth, we all went down to the children's hospital here in Los Angeles. I cannot tell you, these terminally ill kids who have some of the best attitudes ever. The droids were there, Chopper was there, R2D2 was there, the 501st Infantry, dressed up Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and all these characters. These kids could not have been happier.

Both of those things really teach me how the spirit of "Star Wars" is giving back, and I really think there's a "Star Wars" family that's created out of all of this lore. We're really united in such a beautiful way. I love how "Star Wars" gives back. That really has just been one of the most magnificent parts of it, I think.

I was sort of a lonely nerd prior to this. I have my own charities that I give to. There are so many things that I'm involved with, but to be directly involved with "Star Wars" fans and help kids in that way has just been magical.

Another way that "Star Wars" has been giving back is with these very strong female characters that have inspired so many people, and we're really in a great time where more and more of these characters and cropping up. In "Star Wars" it started with Princess Leia. It's continued on to characters like Hera, and in the movies with Rey and soon Jyn Erso. What's it meant to you to be among of these very empowering figures?

It's been fantastic. Hera inspires me. She is so focused. She manages to have all the best bits in terms of ... she's very nurturing and feminine in that sense. She's very maternal. But she's also an amazing pilot, an amazing fighter, and her physical abilities are just as impressive. It's so cool to see that none of this has anything to do with gender in a certain way. She's a good person.

I think that is the case with a lot of these women. I mean, Princess Leia has moxie for days, of course! Hera did punch Lando, so there's that -- she was spirited. I think Sabine is an amazing character, too. I really am honored to be a part of it. It's fun to watch them all grow together.

I get fan mail from fathers who say that they're so grateful for the show because they can watch it with their daughters. I get more mail about dads and daughters watching the show, and them saying they're so grateful that they're these positive female role models for their daughters, they're able to get out their old action figures, it's a great way for them to bond. So I think it really does have an impact, so I'm honored to be a part of that.

We're in a really cool phase of "Star Wars" history in which we're seeing elements of the cartoons pop up in the movies, the new comic book lore is now canon, as well the novels. What would it mean to you to see Hera show up live action in a film one day?

My brain would explode, just right on the spot. I'd probably need a paramedic. That would just be crazy. That would be absolutely insane. That would be beyond anything that's already happened.

Oh my gosh. I'm thinking of a sublime day, similar to that: I was at "Star Wars" weekend a few years ago, a couple years ago, and it was Peter Mayhew's birthday. We're doing the final day, and they bring out a Millennium Falcon cake. He hadn't walked in quite some time, and he was able to get up, walk, blow out the candles. It was his 70th birthday. Everyone's singing "Happy birthday to Chewbacca."

I went off stage, and I was like, 'Excuse me, I need a moment." And I remember going into the ladies room and looking myself in the mirror and saying, "Whose life is this?" Completely different than seeing Hera on screen, but it was somewhat sublime. Yeah, I don't know how this happened. I really don't.

What are you able to put out there about Season 3, and for Hera in particular?

Well, I think the stakes have never been higher, and I think she's deeply concerned for her crew, and stuff getting real. We thought it was real before, but now it's really scary, particularly with [the introduction of Grand Admiral] Thrawn, because his tactics are quiet, and powerful, and unpredictable.

So I think she has deep concern for the safety of her crew. It really is moment to moment, life and death situations ahead. So I'll tell you that. It's going to be a wild ride.
Star Wars Rebels
Based on 4 critics

This animated entry in the "Star Wars" franchise fills the gap between the events of "Episode III" and "Episode IV." Imperial forces occupy a remote planet and are ruling... Read More

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