Jacob Tobia dishes on non-binary She-Ra character Double Trouble — and shares a sneak peek
Jacob Tobia is so excited to play Double Trouble on season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, they can hardly contain it. So EW got them on the phone to chat about the mysterious new role and share an exclusive preview clip from the upcoming season.
“I feel like there’s all these things that I want, like I want to talk about with the fandom that I can’t yet,” says the gender-nonconforming actor, author, and activist. “This will make it a little bit easier to keep my mouth shut until they’ve seen it!”
Here’s what else Tobia had to say about playing the shapeshifting, non-binary Double Trouble and joining the cast of Noelle Stevenson’s hit animated series, which returns to Netflix on Nov. 4.
RELATED VIDEO: The She-Ra cast previews season 4
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you a fan of the show before you auditioned?
JACOB TOBIA: I actually auditioned for the show before it was out, so I didn’t really fully know what I was signing up for. But that did prompt me to binge the entirety of the ’80s version on Netflix, and I had the best time over a holiday vacation. I think it was around New Year’s 2018, and I was just watching all of the ’80s cartoon at my parents’ house back in North Carolina, because I was home for the holidays. I got to feel like a kid again, and it was really fabulous.
What was the audition process like?
My favorite story to tell about that is that when you audition for voice-over, you don’t send in a physical tape of yourself. You just send in a recording of your voice, right. And in order to record on your phone at home — which is how most people do it if you don’t have like a proper recording studio or anything like that — the best place to record is your closet, because all the clothes dampen the noise. So my friend and I ran the lines in my closet. I auditioned for Double Trouble in the literal closet, and then eventually came out after I was cast.
Then I had to go in to record a demo, which, if it worked out, they could just use for the show. I remember being super-nervous walking into this, like, giant, great studio at Dreamworks headquarters that you could record a small orchestra in if you wanted to, and they probably have. Then there’s like two panes of glass, and maybe 20 or 30 feet away from me there’s all of the different execs, and Noelle, and the voice-over director, and everybody on the other side. At first I was super-intimidated, until I sort of realized, like, “Oh, a bunch of people behind that glass are all queer.” Then all of a sudden I was like, “This thing that was very intimidating became just super-fun.” I think that’s where the performance of this character comes from. I could not have been coached in a more affirming, queer-positive, hilarious, fun environment. I mean, truly I have never had so much fun in a job in my life.
What can you tease about your character?
I would say Double Trouble is first and foremost committed to chaos and mischief, and whenever you think you know what they’re up to, you may not. They will trick anybody, right? Like the clip that you’re debuting, Double Trouble is tricking Hordak, who is ostensibly the most powerful person Etheria. He could have Double Trouble executed in two seconds, right? And Double Trouble’s like, “I don’t care. Of course, I’ll go along with this little game, Catra.”
What makes Double Trouble like that?
I have always thought of it that the character Double Trouble is really just mirroring the strength, determination, and fearlessness of actual non-binary, and trans, and queer people. I think that so much of the inspiration of the character is about just how fearless you have to be in this world to be a proud, out, non-binary person, to be a visibly gender-nonconforming person, to be a trans person.
Double Trouble uses they/them pronouns, and it’s pretty incredible how effortlessly that construct becomes part of the world of the show.
I think that’s actually mirroring how Gen Z already experiences the world. Young folks today — and the core fan base of the show — are already using they/them pronouns for multiple friends effortlessly, with no work. It’s just part of being a polite person. If Hordak, the most evil character in all of Etheria — a true scoundrel — can effortlessly use gender-neutral pronouns, then I think that you can do it too. Do you really want to be worst than Hordak? I think it will prove a really powerful model for people to just kind of hear it effortlessly without some big explainer, where it’s just how it is now.
If it was the original ’80s version, we’d have a very special PSA at the end of the episode.
Oh, totally. Loo-Kee would come out and be like “Double Trouble uses they/them pronouns. Some people use they/them pronouns. Don’t be mean to your friends. Respect how they identify. Have a great day, kids.” And then we’d be off.
See Double Trouble make their debut when She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns to Netflix for season 4 on Tuesday.