James Polen | Staff Writer
In 2018, the last episode of “Star Wars Rebels” aired leaving the Star Wars community with a cliff-hanger of an ending. After many years of waiting, “Ahsoka” was anticipated to be the sequel fans of “Star Wars Rebels” had been waiting for.
The show features former Jedi, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), and her apprentice, Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), on a quest to track down a map leading to the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson) and possibly to the fan-favorite Jedi, Ezra Bridger (Eman Stefandi). Neither Thrawn nor Ezra have officially been introduced in the live action “Ahsoka” show, but their names are in the cast list, teasing their future appearance.
A challenge of the “Ahsoka” series is portraying animated characters as live-action for the first time ever.
One of the most contradictory live-action portrayals is Ahsoka herself. While the former Jedi has appeared in other live-action Star Wars series, her non-human character looks like a professional cosplay of the animated character, not what was expected after the animated portrayals.
Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is another non-human character who worked better as an animated character. While these characters don’t look terrible in live action, it does beg the question of why the show was not animated. A large part of the show’s audience is “Star Wars Rebels” fans used to seeing these characters animated. Why not make the show’s sequel animated as well?
Additionally, the characters have noticeably different voices than they did in “Star Wars Rebels,” another example of “Ahsoka” failing to maintain consistency with the show whose success it depends on.
Unlike some of the franchise’s other series, “Ahsoka” does not introduce a completely new plot. While it takes many of fans’ favorite parts of “Star Wars Rebels” – such as Hera’s ship, the Ghost, her trusty sidekick droid Chopper and purrgils, or space whales that can travel at hyperspeed – “Ahsoka” keeps the story fresh with new planets, new villains and the introduction of a whole new galaxy.
While these additions to the Star Wars universe are exciting, the show takes its time to develop the plot as our heroes prepare to set off on a journey to another galaxy far, far away over the course of four episodes.
During this time, aside from some cool, orange-bladed lightsaber action, we learn little about the fallen Jedi Baylan Skroll (Ray Stevenson) and even less about his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). The series relies heavily on characters already developed in the previous “Star Wars” shows and creates very little interest for the few new characters introduced.
While the show lacks timely plot development, it does feature epic lightsaber fights and scenic CGI settings. It also portrays the struggle of the New Republic as it tries piecing a war-ridden galaxy back together, despite holdouts of Imperial loyalists.
The series also offers promising potential with the development of Ahsoka’s story as she tries to come to terms with her past and with Sabine as she learns the ways of the Force.
Only time will tell if this is finally the sequel that fans have been waiting for. Are exciting new story lines and the reappearance of rebels like Ezra Bridger still waiting in the wings?