‘Ahsoka’ series review: Rosario Dawson’s ‘Star Wars’ spin-off is bright, tight and terribly thrilling 

From the opening crawl (goodness) to the cut-to-cut fight sequences and the tetchy master-padwan relationship, the first two episodes of this ‘Star Wars’ spin off/continuation series has everything and more going for it  

Updated - August 23, 2023 06:08 pm IST

Published - August 23, 2023 06:07 pm IST

A still from ‘Ahsoka’

A still from ‘Ahsoka’

By the end of season 3 of The Mandalorian, which came hot on the heels of Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, I had to admit to a spot of fatigue with the goings on in those galaxies far, far way. While Andor was glorious fun, it was acceptable to approach a live-action series based on Ahsoka Tano, who first appeared as Anakin’s 14-year-old padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and made her live action debut in the second season of The Mandalorian, with a fair degree of scepticism.

Season: 1 
Episodes: 2 of 8
Run time: 44 to 57 minutes
Creator: Dave Filoni
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ray Stevenson, Ivanna Sakhno, Diana Lee Inosanto, David Tennant, Eman Esfandi
Storyline: Almost Jedi, Ahsoka Tano is scouring the galaxy in search of Grand Admiral Thrawn

Ahsoka is set during the same time frame as The Mandalorian, that is between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, when the evil galactic empire (or imps as they are fondly referred to) has been overthrown and the rebels are now respectable members of the New Republic. It would have been fun to explore how easy it is to be a rebel and tear everything down. and how difficult it is to build and consolidate. Social sciences could be amusing too if presented rightly.

Back to Ahsoka; is it not fascinating that the name so closely resembles Ashoka, and brings up memories of the great Maurya emperor whose lion symbol is part of our national emblem and whose wheel is part of our flag?

Now, definitely back to the excellent first two episodes of the mini-series. After the eyeball-popping opening crawl, which is in red and not yellow and without the stupendous John Williams’ score, we get straight to business. The crawl tells us that though the galactic empire has fallen, there are agents working to destabilise the New Republic. It also tells of former Jedi, Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson), on trail of imperial baddie, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). Ahsoka has captured a Thrawn sympathiser, Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) and learns of a secret map vital to the enemy’s plans.

After leaving Morgan to be transported for trial, Ahsoka heads off to look for the map with the droid Huyang (voiced by David Tennant). She finds the map and also learns Morgan has been freed by former Jedi Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and his apprentice, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). The episode is rightly called Master and Apprentice, as apart from Baylan and Shin, Ahsoka reluctantly goes to her former padwan, the Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) for help in opening the map on the suggestion of New Republic general, Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

 Sabine has her own problems to deal with including coming to terms with her fellow Jedi trainee, Ezra’s (Eman Esfandi) sacrifice. There are light sabre duels and jumps into hyperspace as well as droids beeping in dismay and despair at the goings on. There is a marked lack of beasties; except for Sabine’s loth cat, which is rather cute despite its feline looks and bird feet.   

With Dave Filoni, who directed The Clone Wars as creator, and the action moving at a spanking pace, the first two episodes of Ahsoka seems to display a return to form for shows based in the Star Wars universe.

Ahsoka currently streams on Disney+ Hotstar with fresh episodes dropping every Wednesday till October 3

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