Teaser trailer for “Ahsoka” is unveiled at Star Wars Celebration 2023…


As of this writing, “Star Wars Celebration Europe” is currently underway (April 7-10th) at ExCel London.  While I’m not there personally, I’ve been lucky enough to have attended two Star Wars Celebrations here in California over the past decade, and they are wonderful. I hope every Star Wars fan attending in London is having as great a time as I have at previous SWCs.  At these events, there is usually a daily unveiling of trailers, press releases and other announcements for upcoming SW projects.  At my first SWC in 2015, the ‘big news’ was “The Force Awakens.” In 2022, it was the release of the Disney+ series “Andor” (which has since become a fan favorite and critical darling) as well as the new season of “The Mandalorian,” and the animated “Tales of the Jedi,” among other projects.

From Star Wars Celebration 2022, in Anaheim:
A young Ahsoka Tano poses, while a wicked Emperor cosplayer manages to coordinate force lightning, his phone and a bag at the same time–“The power of the dark side holds many abilities…”

Yesterday, a teaser trailer was released for the upcoming Dave Filoni-produced “Ahsoka” (streaming in August); a new live-action series starring Rosario Dawson as the titular ex-Jedi knight and “Clone Wars” veteran Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein in animation), who is seeking her own path after the fall of her master, Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader).  Dawson has already played the character in live-action in “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” In this trailer, we see Ahsoka reuniting with characters from my personal favorite Star Wars animated series, “Rebels” (2014-2018). The trailer promises the live-action debuts of “Rebels” characters such as Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), Hera Sybdulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and the feisty droid, Chopper (who first surprised fans with a blink-and-you’ll miss him cameo in 2016’s “Rogue One”).  Other legacy characters from the Star Wars universe appear as well.

Needless to say, my interest was officially piqued…

“Ahsoka”; the Trailer.

The trailer for “Ahsoka,” unveiled this week at Star Wars Celebration Europe, in London.

