Dee Bradley Baker, the voice of Rex and all the clones on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, discusses the love for the characters on the show and how they connect with them.
“For me, it’s not easy to have a clone die or to have something like Fives’ [death in season six]. Those were challenging arcs for me to go through, just emotionally and personally. Because as a voice actor, I don’t bring my work home with me. I do my thing and I’m done. And then I’m kind of free of it once I get home,” Baker explained. “But there have been episodes of the Clone Wars that have been very affecting that I have to carry with me, and work my way through, because…these Clones in particular, they’re soothing. And they’re not outlandish or fanciful or stylized cartoon characters. They just feel very human.”
He continued. “And I think that’s kind of the key to what’s appealing about them. It’s that they’re heroic and ultra-competent and dependable, but they’re human. They are not superhumans. And so, when they get shot or killed or realize the tragedy of the Clone Wars or glimpse that, it’s affecting to me…So there’s that connection that I have [that] I think the other actors in the show share with their characters very much.”
For Baker, the humanity that makes the Clones so compelling also ties into one of the series’ understated, yet most powerful relationships: the evolution of the bond between Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano (played by Ashley Eckstein). Something we now know, thanks to the many years since Clone Wars was last on screens, was that their friendship developed into the time of Star Wars Rebels, and perhaps even further in the timeline beyond that.
“There’s a lot of water under the bridge with Ahsoka and Rex,” Baker said on the impact that the young padawan—now former padawan, having heartbreakingly left the Jedi Order behind—has had on his portrayal of Rex, in Clone Wars and beyond. “[Since] the first meeting of the two, Rex has kind of gradually loosened up, and [loosened up] his style of soldiering. I think that’s in answer to his working with Ahsoka and Anakin for such a long time. And for them to come through all of this together? For Rex to survive that fall and then to make it all the way through the end of the Clone Wars, it’s a real culmination. It’s quite exciting, and very satisfying, to be able to play that out, finally.”
The relief and satisfaction Baker feels about being able to deliver on this important chapter in Rex and Ahsoka’s story is something he shares with fans about the show’s return for one last season at large. “We all thought it would not happen, and I know the fans and those that love Clone Wars and Star Wars are going to be very excited and gratified to see how this plays out. For these two in particular, because they’ve got a very interesting friendship and a long friendship that stands the test of the time,” Baker told us.
“We see Rex, even older and knowing he and Ashoka made it all the way to Endor. So, it’s part of an ongoing saga, and friendship, and partnership, and collaboration, that continues past the Clone Wars,” he said. “But this is a uniquely decisive moment that’s coming down for both of them. It’s had a lot of pretty dramatic things happen so far, but what’s coming up with the Clone Wars’ final season is uniquely operatic in the grand space opera that is Star Wars.”
Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7, continues on Friday, February 28th on Disney+.