UPDATE: July 11 trailer (above) added.
Ahsoka Tano’s rise to prominence is one of the great Star Wars feel-good stories. Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the Togruta was introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s (voiced by Matthew Lanter) precocious Padawan learner in the ill-received Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical film. But across the first five seasons of the subsequent animated series, the character grew from that initial depiction into a strong and dependable Jedi-in-training. Along the way, she also developed a devoted following among viewers who were all dismayed when The Clone Wars was cut short, leaving Ahsoka on a cliffhanger as she chose exile from the Jedi Order.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Thankfully, Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni, who is also credited as her co-creator alongside Star Wars originator George Lucas, immediately went from Clone Wars to a new animated series: Star Wars Rebels. There, he introduced an older and somewhat wiser Ahsoka (still voiced by Eckstein) who spent the 15 or so years between the two programs helping the nascent Rebel Alliance prepare for their eventual war with the Empire (among other things, of course). Her return and consistent presence on Rebels (for a few seasons, anyway) cemented the character as an important aspect of the overall Star Wars story; in fact, the fans even had a rallying cry for whenever she vanished: “Ahsoka Lives.” It got them through Clone Wars’s cancellation, her seemingly climactic confrontation with Darth Vader on Rebels, and her return in that program’s final episode.
(Photo by Merrick Morton/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Then in 2020, Ahsoka fans received a couple of gifts: a final season of The Clone Wars to wrap up her story during that conflict, and word that she would be coming to the live action TV series, The Mandalorian. The latter became a reality later that year (with Rosario Dawson taking over from Eckstein), followed by a surprise announcement at the Disney Investor Day revealing Ahsoka Tano would be getting her own series. And just to sweeten the deal, the series would eventually join The Mandalorian and other Star Wars series for a crossover event now slated to be a feature film with Filoni directing.
Following the announcement, though, word about Ahsoka went pretty quiet until October 2021, when word broke indicating Star Wars prequel star Hayden Christensen would return as Anakin Skywalker, marking the first time the former Jedi Master and his former Padawan will share the live-action screen.
Of course, that moment is still in the (near) future, but it served as impetus to compile everything we know about Ahsoka so far. And in the years since we first investigated Ahsoka’s potential future, a lot has come to light.
The series, carrying on from Ahsoka’s appearance on The Mandalorian, will see her continuing to chase down Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, reprising the role he voiced on Rebels). He went missing during the final liberation of Lothal, just prior to the events of the original Star Wars. But more important than his fugitive status is the person who went missing alongside him: would-be Jedi Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray). As mentioned in Rebels’ final moments, Ahsoka made good on her promise to find him and her friends; although it would take her the entire Galactic Civil War to really dedicate herself to the quest.
Except, as Filoni told Vanity Fair, the final scene of Rebels — which saw the Jedi exile in all-white robes and brandishing a staff — may occur after events of her Mandalorian appearance, indicating Ahsoka may also take place before that moment. If that’s the case, then Ahsoka’s search for Thrawn may somehow be unrelated to the search for Ezra. Or, perhaps, she’s chosen not to include the members of Ezra’s Rebel cell. Based on her reticence to train Grogu and Dawson’s comments at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023, we imagine huge elements of the show will be Ahsoka’s loneliness and reluctance to connect. It is a nice source of drama as she continues her quest.
Adding some fuel to that fire: a trailer released on July 11 in which Ahsoka claimed she is unwilling to dwell on her past, but nonetheless took on an apprentice whom she walked away from just as she walked away from Anakin during the Clone Wars. And as her presumed apprentice is a beloved Rebels character, it may explain way she continues to walk alone in the post-Empire galaxy.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
Ahsoka’s search will be set in the New Republic era five or so years after The Return of the Jedi. As we’ve seen in The Mandalorian, the Republic’s attempt to restore of law and order is already in trouble; it allows the Imperial Remnant to fester. But with the Outer Rim of the galaxy the stomping ground of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka’s journeys will take her far and wide – from former imperial capital Coruscant, to Lothal, Onderon, Ord Mantell, and even some new worlds.
We also expect her dealings with Republic officials to be different from Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) more precarious entanglements on The Mandalorian. Or, perhaps, we’ll discover the rank-and-file are as susceptible to the Jedi Mind Trick as their Stormtrooper predecessors. Also, there are higher ranking individuals in the Republic who must remember Ahsoka as “Fulcrum.” One has to wonder if she’ll call on them as part of her quest.
(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
After her debut as the live-action Ahsoka in the second season Mandalorian episode “The Jedi,” Dawson returns as the character. Natasha Liu Bordizzo joins her in the series as Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian artist and demolitions expert from Rebels originally voiced by Tiya Sircar. The July 2023 trailer adds an interesting wrinkle to Sabine’s story as, in one moment, she derisively calls Ahsoka “Master.” Combined with previously released clips of Sabine wielding Ezra’s lightsaber, it appears the series will answer a question Rebels fans have asked for a long time: is Sabine Force-sensitive?
