Ahsoka Review: Perhaps I've become a little jaded about Star Wars after the underwhelming outputs of The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and The Mandalorian Season 3 or because I was spoilt by the excellent quality of Andor and expect more from these series – Dave Filoni's Ahsoka just didn’t do much for me. Given how much Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: Clone Wars thrived on being animated, I was a little taken aback when it was revealed that their sequel would be live-action, and the first two episodes of Ahsoka confirmed my fears and made for uninspiring viewing that I couldn't get behind. Ahsoka Trailer: Rosario Dawson’s Outcast Rebel Jedi Is Back in Action To Stop Evil in the Upcoming Star Wars Spinoff Series (Watch Video).

Created by Dave Filoni, Ahsoka features the return of our favourite Twi’lek former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). Being a direct continuation of her episode from The Mandalorian Season 2, the series sees her hot on the trail of the lost Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, who appears to be secretly emerging as a threat once again. Enlisting the help of Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Ahsoka must find Thrawn and put a stop to him before the galaxy comes under Imperial threat once again.

A Still From Ahsoka (Photo Credits: Lucasfilm)

The simple response to the question of whether a fresh viewer can watch Ahsoka is, no, they cannot. This series is very closely related to Star Wars: Rebels, which you must at least see in order to understand some of the background information. As a result, it is much more difficult for those who simply want to watch some Force and lightsaber antics to enjoy this show. The fact that Dave Filoni chose to adapt Ahsoka into a live-action series really astounds me; not only does it not seem to capture the spirit of the classic shows, but some of the actors here simply cannot capture the personalities of the beloved characters.

The worst offender of this is Rosario Dawson’s titular character. Dawson portrays Ahsoka Tano like a wooden stick. There is just one expression she constantly has here, and the dialogue delivery is just so stoic where there doesn’t even seem to be a resemblance of any emotion. Yes, Ahsoka is a bit more reserved in her older age, but it absolutely doesn’t feel authentic to the character we have seen before. Even if the writing occasionally can be a little shaky, Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead happily do have aspects of Sabine and Hera to them. Particularly Winstead, whose acting in the brief scenes she had in the first two episodes caught my attention since it was more appropriate to Hera's personality.

Watch the Trailer for Ahsoka:

The one good thing I can say about Ahsoka is that they made a great decision by bringing back Lars Mikkelsen to play Thrawn in live-action; however, he didn’t show up in these batch of episodes and we rather followed Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), a former Jedi travelling with his apprentice, Shin (Ivanna Sakhno), to find Ahsoka. The late Ray Stevenson brings a much more focused aura to Baylan, and was actually one of the few things that I liked seeing even if the lack of Thrawn did leave me wanting a bit more, and Sakhno’s Shin was a welcome treat to see as well.

With this also being the first time that Lucasfilm veteran Dave Filoni was leading a full-fledged live-action Star Wars series, his direction in the first episode did leave more to be desired even if it was tighter compared to his The Mandalorian episodes. It doesn’t help the fact that Ahsoka also doesn’t exactly look like a visual treat.

A Still From Ahsoka (Photo Credits: Lucasfilm)

Because the Volume's technology was used so inefficiently, the settings resemble backdrop screensavers, and the show looks dull with the lightsaber fights feeling slow. There isn’t much to gnaw on over here, and the planet of Lothal looks like a grey sludge with all its colour just being sucked out. Compare it to how it looked in Star Wars: Rebels, the difference is night and day over here. Ahsoka: Rosario Dawson’s Upcoming Live-Action Star War Series to Stream on Disney+ Hotstar From August 23.

In essence, Ahsoka delivers a new MacGuffin hunt in the form of a search for Thrawn, which feels true to the franchise's roots, but at what cost? The first two episodes are a sluggish burn with no sense of pace, and the anticipation for the remaining episodes is somewhat diminished. I couldn’t buy into this journey sadly, and most of it does come across from just how it dissociates itself from Rebels by being live-action and not a genuine animated continuation of the show. Maybe it might be for you, but for me it just felt like another lackluster Star Wars attempt on Disney+.

Final Thoughts

Ahsoka feels like an unexciting and bland take on a galaxy far, far away. With Rosario Dawson being a stoic lead, the series doesn’t have much going for it as it plunges us into another MacGuffin chase. Die hard fans of Dave Filoni’s animated Star Wars would find amusement in the reference and callbacks the series does have to offer, but aside from that it's just another lackluster adventure so far. Here is hoping the ship can be steered right in the later episodes. Ahsoka premieres its first two episodes on August 23 on Disney+ Hotstar.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 22, 2023 09:39 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).