When the live-action version of Ahsoka Tano was introduced in The Mandalorian Chapter 13 “The Jedi” it’s safe to say a lot of fans shit their pants. We were all wondering what exactly Rosario Dawson would look like as the popular Star Wars character, and she did not disappoint. She is Ahsoka!
Lucasfilm and The Mandalorian creative team had to make sure to get the character’s look perfect for her live-action debut and in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, director Dave Filoni and Dawson described the process of bringing Ahsoka to life from drawings and animation to real life, saying:
“It was a pretty amazing thing as we designed the costume and worked out all the details of that. Everything got considered to an unbelievable degree—the headtails, the horns, I can’t even tell you. It’s hard. It’s so rare a person in my position from animation gets to craft and guide the character’s jump to live-action.
“Many tests were done, screen tests, because within the Volume [The Mandalorian set that creates backgrounds on a giant digital screen] it will tend to lean magenta. You have to worry about how a character like Ahsoka would look because the temperature that we have her orange could be dramatically different in the Volume than in stage shots. So there were tiny little considerations that had to be made and adjusted.”
“What I love about the Togruta is that they have these facial markings, but they’re all different on all of the different women that we’ve seen. In the cartoon it almost looks like a face paint, but [Filoni] really wanted it to come off as very natural.
“They definitely wanted [the makeup] to be very warm and natural. In the animation it’s very different and bold, and the lighting is so different. But in the real world they wanted it to have a different kind of energy. It was fun to be able to see how that shifted when she had the lightsabers closer to her face, how you see it and feel it differently in the different lighting and the smoke.”
One of the other things they had to consider was making sure the headpiece and makeup didn’t get in the way of the performance. When talking about that Filoni said:
“Yes, it’s tricky. That was one of the big considerations. Performance-wise I don’t want her to be lost in all of this headgear and makeup, but she definitely is not. I kept things subtle in some ways with the markings. I mean, the funny thing is that the white markings over the brow are always done in animation to give an eyebrow performance. I didn’t want a brightly saturated character. Again, in animation it works, but in live-action I think it works another way, and so you just have to play with the values and see.”
Dawson went on to explained that during her fight sequences everything that she was wearing was firmly attached. Everything was “built specifically to my skull and body, and the headband that she has on with the tails actually clips in the back and holds it in place. We were doing stunts in it and everything, and it wasn’t going anywhere.”
Filoni also said he actually considered letting Dawson keep her brown eyes in the series, but Dawson did not want that. She wanted to make sure that Ahsoka had those blue eyes from the animated series:
“I remember when I put the contacts on, that was when it really solidified—the headpiece, the tails, the shape, the coloring, everything. Doing the face marking, doing my skin, wearing the costume, all of that was absolutely incredible. But I still kind of felt like I was in cosplay. The second the contacts went in, it was Ahsoka. I felt like I disappeared.”
This won’t be the last time we see Dawson as Ahsoka. I don’t know if we’ll see her in The Mandalorian again, but I know we’ll see her in the spinoff series that Lucasfilm is developing!
What did you think of Ahsoka’s look in The Mandalorian?