Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

T.V. review: ‘Ahsoka’

Disney+’s “Ahsoka” is just one of its many new fall additions recently joining the streaming platform. Another component added to the service’s Star Wars compartment, “Ahsoka” remains one of the most highly anticipated Lucasfilm shows by critics and fans alike.

Editor’s note: This article may contain potential spoilers for the first episode of “Ahsoka.”

Disney+’s “Ahsoka” is just one of its many new fall additions recently joining the streaming platform. Another component added to the service’s Star Wars compartment, “Ahsoka” remains one of the most highly anticipated Lucasfilm shows by critics and fans alike. The show’s protagonist, Ahsoka, has developed through a complex timeline imperative for bringing the well-admired character to life through screens globally, made at the convenience of couch sitting and late-night snacking. 

Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, two of the show’s executive producers, can be credited as the series’s most prominent contributors to the character’s success since her foundation. Filoni’s contributions to the character Ahsoka Tano dated back to his partnership with the creator of the Star Wars Franchise, George Lucas, where they first invented the character that would soon become introduced to audiences as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” franchise, released in 2008, that can also currently be streamed with a Disney+ subscription. 

Filoni soon decided to take the character in another direction through her portrayal in a succeeding animated series entitled “Star Wars Rebels,” released just six years later in 2014. It later became apparent that her inclusion, though not among the story’s main protagonists, solidified the viewer’s appreciation for Tano, initially voiced by Ashley Eckstein. 

However, during the early segments of the Covid-19 pandemic, the revival of Ahsoka’s story through the final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” sent a wave of shock that swept the world in 2020. The decision to provide an established conclusion for Tano’s character seemed to create a sense of satisfaction among viewers. However, this appearance would allegedly serve as the last page in the decade-long chapter for the character’s inclusion in the Star Wars franchise. 

The confirmation of Tano’s appearance in the live-action television series “The Mandalorian” later that year provided fans hope for the re-establishment of Tano’s incorporation into other heroes’ stories. Although fans were excited for Eckstein to reprise her role again, the public remained on edge when Rosario Dawson was verified to replace Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano in “The Mandalorian’s” adaptation. 

This great engagement through the lens of devoted Star Wars fans ignited the unprecedented concept of a T.V. series strictly assembled for the beloved character to receive her own adventure as the center of attention. 

Fans globally would have never thought that their intuition would dictate the character’s resurrection once more, with the announcement of “Star Wars: Ahsoka” to the general public in December of 2020 serving as the icing on the cake to the character’s evolution. “ Ahsoka” was released to an immense array of ecstatic fans on Aug. 22 through the Disney+ streaming service.

The story begins with Ahsoka on a quest to track down Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, played by Lars Mikkelsen, during the time of the New Republic by finding a star map inside of an ancient tomb that would give her some much-needed momentum. 

However, as the series presents itself to the public for the first time, there remains a variety of questions in response to the final events of the “Star Wars Rebels” series before its epilogue in 2018, with the number one question among fans involving the location of Ezra Bridger, portrayed by Eman Esfandi. 

Hera Syndulla, portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is now a General in the New Republic who hopes to reestablish the relationship between Ahsoka and Sabine, Ahsoka’s previous apprentice, played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo. 

Unfortunately, Sabine’s isolation seems to impede their progress toward reconciliation. Sabine prioritizes her relationship with her Loth-cat and flashes back to her fond memories of Ezra’s former hideout through viewing a hologram depicting him beyond anything else. In the events of the first episode, however, there is a conflict that fans immediately recognize that introduces the antagonists of the series.

The show was quite good. I was very surprised and excited to see Anakin Skywalker return. The show added a good touch to the original series the characters starred in, ‘Star Wars Rebels.’

— Anonymous Hills junior

Baylan Skoll, played by the late Ray Stevenson, and Shin Hati, portrayed by Ivanna Sakhno, reveal their allegiance when they save close ally of Thrawn, Morgan Elsbeth, played by Diana Lee Inosanto, from the cell of a New Republic vessel transporting her to a trial.

This initiative taken by Skroll and Hati to rescue their close ally soon culminates in Hati’s endeavors to locate Sabine on Lothal, which quickly takes a turn for the worse. 

Later in the series premiere, the show follows Ahsoka’s search for the star map on a ruin-covered planet accompanied by her companion, Huyang the droid, played by David Tennant. This aspect of the first episode is reminiscent of a Star Wars-esque atmosphere through Ahsoka’s discovery of the indispensable item. 

Ahsoka is soon informed by her acquaintance, Hera Syndulla, about Morgan Elsbeth’s escape from her containment vessel after she was bailed out by a master and an apprentice, unbeknownst to them at the time that Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati were the culprits. 

Though Ahsoka is still getting familiar with their identities, Huyang concludes that their lightsaber abilities indicate that they are former Jedis. Under Ahsoka’s wishes, he then tries to classify their lightsabers to discover who is among the guilty. 

The viewers are first introduced to Sabine when she does not attend the ceremony in honor of Ezra’s sacrifice as keynote speaker. Instead, she exits town by riding a bike towards her home. 

Morgan soon instructs Shin to travel to Sabine’s Lothal home under the radar. Baylan then speculates that Ahsoka will travel with the star map to Sabine’s Lothal home. His hypothesis is soon confirmed with the remaining events in the series premiere. 

Ahsoka decides to admit to Sabine that the star map should lead to Ezra’s location, though Sabine appears skeptical of her claims. Huyang soon reveals to them both that Baylan was a Jedi who went incognito at the end of the Clone Wars. 

Ahsoka soon recommends that Sabine does not possess the star map; however, Sabine does not comply with Ahsoka’s requests, which soon culminates into an inevitable predicament between the protagonists and antagonists of the show. 

