Ahsoka – Disney Star Wars Show that’s actually good?

Is it better than the animated version we all love?

Ahsoka is a rather peculiar project in the Star Wars franchise. It is an American miniseries created by Dave Filioni and released in August of 2023. While it’s marketed as a spin-off of the popular Disney+ series The Mandalorian (2019-), it’s actually a continuation of the animated show Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018), which in turn was a follow-up to Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2002-2020). The latter began as a theatrical feature film in 2008.

Where are you supposed to start with Ahsoka?

This complex lineage might leave casual viewers, like your girlfriend, utterly baffled. We can thank the expectation that they’ve watched 208 episodes of television. A fact conveniently omitted from most of the marketing.

To its credit, Ahsoka isn’t entirely impenetrable for those who haven’t delved deep into the lore. A basic understanding of the titular character and her background helps, and the show’s main storyline isn’t overly convoluted. The real issue, however, lies in Ahsoka’s apparent lack of interest in forging emotional connections with its audience. Instead, it relies heavily on pre-existing connections from prior series. None of the characters in the show’s eight episodes are particularly engaging on their own, assuming that viewers already care about them based on their prior appearances.

Is Star Wars ever going to adapt to a wider audience?

In this day and age, a lot of companies are striving to reach the broadest audience possible. However, in the case of Star Wars, it seems to be going the other way. Also, the fans seem to like it and continually shun people getting into the franchise who haven’t watched previous works. If the future of the franchise continues to build on the foundation of a long-running cartoon, it’s uncertain whether it will remain accessible to the broader audience that initially embraced The Mandalorian’s first season.

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Characters in Ahsoka

Ahsoka, as a show, falls remarkably short of delivering a fulfilling viewing experience. Actress Rosario Dawson takes on the role of the former Jedi. Although she certainly embodies the character visually, she lacks the screen presence or compelling depth needed to engage the audience. The series often presents her as a lifeless action figure, alluding to her past with mumblings about her former master, Anakin Skywalker (played by Hayden Christensen). However, merely showcasing a recognizable character’s face doesn’t suffice for quality television or storytelling. Dawson’s portrayal comes across as dull, devoid of distinct personality traits or visual flair. At times, she participates in entire action sequences with uncreative lightsaber swings while remaining motionless.

The supporting cast consists of characters borrowed from other Star Wars shows, leading to a reliance on prior media for any meaningful connection to them. Unfortunately, in Ahsoka’s eight episodes, these characters receive limited exploration and remain uninteresting. They seem like mere pawns in yet another generic Star Wars narrative that struggles to distinguish itself from its predecessors. While the series features familiar Star Wars symbols, it fails to introduce anything new to set these episodes apart from the multitude of others consumed over the years.

Cinematography and Television

Adding to the disappointment is the lackluster visual presentation of the series. Transitioning from animation to live-action is no easy feat. Ahsoka fails to establish a distinctive visual identity, resulting in a bland and uninspiring look. While the makeup and costumes are undoubtedly impressive, the cinematography fails to showcase them in a way that makes them genuinely captivating. Instead, many scenes appear as a mishmash of unexciting grey tones. Occasionally, the series introduces intriguing ideas, such as the inclusion of zombie stormtroopers, but the direction lacks the necessary personality and energy to transform these concepts into thrilling on-screen moments, reducing them to potentially enjoyable ideas that fall flat due to lackluster execution.

Why are Ahsoka reviews bad?

You might be reading this review and wondering why the criticisms seem so severe. After all, continuing storylines from previous installments is a common practice in serialized storytelling. That’s a valid point, to a certain extent. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Ahsoka wanting to build upon what Rebels left unfinished. However, it’s the way it approaches this task that’s frustrating. The series conceals its true intentions beneath the guise of being another Mandalorian spin-off, relying on the audience’s recognition of past characters and surprise cameos instead of taking a moment to reflect on what it has to offer and why it deserves to stand on its own. Ahsoka isn’t devoid of purpose, but it consistently feels misguided, leaving one to question why they didn’t simply create another season of Rebels instead.

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Part time Web Designer and amateur muscian/artist. Plus a contributor at BIZZNERD
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