Jennifer Beals on Bringing 'Beauty and Balance' to 'Book of Boba Fett' as Garsa Fwip (Exclusive)

The ‘L Word’ star opens up about joining the 'Star Wars' universe in 'The Book of Boba Fett.'

Nearly 40 years after the release of Flashdance, Jennifer Beals is once again at the center of the pop culture zeitgeist thanks to her many roles in some of TV’s biggest franchises, including the latest Star Wars spinoff The Book of Boba Fett. In the Disney+ original, Beals plays Garsa Fwip, a free and prosperous Twi’lek who runs a local cantina in Mos Espa called the Sanctuary on the planet Tatooine.

While the series consists of seven episodes, Beals' time as Garsa came to a surprising end in the penultimate episode, “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger,” which raised the stakes for everyone caught up in an increasingly deadly turf war. In a conversation with ET, the actress opens up about important changes she brought to the role and whose side Garsa was ultimately on.   

“You know what? I feel so unbelievably fortunate to have been able to step into the Star Wars universe, particularly as someone who strives to bring beauty and balance to a world that is really lacking in both,” Beals says, reflecting on her time on the series. 


While Beals admittedly was not well versed in the Star Wars universe before joining the series, she made a lasting impact as Garsa, who was a fiercely independent and impeccably dressed figure among those divided by the crime syndicates staking their claim over Mos Espa. According to the actress, her character was modeled after Rick from Casablanca

And because of that, “Rick is on Rick’s side,” she says. 

Early on, when Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) first takes over Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire, she entrusts her cantina to his authority. Yet, she remains relatively neutral when Jabba’s twin cousins come to take back their family’s empire, with some believing that she may have been pulling strings against Fett from behind the scenes. But at the end of the day, even with the Pykes creating havoc in town and the need for Fett’s protection, Garsa was only loyal to herself. 

“I think she has a fondness for Boba Fett and would rather see him, certainly than the Pykes. But Garsa is on Garsa’s side,” Beals says. 

Unfortunately for her, Garsa and her Sanctuary gets caught up in Fett’s battle with the Pykes and is blown up in a terrorist attack. Sadly, it’s an unceremonious and shocking way to go. But Beals jokes, “Stranger things have happened and certainly she’s a survivor, as you can see from that big old scar.”

When it comes to the mark seen just below her neck, she says that was something that helped explain who she was without having to explicitly explain it. “I had so many stories in my mind for our Garsa. Like, I really felt that she had been through so much physically, which is why I requested the scar,” she says. “To be able to tell that story without telling that story, I just loved that.” 


Speaking of the scar, the actress reveals it’s just one of the many subtle yet meaningful details she brought to the character. One of the more important changes Beals made early on was Garsa’s title. 

Originally called master, the actress asked executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni if she could change it to madam. “I said, ‘Can we switch that language?’ Because I think, as somebody who’s come from enslaved people, that if she’s creating this sanctuary, then it’s not language that’s in keeping with her ethos,” Beals recalls.

As a result, she’s an employer, not a master and the cantina is a true sanctuary. “They were excited about that,” she notes, before revealing that in another conversation with the EPs, she asked if Garsa could have multiple costumes versus many of the other characters who are seen wearing the same thing episode to episode. 

“I said, ‘If she’s that wealthy, it is possible that she has costume changes,’” Beals says, explaining that “for somebody who was trying to bring in beauty and even a sense of luxury to a place that has none, she [should have] the means and perhaps she has more than one [outfit].” 

With them onboard with the idea, Beals got to collaborate with costume designer Shawna Trpcic on Garsa’s many regal and lavish looks, which certainly delivered on the beauty. Especially in the sandy, dust-covered world of Tatooine. 


“Shawna is a genius. Literally, she made those dresses so quickly and they were made with such incredible consideration and thought and expertise,” Beals gushes, adding that the two discussed Garsa’s history when coming up with the costumes. “And she said, ‘If you have anything that comes up in your dreams or in your meditation, please let me know.’ And so I did. I sent her some drawings of some of the things that came up.” 

And it was in the last dress, the one Beals is wearing in her final scene as Garsa, “she incorporated every single image and the embroidery was unbelievable,” the actress says, adding, “[Shawna] just makes me cry. She’s just so thoughtful and brilliant.” 

Reflecting on the experience, Beals says, “I’m just going to say I’m incredibly grateful that I got to come and play."

New episodes of The Book of Boba Fett premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.