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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

This article contains spoilers for Star Wars’ Ahsoka.

Star Wars: some people love it, some people hate it, and others don’t care much about it. I, however, love it. I have vague memories of watching Revenge of the Sith for the first time and wondering why I couldn’t look away. (To be so honest it was probably Hayden Christensen, but that’s another article in itself). However, I remember binging the original and prequel trilogies with my dad (and usually the rest of my family, albeit with less eagerness), before the sequels came out. But this article isn’t about the sequel movies, I honestly don’t want to touch that with a ten-foot pole, this is about Disney’s newest Star Wars show, Ahsoka.

Ahsoka is a largely unfamiliar Star Wars character, she isn’t seen or mentioned a single time in the first six movies, and she only has a brief voice cameo in The Rise of Skywalker. So…who is she? Ahsoka was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), an animated movie that takes place between the second and third prequel movies. Here, Ahsoka is introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan. (For those unfamiliar with Star Wars lingo, a padawan is a Jedi’s apprentice). At first, the two butt heads; Anakin didn’t even want a padawan in the first place! But the two find some common ground and grow closer. Ahsoka continues as Anakin’s padawan in the animated television series The Clone Wars, whose final season aired in 2020. 

Disney’s Ahsoka premiered on August 23rd, and its final episode aired on October 3rd. Although airing only eight episodes, this show captured, represented, and honored some of my favorite parts of the Star Wars franchise. What more casual fans may not know is that Star Wars spans so much farther than just the movies. There are countless books, graphic novels, video games (shout-out to Star Wars: The Old Republic, I miss you dearly), and other TV series that make up the franchise. Many of the characters, locations, and events that take place in these other media are either briefly or never mentioned in the movies. This all brings me to my first point, Ahsoka is the first time many beloved characters and planets are seen in live-action.

Obviously, the show debuted a live-action Ahsoka (yes, Ahsoka was in one episode of The Mandalorian, but this was a more official and thorough debut, in my opinion). Rosario Dawson was cast as Ahsoka and did a fantastic job at bringing the character to life. We not only got an official Ahsoka live-action debut, but a more aged and mature one. In The Clone Wars TV series, Ahsoka is a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that spunky, adventurous version of Ahsoka, but we see a more experienced, weathered version of her in the live-action adaptation. There is another animated show, Star Wars: Rebels, where Ahsoka is an adult, but she isn’t at the forefront of the series and is only one of a large cast of characters. Speaking of Rebels, Ahsoka also introduces a number of other fan-favorite characters to live-action, two of which are from Rebels: Sabine and Hera. Even though I haven’t watched all of Rebels, seeing these characters in live-action was more than a treat. It felt deserved and earned, as these characters are loved incredibly by fans, and have been for so long. Also, this wouldn’t be a fair review without mentioning Thrawn! Thrawn, the central antagonist in Ahsoka, also had his live-action debut. Another fan-favorite character, Thrawn was first introduced in a novel in 1991 and has appeared off-and-on in other books, video games, graphic novels and animated series. I could go on and on about other characters and locations where Ahsoka debuted, but TLDR, a number of beloved characters were fantastically shown in live-action for the first time!

It also seems Ahsoka remembers what really makes Star Wars what it is. A vast, expansive, largely undiscovered universe with endless possibilities. There are places we haven’t seen, people we don’t know, and things we have yet to learn. In the show, Ahsoka and her allies travel to an unknown star system, where we meet alien races and travel through undiscovered environments. The Night Sisters, which I can only describe as space witches, also had a significant role in the show, and they’ve previously only had minor appearances in video games and some of the animated series. Ahsoka was also a great balance between world-building, humor, and action. There were things that I, even as a Star Wars fan, hadn’t seen before. There were times I laughed, times I cried, and times when I was jamming out to the absolutely fantastic score. And perhaps most importantly: the lightsaber duels. I didn’t feel things were predictable but rather dramatic and exciting. Ahsoka wasn’t always the winner, but she kept the tension and action at an absolute high. The actors clearly put their hearts into training, which made the end product that much better. 

