Ahsoka has introduced a whole host of new Star Wars villains — from the menacing magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) to the stoic fallen Jedi Baylan Skoll (played by the late Ray Stevenson). But one of the most intriguing new additions is Shin Hati, the hot-headed, Force-wielding apprentice played by Ivanna Sakhno.
Four episodes in, Shin has broken out as one of Ahsoka's most ferocious standouts, even on a show already packed with memorable villains. With her bleached blonde bob and almost medieval-looking costume, the eager mercenary struts around the galaxy like an intergalactic Joan of Arc, raising her red lightsaber against anyone who dares stand in her way.
EW spoke to the 25-year-old Sakhno before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike, where she opened up about playing the single-minded Shin. "She's very calculated," the Ukrainian actress teases. "She's impatient, but she's a seeker. She's only in the beginning of finding her own voice."
Lucasfilm Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati in 'Ahsoka'
Sakhno is known for her roles in The Spy Who Dumped Me and the High Fidelity TV series, but Ahsoka is her biggest project yet. She spent months training with stunt coordinator Ming Qiu to perfect Shin's brutal lightsaber style. Still, she says, her favorite days were when she got to film in the cockpit of Shin's ship.
"The actual ship and a lot of the aspects of the physical world were built for the show," Sakhno explains. "I do remember sitting inside of my [cockpit] and really [feeling like] my younger self as a kid, looking around. All the buttons are working, and you feel like it's your childhood dream coming true. You really feel like a pilot in a ship. And you get to do this for a living."
Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni also encouraged Sakhno to help craft Shin's characterization and backstory, right down to specific hair and wardrobe choices. "He really cherishes the opinion of every person," Sakhno adds. "Creating Shin, I just felt like my involvement mattered. Because she's a new character, we got to create parts of her from the very beginning. With the costume and makeup, it felt like storytelling."
To hear our entire interview with Sakhno — as well as episode recaps of Ahsoka — check out the latest episode of EW's Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.