Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
It’s been just over two weeks since the finale of Season 1 of new Disney+ Star Wars series (DSWS) Ahsoka aka Rebels Season 5. And while it’s not the best DSWS (take a bow Andor) it was pretty dang entertaining. With a Hyperspace ring-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s break it down in four blasts!
Blast #1 Heroes of the New Republic
As we chat about the heroes of Ahsoka, let’s start off with the titular Togruta. I am a fan of Rosario Dawson and she did a great job of capturing the mannerisms and the look of the fan favourite character. She was also pretty butt kicking in the action sequences (we’ll chat more on that later). But she was let down by the writing. It’s never explained why she is so obsessed with tracking down Grand Admiral Thrawn and preventing his return (she never even met his blueness) other than general heroics. I understand that she is older and more stoic, but that often came off more as emotionless. And she does not have much of a character arc to speak of, with only the wonderfully fan servicing Part Five doing any character exploration. Even her master/padawan relationship with Sabine Wren felt half baked.
But thankfully, we had other heroic characters to hold our interest. Natasha Liu Bordizzo was refreshing as Mandalorian and reluctant padawan Sabine Wren. Now she had an arc, and it great seeing her finally able to wield the Force. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was super cool as New Republic General Hera Syndulla. And Tenth Doctor David Tennant was a sassy boss as ancient droid Huyang and he never failed to make me smile or laugh with his cutting words. And speaking of smiling, I was overjoyed to see plucky Jedi Ezra Bridger again and I thought Eman Esfandi did a terrific job at bringing him to life. And last, but certainly not least, my boy Chopper. Need more Chopper in Season 2. #justsaying. As a fan of Rebels, seeing these heroes onscreen and done so well so massively satisfying.
Blast #2 Shadows of the Empire
Also very satisfying were the villains of this series. The late Ray Stevenson had so much gravitas and presence as former Jedi Baylon Skoll and it is tragic we won’t be getting more of him in the role (I suspect the character will be recast). Ivanna Sakhno was quite intriguing as his apprentice Shin Hati (or Shin Hottie according to multiple Facebookers). Diana Lee Inosanto was very solid as Dathomir Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth. The trio of Nightsisters were sufficiently creepy. I also liked the mystery behind the cool looking Inquisitor Marrok. And no, I never thought it was Ezra behind that mask.
And now I have to dedicate an entire paragraph to the man himself, the Chiss Chief, Grand Admiral Thrawn. From the moment he made his grand entrance (pun only slightly intended) in Episode 6 I knew they had nailed him. It was a wise choice to have Lars Mikkelsen, who voiced the character in Rebels, return to play him in live action. His measured way of speaking and nuanced looks were riveting to watch. And yes, he didn’t have any massive plan to execute but that’s fine. The dude just wanted to get the hell off that planet, and we know he when he returns to the main galaxy the New Republic will be in for it. I am eager to see more of Thrawn in future projects and Dave Filoni succeeded in whetting our appetites.
Blast #3 Pew Pew Pew and Woom Woom Woom
Ahsoka may not be at the top of the DSWS, but it is definitely top tier in terms of action. It think it may have even beaten out Mandalorian for me in the respect, and I love me some Mando. The lightsaber battles were energetic, including the mystical rematch between Ahsoka and Anakin. Heck, Rosario Dawson nailed all of her fight scenes! The space battles were some of the most thrilling I have seen, films included. And nothing was cooler than watching Sabine swap from lightsaber to her Mandalorian weapons to take out the bad guys. I got all the action I wanted from this series and then some. My only complaint would be that they did not do enough with the wonderfully designed Night Troopers and their resurrection ability. They came back, the heroes ran, and that was kind of it.
And I know a lot of people complained about Sabine surviving the stab by Shin. But that has been debated to death and I really don’t see the big deal about it. Feel free to @ me in the comments.
Blast #4 A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
Ahsoka is something of an anti-Andor because the story is a very simple one. Bad guys trying to bring back big bad guy to do big bad things and heroes trying to stop that. And that’s okay. I enjoyed the easy, escapist entertainment of it all and it felt like a throwback to the tone of the Original Trilogy. Not everything needs to be super deep and super serious like Andor. Sometimes you just want to sit back, eat some popcorn and watch some lightsaber duels and blaster battles.
The story does feel like mostly a set up for things to come, and while that is not the most satisfying conclusion, I was okay with it. I am glad Ezra is back home, I want to find out how Ahsoka, Sabine and Huyang make it back, I am intrigued by the Mortis gods callback and I definitely want to see what Thrawn has up his immaculately white sleeves. If Dave Filoni’s plan was to have fans begging for more, then I would say Mission Accomplished.
Editor Jules’ Score: 7.5 out of 10
How would you rank Ahsoka Season 1? And you can check out more Force-powered articles below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an award-winning author. I say things like “13 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.