Saturday, February 24, 2024
Culture

Ahsoka… The Star Wars Arrival We’ve Anticipated – Is It Worth the Watch?

Where to Watch: Streaming on Disney+

Release Date: August 22nd

Episodes: 8

Rated: PG

Starring: Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka, Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla, Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth, Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati, Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll, David Tennant as Huyang, Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn, with Eman Esfandi appearing as Ezra Bridger.

Synopsis: In the wake of the Galactic Empire’s collapse, Ahsoka follows the journey of former Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano as she embarks on a mission to address a burgeoning threat that looms over an already vulnerable galaxy. With the Empire’s grip now weakened, Ahsoka takes it upon herself to investigate the emerging danger and safeguard the future. As she navigates the aftermath of the Empire’s reign, Ahsoka’s resolute determination and mastery of the Force drive her quest to uncover the truth behind the newfound menace, all while battling her own demons and forging unexpected alliances.

When the name Star Wars is uttered, a galaxy of iconic characters instantly comes to mind: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and the adorable addition of Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda. However, a character who has gradually risen to prominence now takes center stage in her own series – Ahsoka.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm’s AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Ahsoka! 

Ahsoka Tano, the quick-witted, self-assured former Jedi, is set to navigate the remnants of the Empire’s aftermath and confront one of Star Wars’ most formidable antagonists – Grand Admiral Thrawn. This new series follows the hero on her quest to track down Thrawn, enlisting the aid of her former apprentice, Sabine Wren, played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and allies within the New Republic. My excitement lies with her chance encounter with her former mentor Anikan Skywalker, who has since been transformed into Darth Vader. 

Viewers will be immersed in the captivating landscapes and diverse environments that Star Wars fans have come to cherish as Ahsoka’s visual storytelling remains a strong point. The environments and visuals are gorgeous. The familiarity of iconic locales intertwines with fresh settings, reminding us of the franchise’s rich world-building. 

The initial two episodes do feature Saben Wren while briefly touching upon her relationship with Ahsoka. There are parallels that emerge between Ahsoka’s connections with Saben and her dynamic with Anakin. To fully get an idea of this, it might be beneficial to look into the animated series before commencing the first couple of Ahsoka episodes. However, it’s reasonable to anticipate that the show will progressively clarify this dynamic in future episodes. An essential aspect to recognize is that Wren’s expertise is not only limited to the Force; she also hails from the Mandalorian lineage and is good at building things.

(L-R): Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in Lucasfilm’s AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The Villains

Notably, the series’ antagonists are some of its most enticing elements. Baylan Skoll (portrayed by Ray Stevenson, rest in peace) and his enigmatic apprentice Shin Ati (portrayed by Ivanna Sakhno) exude a menacing aura that underlines their malevolent power. Within the series’ initial moments, these villains wield the Force maliciously, setting the tone for their impending conflicts with Ahsoka. The promise of confrontations between these powerful foes and our hero amplifies the show’s allure. 

A standout element of the series unfolds in a seamless transition from the swift dispatch of henchmen by Baylan and Shin to Ahsoka’s elegant dismantling of droids. These captivating sequences were choreographed by martial artist and stunt expert Ming Qiu. The show’s creators aimed to maintain the samurai influence championed by Star Wars visionary George Lucas, and in their pursuit of awe-inspiring action, they enlisted Qiu’s talents to craft these scenes into a marvel.

Another figure who commands intrigue and exudes an undoubtedly badass aura is Marrok. Cloaked in an air of mystery, Marrok dons armor reminiscent of an inquisitor, yet his combat style bears a resemblance to Darth Maul. Adding to his mystique, his lightsaber showcases a unique twist – doubling as a spinning boomerang! It makes me wonder if we will see who is behind the mask? 

Scene from Lucasfilm’s AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Creatures, Robots, and Beyond 

In every Star Wars endeavor, be it film, TV show, or animated series, there’s invariably a character who captures the hearts of fans with their popularity or adorableness. In the case of this series, my personal favorites amongst the non-human/alien characters are Chopper (whose resemblance to R2-D2 comes with an extra dash of personality) and Huyang (whose voice by David Tennant echoes his previous work with the character). Both Chopper and Huyang contribute a delightful blend of wit and humor, effectively counterbalancing the series’ more serious undertones.

(L-R): Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Lucasfilm’s AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Pacing with Viewers 

Ahsoka skillfully caters to both newcomers to the Star Wars universe and long-time fans alike. The series introduces fundamental concepts without overwhelming newcomers while delighting fans with subtle references to established narratives. However, it’s worth noting that the show’s deliberate pacing, at times, feels like a decision to gradually unveil the plot’s intricacies. I can only assume that this slow-burning approach builds anticipation, setting the stage for a journey viewers won’t want to miss out on.

While the initial two episodes offer tantalizing glimpses of what’s to come, it’s reasonable to remain cautiously optimistic about the show’s trajectory. The potential for riveting confrontations, unexpected alliances, and character development abounds, yet the series’ success hinges on its ability to deliver on these promises in a manner that resonates with its diverse audience.

In the grand scheme of the Star Wars saga, Ahsoka occupies an intriguing niche, shedding light on the experiences of characters who often remain in the shadows of the main narrative. It’s a testament to the franchise’s expansiveness and the rich layers it continues to add to its intricate tapestry.

In conclusion, Ahsoka brings with it both the excitement of a new Star Wars adventure and the burden of high expectations. Its pacing and focus on character dynamics might test the patience of some, but the underlying potential for captivating storytelling and dazzling action sequences is undeniable. For fans of the franchise, the series shows promise to be a worthwhile addition to the Star Wars canon, inviting us to delve into unexplored corners of the galaxy far, far away. As for newcomers, while the journey might require some adjustment, the show’s narrative treasures are well within reach. Whether or not it ultimately becomes the show everyone has been eagerly awaiting depends on how Ahsoka navigates its course in the episodes to come. Tune in to decide for yourself.

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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