Friday, November 3, 2023

Ahsoka: (Re)Opening the Door to Adventure

(Guest post by Ben)

The following is a review of the Ahsoka series. As such, expect spoilers. You have been warned.

Ahsoka Tano was my absolute least favorite character in Star Wars when she was first introduced in Clone Wars. As the series went on, her character grew on me in such a way that, when she walked away from the Jedi Order, I was crushed. She had an emotional arc, and more opportunities presented itself during her appearances on Rebels (her fight with Vader was just…wow!). Needless to say, news of an Ahsoka series got me excited, and I’m happy to report that season 1 did not disappoint. 

Season 1 of Ahsoka (or what I like to call Rebels Season 5) saw the return of some favorite characters, such as Sabine, Chopper, and even a cameo from C-3PO. But it was Thrawn I was waiting for. I wanted, more than anything, for a live-action Grand Admiral Thrawn.

And we got it. 

Some of the best moments in Ahsoka were with Thrawn. His cruel brilliance is always fun to watch, and knowing his character, I can’t help but wonder about everything he’s planning on doing and how everything will tie together in ways I have not expected. Having read all of the Thrawn books by Timothy Zahn (both Legends and canon), I found it exciting at mere mentions of things pulled from the books (i.e., his knowledge of Anakin Skywalker). There are certainly a rampant amount of fan theories circulating the Internet about what Thrawn is up to, but I won’t get into those. I just want to say how happy I am that Thrawn is still around, and I hope to one day see the Chiss Ascendency from which he hails. 

And then there was Anakin. Dave Filoni has done a remarkable job in creating likable characters. Take Ahsoka, for instance. But remember the Prequel Trilogy? Folks didn’t take a huge liking to Hayden Christensen’s acting as Anakin Skywalker. In Filoni’s hands, Anakin came back with a flourish, an on-screen performance that, in some eyes, was redeeming. Whether his character needed “redemption” or not is irrelevant; however, Christensen’s performance in the Ahsoka series was both fun and nostalgic, and a welcome return to the Clone Wars era. His scenes also included some of the best visuals and imagery in the show. 

Another highlight from the Ahsoka series is getting to see Jabba the Hutt again, although he’s a lot skinnier than he was in Return of the Jedi. In all seriousness though, Ezra Bridger was an all-star in Rebels whose character grew on me until he, too, became a favorite. The actor portraying Ezra (Eman Esfandi) did a phenomenal job at encapsulating his personality and energy. I chuckled at his antics. It’s good to have Ezra back.

One thing that was a little weird was Sabine’s padawan status. According to the Tenth Doctor…er, Huyang, Sabine was least fit of any candidates he’d ever known to become a Jedi—and he’d been around for centuries! I thought Sabine’s character was strong when she wasn’t considered Force sensitive. As such, I found her Jedi potential a weak character arc. But, we’ll see where it goes (I’m not entirely opposed just yet).

Speaking of Jedi, Baylan Skoll was, perhaps, most compelling character in the series. What is his goal? Why search for the Mortis gods on Peridea? At least, that’s what it looked like from the massive Argonath-esque statues we last saw him standing on. The Father, Son, and…where was the Daughter? Hmm… It’s a mystery, and one that obviously ties in with the cartoons. I need answers!

I won’t say much about Baylan’s apprentice, Shin Hati, other than I enjoyed her power-hungry character and fierce personality. Her path seems clouded, but is obviously going to play a large role in the future of the story.

All in all, I thought Ahsoka was a fantastic show. Star Wars is all about fun and adventure, and this series re-opens the door that the original series introduced. New planets, new (old) foes, and a mystery doubtless contained within the realms of the storyline, the adventure seems more dire than even Starkiller Base posed in The Force Awakens.

Ironically, Ahsoka herself was one of my least-favorite characters in the show (although I still enjoyed her performance). Still, there’s a lot to love in Ahsoka. From zombie stormtroopers (no, this is not the first time zombies have been portrayed in Star Wars media) to Thrawn’s machinations, Ahsoka is a fun romp that expands the universe by introducing another galaxy far, far away…

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