Disney: Ahsoka Tano in the Mandalorian

Screenshot of Rosario Dawson in ‘The Mandalorian’. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Studios, Lucas Films, and Disney +.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I haven’t talked much about Star Wars on this blog yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. I love the Star Wars franchise, but no part of the franchise, with a possible exemption for the Original Trilogy, is as important to me as ‘The Clone Wars’. Before we ever saw Rey kicking ass, we saw Ahsoka Tano finally be a main female character to pick up a lightsaber for all of us. I have loved Ahsoka Tano for years now, and I think you could probably already guess that she’s my favorite Star Wars character of all time. So I was absolutely shocked and excited to see that Ahsoka Tano would finally be given the live action treatment and join the larger canon. The casting of Rosario Dawson and the knowledge that Dave Filoni would be writing Ahsoka’s first episode, which would later be revealed to be more or less the pilot to her own spin-off series, made me even more excited. The entire time I was binging The Mandalorian I was annoying my family with my non-stop talk about the inevitable episode. I was fully expecting to cry when I saw her brought to life because I’m an emotional bean. And I came out of the episode thinking it was…fine. I didn’t cry. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it! I just had some serious problems with it. And it has nothing to do with Rosario Dawson who I think acted very well with what she was given. I know a lot of people wanted Ashley Eckstein to play the character, but she’s also very busy and I thought, and still think, that Rosario Dawson would do just as good of a job. My problem mostly had to do with writing, to my complete and utter surprise. But Dave Filoni wrote Ahsoka Tano in the first place! How could he mess it up? Let’s go over why I thought this rendition of Ahsoka Tano didn’t quite work.

“I am no Jedi.”:

This is one of my favorite Ahsoka Tano quotes of all time. For those of you who might be newer to the situation, you should know that Dave Filoni also wrote the cartoon ‘Star Wars Rebels’, which is a show that received largely mixed reviews from fans. No one can really decide whether or not they think it’s good. But one thing that people liked about it was the introduction of Ahsoka Tano as a major player in the final few seasons. She was an older and wiser warrior who was suddenly thrust into helping the main characters deal with Darth Vader. It is in this show that Ahsoka discovers her master, Anakin Skywalker, is now Darth Vader and has turned to the dark side. These episodes are some of the most emotional Star Wars content I’ve ever seen. During a battle with her old master after this realization, Ahsoka attempts to get through to Vader where he retorts that he killed Anakin. Ahsoka then changes her tactic and prepares to fight, saying that she will avenge his death. When Vader tells Ahsoka that this is not the Jedi way, she responds with the line above. It is a chilling and powerful moment. It is also a reminder that Ahsoka no longer ascribes with the way of the Jedi, and really she’s been pretty precise on her status as a non-Jedi both before and especially since. So why does Ahsoka never correct Din every single time he calls her a Jedi and why does she carry herself like one when she isn’t? For much of this episode Ahsoka acts like a stiff Jedi master, which is exactly what Ahsoka didn’t want to be and distanced herself from.

“I cannot train you.”:

Ah, the age old Jedi master saying. A Jedi master has several times found throughout the franchise that a person has too much fear in them and fears what will happen if they give this person training. But here’s the thing, Ahsoka isn’t a Jedi master once again. In fact, Ahsoka left the order in part due to the Jedi council’s lack of trust in her. So why is Ahsoka now pushing those exact views onto a little kid? Did we forget that Ahsoka is just as goofy and playful as she is wise? Ahsoka constantly questioned and rebelled against ideas like that even before she left the council. If the Jedi council thought she had too much emotion in a project they would forbid her to go and she would go anyway. I really never expected this non-Jedi to talk so textbook Jedi council when she never has before and pledged never to again.

The next Darth Vader:

I will give them that they gave Ahsoka an excuse as to why she didn’t want to train little Grogu. She’s afraid that with his fear he’ll end up like her master. This, once again, doesn’t make any sense. Ahsoka, as we saw in Rebels, largely blamed herself for Anakin’s descent into the darkness. She thought that her leaving made him bitter towards the light side. And really, that right there could have been a good excuse. Ahsoka is worried that she fails everyone around her. But that’s not what this is. She’s saying here that she will not train someone who might go to the dark side like Anakin did and blames Grogu’s fear. But Ahsoka knew when she left that Anakin was already struggling, which is why she tells him in Rebels that she won’t leave him again when he’s in need. That’s why she blames herself. Ahsoka and Anakin both knew that the Jedi council was putting too much pressure on Jedi not having emotions and Anakin even expressed the desire to also leave when Ahsoka left. To which she responded with “I know”. There are several reasons that Ahsoka could have had for refusing to train Grogu, but his fear was not a viable one for a non-Jedi.

I love Ahsoka and I love seeing Rosario Dawson in the role, but I wish not all Jedi or ex-Jedi who are not young anymore were treated the same by a writing team. Ahsoka has always had a vibrant personality that, yes, with her trauma might have changed a little bit. But it never would have completely gone from her. Watching Ahsoka here felt a lot like watching Yoda and it really shouldn’t have. Especially because she is no Jedi. Hopefully her spin-off series will be better and we’ll get more of Ahsoka being Ahsoka. And is it too much to also ask for Rex?

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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