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Star Wars: Ahsoka: everything you need to know about The Mandalorian spin-off

Ahsoka Tano
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
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If you’re yet to watch the animated Star Wars TV shows, you may be asking why Ahsoka Tano warrants her own TV show. Everyone else, however, will simply be wondering why it’s taken so long.

Arguably the most important Star Wars character who hasn't appeared in a live-action movie, Ahsoka Tano was Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi apprentice throughout the Clone Wars. Thanks to The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels TV series, she’s been present for many of the most pivotal moments in the history of that galaxy far, far away. Now that she’s made her live-action debut (Rosario Dawson played her in The Mandalorian season 2 episode ‘The Jedi’), the Ahsoka TV show is poised to continue the former Padawan’s story.

The spin-off couldn’t be in better hands either, with Dave Filoni – the man who oversaw both The Clone Wars and Rebels, and co-created Ahsoka – calling the shots as showrunner. So, as Filoni works his way through the scripts for this eagerly anticipated limited series, we’ve been diving into some Force visions to find out what Ahsoka will have in store when it lands on Disney Plus.

Release date: Disney is yet to confirm Ahsoka’s release date but, seeing as the show’s still at the writing stage, we’d be surprised if we see it before 2023.

Cast: Rosario Dawson reprises her Mandalorian role as Ahsoka Tano, alongside Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Star Wars Rebels Mando Sabine Wren. Hayden Christensen is also reportedly set to return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.

Story: Plot details are, as is standard, hidden behind Lucasfilm’s impregnable defense field. It seems likely, however, that the story will send Ahsoka and Sabine on a quest to track down trainee Jedi Ezra Bridger and his Imperial nemesis, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

SPOILER ALERT! Proceed with caution if you’re yet to watch The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels or The Mandalorian.

Ahsoka on Disney Plus release date

Ahsoka release date: probably not before 2023

Ahsoka Tano

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

It was one of many new Star Wars and Marvel TV shows announced at the Disney Investor Day (opens in new tab) in December, but it looks like we’ll have to wait some time for an Ahsoka TV show release date. 

Disney and Lucasfilm have given little indication of when the limited series will land on Disney Plus and, with an article in Empire (opens in new tab) revealing that showrunner (and Lucasfilm executive creative officer) Dave Filoni is still working on the scripts, there’s clearly some way to go. 

The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor and The Mandalorian season 3 are all ahead of the Ahoska TV series in Lucasfilm’s effects-heavy production pipeline, so we’d be surprised if it appears any time before 2023.

Ahsoka on Disney Plus trailer

Is there an Ahsoka trailer?

Star Wars: Ahsoka

(Image credit: Lucasfilm / Disney)

With the show still at the scripting stage, it’s way too early to expect an Ahsoka trailer – especially as Lucasfilm rarely debuts footage more than a few months ahead of launch.

For the moment ,we’ll have to make do with the logo above, or rewatch some Ahsoka-focussed episodes of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels on Disney Plus.

Ahsoka on Disney Plus: Who is Anakin's ex-Padawan?

Who is Ahsoka Tano?

Ahsoka Tano

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

“When gone am I, the last of a Jedi will you be,” a dying Yoda told Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. 

But he was only correct from a certain point of view. Ahsoka Tano isn’t technically a Jedi because she never passed the relevant trials but in all other regards, she has all the necessary qualifications.

Making her first appearance in Star Wars canon in the animated 2008 Clone Wars movie that set up the long-running TV show, the Togruta was Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan apprentice throughout the eponymous conflict. A highly respected commander in the Republic forces, she fought with a distinctive two-lightsaber style, and was nicknamed “Snips” by her master, owing to her supposedly snippy attitude. She referred to Anakin as “Sky Guy”.

Ahsoka went on to play a key role in Star Wars Rebels, set in the run-up to A New Hope, and she’s since returned in The Mandalorian season 2 episode ‘The Jedi’. Her voice can also be heard among the choir of Jedi giving Rey a pep talk in The Rise of Skywalker.

Ahsoka on Disney Plus story

What’s Ahsoka Tano’s backstory?

Ahsoka Tano

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

For the benefit of anyone yet to watch the animated Star Wars shows, here’s a brief history of Ahsoka Tano’s life and times.

Having served the Republic with distinction throughout the Clone Wars, she left the Jedi Order under a cloud during season 5. Although she was eventually exonerated for bombing the Jedi Temple – she’d been framed by her friend and fellow Padawan Barriss Offee – she decided not to return, and went out into the galaxy solo.

During the final days of the Clone Wars, she helped Bo-Katan Kryze remove Darth Maul from the Mandalorian throne, and was on her way to return the former Sith Lord to Jedi custody when the Emperor initiated Order 66. With some help from her old friend Captain Rex – whose mind-controlling inhibitor chip she surgically removed – Ahsoka survived the Jedi purge and went into hiding.

She showed up again in Star Wars Rebels, set around 15 years after the Emperor came to power. It was eventually revealed that Ahsoka was the mysterious ‘Fulcrum’, an agent who helped pull disparate cells of freedom fighters together to form the Rebel Alliance.

She also fought a fateful duel with her former master – when she removed a portion of Darth Vader’s helmet with her lightsaber, she became one of the few people in the galaxy to know his true identity. The Vader/Skywalker connection wouldn’t become common knowledge across the galaxy for several decades, and the secret was eventually leaked to damage Leia Organa’s political aspirations, as detailed in Claudia Gray’s 2016 novel, Bloodline.

