Ahsoka Showrunner Says Star Wars Animated Shows Aren’t Required Viewing

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Many elements of the popular Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian have been taken directly from the animated side of Star Wars. Now, with the new Ahsoka series—featuring a cast of characters from Star Wars: Rebels— premiering later this month, many fans might feel the need to binge a bunch of animated Star Wars content. Luckily, according to Lucasfilm head of development Carrie Beck, Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni made sure that’s not the case.

“Dave [Filoni] was very thoughtful about crafting a narrative in a way that could invite people in.”

-Carrie Beck, Lucasfilm head of Development, on the accessibility of Ahsoka

According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Beck admitted that the real challenge with a series like Ahsoka was making sure that it would be accessible to hardcore Star Wars fans as well as newcomers and casual viewers. “Dave was very thoughtful about crafting a narrative in a way that could invite people in,” Beck told EW. The Lucasfilm Exec went on to say that Ahsoka tells viewers “everything they need to know along the way.”

That’s not to say that fans shouldn’t seek out animated fare like The Clone Wars and Rebels or comics like Marvel’s excellent Darth Vader if they want to enrich their Star Wars experience. It’s just that a series like Ahsoka shouldn’t require any outside knowledge in order to be enjoyable. Thankfully, it appears that Ahsoka co-creator and one-time Padawan to Master George Lucas himself, Dave Filoni, understands this.

Shows like Ahsoka beg the question, how much backstory do viewers need to know what’s going on?

In the age of multimedia franchises like Marvel, where the movies connect to the shows, which connect to the cartoons that are based on comics, fans can get overwhelmed by the glut of content required to get the full experience from an IP.

Rosario Dawson in Ahsoka

Ahsoka, for instance, features a main character created for The Clone Wars TV series that debuted in The Clone Wars animated movie who hangs around with characters from Rebels and whose main goal is pursuing a villain who debuted in the non-canon Legends novel Heir to the Empire. It’s no surprise that some viewers almost feel like they have to do homework before they can enjoy a new piece of media.

Lucasfilm promises fans they won’t need to watch the animated series The Clone Wars and/or Rebels in order to watch Ahsoka.

Shows like Ahsoka beg the question, how much backstory do viewers need to know what’s going on? It’s certainly a balancing act between rehashing too many plot points from a previous series or installment and throwing viewers into the deep end with nothing but a rubber duck printed with the words, “Sorry, all of this is explained in the other show/book/movie.”

Star Wars, in particular, is the queen of starting in the middle of things yet somehow not making a viewer feel lost.

George Lucas started A New Hope in the middle of a galactic civil war and slapped Episode IV on there just to make things extra confusing. Yet somehow, not one person who’s ever watched the movie has been confused about what’s going on.

Compare that to something like David Lynch’s Dune or The Chronicles of Riddick, movies that just don’t make sense unless you’re familiar with outside material, and even then, it’s not guaranteed. 

Judging by Beck’s comments about the way Dave Filoni went about making the latest Star Wars series, it sounds like it’s going to be more like A New Hope than Dune. Ahsoka premiers on Disney+ on August 23.

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