Many fans of Star Wars are familiar with Catherine (Cat) Taber from her voice work on various projects, most notably the voice of Padmé from The Clone Wars television series. We at Geeks Under Grace had the pleasure of asking Cat a few questions about her career, her work, love for Star Wars, and Games For Soldiers (her non-profit organization).
Q: Voicing Mission Vao from Knights of the Old Republic was your first foray into working with the Star Wars Universe. Were you a big Star Wars fan before landing that role,or was it your time spent voicing Mission that spiked your interest in the universe?
Cat: I was already a big fan and I actually credit that as part of the reason I was cast. KOTOR was actually only my second voice-over audition ever (I think the first was for like Papa’s Johns Pizza or something !). I like to think it was meant to be. I believe my love of that Galaxy far, far away and my understanding of the “feel” of it really was an asset.
Q: Probably the role people know you the best for is that of Padmé in both The Clone Wars animated movie and TV show. How did you prepare for that role? Did you study Natalie Portman’s performance in the prequels, or try to make it more of your own interpretation?
Cat: I absolutely rewatched the Prequels for the audition, but I believe I was also a naturally good fit for Padme. I’ve told the story before but, my agent actually called the casting director, who didn’t know me because I was still quite new, and said “You must see her, she is Padme”. I will always be grateful for that nudge!
Once I had the role, I was luckily given the freedom to make her my own Padme. But I always tried to refer back to the films and also to the database online to learn as much as I could about her history to help stay true to the character.
Q: Fans of The Old Republic adore the character you voiced in that game. Vette was a central part of the Sith Warrior storyline, and even a romance option for those who so desired. I know you have said before that the two Twi’leks are very different characters, but was there anything you took from your experience voicing Mission that helped you with voicing Vette?
Cat: I believe that many Twi’leks with their shared history, might have a common cultural “thread” to them. What I mean is, as an example, much of my ancestry is Irish and I like to think that I have some commonly considered “Irish” traits. If you look at the Ryloth Arc in The Clone Wars (in which I get to play another Twi’lek character that I just love, Numa!) you see the history of the Twi’leks on their home world. It was one of occupation and hardship, ending with a revolt.
I think that Vette, Mission and Numa share some inherent traits: natural optimism in the face of adversity, a “can do” attitude and especially, an undeniable feistiness. And in my mind, they are distant relatives. It’s sort of a Twi’lek version of Ancestry.com!
Q: In a preview interview, you mentioned your favorite line of dialogue that Vette says one where you put in a little Indian Jones reference. If you can remember, what is your favorite line of dialogue that Mission speaks?
Cat: “I’m trying to apologize you Nerf Herder!” Said to Carth. It’s classic Mission!
Q: You’ve been very involved in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. What is your opinion on the recent “Legends” status that has been given to the EU due to the Disney acquisition of Star Wars properties?
Cat: I always felt “Canon” was what George said it was. So without that “standard” it will be interesting to see how things unfold. People love Star Wars passionately, and so they have strong feelings about it. You can’t please everyone, but that is the risk you take playing in this Universe. For me, it doesn’t really matter if something I work on is called Canon or Legendary or whatever, If it feels like Star Wars and is quality storytelling I am happy.
Q: You have mentioned that you hoped to one day voice Jaina Solo, a character who is seemingly nonexistent since the Disney retcon. Is is disappointing to you that you will not be able to complete that triumvirate of three generations? (Cat also voiced Leia in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed).
Cat: Speaking of Canon! I always knew Jaina was not considered Canon, but it doesn’t stop me from loving the character and the idea of her.
I will continue to be a Jaina fan, but I am also looking forward to being introduced to amazing new female characters in the films and the games. And who knows, we may still see a Jaina Solo in some incarnation someday. If there’s one thing we know for sure about Star Wars now it’s: we know nothing for sure.
Q: Which of the original Star Wars movies (IV, V, or VI) is your favorite, and why?
Cat: No question. Episode V.
Q: Are you excited for Star Wars VII? Is there anything in particular you think the movie will need to have in order to succeed?
Cat: Classic Star Wars is the perfect blend of character, story, and action. My hope is that the characters and story are not forgotten with too much emphasis on action and effects. The best effects in the world will not make up for a lack of story and characters we want to be invested in. That being said, I feel really good that it is in the hands of J.J. Abrams.
Q: You have a charity called “Games for Soldiers.” What can you tell us about that? How could one get involved if they so desired?
Cat: I started GFS in 2008 as a way to say thank you to our deployed soldiers in the Middle East for their service. I feel like I am really lucky to be here in the USA where I get to pursue this fun career and have a good life, and I believe as they say “Freedom isn’t Free.”
I collect donations of games and comics from individuals, companies and organizations. For instance, a HOBY Youth conference just did a drive for us and sent me a ton of games! I do the packing and shipping myself and my wonderful parents are my biggest supporters helping with a lot of the shipping costs. You can check it out here gamesforsoldiers.com or if you are interested in donating games or postage (I cannot take currency but I can take $1 stamps!) or doing a drive you can email email@example.com.
I actually “met” Drew Koehler (Thank you for your service, Drew!) because while deployed, he received a GFS box from me! It is so cool for me to get to hear from a soldier who I sent a box to, who is back home safe and thriving in their life.
Geeks Under Grace would like to thank Cat Taber very much for allowing us to do this interview! It was very fun to be able to get into the brain of one of my favorite voice actors, and I hope that the interview was enjoyable for all of our readers as well. If you would like to follow Cat on social media, just click on the links below!