Critics’ responses to Ahsoka, the latest live-action Star Wars series on Disney+, are solidly Fresh so far, but comments on the pacing are lukewarm. Rosario Dawson shines as former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano, and the charismatic performance of late actor Ray Stevenson, who died in May after filming ended, has touched reviewers.
The story, from writer and showrunner Dave Filoni, takes place after the fall of the Galactic Empire, and follows Ahsoka as she hunts for Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, reprising the role he voiced on animated series Star Wars: Rebels). The Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated theatrical film introduced Ahsoka, a Togruta, as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan student. A subsequent animated series of the same name saw the character grow into a strong Jedi Knight. Rebels found an Ahsoka steeped in the workings of the Rebel Alliance as it prepared for war with the Empire.
The character leapt to live-action with Dawson in the role in hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian, from series creator Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal. She also appeared in Favreau and Filoni’s Mandalorian spin-off series The Book of Boba Fett, starring Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen.
Here’s what critics are saying about season 1 of Star Wars: Ahsoka:
This series feels like Star Wars thanks to perfectly combined humor, epic lightsaber battles, and emotional high stakes storylines. Feels more like a live action Rebels than a The Mandalorian spin-off, but that’s not a bad thing.
—Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky
The Star Wars TV show we’ve been waiting for, Ahsoka is an astonishing addition to the saga, with a phenomenal cast and pitch-perfect action that will take your breath away. THIS. IS. STAR WARS.
—Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com
At least we still have “Andor.”
—Ben Travers, indieWire
Fans of Clone Wars and Rebels will appreciate this live-action continuation of Dave Filoni’s saga, while newcomers should dig its promise of a different kind of Force clash.
—Dan Jolin, Empire Magazine
This show is going to be my must-see Star Wars show each week it’s on.
—Julian Lytle, Geek Girl Riot
If you’re a longtime Star Wars fan that’s been feeling a little underwhelmed with the most recent offerings, Ahsoka should not just rekindle your excitement for the franchise but set it full on bonfire mode.
—Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files
Dawson lifts your attention above the “Star Wars” of it all. She even overcomes the scalp appendages she has inherited from the cartoon character, which look exactly like what they are: a dangling pair of rubber bags.
—Mike Hale, New York Times
“They’ve found the perfect actor for the part in Rosario Dawson.”
—Max Covill, It’s The Pictures
Rosario Dawson’s compelling performance is a true force of nature.
—M.N. Miller, Nerd Alert
A series that’s primarily bland, albeit packed with potentially interesting characters, plus an exceptional anchoring performance from the late Ray Stevenson, whose charismatic presence here left me moved.
—Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
The action and visuals are spectacular, but the new actors are too stiff in their portrayal of the wonderful cast of characters that made Dave Filoni’s animated series worthy of continuation.
—Samantha Nelson, IGN Movies
Ahsoka‘s greatest triumph lies in how effortlessly it moves Rebels characters to live-action. Thanks to its cast, the show feels emotionally symmetrical to its animated predecessor without blatantly replicating what made it work so well.
—Hayden Mears, TV Line
Star Wars: Ahsoka boasts a terrific cast, stunning special effects, captivating storytelling, a magnetic turn by Ivanna Sakhno
—M.N. Miller, Nerd Alert
Filoni has been with Ahsoka Tano every step of the way and the series is in good hands.
—Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
With high highs but also low lows of dramatic pauses and slow pacing, Ahsoka will either draw the fandom in – or force push them away. Rebellions are built on hope. Let’s hope that Ahsoka is built on the same.
—Christie Cronan, Raising Whasians
There’s several cool moments when the Star Wars spirit kicks in & Filoni invokes the original Samurai movies inspiration, but his prowess making 22-minute animated episodes isn’t translating into 45-55 live-action minutes. [Full review in Spanish]
—Jorge Rivera Rubio, QiiBO
The first two episodes of Ahsoka struggle a bit but, ultimately, develop the characters, relationships, and stories enough that we’re very hopeful the rest of the season will be as excellent as we all want it to be.
—Germain Lussier, io9.com
No matter how hard it strives for widespread accessibility, it’s a sequel that will be of primary interest to established fans.
—Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
These first two episodes of Ahsoka, which account for a quarter of the season, are a little slow but hopefully will prove to be effective table setters for a thrilling adventure.
—Mark Meszoros, The News-Herald (Willoughby, OH)
The MVPs of the first two episodes? [Composer] Kevin Kiner, the droids, and the Loth-cats. Ahsoka is quite stiff to start but given the wealth of rich characters and story details in play, hopefully the show will find its groove as it progresses.
—Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff (YouTube)
Ahsoka may suffer from the same story issues that The Mandalorian’s most recent season dealt with, but diehard fans may be willing to overlook them if the endgame is a satisfying conclusion…
—Maggie Lovitt, Collider