Sasha Banks can thank chicken wings for her role on The Mandalorian. The WWE superstar appeared on an episode of First We Feast’s Hot Ones back in early 2018, which is where Jon Favreau saw her for the first time. Banks battled the spicy chicken wings with host Sean Evans and did a commendable job at doing so, but she had no idea that the appearance was going to lead to a role in the Star Wars universe. She explains.
“Jon Favreau came to me because he watched an interview that I did with Hot Ones. And he really liked me and got my contact information. Then on FaceTime he asked me to be part of The Mandalorian. I was like, ‘Well, I cannot say no,’ but I was so incredibly nervous.”
As for being nervous, The Mandalorian showrunner had no idea how Sasha Banks could feel that way. She recalls Jon Favreau telling her, “Uh, you do WWE every single week and you do that live. You are amazing. There’s a reason why I wanted you to be a part of the show.”
From there, Banks gained the necessary confidence to bring new Star Wars character Koska Reeves to life. In season 2, episode 3, Reeves is introduced as a member of Bo-Katan Kryze’s Mandalorian crew, who help out Din Djarin and the Child.
Sasha Banks, aka Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, credits Bryce Dallas Howard for making her feel comfortable on The Mandalorian set. “She really, really guided me and really took me by my hand because like I said, I was so nervous. She texted me to make sure I was all good,” says Banks. Howard returned from season one to helm episode 3 of the latest season, which has been getting rave reviews from Star Wars fans. You can read the rest of the praise Banks heaped on Howard below.
“She walked me through everything, if I had any questions. She was there for me. I was just really inspired by her and how she treated everybody. She was so down to earth. I brought a lot of her energy into my work because of how incredibly she treated me. And as you see she is getting so much praise for her work because she is just so special.”
Sasha Banks is still excited about her role in the Star Wars universe. “It’s a huge deal. I still cannot get over it. It still does not feel real to me,” Banks said. “The more interviews I do, the more I feel like ‘Oh, my God, holy sh*t’ I’m telling you right now, it still does not feel real to me.” The WWE star continued, “It’s frickin Star Wars! One of the biggest franchises in the whole world, one of the biggest universes you can ever be a part of.” A lot of actors have the same reaction to joining The Mandalorian, with fans on board with each new casting and reveal.
The Mandalorian season 2 continues this week with episode 4, which is directed by Greef Karga star Carl Weathers. While fans are hoping that Ahsoka Tano will be making an appearance in the episode, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni may have waited until episode five to give the character her live-action debut. Filoni directs episode 5, which has many fans under the impression that he will be the one to introduce Tano. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see. You can check out the rest of the interview with Sasha Banks over at Variety and then see her Hot Ones episode below.