Ahsoka Concept Art Reveals a Huge Missed Opportunity
The series’ resident Mandalorian moved further away from her identity.
The first (and currently only) season of Ahsoka has ended, but its season finale left fans with more questions than answers. The loose threads might not be addressed for some time, but there’s still plenty of material to comb through, including concept art that may have just revealed another unresolved issue.
In one rendering from Ahsoka’s season finale, artist Matt Allsopp depicts Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, and Ezra Bridger in their less-than-climactic battle with some Night Troopers. While Ahsoka’s design is consistent with her look in the show, and Ezra is basically a blur, Sabine is sporting an entirely different look. Her armor seems to have been modeled off Bo-Katan Kryze’s Nite Owls, a far cry from Sabine’s design in Rebels. By the time we see the finished product in Ahsoka, of course, she’s much more consistent with the character fans know and love. But there’s one element of her outfit still missing: her jetpack.
Sabine’s jetpack was a big deal for her character, and given how important they’ve been for other Mandalorians in live-action, fans assumed Sabine would still have hers in Ahsoka. Granted, it might have tipped the scales too hard in Sabine’s favor, especially when up against someone like Shin Hati. It also would have made it unnecessary for Sabine to tap into the Force in the season finale and propel Ezra onto Thrawn’s ship like it was nothing. A jetpack is definitely convenient, but it can also become a crutch for its user. With Sabine growing stronger in the Force, it doesn’t make much sense for her to rely on it anymore.
But in separating Sabine from her jetpack, Ahsoka is inadvertently separating her from her identity as a Mandalorian. Live-action Star Wars series have been pretty keen to explore the relationship between Mandalorians and Jedi; Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni in particular has been trying to blur the lines between the two cultures for years. We see that developing in The Mandalorian’s Grogu, who receives training both from Din Djarin and Luke Skywalker. The attempts to create a Mando-Jedi are still flawed, though, as Grogu picks sides in The Book of Boba Fett and drops out of Luke’s Jedi academy.
Ahsoka continues the trend by reintroducing Sabine as a failed Jedi apprentice. Her Mandalorian upbringing is technically still a part of her character, but it’s only mentioned in passing, or to pad out her tragic, off-screen backstory. Otherwise, Sabine’s pretty set on her desire to train as a Jedi. She apparently lost her entire family in a battle we’ll probably never see, so the search for a new one is (kind of) warranted. There’s nothing inherently wrong with her newfound identity, but when it comes at the expense of her Mandalorian culture it starts to feel disingenuous. Could Ahsoka not have spared five minutes to explain her shift in thinking?
It may seem trivial to weigh Sabine’s entire characterization against the loss of a mere accessory. But it’s indicative of a larger problem in Ahsoka: so many of the characters brought over from Rebels feel like they abandoned the tenets that once defined them and became completely different people. Characters should be allowed to mature and explore new skills, but if Ahsoka can’t embrace the nuance and achieve a genuine balance, Sabine is probably better off where she was.