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"When I heard the Doctor himself, David Tennant, was a fan of Star Wars, I knew I had to find a way to get in contact with him to see if he would perform on The Clone Wars. The result was Huyang…I thought David was perfect for the part and he did not disappoint. He delivered a performance which impressed even the Master himself, George Lucas."
―Dave Filoni[2]

David Tennant (born David John McDonald on April 18, 1971) is a Scottish actor and voice actor. He is best known for his role in the British television series Doctor Who for portraying the tenth and fourteenth incarnations of the Doctor. In 2012, Tennant voiced the droid Huyang in two episodes of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, having been offered the role by supervising director and Doctor Who fan Dave Filoni. Tennant's performance impressed Filoni and Star Wars creator George Lucas, and he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for his work. Tennant voiced the character again in 2023 for the live-action Disney+ series Ahsoka. As Huyang was portrayed through the use of props, Tennant recorded an early version of the droid's dialogue to allow the other actors to more effectively interact with his character.

Biography[]

Doctor Who[]

"David Tennant is a Star Wars fan. You could get him to do a voiceover on The Clone Wars."
"Oh he is? Wow, well, you never know. That's not a bad idea!"
―Jonathan Wilkins and Dave Filoni, in an interview for Star Wars Insider[3]
David Tennant Anakin Skywalker

An image of Anakin Skywalker (left) from The Clone Wars and David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, foreshadowing the actor's eventual Star Wars role

David Tennant is a Scottish actor, born as David John McDonald in Bathgate, Scotland on April 18, 1971.[1] He notably played the role of Barty Crouch Junior in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire[4] and rose in popularity for portraying the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010.[1] He additionally voiced the character in two animated serials: The Infinite Quest and Dreamland.[5] Dave Filoni, supervising director of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, was introduced to Doctor Who by his wife, E. Anne Convery,[2] and the couple especially enjoyed Tennant's time in the series[3] and his interactions with his companion Rose Tyler.[6]

Filoni mentioned his enjoyment of Doctor Who in an interview with Jonathan Wilkins for the one hundred and twenty-fifth issue of the magazine Star Wars Insider,[3] first published to United States newsstands on April 26, 2011.[7] Wilkins mentioned that Tennant was a Star Wars fan and could do a voice role on The Clone Wars, which Filoni commented was "not a bad idea"[3] as he had admired the range and intensity Tennant had demonstrated as the Doctor.[8] The issue of Insider also featured an image of Tennant in his Doctor Who costume standing back to back with a 3D model of the character Anakin Skywalker from The Clone Wars.[3]

The Clone Wars[]

"I just absolutely loved what David Tennant was doing with Doctor Who. There was such a quizzical nature to the character, a sense of whimsy but it could still get very powerful emotion out of the character, a lot of intensity, a lot of anger you know, just such a great display of range."
―Dave Filoni, on Tennant's acting qualities that led to his casting as Huyang[8]

Filoni later said that he knew he had to contact Tennant to discuss a role at that moment,[2] as he found that actors who were fans of Star Wars were more likely to accept roles in The Clone Wars.[8] He enjoyed the idea of merging the "fan-worlds" of Doctor Who and Star Wars and hoped to have a high quality role with which to entice Tennant.[6] After Filoni and writer Christian Taylor created the character of Huyang, an ancient droid that assists younglings in constructing their lightsabers, the role was offered to Tennant, who accepted.[8]

Huyang-ATOS

David Tennant first voiced Huyang (pictured) in two episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Filoni described Tennant as "perfect" in the role[2] and stated that his performance had impressed Star Wars creator George Lucas, who especially enjoyed Huyang's interactions with the astromech droid R2-D2.[8] Tennant's casting was revealed in an article published on StarWars.com on November 7, 2012, which also included a preview clip from Huyang's debut episode: "A Test of Strength."[2] It was the seventh episode of the series' fifth season[9] and premiered on November 10, 2012.[2] The character appeared but did not have any dialogue in[10] the eighth episode[9] "Bound for Rescue"[10] (aired November 17, 2012),[9] and was voiced by Tennant again in[11] the ninth episode:[9] "A Necessary Bond"[11] (aired November 24, 2012).[9]

