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Grand Admiral Thrawn arrives in style in new Ahsoka trailer

Andy Silva discusses the expansive new trailer for the Ahsoka series coming to Disney+ on August 22.

Star Wars Celebration 2023 Ahsoka Panel Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney

We’re just over a month away from the release of the highly-anticipated Star Wars series Ahsoka on Disney Plus and on Tuesday we got our most revealing trailer to date. Past, present and future all seem to collide. Oh, and we get our first real good look at Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) sets the tone as he and what I assume to be his apprentice Shin (Ivanna Sakhno) are seen attacking what appears to be a New Republic vessel as a voiceover of Skoll notes that war is inevitable and that one must destroy in order to create. In case you weren’t catching the ominous vibes, he plainly states that they are no Jedis as he puts his lightsaber blade through an unfortunate victim.

The duo is further seen colluding with Thrawn’s associate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) amid what appears to be some type of ruins as Baylan tells Shin that once Thrawn is found they will have unbelievable power, “such as you’ve never dreamed.” Meanwhile, Elsbeth activates something which appears to be somewhat reminiscent of the World Between Worlds from Rebels, which suggests that perhaps the Imperial Remnant is looking to use time travel to “correct” what they view as mistakes of the past or even to find Thrawn himself.

Meanwhile, the trailer continues to paint an image of the present impotence of the leaders of the New Republic as Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is practically beginning them to help her prevent yet another war but Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Co. appear hesitant to act, similar to how the New Republic seemed naive and/or impotent in the most recent season of The Mandalorian. Remember this is a shared universe and Ahsoka is occurring concurrently with the aforementioned third season of The Mandalorian.

Which brings us back to Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). Hera suggests that they both know who could help Ahsoka deal with her premonitions of darkness and the re-emergence of Thrawn, but Ahsoka notes that Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) is just as stubborn as ever as she’s seen chilling on Lothal.

There is an allusion made to Ahsoka’s relationship with Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen, who is rumored to be involved in this project in some form) and a suggestion that perhaps in the aftermath of the Rebels finale, Ahsoka took Sabine as an apprentice of sorts, although Sabine is never teased to be force-sensitive in Rebels. Ahsoka notes that she walked away from Anakin before he could finish her training, just as she walked away from Sabine, teasing some unseen tension between the former allies. This is further underscored in the following scene where Sabine tells Ahsoka she never made things easy for her before taking a pause and pointedly calling her Master. This could tie into Ahsoka’s reticence and eventual refusal to train Grogu in her season two appearance on The Mandalorian. Also interestingly, Sabine is seen watching a holovid of Ezra speaking of having to make hard decisions that no one else can, as a Jedi, but he’s counting on her. Which leads to Ahsoka and her erstwhile student teaming up once again.

We get another illusion to Sabine perhaps being Force-sensitive a few scenes later when she appears to make a gesture often made when attempting to use the Force during a duel with Shin. However, Shin notes she has no power, so perhaps this is meant to indicate that Sabine is either not really Force-sensitive or is still not trained enough to use the Force properly. Being Mandalorian, Sabine does have a stubborn streak of defiance, so it’s possible that even without the Force she asked Ahsoka to train her in some of the Jedi arts so that she could wield Ezra’s lightsaber and help make a difference in the galaxy.

In terms of the future, Ahsoka then plainly states that if they don’t stop Thrawn everything will be in vain as we get our first head-on look at Thrawn in live-action, with all his traditional Chiss features looking as they should and as the work “darkness” appears. This series has done everything in its power to make Thrawn seem like an ominous, foreboding figure of evil and it has succeeded. It has painted a picture of him being powerful enough to fight and win against anyone, including the former Jedi padawan of Anakin Skywalker.

Speaking of Anakin and allusions of the past, before we get more scenes from what looks to be an excellent lightsaber duel between Baylan and Ahsoka, Baylan notes that Anakin spoke highly of Ahsoka. This suggests that Baylan was himself was a Jedi during the Republic era and has fallen to Dark Side, or something close to it, in the intervening years. But Ahsoka notes she’s not here to discuss her past, perhaps suggesting a lingering bitterness she has toward the Jedi for the way she walked away from the Order or Anakin for falling to the Dark Side. It also plays into her point of saying that she’s no Jedi in the past, suggesting that on some level Baylan and Ahsoka have something in common even as they’re fighting on opposite sides.

The trailer reaches its crescendo as Hera says once a rebel, always a rebel as scenes of Sabine using her Mandalorian skills and weaponry, Ahsoka fighting, space battles, ships firing and what appears to be an Imperial Inquistor and their spinning blade coming face to face with Ahsoka play out. Some have suggested that the series will use this Inquistor to introduce the for-now de-canonized character of Mara Jade, which would be a very interesting development.

We also got a look at the official poster as well as news that two episodes of the series will drop on August 23.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ahsoka premiere date has been moved up to August 22.

Check out the full trailer below and hit me on up on Twitter at @ByAndySilva to let me know how excited you are for the Ahsoka series and where you think they may take the character.