Friday was the first day of Star Wars Celebration and it kicked it off with a bang — the first trailer for the new Ahsoka series coming to Disney Plus in August. And there’s a lot to unpack.
My immediate takeaway is that if you’ve been watching this season of The Mandalorian it now makes sense why so much time has been spent displaying how the New Republic has become complacent and ripe for the rise of the First Order in the sequel trilogy. Right from the beginning Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson), walking among the ruins of some sort of temple, notes that something is coming, something dark. That is followed by a new character who appears to be some sort of dark side Force user talking about a new beginning and how for some it will mean war, for others power. When discussing power we see what appears to be another dark side user (perhaps master and apprentice) who is attacking what looks like a New Republic ship in a very aggressive manner. We also see a glimpse of some type of meeting involving Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and if the New Republic bosses seen in this season of The Mandalorian are any indication, she may prove to be too wedded to her ideals and not fast enough to act to nip a looming darkness in the bud.
In another ominous sign, we see the back of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s head, as well as a glimpse of Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), who Ahsoka defeated in a duel in her episode of The Mandalorian Season 2 as well as the droids who were her enforcers. Given that Ahsoka makes a reference to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s return as a heir to the Empire, people are already making connections online to Timothy Zahn’s for-now-decanonized Legends book, Heir To The Empire, which is centered upon Thrawn taking control of what remains of the Empire and looking to take down the nascent New Republic. Do these two Force users, who may be Dark Jedi rather than full-blown Sith, work for him, as the Dark Jedi in Zahn’s book worked for the Imperial Remnant? Or are they also looking to take advantage of a power vaccum? We also see Ahsoka duel what I assume to be the Master of the two dark side users, whose name appears to be Baylan, and another scene involving Baylan which has some real Darth Vader overtones.
Speaking of Vader, there have been reports that Hayden Christensen would be involved in this project in some form, although in what fashion has not been reported and he was not seen in this trailer. Will he be a Force ghost of Anakin? Will it be as a flashback to the Clone Wars? Will it be as some form of Vader? We’ll see, but his performance in Obi-Wan Kenobi definitely has people excited.
My other big takeaway from the trailer is that people better be up to speed on the events of the Star Wars: Rebels animated series. In this trailer we see Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and her lovable droid companion Chopper (although no sign of her son with Kanan Jarrus we see her with at the end of the Rebels finale). The first time we see her she’s shooting at ship from the Phantom II, the kind of auxiliary ship of the Ghost. We also later see her ominously saying to prepare for the worst. Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), meanwhile, makes her live action debut and we see her greet Ahsoka and later stare longingly at an image of Jarrus’ padawan Ezra Bridger. She is also seen on what appears to be on Lothal, a major location central to the plot of Rebels.
Interestingly, the trailer closes on Ahsoka talking about the Jedi. In Clone Wars, Ahsoka famously walked away from the Jedi after being exonerated in the Temple bombing and reiterated that she was not looking to return during the Siege of Mandalore in the final season. She also told Darth Vader during their duel in the second season finale of Rebels that she’s no Jedi. Over a scene of her dueling what looks to be some sort of dual-blade wielding Inquisitor, she says the Jedi fell a long time ago and says there aren’t many left. Then, in perhaps the most surprising scene of the trailer, we see Huyang, the droid seen in Clone Wars helping Jedi younglings assemble their lightsabers following the Gathering, suggest that perhaps it is time to begin again.
Warrior. Outcast. Rebel. Jedi. This trailer, along with the news of Dave Filoni directing a Star Wars film set in the same timeline as the Mando universe (perhaps the almost-forgotten major crossover we were promised in 2020), leaves us in an interesting place with the Ahsoka character. And I, for one, can’t wait to see it!
Hit me on up on Twitter at @ByAndySilva to let me know what you thought of this trailer and the direction we seem to be going with Ahsoka.