Star Wars: Ahsoka was partly inspired by Lord of the Rings' best wizard

Ahsoka Tano wields one of her lightsabers in her self-titled Star Wars TV series
Star Wars: Ahsoka has J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary fantasy series to thank for its development. (Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)

Rosario Dawson, Star Wars: Ahsoka's lead actor, has revealed that the forthcoming Disney Plus series took some surprising inspiration from Lord of the Rings.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly (EW) before the actors strike brought Hollywood to a standstill, Dawson explained how Gandalf the Grey served as a major influence on titular character Ahsoka Tano.

Dawson reprises her role as the iconic Jedi from previous shows set in that galaxy far, far away in Star Wars: Ahsoka. The former Daredevil star has portrayed the live-action iteration of the fan-favorite character since The Mandalorian's second season. Before that, Ahsoka, who made her Star Wars bow in 2008's The Clone Wars animated series, was voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the aforementioned show and sequel series Star Wars: Rebels. It's the latter of these two shows that, along with Ahsoka's appearances in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, set up Star Wars: Ahsoka's story.

Despite her recent appearance in the Star Wars franchise, then, Ahsoka Tano's history is extensive and packed with plenty of character development. However, Dawson believes there's much more to explore from a character evolution standpoint with the beloved Twi'lek. She didn't expect, though, for the next stage of Ahsoka's journey to be influenced by everyone's favorite Lord of the Rings wizard (sorry, Radagast the Brown).

Gandalf the Grey stares at something in the distance in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Gandalf served as a big inspiration for Star Wars: Ahsoka's main character. (Image credit: New Line Pictures)

"In the animation [shows], you saw her go to the white," Dawson told EW. "But what I loved is the idea that there was even another level to her. [Showrunner] Dave [Filoni] and I talked a lot about Gandalf the Gray and Gandalf the White – talking about that transition and how she's someone very capable and excellent and looked up to as a leader, but she still has levels of development to go."

Unexpected as that inspiration sounds, Star Wars: Ahsoka also takes its cues from other notable sources. Given Star Wars' clear nods to Akira Kurosawa films, samurai genre fare influenced Ahsoka's standalone series, too.

"She seems very lone wolf, and we kind of felt that coming off of Rebels, where she works with all of these different folks, but she's really on her own in a lot of ways," Dawson said. "What I really liked about this [show] is that we get to flesh that out a little bit more. We get to see what that's like for her in this position and the path she's choosing as a sort of ronin, just this warrior on her own. And I really loved that we get to rekindle some of these relationships that she's had from her past." 

Ahsoka Tano removes her hood in Star Wars: Ahsoka on Disney Plus

Ahsoka Tano's Star Wars journey is far from complete. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Considering they exist in separate genre universes, we'll never see Ahsoka and Gandalf meet, let alone interact. Even so, it's still intriguing to learn that J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary fantasy book series inspired one of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all-time. It's almost as surreal as learning that Shazam!: Fury of the Gods was partly influenced by iconic anime movie Akira and beloved videogame series The Legend of Zelda.

Anyway, we don't have long to wait for Star Wars: Ahsoka to make its Disney Plus bow. The Dawson-starring TV series will launch with a two-episode premiere on one of the world's best streaming services on Wednesday, August 23.

For more Star Wars-based coverage, find out how to watch the Star Wars movies in order and learn about the other new Star Wars movies and TV shows coming over the next few years. As for Lord of the Rings, get the lowdown on everything we know about The Rings of Power season 2 on Prime Video.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.