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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

"Ahsoka" graphic

Review: “Ahsoka” bridges the gap between “Star Wars” animation and live action

The series follows the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker as she searches for an old threat. It is available to stream on Disney+.

“Ahsoka” is the latest live action Disney+ original series based on “Star Wars.” It began airing on Aug. 22 and wrapped on Oct. 3. It consists of eight episodes, all of which are available now. It stars Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano and was created by Dave Filoni, who also created the previous cartoons.

Synopsis

The series follows Ahsoka, a Jedi who was trained by Anakin Skywalker. She was a protagonist in “The Clone Wars” and a major supporting character in “Rebels.” She also appeared in the live action series “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” with smaller roles. This is the first live action series to be centered around her.

With the help of old allies, primarily her ex-apprentice Sabine Wren, Ahsoka is tracking down Grand Admiral Thrawn, an old enemy who previously worked for the Empire. Along the way she learns more about the force and her own place as one of the last Jedi.

Though the series continues the storylines of the animated ones, it is not necessary to watch them to understand “Ahsoka.” However, watching them does provide further context and “Ahsoka” spoils the ending of “Rebels.”

Highs

Dawson makes the translation between animation and live action seamless. She mimics the mannerisms and quirks of her cartoon counterpart with her facial expressions, dialog, and body language, while also showcasing a logical progression for the character.

The series expands on the world of “Star Wars” in unique ways. Instead of explaining how everything works, the series leans into mystery, making the fantastical elements more magical and otherworldly. This aspect was also present in the cartoons.

The majority of the cast is from previous “Star Wars” series, primarily “Rebels.” Their inclusions provide continuations to their unfinished character arcs and provides closure. “Rebels” ended on a cliffhanger, “Ahsoka” picks up the unfinished plots.

Lows

Lost in translation from animation to live action are the visual styles of the cartoons. Both “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” have unrealistic, stylized character designs and make use of bright saturated colors. “Ahsoka” uses the typical cinematography as other “Star Wars” live action series; dull, shades of gray, and white lighting. 

While the world building benefits the fantasy elements, the New Republic continues to be underdeveloped and vague. The reason the heroes have to disobey the New Republic that they created is still unclear and has been since 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” As Ahsoka founded the rebellion in “Rebels,” this show was a missed opportunity to expand on the New Republic which would make the galaxy feel more lived in.

Verdict

For “Star Wars” fans, “Ahsoka” faithfully translates characters to live action to finally fulfill their stories. For casual viewers, it is a fast paced, mysterious fantasy with explosive lightsaber fights. Though, it could be more aesthetically pleasing to look at and has holes in its world building.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Frank Remski is a film and theater reviewer for the Eastern Echo. He is majoring in media studies and journalism and minoring in public relations. He has worked for The Echo since the summer of 2023 and has written both news stories and opinion pieces.