Shin acts as a snake in the grass when she waits to surprise attack Sabine after she figures out how to interpret the star map’s messages. Shin then instructs two of her droids to acquire the deciphered map from Sabine’s possession to return to her. 

With Huyang by her side, Sabine takes Ezra’s lightsaber to defend herself against Shin, attempting to obtain custody of the map once more. 

Unfortunately, viewers are left on their toes when Sabine is impaled with Shin’s lightsaber before Ahsoka can return to Sabine’s aid. This event concludes the end of the series premiere, with fans convinced to tune into the show’s remaining seven episodes with expectations of action-packed battles, cliffhangers, and potential character discoveries. 

Show creator Dave Filoni even reprises his voice role as Chopper, the droid from the “Star Wars Rebels” series in “Ahsoka.” 

The show has received some criticism from both viewers and film critics in regards to its confusing elements for new viewers; the show builds on previously constructed relationships that were explored in the animated television series “Star Wars Rebels” without providing a proper introduction for Star Wars movie fans who might have missed that part of the franchise, as it was initially marketed to a younger demographic through its Disney XD release back in 2014. 

However, the show seems to continue to evolve throughout its exploration of the adventures between both Sabine and Ahsoka, including Sabine’s Force-sensitivity, the discovery of Ezra, and the potential threats that are offered by the show’s primary antagonists, Morgan and Thrawn. 

The show would serve as an additional season to the “Rebels” series that was previously canceled, although Filoni wanted to attempt to shift away from these preconceived notions. 

“The biggest challenge was, there’s a whole bunch of audience that know her, and a whole bunch that don’t. She has one foot in the ‘Star Wars’ that a lot of people know because of her connection to Anakin, and yet she’s all new and can go in her own direction, in her own way. I think that makes her an interesting bridge between what came before and what’s really possible,” said Dave Filoni. 

Fans were delighted with the return of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, since the last time he appeared on screen was back in 2022 for the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series, also available for streaming on Disney+. Christensen is most remembered for his character portrayal of Skywalker in the first three chapters of the original film series: “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999),” “Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones (2002),” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).” 

Anakin Skywalker remains infamous for double-crossing his allegiance to the Jedi to align with Lord Palpatine and later transforming into the quintessential Star Wars antagonist, Darth Vader. Throughout “Ahsoka,” a digitally manipulated Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) version of Anakin is seen throughout flashbacks and in the World Between Worlds; this backstory allows viewers to better interpret the foundations of his relationship cultivation with his Padawan apprentice, young Ahsoka, played by actress Ariana Greenblatt, throughout the Clone Wars. 

“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,” said Hayden Mears, TV Line. 

Each of the different episodes of “Ahsoka” had a variety of talented directors that brought the adaptation to life: Dave Filoni, episodes 1 and 5; Steph Green, episodes 2 and 3; Peter Ramsey, episode 4; Jennifer Getzinger, episode 6; Geeta Vasant Patel, episode 7; and Rick Famuyiwa, episode 8. 

Most of the names listed above have worked on previous Star Wars projects, except for Getzinger and Patel, with this directional work marking their first time participating in Lucasfilm. 

As of Oct. 25, the show has received an 86% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics and a 70% audience score, with a 7.7/10-star rating on IMDb. These high ratings indicated that viewers had considered their overall enjoyment of the plot, acting, script, and set design. 

A variety of Hills students from different grade levels were asked to respond with their perspectives about the T.V. show’s release and its adaptation.

Ahsoka has always been one of my favorite characters, and I was happy she finally got her own show

— Hills sophomore Alex McKay

“My favorite part of the show had to have been when Sabine found Ezra and the story from ‘The Rebels’ T.V. show continued. I was most excited to see the journey that Ahsoka went on throughout the series. Ahsoka has always been one of my favorite characters, and I was happy she finally got her own show,” said Hills sophomore Alex McKay. 

“Ahsoka’s” revitalization leaves hope for future Star Wars projects, specifically “Star Wars: Skeleton Crew,” “The Acolyte,” and “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” season 3, all currently set for public release in either 2023 or 2024.

For “Ahsoka” fans, however, there is hope for a future season 2 following the creation of the “Mandoverse” that was explored through “Ahsoka,” “The Mandalorian,” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” There is also speculation that a Filoni-led Star Wars film in its early stages will supplement this collection. 

“The show was quite good. I was very surprised and excited to see Anakin Skywalker return. The show added a good touch to the original series the characters starred in, ‘Star Wars Rebels.’ However, I did think it was more magic-heavy, drawing away from the science fiction aspect. Not to mention that the plot seemed a bit similar to one of the seasons of ‘Star Wars Rebels.’ Overall, I thought it was a great show,” said an anonymous Hills junior. 

The show was primarily criticized for its decision to recast many of the nostalgic characters with new actors and actresses. However, the late Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Baylan Skoll seemed to capture the viewer’s attention immediately despite this being among one of his first theatrical pieces released after his passing in May. 

“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,” said Hollywood reporter Dan Fienberg.

The creation of “Ahsoka” reincorporated the character of the same name into the Star Wars Universe after her departure from shows like “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” greatly disappointed fans. Despite the show’s generally mixed reception from critics and fans, there remains hope for a potential season 2 and further exploration of Ahsoka and her companions. 


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About the Contributor
Thomas Samouhos
Thomas Samouhos, In-Depth Editor
Hills sophomore Thomas Samouhos is excited to be part of the Trailblazer for a second year. He joined the publication his freshman year as a staff writer and primarily wrote articles for the In-Depth section. This year, Samouhos is eager to cover In-Depth stories and work alongside his fellow editors. Fun fact: Samouhos loves to travel, with his latest getaway being Ocean City, Md.

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