Star Wars: Ahsoka (2023) Mini Series Episode 1 & 2 Review
Unremarkable but Entertaining
Ahsoka has some decent lightsaber action in the first episode and as much as I love Rosario Dawson I wish she would give Ahsoka more personality which Ashley Eckstein provided in the animated shows. It’s only two episodes in but I’d be lying if I said this has grabbed me, and there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on yet.
Plot: Former Jedi knight Ahsoka Tano investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy.
Review: It’s funny how a character who started off as rather annoying in The Clone Wars has since become one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars Universe. Ahsoka is one of my favourite characters and has had an amazing arc through The Clone Wars and Rebels, so I’ve been excited to see what Dave Filoni would do in bringing her to life in her own live action series starring Rosario Dawson. The Disney+ Star Wars shows have thus far been hit and miss, but for me personally that’s because Star Wars belongs on the big screen with huge space battles and epic lightsaber fights.
Ahsoka is mostly a return to form with an action-packed first episode opening with the Crawl except it’s red rather then yellow which is awesome; the episode wastes no time giving us multiple lightsaber showdowns and a rather impressive introduction featuring the late, great Ray Stevenson. He shines as the mercenary ex-Jedi Baylon Skoll and I look forward to seeing what happens with him and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno).
The action looks slick and the choreography is nicely done, so we see everything clearly; the lightsaber fights are impressive too which is the most important aspect.
Lothal was a huge part of Rebels and I think it looks fantastic as do the visuals in general; some have complained about the Volume and how it looks a little flat visually but I think considering this is a TV series it looks amazing. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, so to see a television show in the Star Wars universe with such production values is something I never thought I’d get in my lifetime.
I loved the characters in Rebels and I’ve been excited about seeing them brought to life and Filoni and the cast/crew have done a fantastic job with Mary Elizabeth Winstead perfectly cast as Hera, Chopper is as grumpy as ever, but I think the casting of Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren was inspired as she looks exactly the way you would expect her to. Sabine is every bit as stubborn as she was in Rebels and she is at times hard to take to but she is Mandalorian after all, so this is to be expected. One jarring thing is the music at one point where it plays a rock tune when she is on a speeder bike; it’s not very Star Wars-y and took me out of it a little.
As much as I think Rosario Dawson really looks the part as Ahsoka I do find she makes the character a little dull which is something she never was in previous shows; she doesn’t have much personality, lacking the spunkiness that made Ahsoka appealing in the first place. I understand she has gone through a lot but Ahsoka always had more optimism which we rarely see in this iteration. She’s every bit as stubborn as Sabine and the two of them have a difficult relationship which is the main focus of the first two episodes. I was hoping for Anakin flashbacks which we know are coming but there hasn’t been anything as yet.
Seeing the world of Rebels brought into live action is fun but there isn’t anything (so far) in the show that makes me think it was amazing; everything in it was fine but never special. There are no jaw dropping moments or revelations and it feels like it’s just establishing the world and characters. It shouldn’t take 90 minutes to do that and to be honest I found the second episode rather uninvolving. It had a couple of action scenes and pretty much all the clips from the trailers are in these episodes, so you’ll feel like you’ve seen a lot of it already. At least we get the familiar stuff all out of the way, so here’s hoping the rest of the series picks up the pace and gives us some Clone Wars flashbacks but also some scenes where Ahsoka shows some personality.
I also wonder how this series will sit with people who haven’t see any of The Clone Wars or Rebels; will they care about any of these characters? You can still understand what is going on as we are given enough backstory to fill in the blanks but you really should at least watch the final season of Rebels to get a feel for the characters and their personalities.
Overall, the first two episodes of Ahsoka are good, but not great with no real jaw dropping moments or revelations; it does at least have some decent lightsaber action and a story arc with a beginning and an end, so I think it will ramp up from episode 3… I certainly hope so, anyway…