The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s 2008. I’m five years old, glued to a computer screen, and repeatedly clicking the “replay” button on the YouTube video I’ve watched a hundred times. It’s the teaser trailer for the upcoming animated movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars — and I can hardly contain my excitement.
I don’t remember a lot about my toddler years as a Star Wars fan, but this quick shred of memory means a lot to me. It’s because the Clone Wars trailer had something that no other Star Wars movie had ever included before: a girl Jedi with a prominent role in the story.
Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, Ahsoka Tano is the fourteen-year-old Padawan—or apprentice—of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Over the course of the film and throughout the subsequent television series of the same name, she consistently demonstrates her dedication to helping those in need and her steadfastness of opinion and heart.
The Star Wars universe is filled with unforgettable characters, and Ahsoka is arguably the best of them all. On one hand, she is an inspiring role model, particularly for young girls who often find themselves excluded from the highly masculinized genre of science fiction. On the other hand, from an analytical perspective, her character development is masterfully crafted. She possesses what is arguably the strongest character arc in the franchise, demonstrated by her growth in maturity and capability while simultaneously remaining true to herself and her core values.
When we first meet Ahsoka, she’s spunky, defiant, and eager to prove herself as a Jedi-in-training. She always does what she thinks is right, even if it means acting on instinct or ignoring her superiors. More often than not, her quick thinking and selfless actions, though well-intended, lead to trouble for both her and her peers. Despite her strengths, Ahsoka is heavily flawed, and clearly has “much to learn,” as Master Yoda might say.
As the seasons go on, however, the rebellious, impulsive child we met in the movie matures into an independent young woman who is unafraid to think for herself. Where once she had recklessly challenged authority just for the sake of proving herself, she now possesses the ability to think critically of the often-problematic doctrines imposed upon her as a Jedi. Her tendency to question those in power is no longer the flaw of a rash and unruly teenager, but the source of her greatest strength.
It isn’t an overreaction to say that we need more Ahsokas in the world. Now more than ever, the abilities to criticize those in power, think independently as well as collaboratively, and develop our individual voices are essential. Ahsoka demonstrates all of these qualities and more.
I would be remiss not to mention the similarly empowering characters of Princess Leia, Padmé Amidala, and in today’s era, Rey Skywalker. The women of Star Wars, while heavily outnumbered by the men, have brought strength and joy to millions of fans around the globe.
To join Ahsoka on her adventures, you can start by watching the animated film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, followed by the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the show Star Wars Rebels on Disney Plus. Rosario Dawson will star as Ahsoka in her own live-action series, Star Wars: Ahsoka, which will air exclusively on Disney Plus.
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