As the Star Wars universe continues to grow, so does the speculation as to what it all could entail, as most of it at this point is just that – speculation. One of the new series announced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy at the Disney Investor’s Day 2020 was Ahsoka, a series coming to Disney+ and led by Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano.
THE MANDALORIAN’S AHSOKA TANO
Rosario Dawson made her appearance as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian episode titled The Jedi. Now that Kennedy made the announcement of the Ahsoka series, looking back one can see how this episode served as a sort of pilot for Dawson’s Ahsoka. When Ahsoka debuted, it was thought, by Mando, that she would be the one to take Baby Yoda (Ahsoka revealed his name to be Grogu) and train him in the ways of the Jedi. Instead, Ahsoka sent Din Djarin and Grogu on a new path, one that would allow Grogu to determine his own future.
But sending Mando and Grogu on their merry way wasn’t truly what we wanted to see of this fan-favorite character. No, we wanted to see if she had the goods. Did she possess the skills fans knew and loved? Was she up for the battle? The answer to both those questions was a resounding yes. “The Jedi” episode actually gave us two great battles: one between Mando and Michael Biehn’s “Enforcer” and then Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano squaring off against Diana Lee Inosanto’s the Magistrate.
Filoni raved about the battle, noting Inosanto’s ability in martial arts. “I needed the performance from the Magistrate to challenge Ahsoka and be someone that could go toe to toe with her instantly. Diana brings such experience and knowledge about martial arts to her performance,” he told Vanity Fair. “The instant she takes up the Beskar spear you can tell that she is a lethal opponent. For me, as a director, it was a great advantage to have someone of Diana’s skill and experience with fight choreography as one of the main players, especially for the final battle in the courtyard.” Filoni then summed it up about the confrontations between the four. “In both Michael and Diana, I had two people who knew their characters; they brought so much to the roles through their personal skills and experiences. As the villains of the story, I felt we had a good matchup of Mando and Ahsoka versus the Magistrate and her gunslinger.”
And then, Ahsoka Tano’s story comes to an end. Little did we know that Filoni, Jon Favreau, and Kathleen Kennedy had bigger plans for Dawson and Ahsoka.
FROM ANIMATION TO LIVE-ACTION
Dave Filoni created the character of Ahsoka Tano for the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars back in 2008, which was based on the 2008 film of the same name. The series ran for seven seasons, six of which ran from 2008 through 2014 and the seventh and final season came earlier this year. Ahsoka moved on to Star Wars: Rebels, which lasted four seasons after The Clone Wars ended in 2014.
Ahsoka Tano was the Jedi Padawan of Anakin Skywalker and was first introduced as a bratty 14-year-old with whom fans didn’t take to in the beginning. But as her story progressed and her relationship with Anakin developed, fans began to finally warm to Ahsoka. But since her creation, Ahsoka had only been seen as an animated character. The closest she ever came to live-action was in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker when Ashley Eckstein (who voiced Ahsoka in both Clone Wars and Rebels) made a vocal cameo as Ahsoka Tano. In it, she was one of the voices of the Jedi from the past who were on hand to help Rey in her battle against Palpatine, the one who was responsible for turning Anakin to the dark side.
ROSARIO DAWSON AS AHSOKA TANO
It was a simple tweet that got Rosario Dawson aboard the Ahsoka Tano train. She had received a tweet from a fan who fan-casted her as Ahsoka and Dawson’s reply was simple, “Absolutely, yes please. #AhsokaLives.” Word got back to Filoni about Dawson’s expressed interest and his interest was immediately piqued. He brought up the Ahsoka character to Favreau when the two began working together and when Favreau asked who he had in mind, Dawon’s name immediately popped out of his mouth. It didn’t hurt that when it did, Favreau was on board. So, when the two finally approached Dawson about possibly playing the part of Ahsoka, she was anxious but didn’t want to appear overanxious.
They took it as if she was hesitating, possibly unsure of taking the role. “…they were asking, “Do you want to do this? I mean, we appreciate if it’s not something you want to do.” And I was like, “Oh, no, no, that would be cool, actually. I think we could maybe work this out,” she explained to Vanity Fair. To Filoni’s credit, he just knew Rosario Dawson was it for Ahsoka Tano. He explained that when he was first considering directing a live-action project, he spoke to Kennedy and asked her about casting and when she knew that someone was right for the part. Her simple response, “You just know.”
It was that easy, one Filoni totally agrees with. “And she was right. When I met Rosario, I just knew she was right for Ahsoka. Yes, there was the tweet and her interest in the part; yes, she has been in action movies and is a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy stories; yes, she knew Hayden Christensen and pictures of them together look like Anakin and Ahsoka. But in the end, when I met her and we talked, I just knew.”
While Rosario Dawson can’t share much about the Ahsoka Tano series, she can share bits about her experience behind the scenes. In early 2021, she shared a video of her getting into character.
THE AHSOKA SERIES
Like most all the new series announced by Kennedy at the Disney Investor Day, what we know about Ahsoka is little to none. Rosario Dawson will again fill Ahsoka Tano’s headtails and dual lightsabers. We also know that Ahsoka will be part of the Mandalorian universe along with another new series announced, Rangers of the New Republic. Kennedy even stated, “These interconnected shows, along with future stories, will excite new audiences, embrace our most passionate fans and will culminate in a climactic story event.” So it seems that the three series will come together in one form or another, all leading up to a Star Wars event fans will no doubt be anticipating. Other than that, it will all be guesswork.
Rumors have been on-going of the possible Ahsoka Tano spin-off series for some time and there had been reports that the series would include Star Wars Rebels characters Zeb, Hera, and Chopper and possibly continue the story of their pursuit of the missing Ezra Bridger. The Jedi episode also revealed that Ahsoka Tano is on the hunt for Grand Admiral Thrawn, who had jumped to hyperspace with Bridger at the end of Star Wars: Rebels. This is what could be bringing all three series together. So, with only Dawson as the only cast member being confirmed, don’t be surprised if calls go out for Thrawn, Bridger, and the three other previously mentioned characters as well as another possibility: Sabine Wren, a young Mandalorian warrior.
At the present time, Kennedy didn’t announce a premiere date, much less when the series will go in front of the cameras. But with The Mandalorian Season 3 expected to drop right before Christmas 2021, you can expect Ahsoka to not be far behind. With plans of the three series interconnecting, it kind of has to come quickly.