Thoughts on the Ahsoka TV Show

Fashion in SWTOR is strongly influenced by whatever else is going on in Star Wars. The Mandalorian forever changed the way people view and dress bounty hunters in the game, and recently there've been a lot of Togruta characters called some variation of "Ahsoka Tano" running around, thanks to the show named after the character premiering on Disney+. I've been watching along as well, and it has been a weird experience.

If I had to compare Ahsoka to other recent live-action Star Wars shows, I think I'd say it's better than Book of Boba Fett, worse than Mandalorian, and maaaybe about on par with Kenobi. However, where Kenobi was an overall enjoyable package with some weak moments for me, Ahsoka was this weird mix of stuff that mostly seemed pretty good in isolation but just didn't come together in a satisfying way. Even though I was keen to see the Rebels characters find Ezra, I just couldn't get myself to truly get excited about anything in this show. Which was so strange!

The overall plot was quite weak in my opinion, a basic MacGuffin chase with few attempts to make anything make sense, something that seemed to be an intentional choice to focus more on the characters instead. Which would have been fine if I'd found their motivations truly convincing, but something was always just a bit off.

Ahsoka, for being the titular character, did not really take the spotlight as much as I would've expected. She was overall portrayed in what I thought was a believable way, but the problem I had was that her performance felt too disjointed. There were moments where she was the perfect "just-like-in-Clone-Wars" Ahsoka, and there were moments when she delivered what I thought was a convincing portrayal of an Ahsoka that had become somewhat calmer and wiser with age, but there just didn't seem to be an in-between, and it always felt jarring to me when she switched from one mode to the other seemingly at random.

Her arc mainly seemed to consist of two parts, one focusing on her relationship with Sabine (and I'll explain in a bit why I wasn't too fond of that one) and the other on her remembering Anakin and seemingly being worried that considering his ultimate fate, she was perhaps also destined to walk down a dark path. In the grand scheme of things, that would've been a perfectly good story to tell, but it's not something that really came up before in previous shows, and this one also doesn't really bring it up until that one episode with the Clone Wars flashbacks that seemingly everybody loved, and then immediately resolves it within that same episode as well, so the notion that this was some deep conflict and major turning point for Ahsoka wasn't really very convincing to me.

Sabine was probably my biggest issue with the show. She was a solid character in Rebels: a mechanically talented and artistically inclined Mandalorian with family issues. That's... a lot to be honest! And Ahsoka decides to just discard almost all of that in favour of having Sabine become Ahsoka's padawan and try to learn how to use the Force despite basically having zero aptitude with it. In the scene where Sabine tells Ezra about this development, he goes "What?! Why?!" and all I can say is I felt that.

People can twist themselves in knots trying to explain why it's justified for Sabine to suddenly find the Force in the last episode, but even if I could get on board with this kind of depiction of Force sensitivity (which I just can't), Sabine was not the character to use for this kind of story. She had so much else going on; she of all people didn't need the Force. It just felt like such a betrayal of the character to me that I simply couldn't get over, even if the interactions between Ahsoka and Sabine were otherwise well done.

Hera was a character that was simply nice to see again and seemed entirely in character, trying to navigate the realities of the New Republic while still looking after her friends. I also enjoyed seeing a slightly older Jacen, who had none of the weird uncanniness of his cartoon counterpart. He seemed appropriately child-like without being annoying and I liked the dynamic between him and Chopper. I also approve of the way his Force-sensitivity was portrayed, and that Hera was a good Mum, listening to her son even when he was being a bit odd.

The actor who played Ezra was an absolute delight and seemed to also elevate other people's performances in every scene he was in - too bad he didn't come in until close to the end.

The droids also deserve a shout-out, as David Tennant as Huyang had some of the best lines, and live-action Chopper was every bit as charismatic was his cartoon version.

The villains were a slightly odd bunch. Thrawn lived up to his Rebels portrayal, except that I didn't get why the damn ship didn't just get off the ground in the last episode if they had finished loading it at the end of the previous episode. Morgan Elsbeth isn't really given much to do other than drive the plot forward occasionally and serve as a foil for Thrawn that states whatever the obvious "dumb Imperial" reaction to any given event would be.

Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati are a mysterious duo of dark Jedi that again, doesn't really have that much to say or do, but both actors did a hell of a job with what they were given. Shin in particular has only a handful of lines, but her existence means that there's now an official canon character that shares a nickname with me (wink), and she's an attractive blonde that has a strong visual resemblance to Lana Beniko, both in terms of hair style and lightsaber colour. I've seen people compare her to Boba Fett and Darth Maul, in the sense that she just looks cool and people like to project their own ideas onto that.

Oh yeah, and Hayden Christensen had some cameos as (ghost/flashback of) Anakin which people mostly seemed to love, but I thought his make-up and digital de-ageing looked uncanny and horrible, so I didn't enjoy those scenes much even though his acting was fine.

In summary: yeah, it was a weird show! It certainly made me think hard about just what I liked and didn't like about it as per the above, but emotionally, almost nothing seemed to resonate with me. It was interesting enough that I would absolutely watch a second season, but if there wasn't one, I honestly also wouldn't feel like I was missing anything important, in spite of the last episode ending with a lot of unanswered questions. It's a strange place to be.


  1. I'd love to know what someone for whom this show would be their first introduction to Sabine would make of her if they were to go back and watch Rebels. Her story comes so out of left-field even for those of us who have watched that show, and I can imagine a newcomer being very confused why she's so different in the earlier show...

  2. (I'm a bit late in commenting.)

    While I have enjoyed Ahsoka, I did find it tried to do too much with all the story threads in only eight episodes. Even with an old-style 20 episode season some of these threads would have been tough to resolve properly. I think being the creator/writer for Ahsoka caused Filoni to see more of her story as being obvious and requiring resolution than it was to more casual viewers. There needed more lead up to her 'rebirth/baptism' for casual folks over those who've watched 11 prior seasons of other shows (7 of Clone Wars and 4 of Rebels).

    Filoni is on record as saying he was interested in writing about Masters and Apprentices. I think trying to show Ahsoka's handing of both sides failed because the show never properly setup the initial master/apprentice relationship between Ahsoka and Sabine. We didn't even get a flashback to 'show, not tell' what had happened early on in the season. To have a few sentences about it in the last episode was just poor storytelling. I mean, losing your family and your world would be a solid explanation for Sabine's personality changes, but we didn't get that needed bit of information. :sigh:

    1. I mean, I did see all the previous stuff and I still thought the "rebirth" bit needed more explanation... it didn't clash with anything that came before, the way it was presented just didn't seem to fit the medium in my opinion. I actually thought that if this story was a book, that part might have worked better if it gave us insight into Ahsoka's thoughts, e.g. "at that point Ahsoka wondered/remembered..." - but in a TV show we need a bit more than having the camera linger on the actress' face looking stoic.

      As for the dynamic between Ahsoka and Sabine, I actually thought that mostly worked well (aside from the fact that I didn't want Sabine to be her "apprentice" to begin with). You could tell Ahsoka was kind of torn between going all grumpy ol' Jedi Master like she had seen at the Temple, getting annoyed that her padawan isn't doing as she's being told, and trying to be better while remembering her own youth.


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