What you’ll learn
- Why Ahsoka is so awesome.
- What you should know before watching Ahsoka.
- What did I think of it?
Ahsoka brings an ice-cold glass of Jawa Juice to our insatiable Star Wars thirst. After watching… Ahsoka Tano (played by Rosario Dawson) definitely deserves her own series.
I rate episodes 1 and 2 (parts 1 and 2, by show nomenclature) a 4.87 out of 5. Why two decimal places? For accuracy. But I believe taking it to three decimal places or more has little impact on the overall rating calculations.
Spoilers will abound in this article, so beware.
The first question everyone asks is, “Do I need to watch the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series before watching Ahsoka? Of course not. But you should. Since Ahsoka is packed with characters from both series—all three series written and directed for the most part by Dave Filoni—I would have to say YES, watch it all.
Why not? Watch an episode over lunch. That's like 30 episodes in one month. You'll get there and have a great time. I fully expect binging to be the real response after a few episodes. We're awake 16 hours a day. That's like 32 episodes a day. You'll crush the 133 episodes of Clone Wars and the 75 of Rebels in exactly 6.5 days. Do it—what else do you REALLY have to do?
Why is this important? It's fun; it's 208 episodes of Star Wars goodness. More so, it's to establish your relationship with the characters. For the record, each episode gets more sophisticated as time goes on, to the point where you will feel like you're watching one of the old movies at the end of the Rebels series.
Spoiler to entice you: James Earl Jones reprises his role as Darth Vader in Rebels. With Anakin Skywalker being Ahsoka's mentor, these Rebels episodes are key to Ahsoka's arc as a character. She does face Vader in a glorious few episodes.
Ahsoka drops. It feels like episodes of Rebels, to be honest, with the same high energy. Seeing familiar locations and characters in live action is almost seamless. It's here we see what really stood out to me: Sabine Wren's workshop space.
Sabine Wren (played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo) is an on-again, off-again Mandalorian with relatable hobbies: art and electronics. Quite a bit of this is explored in the Rebels series. In Ahsoka, she's tasked with the job of decoding the show's McGuffin—a map.
Sidebar: Decoding a seemingly ancient map device to find a living lost person doesn't make sense. And it's a bit cliché. A map to find the Ark from the first Indiana Jones outing comes to mind. Actually, the latest Indiana Jones had a map and message to decode. In Ahsoka, we’re looking for several people who got caught in the eddies of hyperspace "Purrgil" and pulled to who-knows-where. It's a bit clumsy, like the ancient Sith dagger that found a McGuffin in the relatively recently downed Deathstar from "Rise of Skywalker.”
Back to Sabine… she unboxes a bunch of old electronics to get down to figuring out this device. It reminds me of just about every engineer's workspace I've ever seen. A bunch of electronics, barely working, used, on a messy bench, but still getting the job done. It's an organized disaster, like all of our living spaces. Sabine does, in fact, solve the puzzle with the crudest of devices.
George Lucas described this better in an interview, "What is required for true credibility is a used future. The Apollo capsules were instructive in that regard. By the time the astronauts returned from the moon, you had the impression the capsules were littered with weightless candy wrappers and old Tang jars, no more exotic than the family station wagon. (From Scintillation 13 1977, "George Lucas Brings Excitement Back to Your Galaxy.")
In episode two of Ahsoka, you'll see Sabine trying to pull data off a severed droid head. You can clearly see her use a clamp-on probe lead. The overheating, frantic work in getting the data reminds me of the times I've troubleshooted projects that led to similar outcomes. Like in reality, the magic smoke came out of the droid pretty quickly, and that's all she wrote.
Ahsoka episode two takes us to a location where old spaceships are being stripped of parts and repurposed. I love this—it’s real. Star Wars isn't just a bunch of magical spaceships always there when you need it.
A whole planet was dedicated to salvage in "Star Wars Andor." Major plot points of Andor focused on fixing and reusing electronics. Even the film, "The Phantom Menace," had an entire act dedicated to getting parts from a junkyard. I suppose "The Force Awakens" showed us "Rey" salvaging parts from Imperial Star Destroyers. I'm glad these ideas remain in Ahsoka, too.
As I watch Ahsoka, I peek over at the Grid Compass 20-pound laptop I have on a shelf. I have the full intention to get it running again. It looks like something you'd find in any of these shows or movies. Put some yellow and black caution stickers on it, and it's old starship tech for sure.
Ahsoka, Sabine, and their old friend "Hera Syndulla" (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) face the show's affable bad guys every step of the way. The new republic is packed with so many individuals’ greedy machinations that it feels all too real. Our team appears to be on the back foot, playing hard-core catch-up. If this trio doesn't stay together for the whole season, I will be disappointed. The dynamic between them all is engaging.
Now… if you get on that 104 hours of Clone Wars and Rebels watching… you'll eventually see one of the coolest droids in Rebels, "C1-10P," aka "Chopper" (voice by series writer-director Dave Filoni). Chopper is a navigational astromech droid that served in the Clone Wars. The droid's attitude is a step above R2-D2, mixed with self-importance. In Ahsoka, we see Chopper helping Hera Syndulla, showing off another engineer reality—riffling through a box of junk, looking for a single part.
I've heard so many people say it was the droids they loved in Star Wars, at least from the original movies. You'll get a lot of that here in Ahsoka. From combat droids, protocol droids, and probe droids to the ancient droid Huyang, who showed generations of Jedi how to build lightsabers over tens of thousands of years.
Huyang was established in The Clone Wars series. Seeing as all lightsabers are already "constructed" with the cast of goods and bads, I doubt we'll get that sort of scene in a live-action series. (Deleted scenes of Luke making one doesn't count.) This is a missed opportunity since Sabine is an apprentice now, using another Jedi learner's lightsaber.
That said, Ahsoka is off to an amazing start. Well worth gathering everyone, even against their will, for a viewing. Don't forget to watch that 104 hours of support material…
Take a peek at the sizzle reel:
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