For his performance, Tennant was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program at the 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Two other actors from The Clone Wars were nominated: Jim Cummings for his portrayal of Hondo Ohnaka and Sam Witwer for his portrayal of Darth Maul. The nominations were announced on May 1, 2013[12] and Tennant won the award at the ceremony on June 14, 2013.[13] Filoni was delighted at Tennant's win and made a congratulatory Facebook post in response.[14]

Later career and Ahsoka[]

"Doctor who? He's a professor"
―The caption accompanying a character poster portraying Huyang for the streaming series Ahsoka[15]
HuyangCharacterPoster-AhsokaSeries

David Tennant reprised the role of Huyang (pictured) in the 2023 series Ahsoka.

In 2015, Tennant portrayed the villain Kilgrave in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones.[16] The Star Wars novel Brotherhood by Mike Chen, published on May 10, 2022[17] included a rumor amongst the members of a Jedi Initiate Clan that "Professor Huyang was so old that the ancient droid supposedly arrived at the Jedi Temple in a big blue box thousands of years ago."[18] In Doctor Who, the Doctor—played by Tennant amongst other actors—is an ancient being[19] who travels in a time machine that looks like a blue police box from the 1960s.[20] In the same year, Tennant returned to the Doctor Who franchise in the role of the Fourteenth Doctor, with his first appearance airing on October 23, 2022.[21]

Tennant reprised his role as Huyang for the live-action Disney+ series Ahsoka,[22] which started production on May 9, 2022.[23] As a droid, Huyang was portrayed through props, so Tennant recorded an early version of his dialogue prior to filming so that the other cast members were able to more effectively interact with the character. Tennant's involvement in the series was not publicly confirmed until its first teaser trailer debuted on April 7, 2023, at Celebration Europe. The trailer only featured a glimpse of Huyang with one line of dialogue, and Filoni, Ahsoka's creator and showrunner, confirmed that Tennant was reprising the role.[22] The first two episodes of Ahsoka—"Part One: Master and Apprentice" and "Part Two: Toil and Trouble"—premiered simultaneously on August 22, 2023,[24] and Tennant voiced Huyang in every episode of the show's first season.[25][26][27][28][29][30] A YouTube short featuring character posters for the series, including Huyang, was released on August 24, and included a caption that alluded to the character's Doctor Who connection.[15]

Works[]

Filmography[]

Year Title Series Contribution(s) Notes
2012 "A Test of Strength" (S5E7)[9] Star Wars: The Clone Wars Huyang Voice[31]
2012 "A Necessary Bond" (S5E9)[9] Star Wars: The Clone Wars Huyang Voice[11]
2023 "Part One: Master and Apprentice" (S1E1) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[32]
2023 "Part Two: Toil and Trouble" (S1E2) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[33]
2023 "Part Three: Time to Fly" (S1E3) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[25]
2023 "Part Four: Fallen Jedi "(S1E4) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[26]
2023 "Part Five: Shadow Warrior "(S1E5) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[27]
2023 "Part Six: Far, Far Away (S1E6) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[28]
2023 "Part Seven: Dreams and Madness "(S1E7) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[29]
2023 "Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord" (S1E8) Ahsoka Huyang Voice[30]

Awards and nominations[]

Ceremony Institution Award Series Role Result
40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Star Wars: The Clone Wars Huyang Won[13]

Sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 David Tennant on British Museum (archived from the original on December 20, 2023)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 StarWars Doctor Who's David Tennant Guest Stars on The Clone Wars on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 SWInsider "Dave Filoni: Clone Ranger!" — Star Wars Insider 125
  4. 101 thoughts we had while watching Goblet of Fire for the millionth time on WizardingWorld.com (June 21, 2016): "How much do you hate Barty Crouch Jr in this moment? Even lovely David Tennant's face can't change that." (archived from the original on September 18, 2023)
  5. Doctor Who: The Animation Collection on BBC Shop: "Dreamland and The Infinite Quest with Tenth Doctor David Tennant are your tickets to wild adventures in the American West in search of a legendary lost spaceship." (archived from the original on March 25, 2023)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Dave Filoni Looks Back at Season 5 by Goldman, Eric on IGN (March 7, 2013) (archived from the original on December 3, 2023)
  7. Star Wars Insider 124
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 StarWars Clone Wars Download: From McQuarrie to Tennant: Creating Huyang on StarWars.com (backup link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
  10. 10.0 10.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Bound for Rescue"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "A Necessary Bond"
  12. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award Nominations on National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (May 1, 2013) (content now obsolete; archived from the original on June 6, 2013)
  13. 13.0 13.1 The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Winners for the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards (PDF) on National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (June 14, 2013) (content now obsolete; archived from the original on December 7, 2018)
  14. Facebook icon Dave Filoni (@DaveFiloni) on Facebook: David Tennant's Emmy for The Clone Wars (June 15, 2013): "I am very excited to report that David Tennant has won an Emmy for his portrayal of Huyang in Clone Wars. David is a lifelong Star Wars fan and he has definately made an indellible mark on the Star Wars universe that generations of fans will enjoy for years to come. Thank you David, the Force is strong with you." (screenshot)
  15. 15.0 15.1 This Week in Star Wars logo This Week! in Star Wars Dispatch: Ahsoka Has Arrived on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)  (Posted on StarWars.com)
  16. Why David Tennant Felt 'Marvel's Jessica Jones' Was 'A Gamble Worth Taking' by Miller, Liz Shannon on IndieWire (December 14, 2015) (archived from the original on December 27, 2023)
  17. PenguinRandomHouse Star Wars: Brotherhood on Penguin Random House's official website (backup link)
  18. Brotherhood
  19. Doctor Who: How Old Every Version Of The Doctor Is by Morrison, Matt on Screen Rant (August 20, 2020) (archived from the original on November 7, 2022)
  20. The TARDIS on BBC: Doctor Who: "The TARDIS is the Doctor's ship, their home and their friend. It has been the one constant through all their lives; an impossible blue box, bigger on the inside than the outside, taking them not necessarily to where they wants to go, but very often where they need to be. It can reach any time or place, and with it the Doctor has shown the universe to a rich variety of companions. […] The TARDIS has a chameleon circuit which should allow it to disguise itself, but it seems to have become stuck looking like a tall blue police box from 1960s Earth." (archived from the original on March 28, 2023)
  21. Doctor Who: Here they come… on BBC (October 23, 2022): "As Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor regenerated on Sunday 23rd October, it was none other than David Tennant who appeared as the Fourteenth Doctor." (archived from the original on June 10, 2023)
  22. 22.0 22.1 StarWars SWCE 2023: 10 Things We Learned from the Ahsoka Panel on StarWars.com (backup link)
  23. TwitterLogo Star Wars (@starwars) on Twitter: "Ahsoka, an Original series, starts production today." (backup link)
  24. StarWars Ahsoka Premiere Moves Up to Tuesday, August 22 on StarWars.com (August 18, 2023): "The two-episode premiere of Ahsoka will now arrive on Tuesday, August 22 at 6 p.m. PT on Disney+" (backup link)
  25. 25.0 25.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Three: Time to Fly"
  26. 26.0 26.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Four: Fallen Jedi"
  27. 27.0 27.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Five: Shadow Warrior"
  28. 28.0 28.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Six: Far, Far Away"
  29. 29.0 29.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Seven: Dreams and Madness"
  30. 30.0 30.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord"
  31. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "A Test of Strength"
  32. AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part One: Master and Apprentice"
  33. AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Two: Toil and Trouble"

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