The Mandalorian’s upcoming second season will see the Disney+ series give the ultimate form of validation to fans of the Disney-owned mothership franchise’s animated alley of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels: A live-action version of perennial favorite Ahsoka Tano!
Rosario Dawson has been cast to play Ahsoka on The Mandalorian Season 2, according to Slashfilm. The move, which will be the first formal migration of a major character from the animated sphere to the live-action arena (since Boba Fett, anyway), is certainly exciting and unprecedented in the modern era. Yet, it’s not outside the realm of reason, given that The Mandalorian is under the creative stewardship of co-creator/writer/executive-producer Dave Filoni, the mastermind of serial animated offerings The Clone Wars and Rebels, on which Ahsoka originated and served as a crucial character.
Dawson’s onscreen portrayal of Ahsoka will serve as an intriguing bridge for the character’s arc, with The Mandalorian’s post-Return of the Jedi setting prospectively providing viewers with the latest glimpse of the character, whose last mark in the canonical timeline was in the 2018 series finale of Star Wars Rebels, which flashed forward to the events immediately following the conclusion of the Original Trilogy and the defeat of the Empire in the Battle of Endor. While the move may seem odd, it also represents the greatest example of cross-media usage yet for the Star Wars franchise; a concept that has long been teased by Disney after its 2012 acquisition.
Ahsoka was introduced into the acknowledged Star Wars canon in the 2008 theatrically-released Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie, which essentially served as a pilot for the subsequently-launched half-hour series. With The Clone Wars’ storyline focused on the titular conflagration, set between the events of prequel films in 2002’s Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein,) was a central character on the series, which had an initial five-season run from 2008-2013, followed by an abbreviated sixth season on Netflix in 2014, and recently revived on Disney+ for a seventh and final season, which is currently ongoing.
A youthfully buoyant wise-cracking protagonist, Ahsoka was depicted as an adolescent Jedi padawan learner assigned to shadow a reluctant and already-grumpy Jedi in Anakin Skywalker. While she was initially dismissed as annoying by segments of the audience for her constant quips (e.g. calling Anakin “SkyGuy,” after which Anakin nicknamed her “Snips”), Ahsoka’s arc turned out to be profound, making her a fan-favorite. Indeed, once viewers warmed up to her loquaciousness, Ahsoka proved to be a crucial (albeit temporary) source of balance for the future Darth Vader, and underwent her own experiences with disillusionment against the Jedi Order.
Ahsoka would resurface later in the timeline on Filoni’s 2014-2018 follow-up series, Star Wars Rebels, which was set a few years before the events that saw Luke Skywalker leave the aridity of Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope, focused on the ragtag crew of rebel ship the Ghost. The show’s second season would see the mysterious rebel intelligence asset known as “Fulcrum” revealed to be Ahsoka, now fully an adult, fighting the good fight with refined powers and wisdom. That run would see Ahsoka engage in an epic showdown with her former master, who’s since become Darth Vader. The events of that series would ultimately see her cross the planes of time and space itself.
The role will—coronavirus-related setbacks notwithstanding—see Dawson coming off her current television run on USA Network’s Briarpatch, which, based on metrics and an inauspicious schedule shift, appears destined to be a one-and-done affair. Interestingly, Ahsoka won’t be her first role connected to the Disney corporate tentpole, since she famously played nurse-turned-vigilante Claire Temple on Netflix’s now-nixed Marvel series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders—a run that spanned the whole gamut, save for The Punisher. However, Dawson’s comic book-related resume also includes a recurring voice role as Wonder Woman in a number of DC’s animated features, and will next be heard in May’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips Wars.
We, of course, will continue to keep you updated on all things The Mandalorian as the news arrives.