Ahsoka review: Star Wars returns in full force – and it’s the rebels’ time to shine

23 August 2023, 07:41

Ahsoka is available to stream now on Disney+
Ahsoka is available to stream now on Disney+. Picture: Disney

By Emma Soteriou

Master and Apprentice – the age-old narrative that has driven the Star Wars franchise since day one and the aptly named first episode of Ahsoka.

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It soon proves itself to be as effective as ever as Dave Filoni finally brings some of his most loved characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series into live action.

This time, we follow Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, as she navigates a post-Empire world and joins forces with some old friends to stop the latest emerging threat: Grand Admiral Thrawn.

As both the director and writer of the series opener, you can see the precision in everything Filoni brings to the screen.

He manages to pay homage to the animated shows with small easter eggs throughout – while also introducing the world he has been developing for years to new audiences with ease.

Ahsoka Tano
Ahsoka Tano. Picture: Disney

If there’s one thing that stands out from the off, it’s the trio of strong women taking centre stage of this Star Wars story.

Rosario Dawson leads well as Ahsoka, adding even more depth to her version of the iconic character that we first met in live action back in 2020.

But it is Natasha Liu Bordizzo who steals the limelight in the first few episodes as Mandalorian artist Sabine Wren.

The pair are joined by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla – who only briefly gets to show off her character’s full potential when she climbs into the pilot’s seat.

Sabine Wren
Sabine Wren. Picture: Disney

That said, the trio do well at portraying the familial bond formed between them during the Rebels animated show. They are able to show that strength comes not only in their incredible fighting scenes but also in recognising their weaknesses and helping one another when it matters most. 

But it’s hard to not also recognise the return of fan-favourite droids Chopper and Huyang in the series. Despite not being human, the pair bring perhaps the most personality to the show.

David Tennant, who previously voiced Huyang in Clone Wars episodes including ‘A Test of Strength’ and ‘Bound for Rescue’, once again brings the droid to life with a sassy but loveable personality.

Then there’s Chopper, whose reactive noises alone are enough to make you laugh out loud as if you were catching up with an old friend.

Hera Syndulla
Hera Syndulla. Picture: Disney

The show has the action everyone has grown to love from The Mandalorian while moving the story along with the refreshing depth of Andor. And the brilliant visuals enhance the storyline even further as it unfolds.

It is paced well, giving you a taste of what’s to come without rushing through each scene. And nothing proves that more than at the end of the first episode where we get one of many epic face offs – something we get to see even more of in episode two.

There’s no denying that there has also been a huge step up in some of the lightsaber battles, especially compared to Ahsoka’s previous head-to-head with Thrawn ally Morgan Elsbeth, which at times had seemed laboured compared to the skills we’d seen her show off in the animated shows.

But you can already see Dawson’s dedication to changing that for this series, refining her skills much like the padawan-turned-master she plays. And that isn’t the only thing that has improved, with her lekku getting an upgrade too. 

Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn. Picture: Disney

Ahsoka is a love letter to all fans of the animated Star Wars series, merging the best of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Filoni injects the franchise with a new lease of life – even if it is aimed more at established fans of the universe.

It may not win over everyone, but the show has the potential to interconnect the world like never before.

And it’s about time the rebels have their time to shine.

Ahsoka is available to stream now on Disney Plus.