The Clone Wars voice actress and Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein jumped on Facebook today to answer questions from fans. The Q&A took place on Del Rey's Star Wars Books Facebook page. Below is a transcript of fans' questions and Eckstein's responses. For clarity purposes, questions have been edited for spelling.
Q: Do you ever feel like you are bringing in a wider audience to Star Wars with how you have Her Universe and such a powerful character in Clone Wars? Adding a breath of fresh air to the fanbase so to say? A: I do believe that The Clone Wars has introduced Star Wars to a new generation of fans. I also think having a female Jedi like Ahsoka has brought a lot more girls into the franchise. I think Her Universe has made it a lot easier for female fans to be vocal about the fact that they like Star Wars.
Q: Will you be making any more Star Wars shirts for Her Universe this year? A: YES! We are designing Several NEW Star Wars designs this year. Everything will be debuting in May. We are making shirts, dresses, jewelry...We have Rogue Sqaudron designs AND I am SO excited to announce that Lucasfilm has given us the rights to design shirts for the women in the EU, so expect more Mara Jade and Jaina Solo designs!
Q: What's your favorite thing about Star Wars? A: My favorite thing about Star Wars is the story. To me, it's a story of hope and a story or good overcoming evil. I never get tired of stories told in the Star Wars Universe.
Q: What is your favorite part about playing Ahsoka? A: I love playing Ahsoka because she is such a strong and positive character in the Star Wars Universe. She's a great role model for girls and boys. I'm also a big time Star Wars fan, so I love creating a new character in this Universe and discovering her story and path along with everyone else! Plus getting to go to events like Disney's Star Wars Weekends is a nice perk :o)
Q: Do you read EU books? A: I must admit, I am just getting started with the novels. I just started Scoundrels and I am so excited to dive right in to these amazing stories!
Q: How do you feel about Ahsoka? You are attached to her character. Do you feel concerned about her future? A: Many of you are asking about the future of Ahsoka....I honestly don't know Ahsoka's eventual fate. I encourage you to watch the Season 5 finale on Saturday because there are some surprises. You will get some answers and then you will also probably have a lot more questions...You must tune in and bring some tissues...
Q: While talking with Anna Graves last week, we thought of a shirt you could come out with. It would have "The Doctor" save Ahsoka at the end of The Clone Wars. Think we could get a "TARDIS rescues Ahsoka" shirt? A: TARDIS saves Ahsoka shirt would be hilarious! I think Ahsoka would make a great companion to the Doctor!
Q: Being a creative force, have you ever thought of authoring a book, or story, set in this grand universe? A: I would love to author a book and it's something that we've talked a lot about. We've been asking girls for the past three years about the stories and characters they would like to read about. My dream is to create a strong female character in the Sci-Fi universe. I think we could certainly use more of them.
Q: Is it true that Ahsoka’s current trials and tribulations lead Anakin to fall a little farther from grace and more toward the Dark Side? A: Thanks for joining the chat. I think the events from this Saturday's episode affect Anakin in a big way. You have to tune in the see what happens.
Q: Would you like to be in a Star Wars live-action film? A: Yes, if I ever had the opportunity to do anything live action, I would be honored. My background is mostly in on camera work prior to my work on The Clone Wars.
Q: Aside from Ahsoka, who is your favorite Star Wars character? A: My favorite Star Wars character is R2-D2! He is definitely my hero and he alway's seems to save the day! He just saved Anakin's life in The Clone Wars 3 episodes ago.
[Unknown question] A: Girls definitely do not pretend to like Star Wars. It's a fact that close to half of all Star Wars fans are girls. There may be some girls and boys that pretend to know more about Star Wars than they really do, but I would encourage you to talk about Star Wars with them and teach them more. Sometimes people may pretend to know more than they really do because they want to fit in. But even if there is a seed of interest in Star Wars, it's our job as fans to welcome NEW fans into this Universe. Especially during this exciting time! We are about to get more movies!
Q: Did you think after That's So Raven that you'd be working with Disney when you took the role of Ahsoka Tano? A: I am a HUGE Disney fan and you could say that I "grew up Disney." My dad worked for Disney, my very first job was at the Disney parks and it was a dream come true to work for Disney on That's So Raven. I am very excited about Disney taking over Star Wars. I think we have some very exciting times ahead as Star Wars fans!
Q: Will The Clone Wars continue past Season 5? A: For all of you asking about the future of The Clone Wars. There are more Clone Wars stories left to tell. Stay tuned for more information, but that's all I know for now.
Q: If you could be in Episode VII, what kind of character would you want to play? A: Many of you are asking if I know anything about the movies or if I would have a role in them. Honestly, I know just as much as you do. I WISH I knew more but everything is so top secret. I would be honored to be involved in them in any way but I have no involvement in the movies right now.
Q: When The Clone Wars first started, I didn't really care for Ahsoka. But over the past five years, your portrayal of her and her maturing into a great character has really sealed her status as a great character. A: I am very aware of how many people hated Ahsoka in the beginning. She came across really strong and very snippy. Dave Filoni and his crew have done an amazing job creating her character and story lines. I have become VERY attached to her and I think many people have become attached to her, as well, because we have been exploring the Clone Wars almost through her eyes. I asked fans for patience in the beginning with her character and I hope that over time, she's won all of the hater's over.
Q: Who would win at bowling, Anakin or Ahsoka? A: Ahsoka would win at bowling but Ashley would definitely lose...I think we all witnessed that my bowling skills are pretty pathetic! LOL
Q: Would you like to do more Star Wars television or movies beyond Clone Wars? If so, what? A: I think we are going to see a lot more Star Wars on TV and in Movies now that Disney is involved. I hope to be involved in the Star Wars Universe for many years to come but I also have other jobs in the works. Some have to do with Sci-Fi and some not.
Q: I wanted to commend you on the Year of the Fangirl campaign. I think this will be great for fangirls of all ages, and I’m so glad that you did this. A: I'm so glad everyone is so excited about The Year of the Fangirl! We have some amazing stories to share of some amazing women whose stories deserve to be told!
Q: How do you feel about the darker tone The Clone Wars has taken in the last few seasons, at least in comparison to the first two seasons? A: The Clone Wars has definitely taken a darker tone because we are getting closer to Epiode III. I think it's integral to the time period to go in that direction. However, I think stories like the Youngling arc are important because we have a lot of young fans that want to know how lightsabers are made and how your lightsaber is designed....of wait...I'm 31 and I had those questions too! Sometimes the sweeter stories are a nice change of pace during these dark times.
Q: What is your favorite TCW episode? A: I would say that my favorite Clone Wars episode(s) are the episodes that are airing now. This season finale is incredible and I particularly liked "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much" That chase scene was just beautiful and the sewer/tunnel scene broke my heart. I cried the first two times I watched it. The episode that airs this Saturday is one of my favorites too. The Mortis Trilogy is my second favorite arc.
Q: Did you have any idea when the show started that it would become this popular and successful? A: Being the voice of Ahsoka has truly changed my life and I never imagines 6 years ago that I would still be doing this show and would have Her Universe and would be doing this chat today. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the fans and to everyone on this chat today. I feel like I gained an entire family of Star Wars fans that I will remain friends with for the rest of my life. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. I am forever grateful!
Q: What happens to Ahsoka? A: To everyone asking about Ahsoka's future, I can't say much until this Saturday's episode airs. You will have many questions after that and hopefully we can have another chat then ;o)
I'm so sorry that my typing has been so slow! I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone to joined this chat! I am excited to read more Star Wars novels and please let me know what female characters you want to see on some Her Universe shirts now that we have the rights to design them!