This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
The beloved Jedi outcast Ahsoka has finally returned for a quest unlike any other. Ahsoka’s adventure has been going on for over ten years, starting with the movie Clone Wars and continuing with the TV series of the same name. She also appeared in the series Star Wars: Rebels and had a voice cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahsoka made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian and appeared briefly in the animated series Tales of the Jedi. Now, she has her own show called Ahsoka with Rosario Dawson reprising the role.
Ahsoka is set after the fall of the empire and follows the former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Padawan to Anakin Skywalker, as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. Ahsoka is the ideal pick-me-up if you were starting to become worn out from watching Star Wars content.
The first episode throws you straight into the action even if it does temporarily slow down. It starts to pick up the pace again, staying consistent throughout the second episode. Although the pacing does get slow at moments, the show never stopped being entertaining.
The first two episodes of Ahsoka were able to solidify that it has returned to its true roots of the genre that originally defined this franchise. The first two episodes feature substantial character development, bolstered by the actors’ performances. This may be Ahsoka’s show but she isn’t the standout. There are at least three characters that stand out more than Ahsoka thanks to their performances and they are, Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno).
All eight episodes of the show are written by Dave Filoni and going off the first two episodes of Ahsoka, we’re in for a treat. This is Dave Filoni’s best written work he has done for any live action Star Wars show, and it’s clear as day that his love for Ahsoka is only pushing him to make one of his best written stories. Filoni manages to keep that Star Wars: Rebels spirit alive within the writing and it makes it as if that show never ended. The timing of the jokes was impeccable and the humor was placed only in fitting scenes. Ahsoka is the ideal follow-up to Star Wars: Rebels because the performers portraying the characters who are returning from Rebels do a terrific job of nailing their characteristics.
If you’ve seen every episode of Star Wars: Rebels, you’ll enjoy and appreciate this series much more. However, the creators designed this show with viewers who have never seen Rebels in mind. Ahsoka does an excellent job of making the plot easy to understand, helping audiences catch up with what has brought Ahsoka to her exact position. It’s interesting to note that this is the first show to have an opening crawl and it does a wonderful job of introducing everyone to the situation and explaining why Ahsoka needs to stop the darker inevitability of Thrawn.
Ahsoka manages to translate the animated world of Lothal from Rebels perfectly into live-action. Ralph McQuarrie was the original inspiration for the art style in Rebels with it being based off his original concept art for Star Wars and shockingly you can still see that inspiration in the buildings of Lothal. Surprisingly, this was one aspect that I wasn’t expecting to be good, but they captured its visual design perfectly.
In addition, the first two episodes contain a good amount of lightsaber duels, which were just a joy to watch. One of the rare times I recognize Rosario’s portrayal as Ahsoka was during the incredible choreography for each duel. She’s able to capture the character so well in her movements that are very similar to her animated counterpart from Clone Wars and Rebels.
The villains of the show receive a lot of attention thanks to the setup provided by these two episodes and they may even rank among my favorite villains in the Star Wars live action shows altogether. In episode two, Master Baylan Skoll displays signs of empathy, which makes him feel very different from any other Jedi who has joined the dark side. There is another antagonist that stands out as being particularly interesting and that interest only grows more and more as we find out information about them. They appear to be the first antagonist of that kind, which just adds to the intrigue and you’ll only understand once you watch it.
Ahsoka is a true return to the classic era of Star Wars that’s accessible for fans across all different sides of the franchise. No matter what era of the franchise you love, there’s aspects in this show that fits for everyone. Just like Andor, this is another Star Wars show that just feels refreshing to watch and I can only hope that future episodes continue to stay this consistent. Though it is possible to watch this without Rebels, I would recommend watching the show to enhance your experience just by a little more.
Ahsoka begins streaming on Disney+ today.