Ahsoka Premiere Review | Dave Filoni Delivers Star Wars Greatness


Ahsoka takes beloved characters from 15 years of Star Wars animated and live-action lore on a thrilling new quest that ardently rewards a dedicated fan base. Showrunner, writer, and primary director Dave Filoni gives nuance and maturity to a storyline brimming with depth. The brilliant two-episode premiere dives headfirst into a galaxy of uncertainty. The Empire has fallen, but its scattered remnants remain a significant threat. New players enter the game as formidable adversaries unlike any we’ve previously seen. The rigid black and white dogma of Jedi versus Sith has faded into shades of gray.

In Ahsoka, the heroic titular protagonist must use her considerable skill and experience to face evolving enemies, but must also learn to depend on trusted allies to find both a dear friend and potential heir to the Empire.

Episode one, “Master and Apprentice,” continues events seen in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian. Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), the Magistrate of Calodan captured by Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), is being transported to trial on a New Republic cruiser. An unknown shuttle with an old Jedi clearance code drops out of hyperspace before them. The cruiser’s arrogant captain decides to “call their bluff.” These must be impostors trying to infiltrate the ship. He’ll allow them to dock and arrest the culprits.

Light years away on a distant world, Ahsoka searches for a critical clue. Her interrogation of Morgan uncovered a secret that could shatter the fragile peace. She’s not alone in seeking this object. HK assassin droids wielding electrostaffs confront Ahsoka. They have the tools to fight a Jedi and are prepared to win by any means necessary. Ahsoka realizes that something dangerous has transpired. An emergency transmission from New Republic General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) confirms her concerns.

The race to decode the mysteries of her found treasure becomes paramount. Huyang (David Tennant), an ancient Jedi droid and invaluable assistant, can’t unlock its secrets. Hera advises a reluctant Ahsoka to visit her former Padawan on Lothal. Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), an explosives and weapons expert, has secluded herself. She cannot escape the grief and guilt of losing Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi).

Master and Apprentice

Rosario Dawson in a promotional image for Ahsoka.

Dawson portrays Ahsoka with a quiet and deliberate demeanor. She isn’t the plucky and youthful ‘Snips’ of The Clone Wars, or agent ‘Fulcrum’ of Star Wars Rebels. Ahsoka is older and wiser, but very much a solitary figure. A life shaped by battle, betrayal, and brutal survival has made her wary of attachments. This is the crux of her troubled relationship with Sabine. The conclusion of Rebels had them pairing up to find Ezra. They obviously didn’t succeed and have had a conflicted history since. Filoni doesn’t reveal exactly what happened, but its aftermath is clear. Sabine’s failure as Ahsoka’s apprentice has left open wounds for them both.

Related: Star Wars: Questions the Ahsoka Series Can Answer

A fascinating subplot thoughtfully explores for the first time different levels of Force users. Not everyone has Midi-Chlorians surging through their veins like the Skywalker lineage, Grogu, or Ahsoka. Sabine represents an individual with scant abilities in the Force; a hilarious conversation in the second episode, “Toil and Trouble,” illuminates this fact. Sabine needs to get past her own stubborn personality and willful behavior to achieve her true potential. Ahsoka’s frustrated with Sabine’s obstinacy. Her blatant disregard for authority continues to be problematic.

We also learn the backstory of Morgan and get a tantalizing peek at her power. Don’t forget that she was able to duel Ahsoka with a Beskar spear. Morgan isn’t the puppet master, but she’s certainly pulling strings on his behalf.

Baylan Skoll (the sadly deceased Ray Stevenson), a former Jedi turned mercenary, and his deadly Padawan, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), embrace the Dark Side of the Force with a different agenda. He survived Order 66 and seeks a “power” that requires subservience to Morgan for the time being. Baylan and Shin are killers but not indiscriminate. Their orange lightsaber agenda is opaque in the premiere, but along with a former Inquisitor, Marrok (Paul Darnell), are the greatest impediment to Ahsoka’s mission. Shin, who never blinks and looks like absolutely ferocious, is no joke. She’s radically different from any female Jedi we’ve seen before.

Related: Ahsoka: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching the Star Wars Series Premiere

The Lost Ezra Bridger


Ahsoka draws its primary plot from the climax of Star Wars Rebels. Ezra Bridger sacrificed himself to defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) at the Battle of Lothal by hurtling his ship into unknown space. Hera is aghast at the possibility that Thrawn is alive, but that also means Ezra may be as well. This galvanizes her, Ahsoka, and Sabine to find them. The antagonists, team Morgan and Baylan, know that Empire loyalists are fractured and hidden. Thrawn’s cunning, tactical genius, and military prowess were unmatched. They need his extraordinary leadership to unite disparate factions and crush the nascent New Republic.

We would be remiss to not bring up a plot device very similar to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Don’t fret, as it’s not used in the same hackneyed manner. There’s so much to like here. My skin tingled from the prologue’s blood-red opening crawl. The lightsaber duels will kick your ass and break a foot doing it. They’re awesome but only one part of rich exposition. Seeing Ahsoka, Sabine, Hera, and Lothal beautifully realized will send the fandom into a tizzy. Filoni delivers Star Wars greatness with a banner opening.

Ahsoka is a Lucasfilm production. The first two episodes premiere August 22nd at 9PM ET on Disney+.

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