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The Mandalorian’s Ming-Na Wen Recalls The Funny Appeal She Made To Dave Filoni In The Hopes Of Reviving Fennec Shand

Ming-Na Wen on The Mandalorian
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian has contributed so many amazing characters to the Star Wars canon. From effortlessly cool lead character Din Djarin to the massively popular Grogu (Baby Yoda), just about every new face has managed to leave a mark in some way. Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand is no different, as the dangerous but cerebral mercenary has delighted fans. So it’s somewhat hard to believe that her first appearance was also meant to be her last. And when that was set to be the case, Wen jokingly made an appeal to series producer Dave Filoni regarding her character’s fate. 

The actress originally made her debut on The Mandalorian in Season 1’s “The Gunslinger.” In it, Mando crosses paths with Ming-Na Wen’s elusive character on Tatooine, after teaming up with a young bounty hunter to bring her in. The ambitious young hunter would eventually betray Mando and shoot Shand, leaving her for dead. But the post-credits scene would later show an unseen figure walking up to her body. The second season would ultimately reveal that person to be none other than Boba Fett, who was able to save Fennec with the help of cybernetics. 

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alum has been a fan of George Lucas’ sci-fi franchise for some time, so it was a thrill for her to join up through the franchise’s live-action TV series. With this, it’s no surprise that she was somewhat disappointed that her character was to be a one-and-done. The fan-favorite actress recently recalled those early conversations while speaking with EW and revealed that at some point during the process, she jokingly tried to sway Dave Filoni to keep the character alive. And she did so by trying to appeal to his status as a fellow Pittsburgh native:

I kept joking, 'You can't kill an alum, dude! 'C'mon, we've got to figure out something here. There's gotta be nepotism. We're both Yinzers!'

Thankfully, for her and fans, plans changed and Fennec Shand lived to fight another day. Though Ming-Na Wen wouldn’t say that she actually managed to convince the producer to change his mind on her own. The actress recently took to Twitter, where she clarified what exactly led to her character’s return:

‘Convinced’ is not the correct word here. It gives me power I do not have. I merely suggested to Dave jokingly that Fennec survives. I was very surprised and delighted when Fennec came back to life for #TheMandalorian S2. This decision was made by Dave, Jon & Lucasfilm.

Based on the fan reception to the character, that decision has paid off in a major way. The producers seem to have plenty of confidence in the character, so much so that a younger version of the character (with Ming-Na Wen reprising the role) was brought into the animated series The Bad Batch. She’s also set to make her return in the Mandalorian spinoff series, The Book of Boba Fett. On that show, Fennec Shand will serve as the top enforcer of the titular bounty hunter, as he seeks to build a criminal empire in Tatooine. 

I think I speak for most when I say I’m glad Ming-Na Wen is staying in the Star Wars franchise. She’s a perfect fit for it, and it’s honestly surprising that she hadn’t landed a role before the TV series. Regardless, it’s great to see her making the most of her time in it now, and one can only imagine what kind of exciting things are coming up for her character.

We’ll see what’s in store for Fennec Shand when The Book of Boba Fett hits Disney+ on December 29th.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.