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 digs into the Ahsoka trailer recently unveiled at Star Wars Celebration.
It was a big weekend for Star Wars fans. Celebration got underway. The trailers were coming fast and furious. Lots to unpack, but the one that seems to have grabbed the most hype already is the Ahsoka teaser.
There is a lot within one minute and fifty-one seconds. We catch the back of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s head and a cute nod to Timothy Zahn’s no longer canon Heir to the Empire novel. We meet a new Master/Apprentice Sith power couple played by Ray Stevenson and Ivanna Sakhno. Actually, we also catch a glimpse at another red lightsaber-wielding baddie, masked and carrying a double-spinning blade. An inquisitor, possibly? Even David Tennant returns as Huyang, the lightsaber-building droid from Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.
Most importantly, however, we get our first proper look at several Star Wars: Rebels characters brought to live action for the first time. We see Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) reuniting with Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Chopper screams excitedly as Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) enters a dogfight. Technically, this is not Chopper’s first appearance, as the grumpy Astromech droid had a Rogue One walk-on. Surprisingly, we also spot a cameo from Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger, but only in holo form.
Throughout The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, animated and comic book Star Wars fans have enjoyed plenty of Easter eggs and cameo treats. From Zeb Orrelios to Black Krrsantan, we’ve eaten well. Many of these teases seem to have been building toward Ahsoka, and now that we’re here, excitement levels are at an all-time high. Star Wars: Rebels left us hanging in the best way possible, but now we’re ready for a reunion. Ezra, back in the fold.
Dawson looks fantastic as Ahsoka. Seeing her in action, taking on some pike-striking droids, gets the blood pumping. As the teaser progresses, we see several descriptors flash on the screen. “Warrior. Outcast. Rebel. Jedi.” Personally, I was fist-pumping along to everyone until we got to that last word. “Jedi.” That causes pause, considering Ahsoka’s rocky relationship with the institution.
In one of The Clone Wars‘ most revisiting storylines, the Jedi Order turns their eyes toward Ahsoka after their Temple is bombed. They accuse her of being a terrorist, and even though she and Anakin Skywalker ultimately prove her innocence, the experience exposes the Jedi’s fallibility. Ahsoka walks away from the Order, turning her back on Anakin, seeking to find a purpose for her faith beyond the religion.
We know Ahsoka’s skepticism regarding the Jedi’s righteousness is valid. The prequels proved Yoda, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and the rest to be utterly ignorant regarding their role in the Clone Wars. As first established in The Phantom Menace and climaxed in Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi were manipulated pathetically by Palpatine. Their egos blinded them to the fake war they were perpetuating, allowing the Emperor to take over and his Empire to dominate the galaxy.
It was too late when the Jedi finally awakened to their puppet status. With rebellion necessary, Ahsoka joined the cause. Eventually, her mission to topple the Empire brought her face to face with her old Master, Anakin Skywalker, the rebranded Darth Vader. Of course, she didn’t know the man-machine before her was her old pal.
In the two-part Star Wars: Rebels episode, “Twilight of the Apprentice,” when Vader tells Ahsoka Tano that vengeance is not a Jedi trait, her response is empowering and character-defining. “I am no Jedi,” she says before lighting up her two blades. The brawl that follows is more emotionally torturous than physically devastating. Although, it’s that also.
Ahsoka, the warrior. She grew up on the Clone Wars battlefield. Ahsoka, the Outcast. Rejected by the Jedi, she rejected them in response. Ahsoka, the Rebel. She played a critical role in uniting various factions against the Empire, ultimately helping in its destruction. Ahsoka, the Jedi. No. Not anymore. Never again?
Warrior. Outcast. Rebel. Jedi. Examine the words linearly. The first three track her journey through The Clone Wars and Rebels. The last word suggests where her story could go in Ahsoka.
In the teaser, she says the Jedi fell a long time ago. This dialogue recalls her conversation with Vader in “Twilight of the Apprentice” when she told him that the Jedi were as dead as Anakin Skywalker. Her line in the trailer is followed up with a final one from David Tennant’s Huyang, “Perhaps it is time to begin again.”
Also announced at Star Wars Celebration, Daisy Ridley will return in the next feature film. Apparently, the movie will involve Rey Skywalker building a New Jedi Order. Luke attempted something similar with Ben Solo, and we know how that turned out in The Last Jedi.
We’ve seen Ahsoka with Luke Skywalker in The Book of Boba Fett. Did she catch a longing to redeem the Jedi as she considered what the son did for the father and what she could not accomplish for Anakin? If Ahsoka does pursue a Jedi path again, we’re still stuck with the knowledge that Luke will fail and the New Republic will fail. The First Order is coming. The First Order is here.
Remembering The Last Jedi again, Yoda tells Luke that failure is a teacher, not a loss. We grow richer if we survive our defeats, and the Star Wars saga has detailed a lot of defeats. Or is it really all about life’s cyclical nature? The New Republic doesn’t learn from the Old Republic’s mistakes. Luke was about as good a teacher to Ben Solo as Obi-Wan Kenobi was to Anakin Skywalker. Maybe Rey can build a better temple. Maybe she cannot.
The win is in the attempt, perhaps. To borrow from another space franchise: Never give up, never surrender.
Star Wars: Ahsoka arrives on Disney+ in August.