When I sat down to write this introduction, my first instinct was to describe Vanessa Marshall as “a noted voice actor,” or something to that effect. But that wouldn’t have done her justice. Indeed, in the course of her twenty year career, she has become almost ubiquitous. Put simply, if you’ve played video games or watched cartoons at all in the twenty-first century, you’ve heard her voice. In the realm of DC Comics adaptations alone, she’s had a hand in everything from ‘Young Justice’ to ‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’. Given that, it was only appropriate that she was on hand at New York Comic Con to help celebrate ten years of DC Universe Animated films. There, we had a chance to talk to her about her history with DC, the return of ‘Young Justice’ and more.
You’ve voiced Black Canary and Wonder Woman. How do you see both of them?
Well, in ‘Young Justice’, Canary was a teacher. So that’s an area of her personality that I found interesting. She was sort of a mentor to the young superheroes, which was really cool. And Wonder Woman, she lives by example, teaches people through her actions. And obviously, their superpowers are quite different. You know, you’ve got Canary’s scream versus the airplane, bracelets, lasso… There’s a lot going on with Wonder Woman! [laughs] But in the sense that they’re both really strong female role models and great, iconic characters, they’re pretty similar. But with different nuances and, of course, what the stories focus on. And for ‘Crisis of Two Earths’ and ‘Flashpoint’, they were two very different Wonder Women.
On that note, how do you approach two different versions of the same character?
That’s a great question. I suppose I just try and locate the best parts of my personality that apply to those qualities within the character and be within the circumstances that are presented within the script. And, of course, they’re both quite different. And just try to be as honest and focused and available, energetically, as I can in the moment and hope for the best. [laughs] Yeah, but because the stories are so different, I feel like it’s easier to differentiate them. But Hera, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, they’re all sort of in my natural voice range. So I rely on the specificity of acting choices to create the nuance that makes them sound different, rather than affecting a sound that sounds different but won’t feel different.
How do you feel about the Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman?
Oh, she’s amazing! That movie was crazy! I had so much fun! We actually, in Los Angeles, bought out an entire theater. It wasn’t all girls, everybody was there. And we had a great time. It was such a powerful room, to be there to support that. And to see all the little girls? Oh my gosh! And all the little girls want to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. I love that!
Have you finished your voice work on the ‘Young Justice’ revival?
No, they’re still recording and I’m not sure exactly how far in the process they are. I went into Greg Weisman’s office, and you know writers, they have all these cards all over the walls, and no spoilers, but it is like a wallpaper of characters. There are so many! I don’t know how they keep it straight! I thought ‘Game of Thrones’ was hard, but this is… [laughs] ‘Young Justice’ is really complicated in a great way. And how they manage to keep it together, I think is going to be fun to see.
How did you feel when you first heard they were going to do more?
Thrilled! Thrilled! The ‘Young Justice’ fans have been so fantastic and we had so much fun, we all get together, we’re all fans. So we have these meetups at San Diego Comic Con. I think it was… I don’t know which year it was, but any year we could we’d go meet and hang out. Sometimes they’ll do screenings at a local diner in Los Angeles. So the fact that the fans really made that happen… We were just beyond grateful and so thrilled. And all the actors that are in it are just such kind people. No one’s complicated, there are no divas, no haters, no drama. But yeah, it’s a really fortunate situation where we all get along. And we thought it was a dead deal, we were so sad about it. So to hear about it was like a miracle.
In addition to her work in various DC animated films, Vanessa Marshall stars as Hera Syndulla on ‘Star Wars: Rebels’, which is currently airing its fourth and final season Monday nights on Disney XD.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on upcoming DC animated features as it becomes available!