Other audio in the trailer also makes it clear that Ahsoka and Sabine had some sort of falling out in the years since Rebels ended. If Sabine was Ahsoka’s apprentice, what could lead the two to part? Also, how did Sabine convince Ahsoka to train her? At the very least, it’s clear Sabine will be equipped to hold her own against a foe brandishing a lightsaber, even if that opponent claims she has “no power” in the July trailer.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) June 7, 2023
At the 2023 Star Wars Celebration, Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed she plays Hera Syndulla, another Rebels character who went on to become a general in the Rebel Alliance. As the character notes in the July trailer, she has spent most of her life fighting a war and hopes to avert another by pleading with the New Republic senate and reuniting with Ahsoka.
An extended version of the first series trailer also revealed Lars Mikkelsen’s live action look as Grand Admiral Thrawn, the first member of the Rebels voice cast to return in a role they originated on the animated series. Also, irascible but lovable droid C1-10P, aka Chopper, will also join in on the adventure.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) April 10, 2023
Eman Esfandi will reportedly play Ezra, although this has not been confirmed and the voice of Ezra heard in the July trailer sounds a lot like Gray’s. Of course, some online believe an older Ezra will be revealed as the Inquisitor Ahoska fights late in the newer preview.
Additional cast — thanks to the trailer and Lucasfilm messaging — include Genevieve O’Reilly in her first New Republic-era appearance as Mon Mothma while Maurice Irvin, Jacqueline Antaramian, Nelson Lee, and Erica Duke join her as a gaggle of Republic senators. Also, David Tennant will once again lend his voice to Huyang, the lightsaber-crafting droid he first voiced on The Clone Wars.
Thrawn will also be reinforced by Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), the Beskar spear-brandishing servant Ahsoka first faced in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian. During the Ahsoka-focused panel at Celebration 2023, Inosanto called her character a “complicated woman.” Subsequently, The Expanse’s Wes Chatham also emerged as a part of the admiral’s circle.
The forces of darkness will also find aid from Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, a pair of Force-sensitives played by Ray Stevenson (in the late actor’s final role) and Ivanna Sakhno, who are neither Jedi nor Sith. But their lightsabers prove they will be formidable opponents even for an accomplished blademaster like Ahsoka. Although, the extended version of the trailer revealed Sabine will also wield a saber to face off against Shin. A glimpse of the scene featured in a TV spot released in June and yet more of the battle appears in the new trailer.
That recent preview also reveals Skoll and Hati are in search of Thrawn, too, with the former claiming the Admiral will offer them undreamed-of power. Many online have pointed out that their last names are direct references to wolves of Norse mythology — continuing Filoni’s own obsession with lupine imagery — who chase the sun and the moon. A successful conclusion to their hunt means Ragnarok, but we doubt the same will be true should these Star Wars characters link up with Thrawn.
(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney)
Other potential characters from the animated show who could make their live action debuts in Ahsoka include Hera’s son, Jacen, and perhaps Temuera Morrison as the beloved Clone Captain Rex (voiced on Rebels by Dee Bradley Baker), who would still be alive at this point in Star Wars history. Some reports indicate Morrison will play the part, but this has yet to be confirmed. Additionally, an older Jacen is featured in an upcoming LEGO set, suggesting the character will appear as well.
Christensen — who already returned as Darth Vader on the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series — will also appear on Ahsoka as Anakin Skywalker. It is unclear how he will appear as Anakin died five or so years prior to the presumed setting the series, but a galaxy of flashbacks, Force Ghosts, and a certain timey-wimey World Between Worlds makes his involvement relatively easy to explain. Instead, Christensen’s part in the show further cements Ahsoka’s importance to the overall Star Wars story despite debuting after Lucas completed the Prequel Trilogy.
In fact, Filoni recalled during the 2023 panel that Ahsoka came into existence because the Star Wars creator wanted Anakin to have an apprentice.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
The Mandalorian brain trust of Filoni and Jon Favreau continue on with Ahsoka, although Filoni takes the primary writing role while Favreau serves as executive producer. The arrangement totally makes sense considering how central Ahsoka has been to Filoni’s work in the galaxy far, far away.
At Celebration 2023, Filoni confirmed a list of directors joining him on the series: Steph Green, Peter Ramsey, Jennifer Getzinger, Geeta Patel, and Mandalorian executive producer Rick Famiyuwa. He also revealed Clone Wars and Rebels composer Kevin Kiner returns to score Ahsoka. “I needed that music. It’s a throughline from Clone Wars to Rebels [to Ahsoka],” he explained.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
The series will premiere on August 23 with its first two episodes. During the Celebration 2023 presentation, Dawson said she only recently calmed down from shooting the program and let slip that she hopes the series will get a second season.