Star Rating:

Ahsoka 0+

Streaming On: Watch Ahsoka on Disney+

Season: 1

Episode: 1

Actors: Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clancy Brown

Release Date: Tuesday 22nd August 2023

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Running time: 90 minutes

If you didn't happen to watch 'Rebels', here's a quick catch-up. Ahsoka Tano was Anakin Skywalker's apprentice before he became Darth Vader. During the events of the original trilogy - that's 'Star Wars', 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi' - Ahsoka was in hiding from Darth Vader and eventually found her way to a planet called Lothal where she met a group of rebels - hey, that's the name of the show! - and helped them drive off the local representatives of the Empire.

The actions of the rebel cell - which included a blinded Jedi Knight voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., his own apprentice who has the ability to talk to animals, a Mandalorian heiress, and a pilot now played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead - proved incredibly successful. So successful, in fact, that the Empire sent their most gifted strategist - a blue-skinned genius called Thrawn - to sort it all out. As you can expect, it didn't end up working out for them. Without going too far into the weeds with it because we're distilling down 75 episodes here, Thrawn ended up vanishing into hyperspace along with Ezra Bridger, the apprentice mentioned earlier with the ability to talk to animals. Bridger called in these giant whales that live in space to grab Thrawn and himself and zapped them away. As we said, it's a long story.

Essentially, 'Ahsoka' is set up like a mystery series. You've got Rosario Dawson padding around exotic locales, looking for clues and trying to piece together the mystery of where Ezra - and consequently Thrawn - ended up. Seeing as how it's set around the same time as 'The Mandalorian', you still get the tension that even though the Empire has been defeated and the Republic is trying to reassert itself, they're still out there. In fact, much of the second episode is set inside a shipyard that may or may not be hiding a ton of sleeper agents for the Empire. For a show that's so heavy on lore and really does require a lot of background knowledge in order to grasp certain key elements of the show, the dialogue is somewhat thin, and Rosario Dawson's character comes across as kind of taciturn.

Dawson plays Ahsoka like a wandering samurai, right down to the tabi-style boots she wears and the grey cloak that frequently requires a Toshiro Mifune-adjacent shoulder roll. Despite the prosthetics and the makeup, Dawson appears comfortable in the role in a way that understands the minimalist approach. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, on the other hand, is completely unrecognisable under the makeup and prosthetics as Hera Syndulla, but tries for a kind of enthusiasm to force herself out beyond the makeup. Given how so many of the characters in 'Ahsoka' were animated or literary in their origin, it'll be interesting to see how they're all interpreted.

Obviously, the blue alien in the room is Thrawn, who'll be played by Lars Mikkelsen and who voiced the character in 'Rebels'. Again, without going too far into the weeds, Thrawn is one of those characters that only die-hard aficionados are aware of and is widely considered to be the sole reason for the revitalised interest in 'Star Wars' all the way back in 1991 when Timothy Zahn first wrote 'Heir to the Empire'. In fact, Zahn has been brought on to 'Ahsoka' as a creative consultant. If there's a reason to stick around for 'Ashoka', seeing Grand Admiral Thrawn on-screen is definitely it.

'Ahsoka' premieres on Disney+ on August 23rd with a two-part premiere and will run week-to-week until October 3rd for eight episodes.