In the initial four episodes of Ahsoka, writer and creator Dave Filoni faces the challenge of introducing new material from the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels to viewers who are more familiar with live-action Star Wars. This results in a slow start, but the latter half of the season delivers a satisfying mix of action and emotion that sets the stage for the future of the franchise.
Continuing from Rebels, Ahsoka follows the journey of Jedi Ahsoka Tano and Mandalorian Sabine Wren as they search for their friend Ezra Bridger. Their mission becomes entangled with a race to find Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was previously banished by Ezra to another galaxy.
The first four episodes primarily revolve around a mundane MacGuffin chase, with the standout performances coming from the fallen Jedi mercenaries Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. Ray Stevenson shines as an aging knight disillusioned by the ceaseless conflict between Sith and Jedi, injecting gravitas into his role. However, some viewers may find Rosario Dawson’s performance as Ahsoka lacking emotional depth initially.
Ahsoka is burdened by the need to incorporate elements from various Star Wars projects, including Andor, The Mandalorian, and Star Wars Resistance. While these scenes serve as cameos, they divert focus from the more engaging aspects of Ahsoka’s story.
Despite its initial shortcomings, Ahsoka shines when exploring the more peculiar aspects of Star Wars’ mythology. The series introduces elements such as dream-communicating witches, interstellar squid-whales, and a world where death can be evaded. These unique elements are brought to life through spectacular costumes, battles, and CGI, truly capturing the epic nature of Star Wars’ science fantasy.
Furthermore, Ahsoka delves into the concept of using the Force and being a Jedi in a way reminiscent of The Last Jedi, but without the narrative setbacks seen in Rise of Skywalker. Sabine, despite lacking a natural connection to the Force, trains alongside Ezra in lightsaber combat and becomes Ahsoka’s apprentice. The dynamic between Ahsoka and Sabine, characterized by trust and growth, forms the emotional core of the series.
The inclusion of Huyang, an ancient Jedi Temple droid, as a mentor adds a fresh perspective to the story. Huyang values teamwork and the Jedi-Padawan bond over traditional criteria for admission into the Jedi Order. Filoni skillfully combines this unconventional approach with the lore surrounding the Force and its origins, creating a narrative of significant consequence.
Ezra and Thrawn’s late arrival in the series is regrettable considering the impact both characters have on Ahsoka. Lars Mikkelsen masterfully portrays the strategic brilliance of Thrawn, and Eman Esfandi brings a youthful charm to his role as the exiled Jedi. Their interactions with Sabine result in a thrilling battle sequence reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender.