During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, writer and director Dave Filoni and actress Rosario Dawson talked about Ahsoka Tano’s role in The Mandalorian Chapter 13 “The Jedi” and also talked about the character in general and her current role in the Star Wars universe.
It was so freakin’ cool seeing Ahsoka brought to life like this! When asked about what he wanted to reveal about the character at this much later point in her life, Filloni explains that she is a wandering samurai character now who is headed toward the Gandalf stage:
“She is, for lack of a term, a master, because she’s largely an independent at this point. I play her much more as a knowledgeable knight. A wandering samurai character is what she really is at this point. I’ve always made comparisons to her heading toward the Gandalf stage, where she is the one that has the knowledge of the world and can help others through it. I think she’s reached that point.”
When describing the character’s overall journey, Filoni adds:
“We saw her basically hit the scene as a Padawan: young, and naïve, and brash, and aggressive. Then, in Rebels, she’s more of a traditional knight, trying to figure out how to fight a war. There’s a lot of hesitation around what she wants to be and who she can be and how her life’s been guided. I think that now I’ve taken that a step further. When you see this version of the character, she’s world-weary from everything that she’s experienced and lived through. She’s seen so much happen in her time.”
He goes on to say:
“She wants to do good and help people, but rather than do it like the Jedi did, which was all wound up in the politics of the Republic, she’s doing it on an individual basis in the galaxy. Plus, she has a larger quest, which is always more fun when they have a larger quest.”
It’s pointed out that Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian is titled “The Jedi,” but Ahsoka’s whole identity is based around her leaving the Jedi Order. To that, Filoni says:
“Yeah, I think something fans like about the character is that she’s rather complex. They all focus very hard on the line, ‘I am no Jedi,’ from Star Wars: Rebels, but it’s undeniable that she’s trained by the Jedi. I think to most observers she is very Jedi to them. I would argue in some ways—by being so selfless and rejecting a lot of paths that would have given her power—she’s more Jedi-like than even some characters who claim to be Jedi.”
Dawson shared her thoughts on Ahsoka’s character and her continuing role in the Star Wars universe, saying:
“I love that she is this wanderer character who is going to just do good in the universe. The Jedi Order has disappeared in many ways, it’s so fractured, and so many people are targeted. She’s lost so much. She had left that Order under duress, and she’s just been finding her way. And since the very beginning, the way that has been pulling her is to be vigilant, and to be brave, and to be wise, and to always have her eye set on rooting out evil. And I think that’s one of the reasons why so many love her. It’s why I love her. She represents truly the best of the Jedi, you know?”
Dawson is then asked about Ashley Eckstein, who voiced the character in the animated Star Wars shows, and what impact she had on the live-action version of the character:
“Ashley did a remarkable job. You’ve seen this character first come into our hearts and minds as a teenager and then evolve, and Ashley has been there the entire way. Seeing how her voice changed, how her energy changed, and to hear the maturity develop in her was just so powerful and so beautiful. I studied it like crazy and tried my best to honor that. And it was just incredible to be able to have such an in-depth performance to source.”
“Ashley’s fantastic, and I think the character that she played, Ahsoka as the young Padawan apprentice and then going into Rebels, obviously made its mark—plus the animation team who made this Padawan such a household name among Star Wars fans. It’s a pretty magic thing and it speaks to how well crafted the character is by that group. I wrote pretty much all of her character from when she’s 14 all the way up through this, and normally someone in my position wouldn’t get to do that. It would have changed hands several times.”
I’m so excited to see Ahsoka’s journey continue. I have no idea if we’ll see her again in this season of The Mandalorian, but we do know that she will be getting her own standalone series and that she is currently hunting down Grand Admiral Thrawn. I hate that we have to wait to see that story play out, but at least we know we’ll see it!