The Mandalorian: Mercedes Varnado Had to Balance Sasha Banks WWE Work With Star Wars Production

In joining The Mandalorian as Koska Reeves, Mercedes Varnado took on quite a schedule. A couple nights a week, the actress was on the WWE's roadshow as Sasha Banks, performing at the highest level in the wrestling ring. After a night in the ring, Varnado would have an alarm set earlier in the morning than most of us would ever prefer so she could hop out of bed and jet off to the set of The Mandalorian. Never did the work on The Mandalorian interfere with her dedication to crushing it in the ring as Sasha Banks, though it did call for an intense level of secrecy as joining the Star Wars show was not something she was allowed to talk about.

Varnado jokes with she felt like she was living a "triple life" while balancing secret work on The Mandalorian and her work as the character who is the current WWE Women's Champion Sasha Banks. As a result, Varnado never had much of a moment to fully take in the presence of being on set of The Mandalorian.

"To be honest with you, Brandon, it honestly never set in. Every time I went to set, because I went straight from WWE from live national television, I would have to wake up at 5:00 in the morning, catch a flight and go straight to the trailer," Varnado said in an exclusive interview. "And they're like, 'Why do you have glitter all over your face?' And I'm like,'"I'm sorry. I've been Sasha Banks.' I would walk on set and I just be like, 'Oh my god, I can not believe that I'm here,' because the set was just so, so, so incredible. I literally felt that I was in a whole different galaxy, in a whole different world. I have no idea how they did that. Whoever made that set, wow! Wow, wow, wow! It's so breathtaking. And the whole time I was there, honestly, it never set in because I went from that straight back to WWE and I couldn't tell anybody. So I just kind of always had to live in the moment and be present in everything that I was doing."

The excitement of it all didn't set in until word got out and moreso when the episode aired. Varnado celebrated appropriately, too. After Chapter 11: The Heiress introduced the world to Varnado's Koska Reeves, the actress posted a selfie with her name glowing from her TV screen over concept art of The Child. Huge win.

Despite Varnado's Koska coming into play alongside Katee Sackhoff's Bo-Katan Kryze, Varnado was so enthralled by her schedule that she was not fully aware of the larger Star Wars world that her character was immediately tied to. She did quickly learn a lot, though.

"I wasn't aware of none of it beforehand because this is still so fresh and new and having all of it just right in front of me," she says. "And I had WWE. as well, I'm going back and forth so I wasn't aware of much but having David Filoni and Katee just right there with any questions and anything that I needed. Katee knew her character and knew Bo-Katan so, so, so well that she was even able to change a couple of her lines and she even told David, she's like, 'I don't think I would stand like this. I think Bo would stand like that and she would have a scar and she would have freckles.' And they were just so, so cool, they're like, "You know what? You're absolutely right. You've been voicing this character." So it was just so cool to see and just to see how caring and how much of a family they were and just so loving, it's like if you can make it from your heart, I think the Star Wars fans will just love it. And I think you guys did, right?"


You can read our full interview with Varnado about her work on The Mandalorian right here! Do you want to see more of Varnado as Koska Reeves in The Mandalorian? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram!

The Mandalorian releases new episodes every Friday on Disney+.