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HomeOpinionSci-Fi meets fantasy like never before in Star Wars: Ahsoka

Sci-Fi meets fantasy like never before in Star Wars: Ahsoka


The newest Star Wars television project was released this month, making Ahsoka Disney’s fifth foray into live-action television series under the Star Wars moniker.

Fans of Star Wars’ animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels will feel a bit of whiplash seeing their beloved characters represented in live action for the first few hours but will quickly feel at home as the cast easily settles into their roles representing old and new characters.

Ahsoka also represents Dave Filoni’s first real chance to flex his Star Wars experience in live action. Many of the characters in the series come from his imagination. While heavily involved in other series like The Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett, Filoni gets a chance now to show what he can do when helming a full-fledged live-action series.

He embraces the fantasy side of the Sci-fi/fantasy gene that Star Wars has always walked within. The series contains a mysticism that in some ways feels like the mystery of the original trilogy with its many unknowns, but with characters and factions that are either former Filoni creations from the animated series, or brand-new characters which have ambiguous motivations that fans will be desperate for more information on.

The story picks up right where Star Wars: Rebels left off. Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), who trained to be a jedi under order 66 jedi survivor Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. in Rebels), is currently missing after his climactic fight with Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), an Admiral of the Empire’s Imperial Navy.

The series features Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Hera Syndulla (Hera Syndulla) as they try and piece together where Ezra has gone. When they learn about a pair of ex-Jedi who are looking for a way to find Thrawn and bring him back as “Heir to the Empire.”

Ahsoka and her team come to blows with these ex-Jedi, who they find to be Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) who they discover are working for Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) who Ahsoka defeated and arrested in her first live action appearance on The Mandalorian.

The remainder of the first half of the series sees the main cast in a cat-and mouse style chase surrounding a McGuffin map device that is a common trope in Star Wars. With both sides desperately trying to find a way to Thrawn and Ezra.

As mentioned, fans of Star Wars: Rebels will have a wonderful time in the first half of the season seeing many of their favourite characters and sets adapted to live action in a way that is very true to the animated original depictions. There are references everywhere both small and large in detail, so the keen-eyed viewer will find lots to look out for.

While the main conflict in the first half of the season is surrounding the map device, the secondary conflict is a continuation of Sabine’s Jedi training, and her struggle to merge her Mandalorian roots with her desire to become a Jedi.

The show then brings us past the precipice of the known Star Wars universe as the characters are taken to a new galaxy, where they finally find Ezra and Thrawn. These two roles were perhaps the most nerve-racking for fans to see adapted into live action.

Thrawn has many fans both from the Timothy Zahn books as well as the Rebels animated series, and Ezra is making his first live-action debut as a supporting character after being an animated protagonist for so long. Esfandi and Mikkelsen fall into their roles nicely though, with the former maybe taking an episode or two to really get comfortable, but both actors do their respective roles justice.

The real standout role, however, is Ray Stevenson’s Baylan Skoll. The late actor portrayed maybe the most compelling antagonist in the Disney Star Wars era. A former Jedi General in the Clone Wars, Baylan survived the infamous order 66 and became what fans are calling a ‘fallen Jedi’ one gripping line that defines the character is when he is asked whether he misses the Jedi Order. “I miss… the idea of it. But not the truth, the weakness. There was no future there.”

Baylan seems to have once been a true believer but became disillusioned by the time order 66 came around, a fate similar to Anakin Skywalker in the prequel films and Clone Wars animated series. It is a real tragedy that Ray Stevenson passed away shortly after filming, and it surely will affect the plot of any future seasons if Disney decides to make them. Ray shined in his role and was a highlight for many watching the series, while the show itself was not universally well liked, his role seemed to be almost universally respected.

Ahsoka is a solid effort into adapting animated storylines into live action Star Wars. Filoni and his cast usher in a new yet familiar story for fans to follow. It respects the fans of the established characters while adding some wonderful new ones and masterfully integrating the massive amounts of fantasy-like world-building done by Filoni in his animated shows. Disney has had some false starts and falters with some of their live action shows, but Ahsoka is worth the watch for new and old fans alike.