Ahsoka Review: Another Boring And Redundant Star Wars Entry

Filoni's admiration for Lucas' original creation continues to cloud his creative sensibilities.

The following is a spoiler-free review for the first two episodes of Ahsoka. However, it does contains light spoilers for Star Wars: Rebels.

Since Disney took over, Star Wars has been in a creative rut. Except for last year’s Andor and the very first season of The Mandalorian, everything released from Lucasfilm under Disney could and should have been better. This dip in quality is the current norm for Disney, as their other brands, like Marvel, have also suffered. Marvel’s latest Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, was extremely underwhelming, and unfortunately, for at least the first two episodes, Ahsoka isn’t any different.

Like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba FettAhsoka takes place after Return of the Jedi and continues to chronicle the fall of The Empire and rise of The First Order. Like these other Star Wars Disney+ shows, Dave Filoni’s animated Star Wars universe heavily influences Ahsoka. This makes sense given that he created the character for The Clone Wars back in 2008 and wrote every episode of the live-action series. While Filoni is a huge admirer of George Lucas and what he started, his admiration seemingly clouds his creative sensibilities, much like what happened to Lucas.

The series opens with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) at an old Jedi temple on Arcana. She discovers a map that leads to the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and powerful Jedi Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), both of whose fates are left unknown at the end of the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Finding Ezra and Thrawn becomes the main objective for the characters; if you’re wondering what this has to do with Ahsoka, the answer is not much. It’s mind-boggling that Filoni has once again focused his series on searching for long lost fan-favourite characters, as it has been the plot of almost every Star Wars project since 2015.


Even though the title card says “Ahsoka,” this is instead a larger live-action continuation of Rebels. The miniseries uses Ahsoka as a vehicle rather than prioritizing her as the titular character and, sadly, Dawson suffers the most for it. When she made her debut in The Mandalorian, fans took note of Dawson’s stiff performance, which especially stood out since Ahsoka is known to be lively and personable. To many’s confusion, in this character iteration, she is simply another depressed Jedi Master, ashamed of her past and trying to reconnect with their ex-apprentice. There’s no doubt Dawson could pull off Ahsoka’s original characterization, but the writing needs to provide her the opportunity. As a result, she’s less-than-present in her own story.

The Rebel characters are more well-realized, but the two mediums still feel disjointed as every actor on the show gives a fraction of their animated counterparts’ energy. Natasha Liu Bordizzo is passable as Sabine Wren, but you’d expect more since it turns out she’s the actual protagonist of the series. Ahsoka and Sabine start the series off on rocky terms because of something that happens off-screen, another common symptom of the Dinsey+ series formula. It’s understandable why Filoni wanted to hit the ground running, especially since none of this happened on Rebels, but it ends up having the opposite effect.

Another double-edged sword is the visuals. Occasionally, there’s a glimmer of something visually appealing, like lightsaber battles and the deliberate use of prequel-reminiscent special effects. Nonetheless, something feels off about almost every shot of Ahsoka, from the overly polished and flat sets to the apparent use of volume VFX.

Ahsoka does have its positives. Ray Stevenson is great as Baylan Skoll, which is sadly his final role after suddenly passing away back in May. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is as good as Hera, but, like Dawson, her talent far exceeds the show’s constraints. It’s also nice to see some animated-to-live-action cameos like Clancy Brown returning as Governor Azadi and David Tennant again voicing Ahsoka’s droid, Huang.


The world-building will also fascinate fans of the prequel trilogy and anything related to the Filoni-verse as it dives deeper into how The Empire was able to dig its claws back into The Republic right under their noses to become The First Order. It’s a fascinating period to explore in Star Wars history, considering it is still incredibly relevant to current events. Additionally, the more insightful examination of the Jedi Master and Padawan relationship is also compelling, but fresher character personalities and dynamics would have strengthened these ideas.

When it comes down to it, Ahsoka is hardly the worst thing Star Wars has ever produced, but it is far from the best. Hopefully, Filoni can turn this Millennium Falcon around in the next six episodes; otherwise, the most memorable thing about Ahsoka will be that Disney finally moved their episode drop time to one when people actually watch television.

Episodes of Ahsoka are available to stream exclusively on Disney+ every Tuesday at 9 PM ET.