There is a lot to unpack for such a brief trailer, so let’s take a closer look…

As the trailer opens, we see Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) using her dual lightsabers to cut through a stone floor into a secret space below. Presumably, she’s hunting for one (or more) of the villains seen (but not yet named) in this trailer.
Once again, the makeup job perfectly captures the look of Ashoka Tano as seen in the animated Star Wars series (“The Clone Wars,” “Rebels,” ” Tales of the Jedi”) as well as “the Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” Dawson inherited the role of Ahsoka from animated Star Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein (who is much loved in fandom circles), which created a minor controversy when Dawson was cast.
Something tells me this won’t end well for Ashoka’s would-be assailants…
In one of many references to “Rebels” seen throughout the trailer, we finally get a look at a live-action version of a Loth-cat from the planet Lothal; the home world of “Rebels” hero, Ezra Bridger.
A dogfight with the Phantom fightership (foreground) from the mothership Ghost, previously seen in “Rebels.” The Ghost also made a brief appearance during the climax of 2019’s “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker,” where is was seen as part of Lando’s fleet arriving at the Sith home planet of Exegol.
From “Rebels”; Captain Hera Sydulla, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who costarred with Rosario Dawson in 2007’s “Death Proof”). Hera has a long, complex and fascinating backstory within the Star Wars canon (see: “Rebels”). In the animated series, Hera was voiced by actress Vanessa Marshall.
Yet another cameo from “Rebels”; the astromech droid “Chopper” (C1-10P)–a ‘bot with some serious attitude.
An as-yet unnamed villain (Ray Stevenson), who is clearly well-trained in the dark side of the Force, hence the black cloak, red lightsaber and nasty habit of force-choking.
Another unnamed dark side villain (Ivanna Sakhno) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth Olsen.  We see her also wielding a red lightsaber and causing some serious damage after boarding a New Republic vessel (including that aforementioned nasty habit of force-choking).
A spaceship (not the Ghost) takes off with an X-wing fighter escort in the skies over what appears to be planet, Lothal, judging by its wheat fields and tall spires.
While her multi-hued hair is a lot longer than the pixie cut she sported in the animated “Rebels,” this character can only be un-helmeted Mandalorian rebel/artist, Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo).  This is the character’s first appearance in live-action Star Wars.  In the animated series, Sabine was voiced by Tiya Sircar.
“It’s been a long time.”
Ahsoka and Sabine meet again, presumably for the first time since their adventures together in “Rebels.”  Unlike Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze (currently reprising her role in “The Mandalorian”), it appears most of the “Rebels” voice cast do not get to recreate their characters in live-action.
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), center, is on a holographic conference call to what appears to be the rebel starship Home One from “Return of the Jedi.” This is the very same ship from which Mothma gave her briefing on the plans to attack Death Star II in that film (where she was played by original actress Caroline Blakiston). O’Reilly first played the role of Mothma in deleted scenes of 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith,” and would return to play a more prominent role in 2016’s “Rogue One” as well as the more recent “Andor,” where Mothma was a core character.
The blue skin, the white Imperial uniform… it could only be Grand Admiral Thrawn, who is played for the first time in live-action by Lars Mikkelsen (younger brother of “Rogue One” actor Mads Mikkelsen, who played Galen Erso, the reluctant creator of the Death Star). Thrawn is one of the few characters to survive the now non-canonical 1990s “Heir to the Empire” Star Wars book series, as well as the standalone novel, “Thrawn” (all written by Timothy Zahn).  The popular character was first ‘canonized’ in the post-Disney Star Wars universe when he appeared in “Rebels” (and was voiced by Mikkelsen). Mikkelsen appears to be the only member of “Rebels” talented voice cast to recreate their role in live-action.
Ahsoka warns of the “heir to the Empire,” which is also the title of the first Star Wars novel written by Timothy Zahn, and published in 1991. Its sequels were “Dark Force Rising” (1992) and “The Last Command” (1993). These books, which I read some 30 years ago, were a huge deal in the Star Wars desert of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when there were no cinematic/TV Star Wars projects on the immediate horizon. The 1997 Special Editions would change that, of course, as would “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999).
Captain Hera Sydulla aboard Home One–her status as a fully-fledged member of the Rebel Alliance cemented.
Ahsoka draws her white lightsaber in a climactic duel between herself…
… and her as-yet unnamed Dark Side opponent (Ray Stevenson).
Meanwhile, that other Dark Side denizen (Ivanna Sakhno) wields her own brand of mayhem in space with her fightership.
In a deliberate callback to Vader’s near-boarding of the Tantive IV at the climax of 2016’s “Rogue One,” the unnamed Dark Side villain (Ray Stevenson) boards a New Republic starship, possibly Home One, and tears up the joint with his red (orange?) lightsaber…
…and he gets in a little force-choking, as well (à la Darth Vader, with the Tantive IV crew in the aforementioned “Rogue One”). 
A desperate Sabine Wren reaches sends out a holographic call to “Rebels” hero and student of the Force, Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi).  In “Rebels,” we first saw Ezra on his home planet Lothal living as a petty teenaged thief (not unlike Disney’s “Aladdin”) who eventually becomes a great hero for the Rebel Alliance, under the Jedi-training of the late Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.).  In the “Rebels” animated series, Ezra was voiced by Taylor Gray. 
Ahsoka Tano fires up both of her lightsabers.
Ahsoka’s unique two-saber fighting style is a variation of the double-bladed lightsaber action first seen in 1999’s “The Phantom Menace” by Darth Maul (Ray Park).  The bisected Maul (just a flesh wound) would return to the animated Star Wars universe in “The Clone Wars” and in “Rebels” (voice of Sam Witwer), where he’s eventually killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi (voice of Stephen Stanton) on the desert world of Tatooine, where a hermit Kenobi is living in exile.

The End.

Tales of a Jedi

A few years ago, when I first heard that Rosario Dawson was up for the role of Ahsoka Tano in live-action (after her announced casting in “The Mandalorian”), I knew the character was in good hands.  Originally known for her role in 1995’s controversial indie film, “Kids,” I first became a fan of Dawson’s work from 2006’s “Clerks II” (also enjoyed her more recent flashback/cameo in 2022’s “Clerks III”).  She’s also done a slew of sci-fi/fantasy/action films, including “Sin City” (2005), “Death Proof” (2007), and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” (2010).  

My own pic of Rosario Dawson, taken at San Diego Comic Con, when she was promoting “Clerks II” in the summer of 2006.

I saw Dawson once, briefly, at San Diego Comic Con back in 2006 (17 years ago! Yikes), when she was signing autographs and promoting “Clerks II.” A few years ago, I also listened to her Audibles Audiobook recording of Andy Weir’s “Artemis,” and she was perfect in the role of Lunar colonist Jasmine “Jazz” Bashari; a savvy young smuggler of Saudi heritage living by her wits and a ‘particular set of skills.’ I knew she would be perfect for Ahsoka Tano.  After seeing her in the role a few times now (and in this trailer), my faith in Dawson’s talent is as secure as ever. The Force is strong with this one.

Where To Watch

“Ahsoka” will begin streaming exclusively on Disney+ in August of this year.

Images: Disney, Lucasfilm, Disney+, Author.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Bowler says:

    Lots of great Star Wars news, must admit the Asoka trailer totally blew me away. Really looking forward to that show!

  2. scifimike70 says:

    With the new breed of powerful women in Star Wars thanks to Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones, this new series seems most timely. As fan of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, I’m pleased that she can now be a part of this legend. Thank you for this article.

    1. Appreciate it, Mike!

      1. scifimike70 says:

        You’re welcome. Lizzy Poling too from the award-winning Star Wars short film: Premonition.

Leave a Reply