Ahsoka barely made it out of the duel alive, but she was saved by a future version of Jedi apprentice Ezra Bridger. He pulled her into the ‘World Between Worlds’, a mystical realm where the usual rules of time and space do not apply. By the time of the Rebels epilogue – set some time after Return of the Jedi – Ahsoka had somehow returned to the normal reality of that galaxy far, far away.

Her most recent canonical appearance came in The Mandalorian, where she met Din Djarin (aka The Mandalorian) and Baby Yoda. While communing with the Child, she learned that real name was Grogu, and gave Mando some pointers to help find some other Jedi.

Ahsoka Tano

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

So what do we know about the Ahsoka TV show’s story? Well, it'll have plenty of existing canon to work from, and there’s nobody on the planet who knows how to navigate the Star Wars timeline better than Dave Filoni. During his previous life as supervising director on The Clone Wars, Filoni co-created Ahsoka Tano with George Lucas. He then went on to shepherd her through seven seasons of The Clone Wars and several guest appearances on Rebels. He also directed her episode of The Mandalorian.

Asked about his experience writing the new show, Filoni told Empire (opens in new tab) that, “It’s thrilling, I gotta tell you. It’s something you imagine doing for a long time, and then it’s kind of startling when you’re sitting there, and now you have to do it.

“I thought of this adventure for Ahsoka for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how it’s evolved. Years ago, I never would have imagined that it was sprung from a branch of a tree that had anything to do with a guy [like] Din Djarin [aka the Mandalorian], or a child that looks like Yoda. It’s a great lesson for me on how, when you have other creatives like [The Mandalorian showrunner] Jon Favreau, they can help lend such dimension and depth to what you’re doing.”

Going by StarWars.com (opens in new tab)’s original announcement about the series, it looks like the new series will pick up soon after Ahsoka’s meeting with Mando and Grogu: “After making her long awaited live-action debut in The Mandalorian,” said the site, “Ahsoka Tano’s story will continue in a limited series.”

It’s currently unknown, however, whether that Rebels epilogue takes place before or after Ahsoka showed up in The Mandalorian.

“That's not necessarily chronological," Filoni told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) in November 2020. "I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] 4, 5 and 6 and then 1, 2, and 3. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don't really know how much time has passed. So, it's possible that the story I'm telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I'm saying it's possible.”

One thing that both the Rebels epilogue and the Ahsoka TV show will have in common is Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren. Deadline (opens in new tab) has confirmed that Natasha Liu Bordizzo will take the character into live-action, which potentially offers up more clues about the Ahsoka story.

In the Rebels finale, the duo set out to find their lost friend, Ezra Bridger, assumed to be trapped in the ‘World Between Worlds’. This could also tie in with Ahsoka’s primary mission in her episode of The Mandalorian. There, she revealed that she’s on the hunt for Imperial bigwig Grand Admiral Thrawn, who just happened to be with Bridger when he went missing. The way Ahsoka pressed Calodan town magistrate Morgan Elsbeth about the location of her master, aka Thrawn, suggested he’s already back to make a nuisance of himself. Maybe Bridger isn’t far behind?

And while revenge isn’t traditionally the Jedi way, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ahsoka gets to settle a few scores with Barriss Offee. Being framed for murder is going to leave a few scars.

Ahsoka on Disney Plus cast

Ahsoka cast: who'll be appearing in the show?

Grand Admiral Thrawn

(Image credit: StarWars.com)

Here's the rumored cast so far:

  • Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano
  • Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren
  • Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker

Although Ashley Eckstein voiced Ahsoka throughout The Clone Wars and Rebels, Sin City/Daredevil star Rosario Dawson played the character in The Mandalorian, and she'll reprise the role in Ahsoka. Dawson will be joined by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who replaces Rebels voice actor Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren.

In other casting news, these are particularly good times to be Hayden Christensen. Not only is he playing Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) says he’s now joining the Ahsoka cast. As yet, it’s unclear whether he’ll be playing the ‘Sky Guy’ or Vader incarnations of the character or both. But, seeing as he’s dead at this point in the Star Wars timeline, chances are he’ll either be appearing in flashbacks or as a Force ghost.

Entering the realms of speculation, Katee Sackhoff seems a likely candidate for a return as Mandalorian princess Bo-Katan Kryze. She was the one who told Mando that Ahsoka was hiding out on Corvus, so they’re clearly still in contact – and you never know when you might need to call on an old friend.

We’re unsure about the current whereabouts of friendly ex-Clone Trooper Captain Rex but, considering he was one of Ahsoka’s best friends in The Clone Wars, a reunion would be most welcome. That could mean a cameo for The Book of Boba Fett star Temuera Morrison, whose Jango Fett was the model for all the Clones.

And it’ll be interesting to see who – if anyone – joins the Ahsoka TV show cast as Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Sackhoff is the only voice star from the animated series to play their character in live-action, so it would be surprising if both Taylor Gray and Lars Mikkelsen (brother of Rogue One’s Mads) reprised their roles. If you picture Mikkelsen with a blue hue, however, it’s immediately clear that he’d make a brilliant Thrawn.

Perhaps the most intriguing possibility for the Ahsoka cast, though, would be a return for digital Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. As the two most powerful (known) Force practitioners in the galaxy, they’d surely have plenty to talk about – as well as reminiscing about Luke’s dad, they could discuss why Ahsoka turned down the opportunity to train Grogu while Luke grabbed the opportunity with two hands.

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.