The Mandalorian era of Star Wars is expanding with yet another live-action series, this time centering on Rosario Dawson’s wise Jedi hero Ahsoka Tano. The series, which is set five years after Return of the Jedi, just like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, will see Ahsoka continuing her search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, an Imperial villain with a very long legacy in the galaxy far, far away.
But as we learned at the Mando+ panel at Star Wars Celebration, Ahsoka won’t be the only fan-favorite animated character appearing in live-action on the new series. In fact, fans of the Rebels animated series should be very excited because several members of the Ghost crew are also coming back. The panel not only officially confirmed that Natasha Liu Bordizzo has been cast as artsy Mandalorian freedom fighter Sabine Wren but a trailer shown to attendees also confirmed that New Republic leader Hera Syndulla will make the jump to live-action, too.
The trailer, which will not be released to the public, also ended with an image of a mural that teased the return of Ezra Bridger, the Rebels protagonist who was zapped into parts unknown with Thrawn at the end of that animated series. Since his disappearance on Thrawn’s ship, Ahsoka and Sabine have been looking for Ezra, a mission that was further teased on The Mandalorian when Ahsoka visited an Imperial magistrate to ask about the whereabouts of Thrawn. When Ahsoka begins, Ezra and Thrawn will have been missing for about a decade in-universe, meaning that when we do meet Ezra in the live-action series, he’ll likely be an adult. As of this writing, Lucasfilm has yet to reveal who has been cast as Ezra and Thrawn, although the show is three weeks into filming, so that casting could be announced in the coming months.
Den of Geek was in attendance during the panel and noticed two other interesting details in the trailer. For one thing, it looks like the show will also feature the return of Jedi droid Huyang, who was first introduced in The Clone Wars. If you recall, Huyang is the droid who taught younglings how to build their first lightsabers on the kyber crystal-rich planet of Ilum in the years before the fall of the Jedi Order. But how does he fit into Ahsoka? Surely, the show’s protagonist has become very proficient at constructing a laser sword…
Well, it might have something to do with another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the teaser. We see as a hand reaches out, as if trying to use the Force on a cup placed across a table. It almost looks like it’s a child learning to harness the ancient energy field to pull things toward him. Who is this child?
The current theory is that it’s none other than the live-action version of Jacen Syndulla, Hera’s sun with Kanan Jarrus. The green-haired, orange-skinned Twi’lek/human boy was first introduced in the final scenes of Rebels. Since his late father was a Jedi, could Ahsoka show us Jacen taking his first steps to follow in his father’s footsteps? More importantly, will Ahsoka take him as a padawan? Or will Luke show up to recruit him for his new academy? It’s going to be fun speculating for the next few months.
Dawson and Bordizzo made a surprise appearance on the panel that also featured the stars of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, along with the grumpiest droid in the galaxy, Chopper, who will appear in live-action on Ahsoka.
“I feel like I’ve just been adopted into a new family. I feel that way about everyone I work with but also the fans. It’s just the most welcoming, creative… I mean, I never experienced anything like this. Set is going really well,” Bordizzo said of being cast on the show. “I know how much Sabine means to many people in this room, and I know how much she means to Dave and I think you guys are going to be really excited about the journey she’s about to have.”
Ahsoka will also reportedly feature the return of Hayden Christensen, this time in the role of Anakin Skywalker, but Lucasfilm remained tight-lipped about that during the panel.
The series premieres in 2023 on Disney+. In the meantime, here’s a description of what we saw in that Celebration-exclusive teaser for The Mandalorian season 3!