Actor Eman Esfandi recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he was not initially a fan of the iconic Star Wars franchise. This confession came after his portrayal of Ezra Bridger in the Disney+ series ‘Ahsoka.’
The reporter reminded Esfandi of a scene where Ezra had to hear about the entire original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy third-hand from Sabine. Asked if he wanted to play his reactions bigger during that scene, the actor responded:
“Yes and no. It’s a silly scene for Ezra to be filled in like that. Ezra is filled in on the Original Trilogy, the most influential trilogy in history, while on a little pod, and it’s so casual. (Laughs.) ‘Oh, that’s what happened? Crazy!’ I thought that was so funny, and I just wanted to leave it as is. I didn’t have any thoughts on it. I thought it was meta-ridiculous funny that Ezra was filled in that way on everybody’s favorite trilogy, everyone’s favorite part of the franchise.”
Esfandi then made an interesting confession — he wasn’t a fan of the Star Wars universe before ‘Ahsoka.’ As it appears, he shared the same fate with Ezra Bridger, and this made things even funnier for him:
“I wasn’t a Star Wars person before the show. I just didn’t grow up on it. But after we shot the show, I inhaled all of it for six months, and that just made the scene even funnier. So, when Sabine was filling Ezra in, I also didn’t know much about it. So I was like, ‘Oh, that’s hilarious. I really don’t know much about this world.’ So once I got to know everything, it just made that scene twice as funny. I was like, ‘Oh my God, that was how they filled Ezra in? That’s hilarious.’ It was silly and nice.”
According to the interview, the actor also foresaw his casting as Ezra Bridger six months before the audition process began. Interestingly, Esfandi’s audition tape, which included a scene from ‘Top Gun,’ bypassed the need for additional auditions.
‘Ahsoka’ and Esfandi’s Role in the Series
‘Ahsoka‘ is a spin-off from the popular series ‘The Mandalorian.’ It takes place in the same timeframe and continues the storyline from ‘Star Wars Rebels.’ Helmed by Dave Filoni, the series has already received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It also stars Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano and features Lars Mikkelsen reprising his role as Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Esfandi’s character, Ezra Bridger, is portrayed as a former con artist and Jedi-in-training who had vanished along with Thrawn, missing the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. This narrative arc provided an opportunity for Esfandi to immerse himself in the lore for six months following the show’s production to gain a deeper understanding of the universe.
In preparation for his role, Esfandi engaged in rigorous training for the lightsaber and fight sequences. Under the guidance of Bruce Inaba and fight coordinator Ming Qiu, Esfandi underwent about a month of fight rehearsals, as he aimed to perform most of his stunts independently.
As for the future of Ezra Bridger, Esfandi remains open to concluding the character’s journey:
“Including a potential season two and the film, I think I’ll be very involved. From everything I’ve learned about Star Wars and what’s canon at the moment and the way Dave and everyone seem to be writing and moving forward, I think Ezra plays a very pivotal role, which is exciting. … If I do a second season, I’ll be happy. If we also do a movie, I’ll be so happy, and I would never need more than that. I’m like Harrison Ford in that way where I don’t need Ezra’s story to just live forever. I’d rather his story be concluded in the most appropriate way for his character.”
‘Ahsoka’ debuted on Disney+ on August 22, 2023, with the first two episodes, and wrapped its eight-episode run on October 3, 2023. The series received a tribute in its first episode, dedicated to Stevenson, who passed away in May 2023. Moreover, the fifth episode of ‘Ahsoka’ was screened in theaters in September 2023.