Features and Columns · TV

We Already Know a Lot About the Ahsoka Tano ‘Star Wars’ Series

A recent interview with co-creator Dave Filoni explains how this new spin-off series has been percolating in his mind for a long time.
Star Wars Ahsoka Series
By  · Published on November 30th, 2021

Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines some recent comments from Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni and how the upcoming Star Wars spin-off has been germinating in his brain for several years.

In December, the Star Wars franchise will expand significantly with The Book of Boba Fett. The titular bounty hunter is one of the first minor characters to snatch fandom’s imagination, and this solo series really is a long time coming. Its launch validates what most already know. We love the heroes and the big bad villains, but the background characters have supported this saga the most.

We look to the fringes with Star Wars. A character walks across the frame, blocking Luke and Leia for a moment — oh, hey, what’s their deal? For their minor screentime, they’re rewarded with action figures. As we clutch them in our fingers, the mystery deepens, the demand to know more increases.

As the franchise became more consuming within pop culture, the hunger for more information around these characters increased. The films simply could not contain the desire. Novels and a line of comic books sprung into fruition. Cartoons quickly followed. In these realms, the side characters thrived and often stole the spotlight from the marquee names. Luke Skywalker? Boring!

Ahsoka Tano is more Star Wars than Luke Skywalker

Ahsoka Tano came to the franchise not as a minor character but as a supporting one. She was the pesky little student who hung on Anakin Skywalker’s every word. However, as the Clone Wars animated series pushed further into the tragedy of its subject matter, the bright young thing had her eyes peeled wide open. The Jedi are foolish and easily manipulated.

The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni put his heart into Ahsoka, and in doing so, we opened ours to her. By the time she finally made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian, many Star Wars fans considered Ahsoka Tano a critical player. She saw the potential for the Jedi’s fall long before anyone else, and her departure from their order revealed tremendous wisdom.

With most of her adventures post-Star Wars: Rebels clouded in mystery, a ravenous yearning developed. And Rosario Dawson‘s casting as Ahsoka suggested a greater promise from Lucasfilm. There is more story here. She is not destined for a mere Mandalorian guest-spot.

Dave Filoni’s Big Ahsoka Tano Promise

A year ago, Lucasfilm announced an onslaught of Star Wars programming. Ahsoka the series is happening. The buzz around its potential is deafening within some fanatic corners. Every little news bit sparks curiosity and excitement. We will gobble it all up until the show is streaming on our Disney+ machine.

In a recent interview with Empire magazine, Dave Filoni spoke briefly about what’s going on with Ahsoka. On the writing process, he said, “It’s thrilling, I gotta tell you.”

Duh. Ahsoka is his baby. As co-creator, he slowly brought her to life, pushing her narrative to a central role, eventually elevating her arc as the prime story in The Clone Wars Season 7. The new series promises to reveal her importance to the audience that simply won’t touch cartoons, but in doing so, may steer a few of them back to the animated universe.

“I thought of this adventure for Ahsoka for a long time,” he continued, “and it’s interesting to see how it’s evolved.” Filoni clearly knows what happened to his fave since Rebels‘ climax. And he’s been itching to tell the story since that show concluded, but he had no idea that her tale would eventually entwine with The Mandalorian.

We Already Kinda Know What Ahsoka Will Be

When working within such a massive franchise, you must cling to your ideas tightly and wait for the proper opportunity. The Mandalorian opened a door, and when the audience responded positively to what the show delivered, Filoni saw his shot. Ahsoka Tano’s Star Wars significance is about to be sealed.

We are not completely in the dark as to what the Ahsoka Tano series will provide. When we last saw the character in The Mandalorian, she bested the Imperial Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) in a duel. With a lightsaber blade at her neck, Elsbeth revealed the possible whereabouts of Rebels‘ villain and Expanded Universe superstar, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Thrawn’s survival was a revelation. The last time we saw him, he was pulled into hyperspace with Jedi youngling Ezra Bridger. If he’s alive, we can assume that the kid made it, too. When Rebels concluded, Ahsoka Tano and her Mandalorian buddy Sabine Wren swore an oath to rescue Ezra from his cosmically mysterious location.

We also recently learned, via Deadline, that Natasha Liu Bordizzo will portray Sabine in Ahsoka. The casting further cements the series’ narrative drive. These two are on a mission, a hunt. Thrawn is not their goal but an obstacle on their way to Ezra Bridger.

The Ahsoka Series Could Be The Most Force-ful Star Wars Yet

The quest will possibly take them into the stranger, more mystical realms. The Jedi kid was swept into hyperspace by the Force-friendly creatures called Purrgil. These beautiful beasties are connected to the Force on a profound and possibly unknowable level. We’ve seen the space magic in action — lifting rocks, tossing folks from here to there, etc. — but Star Wars has never fully committed to exploring this religious power.

The Clone Wars and Rebels could get pretty weird and semi-specific with its Force-ful examination. Dave Filoni’s take on the ancient religion did not always jive with everyone. Ahsoka could challenge folks further. Some express weariness with Jedi — does every show require a lightsaber’s presence? What if Filoni pushed deeper into the mythology and woo-woo behind Star Wars‘ space magic? Would you retreat?

The Force is not a weapon. As Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke in A New Hope, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” The Force is unification. It could be pretty damn rad to take this hoodoo seriously in 2021…or 2023 as the case may be for Ahsoka.

Whatever the series finally reveals itself to be, we know that it comes roaring from Dave Filoni’s heart. And it is not some dashed-off idea. Ahsoka has cooked for a long time. She is one of several simmering Star Wars characters, people we’ve met and dismissed at first glance but eventually recognized as deeply remarkable additions.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)