The Mandalorian newcomer Mercedes Varnado, also known as WWE’s Sasha Banks, says she wanted to “cry and scream” when she learned her beskar-wearing Mandalorian would save the life of The Child — a.k.a. Baby Yoda, a.k.a. Grogu — in Chapter 11 of the Star Wars series. In “The Heiress,” Varnado’s Koska Reeves encounters Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) when he travels to the estuary moon of Trask in search of other Mandalorians. He finds them in a trio called the Nite Owls, the elite unit of Mandalorians that counts Reeves, Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), and leader Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) as members.
When some Quarren double-cross Din aboard a sail barge, pushing Grogu’s cradle into the mouth of a hungry Mamacore and trapping Din in an attempt to steal his beskar armor, the Nite Owls come in blasters blazing and quickly eliminate the treacherous “Squid Heads.”
“It was so incredibly cool when I found out that I was going to save him. I just wanted to cry and scream, but I felt like I didn’t have time,” Varnado told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was just like, ‘OK, let’s go! Let’s do it!’ At the same time, it was so, so hard because that pram is really heavy and with my beskar on as well, it was hard. So he should be really thankful — and I think he is — that I saved him. (Laughs.) So it was cool.”
Varnado, the recent WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, put those skills to use when she drop-kicked Grogu’s attackers — skills that will prove useful should Reeves ever get her hands on the elusive Darksaber currently wielded by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito).
“I don’t want to give away too much because it’s still really secretive. We don’t know where it’s going to go, and maybe it can go somewhere else in the future. I can only manifest it,” Varnado said when asked if Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau or writer-director-producer Dave Filoni enlightened her on Reeves’ backstory. “But they told me that we’re part of the Mandalorian, what our way is, and why we’re going to search for Mando. And hopefully, we’ll help him to help us find the Darksaber.”
Varnado continued, “So that was our story and really, for me, I wanted to bring a real-life sense and emotion to saving The Child. If someone was really drowning, especially someone as legendary as Baby Yoda, you have to put in everything. I also put in a lot of my wrestling character, as well as the moves. Instantly, you see me do a dropkick, an elbow and a fireman’s carry. Maybe Star Wars fans don’t know what that is but my fans do. So I wanted to bring so many different elements to my character that I hope I can explore more and more someday.”
Varnado also opened up about her Star Wars role in an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com you can read in full here.
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