Cosplayer Xena Duncan is Hera Syndulla

yZJ2J oS.jpg large - Cosplayer Xena Duncan is Hera Syndulla

@Xenadd brings the Star Wars Rebels pilot to life

On her Instagram profile, Alexina Duncan describes herself as “translating the language of costume in a galaxy far, far away….” as a “part-time Space General.”

That’s very accurate. Recently featured on StarWars.com citing her “amazing Hera Syndulla cosplay,” Xena’s loving tribute to the Star Wars Rebels hero is striking.

A freelance ‘costumier‘ working in the UK film industry, Duncan has “worked on film and tv projects both large and small, from tiny micro-budget indies up to massive blockbuster franchises.” However, her primary love and passion will “always fall back to the Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

“You forget sometimes that these aren’t just characters that you love and characters that you are working hard to painstakingly create, and that all of that hard work means that to someone, somewhere, you’re almost literally bringing this character to life,” she told the (equally cool) Amy Ratcliffe last month on the official Star Wars homepage.

“By adopting this character [Hera] and this costume you are channeling all of that importance.”

Xena comes to life…

For me, Xena (also recently interviewed for Annalise Ophelian’s Looking for Leia), came to life as I sought reaction to the latest Rebels trailer to hit the Net. I simply needed someone to geek out with, and Ms. Duncan was more than willing to talk via Twitter.

“Seeing Hera being framed as we head into Season 4 in her true role as leader and bastion of hope is really overwhelming knowing where both the show and characters are hurtling,” she said through DM, as we discussed our hopes for the last season. “It feels like a perfect culmination of the journey that she has led her crew on since Spark of Rebellion.

“We’re going to get those incredible emotional pay-offs, the plot build-ups that we’ve been desperately waiting for in this great, agonizing crescendo,” added Duncan. “These characters are stepping up to something so much bigger than where we started at the ‘Spark of Rebellion’ and fulfilling their potential.

Mandalore, the Jedi, the Rebellion – it’s all coming to a head now and it’s going to hurt. A lot.

But, for Duncan, there is a bright side to the final season.

“As a cosplayer and costumier, seeing all these new looks for Hera is an absolute delight,” she added. “Even if I’m now screaming at my to-do list!”

A Rising Rebel

It was pretty exciting to see Hera’s character continue her rise in the Rebel leadership, and this guy certainly swooned when I saw Syndulla pilot an X-wing.

However, as I spoke to someone who has said of cosplay, that “it’s all so much more than just dressing up as space characters,” I wondered aloud where Xena was at in terms of her appreciation for Hera.

“I love Hera,” said the self-described Syndulla expert. “Hera brought me back to Star Wars fandom after nearly ten years .

She’s brilliant and dedicated, a brilliant pilot (who once out flew Darth Vader!) who will do whatever she can for her cause. She loves and cares for her crew with all of her heart, and will always find the hope in the darkest nights.

But it’s Hera’s “humanity” which sets the Twi’lek apart for Xena.

“She’s also fallible,” explained Duncan. “She’s still a twenty-something trying to work out her priorities, how to balance herself and her life and her work, how to not lose sight of herself and the things that matter the most for her. So I find her aspirational but also incredibly identifiable.”

Inspiration and Hope

At this point, Duncan is pretty identifiable, too; what with Star Wars article among many other social media and Internet mentions.

But, in another tribute to her favorite Star Wars hero, Xena hopes to channel Syndulla’s importance to a higher purpose.

“I know Hera,” she wrote. “And when I’m out there as Hera, I can bring that inspiration and hope to others, to little girls…”

After all, as Hera herself said in Season 2, “We are fighting a bigger fight.”

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