Finally, this show took a dual look at master/apprentice relationships, through both Anakin and Ahsoka and some new characters, Baylan and Shin. Until this show, the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka has only been explored in animation. Seeing them interact in live-action felt culminating, like the summary of all the times we’ve seen them interact in bits and pieces. We have only seen them interact as teenage-Ahsoka and Jedi-Anakin, or adult-Ahsoka and Darth Vader-Anakin. Seeing them interact as two adults, both scarred, both tired of war and fighting, both Jedi, was something unseen. Ahsoka struggles through the series with forgiving her master for all he did, and accepting that he was a good master when he was there. Flashbacks of Anakin are seen throughout the series; sometimes he’s watching over Ahsoka, and at other times both he and Ahsoka have flashbacks to earlier in the war. There is also this sequence of Anakin fighting Ahsoka, and as lightning flashes he flips between a silhouette of him as Anakin and Darth Vader. Here is a link (this sequence is life-changing I swear). This master/apprentice relationship is contrasted with that of Baylan and Shin, new characters introduced for the show. Their relationship is cold, there is little emotion, little comfort, and only order. They are not technically Jedi, as the order has been wiped out at this point, but there is something still Jedi-like about it. Their relationship is something to be seen rather than explained, I think. Another reason for you to watch the show!

For all my praise, there are things I wish Ahsoka had done differently. My biggest criticism has to do with the sequel movie trilogy. (Just saying that makes me feel like the cavalry is coming.) As many Star Wars fans know, the sequel trilogy just isn’t…the best. But if we ignore them for a moment, and pretend they don’t exist, then Ahsoka seems like a fantastic way to set up a sequel trilogy. Thrawn, a beloved villain with great character development but still with room for growth, has escaped his pocket galaxy, and is ready to wreak havoc on the Republic. He would be the perfect villain. Also, with Ahsoka and Sabine stuck in a distant star system, the story of them fighting to return to their home galaxy would be a great sequel story! If Ahsoka were the main character of the sequel trilogy, the entire Star Wars movie franchise would be about the same Jedi lineage, which I think would’ve been super interesting! (Yes, I know Rey is technically a part of the Skywalker lineage, but I don’t have the brain power to get into that in this article). 

There were a few other minor events that I wish Ahsoka had done differently. For example, Sabine, Ahsoka’s kinda-padawan (it’s complicated) is revealed to be force-sensitive. While this isn’t a huge detail, many fans (myself included) think it would’ve been interesting to see a non-force-sensitive individual be trained to be a Jedi. There could’ve been an interesting dive into non-traditional Jedi, which hasn’t been explored in the movies outside of people turning to the dark side. A look into Grey Jedi, non-practicing Jedi, and other variations would be awesome! 

And last but not least…the ending. The ending of Ahsoka would’ve been perfect, as I mentioned above, with the promise of further explanation and adventure in a series of movies. And while I’m sure they’ll make a season two, it just isn’t the same knowing the events of the sequel movie trilogy are in their future. Don’t get me wrong, the ending wasn’t bad, and I definitely liked it! It’s just those sequel movies keeping us from what could’ve been.

In the end, I probably give this show a 9/10; I really, really loved it. It explored a treasured character in live-action with a fantastic cast, great music, and a whole lot of adventure. If season two is in our future, you can bet I’ll be there. 

Alison is a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, and she is currently serving as an editor and writer. Her favorite things to write about are video game/pop culture commentary, music recommendations, and mental health advice. Alison is majoring in Communication Science and Disorders, minoring in English Literature, and working towards a certificate in American Sign Language. In addition to Her Campus, she is a member of the Honors College and National Student Speech Language Hearing Association chapter at Pitt. She is also a research assistant at the Brain Systems for Language Lab at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school for either Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology. In her free time, Alison loves to read, play video games, listen to music, and hang out with her cat, Peanut Butter.