Ahsoka Actor Weighs in on a Controversial Star Wars Debate

Eman Esfadi’s surprising comment on his acting process might make you feel better about your fandom.


When an actor gets cast in Star Wars, they’re expected to drop everything and study up by watching the franchise’s increasingly expansive archives. This goes double for actors bringing an animated character to life in live-action; the beloved but relatively obscure animated series provide precious information about the mannerisms and attitudes of characters.

“I watched everything… including the original films, The Mandalorian and, of course, Rebels,” Natasha Liu Bordizzo told SFX Magazine ahead of playing Sabine Wren in Ahsoka. Ahsoka herself, Rosario Dawson, expressed similar gratitude for the past, telling Star Wars’ YouTube channel, “I have a rich history to go back to in The Clone Wars and Rebels.

But another Ahsoka actor took a different approach, and while it may sound a little lazier, it’s arguably much smarter.

Ezra’s live-action debut was only informed by a few episodes of Rebels.


Eman Esfadi, who played long-lost Rebels Jedi Ezra Bridger in Ahsoka, revealed at L.A. Comic-Con that while he watched some of Rebels, he didn’t commit to the entire series. “I admittedly — which, if you would have found this out prior you might have taken my head off, but maybe now you don’t think that — I didn’t watch all of Rebels,” Esfadi said. “I didn’t want to get too caught up in the younger version of Ezra. I felt very connected to an older version the way he was written.”

While Bordizzo did watch the entire series, she took a similar approach after filming started, choosing never to go back and rewatch episodes. “I never want to try to copy someone,” she told SFX Magazine. “And I want to be inspired by the energy they put into the character and then make the role my own.”

The animated series are fun, but they’re not essential viewing.


Admittedly, not everyone was a fan of Esfadi’s performance. It could be argued that his performance was too disconnected from the Ezra of old; it’s one thing for a character to have grown up, but another to feel like a completely different person. But regardless of where you land, Esfadi’s comments offered insight into how actors strike a balance between honoring an old performance and simply copying it.

Perhaps more importantly, this reveal also proves that you don’t really need to have seen every single episode of every Star Wars show ever made to truly understand the characters and plot. Even Ezra Bridger himself didn’t watch it all, so why should you feel obligated?

One of the biggest concerns about Star Wars today is the sheer amount of “homework” needed to understand a series; ideally, to know everything going into Ahsoka, a new fan would have to watch The Clone Wars, Rebels, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett. But now that we’re on the other side of Ahsoka we can see that missing out on Rebels didn’t affect Eman Esfadi’s performance, so there’s no reason to worry that your viewing experience will be affected either.

Ahsoka is streaming on Disney+.

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