Star Wars Actor Finally Answers a Long-Standing Fan Question
Rebels may not be the only series fans should revisit.
As Ahsoka speeds toward its premiere, details surrounding the new Lucasfilm series — and its connections to other Star Wars projects — are becoming clearer. For a long time, there were conflicting reports about Ahsoka’s place in the larger Star Wars galaxy, especially in relation to animated series like The Clone Wars and Rebels. That had a lot to do with the connective tissue that binds these series together, as characters born in animation are now making the jump to live-action.
Key members of the Rebels crew will be joining Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) in her solo series, and it’s got fans wondering just how much Rebels knowledge is required to tune in. Dave Filoni (a key creator of The Clone Wars, Rebels, The Mandalorian, and now Ahsoka) was once tight-lipped about Ahsoka’s place on the Star Wars timeline, but behind the scenes, the showrunner apparently referred to the series as a direct continuation of Rebels. He’s also compared this new branch of Star Wars stories (dubbed the Mando-verse) to Marvel’s own interconnected universe, and he’s not the only one acknowledging the animated shows’ importance. According to Ahsoka’s original voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, they’re crucial to understanding the character.
CinemaBlend recently spoke to Eckstein ahead of the 2023 Her Universe Fashion Show, and asked the actor whether the animated series are worth watching before Ahsoka. “I highly recommend that you take the time to watch Clone Wars, and watch Star Wars: Rebels, and even Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi,” Eckstein said. “If you don’t, you’re going to miss out on crucial, crucial backstory that you really need to know to fully enjoy the Ahsoka series.”
Without the knowledge the animated shows provide, fans won’t have a “full understanding of who Ahsoka is,” Eckstein said. That includes her time training as a Jedi padawan, her falling out with the Jedi Order, and her perspective of the Jedi Purge, all of which The Clone Wars depicts. Ahsoka is a smaller character in Rebels, but her appearance there was crucial to the introduction of “grey Jedi,” or Force users who don’t subscribe to Jedi ideals. They don’t follow the teachings of the Sith either, and Ahsoka’s iconic duels with Maul and her former master, Anakin Skywalker, speak to that.
Tales of the Jedi explored three key moments in Ahsoka’s life: her first time using the Force as an infant, her rigorous training with Anakin during the Clone Wars, and the events that led to her joining the Rebellion. The series serves as an effective crash course on Ahsoka, especially for busy fans who may be daunted by The Clone Wars’ seven-season run.
The animated shows may not be outright required viewing, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to brush up on certain episodes before Ahsoka premieres. Dawson’s incarnation of Ahsoka was introduced in The Mandalorian with very little context, and the live-action shows haven’t done much to fill in the blanks since. This doesn’t mean Ahsoka will dive straight into the deep end or alienate its audience, but The Clone Wars and Rebels are important parts of Ahsoka’s journey.
There’s also the matter of Ahsoka’s connection to Rebels. One is clearly picking up right where the other left off, as some moments in the Ahsoka trailer are lifted right from the Rebels finale, and Rebels’ main antagonist is also the villain in Ahsoka. It seems like, no matter what, at least a little homework is required. That’s not ideal, but there are certainly worse ways to spend your time.