For many an actor, landing a part on a franchise like Star Wars is a dream come true. Over the years, we’ve seen many talents appear in the franchise and its expanded universe. Simon Pegg, Gina Carano, Bill Burr and even Daniel Craig have had parts in the franchise. Simon Kassianides can count himself in this fortunate group portraying a fan-favourite character from the hit series, The Mandalorian.

The Return Of Axe Woves

Audiences were first introduced to Axe Woves in the second season of the Disney+ Lucasfilm series. In the show, Simon plays the human male Mandalorian who serves with the Mandalorian resistance during the New Republic’s era. Introduced in Chapter 11 (The Heiress), directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, Axe is a skilled warrior whose main mission is to bring his home world to what it was before the Galactic Empire’s rule.

A warrior loyal to his group – the Night Owls, who is led by Bo-Katan, the character of Axe has since been extended into a pivotal character in the series. A role created by George Lucan, Simon admits that it only “sank in” that he was in Star Wars after he received the iconic helmet.

Although a significant character in The Mandalorian Season 2, Axe was noticeably missing from the Season 2 finale. Nevertheless, one can’t keep a good character down, especially for a franchise like Star Wars, which is why we see Simon Kassianides donning the signature Mandalorian helmet once more in The Mandalorian Season 3.

In Episode 6 – ‘Guns For Hire’ we are re-introduced to Axe Woves, who is now leading the Mandalorians as mercenaries. More importantly, the character has a significant role to play in the development of Season 3’s storyline, which ties deep into the backstory of the Mandalorians and the planet Mandalore.

Beyond Star Wars, Simon has also appeared in hit shows like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and USA Network’s Pearson, a spinoff from Suits. On film, Simon’s credits include Unforgettable with Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson. He also has a Bond film to his credit, playing “Yusef,” a member of Quantum who seduces female agents in Quantum of Solace.

A versatile talent, Simon also produced, directed and starred in Geezas in 2010. It was a film he not only completed in record time and within budget but also one that made the official selection of the 2012 Hollywood Film Festival. In this interview with August Man, Simon reveals more about the Star Wars Disney+ series and playing Axe Woves once again.

First off, congrats on returning as Axe Woves in Season 3 of The Mandalorian. How does it feel returning to play the character?

Thank you! It feels wonderful. Returning to work with the people on this show, from top to bottom, is one of life’s gifts.

When did you know you were returning to the role, and did you ever expect to return?

There were hints. But until you get the call you never know. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni dropped hints on my last day on Season 2 that there was a chance I’d return. Did I spend a year looking at my phone hoping for it to ring? What do you think…

What is it like being a part of something as big as Star Wars?

There’s nothing like it in the entertainment business. Certainly nothing with as many incredible fans. And filming something within the universe, as someone whose formative years where some of my first memories were made playing with my brother’s hand me down Boba Fett toy – to being handed my very own Mandalorian helmet as Axe Woves – mind blowing.

The series has a wealth of directors. You worked with Bryce Dallas Howard and Katie Sackhoff in season 2. Who did you have the opportunity to work with this time?

I worked again with Bryce this season and appreciate her so much. As an incredible actor herself she has an approach that inspires and frees you up. She’s put the wealth of her experience with the world’s best actors and directors and shares it with us. My time with her simply makes me a better actor. Plus, we laugh a lot.

From left: Pedro Pascal, Sasha Banks, Katee Sackhoff and Simon Kassianides in a scene grab from The Mandalorian Season 2 (Image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

What character traits did you want to flesh out on screen for Axe Woves?

Reading the material it became clear that Jon and Dave were taking the character in a direction I’d only dreamed of. I turned up hoping to serve the material the best way I could. I hope the fans are happy. If that’s the case I’ll be over the moon.

With such a passionate fan base, were you all concerned about bringing the character of Axe to life for a series such as The Mandalorian?

Like I said, there’s simply nothing that matches this in the entertainment business. I’m glad I have the age and experience I do, in order to have the skills to overcome the paralysis a younger me would have been crippled by. You are on set and you have to set aside, as much as possible, the debilitating fact that what you’re about to do will be seen by a lot of passionate fans.

Most of the times as an actor you hope the work you’re doing will attract an audience. With this it’s a guarantee. You need to set aside all this and then hope your ideas for the character work. The reaction to my appearance in Season Two from the fans was incredible. I sincerely hope they like seeing more of me here in this season.

Simon Kassianides

You have had a number of film and TV roles, have there been any particular roles that stick out for you, personally?

Being on a James Bond set looking at that character facing me was a pinch myself moment. It allowed me to take my mother to the premiere in Leicester Square. Seeing her smile whilst I was being interviewed, and then watching the film together will always hold the highest of places for me.

You’ve also gone behind the camera with Geezas. How was it like pulling triple duty as producer, director and actor on the film? Are there any plans in the future for you to return to producing and directing?

I am currently working with Warner Bros in Europe, writing and exec producing on a film and also a television series I plan to act in and possibly direct also. I’m also adapting one of Camilla Lackberg’s novels for TV.

I have always written. And being involved from ideas’ inceptions with talented people is one of the most rewarding experiences. The high level of skill around me right now allows for me to take that all on. It’s a lot, but seeing how such talent elevates the projects to levels I’d never dreamed of is something I am thoroughly enjoying and motivated to continue pursuing.

(Simon Kassianides portrait photos by Hannes Söderlund)

written by.

Richard Augustin

Digital Editor
Richard went from the confines of the kitchen working as a professional chef into the realm of media twenty years ago. In his two-decade career in writing, he has plied his trade in a number of regional print and digital media organisations in the lifestyle, in-flight, entertainment and finance space. When not busy chasing deadlines and writing stories for AugustMan, you can find him experimenting with recipes in his kitchen.
Simon Kassianides Discusses Returning As Axe Woves In The Mandalorian Season 3
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