A Star Wars fan favorite is getting her story told in Ahsoka, which brings Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice to the center of her very own live-action adventure, as she investigates an emerging threat to the galaxy following the fall of the Empire.
Rosario Dawson reprises her role as the former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano in the series, after first being introduced in season 2 of The Mandalorian. The character was originally created for the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and also appeared in Star Wars Rebels and Tales of the Jedi — voiced by Ashley Eckstein.
The eight-episode first season will premiere on Aug. 23.
Read on to learn more about the characters, storylines, and release dates for the upcoming series — including exclusive quotes from the Ahsoka cast to ET at this year’s Star Wars Celebration.
Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson)
Dawson was always a favorite to play the former Jedi Padawan in a live-action Star Wars project, and now will get to center the heroic rebel in her own story as she continues to fight against the evils of the Empire.
However, the character became a fan favorite through Eckstein’s voice performance in the Star Wars animated series, Dawson was clear about “defaulting” to her predecessor when it came to playing Ahsoka on screen.
“I think it’s just beautiful to be able to just build on that,” the actress explained to ET. “Being able to talk to her, being able to have her come on set, being able to have that blessing, that continuity…it just feels like a good luck charm.”
“I mean, she has taken this character [that was] actually kind of hated in the beginning, to the journey where she is now, so the love and the anticipation people have for this character has so much to do with her performance,” she added.
Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo)
A teenage Mandalorian graffiti artist and weapons expert, Bordizzo’s take on Wren gets a bit of a style update in the live-action series, with the actress stating that her longer, multi-colored hair is “part of the journey.”
“I understand her a lot better,” she said of how she evolved the character over the course of the series. “She just goes through a lot, and shows incredible courage and incredible tenacity to get through her own demons and face herself on this journey that she’s on. It’s really incomparable.”
Bordizzo also raved about the chance to work on the rare female-led Star Wars property, noting that everyone on set was equally passionate about bringing Ahsoka’s story to life.
“We just kind of had so much history to work with, that it almost felt like we knew each other,” she recalled. “It’s almost like the character history seeping into the way we were with each other, because we were all carrying the same flame forward, so it was really lovely.”
Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)
Winstead joins husband Ewan McGregor in the Star Wars universe as she takes on the character of General Hera Syndulla, a Twi’lek pilot who captains the Ghost starship.
“He was really excited for me,” she said of McGregor’s reaction to her casting. “He just thought, you know, if you do this, it’s just only gonna be positive things that are gonna come from it. You’re gonna get to be a part of something that means so much to so many people, and I think that he has been able to feel that more and more you know as time has gone on.”
Winstead said that she hadn’t had a chance to speak with voice actor Vanessa Marshall prior to filming, but she studied her performance and spoke at length about the character with Star Wars mastermind Dave Filoni.
“She did such an incredible job in Rebels and she brought so much to that to that character,” Winstead raved. “I am sort of doing my own my own version and trying to kind of capture the essence of who I feel she is in my voice and my body, but I think what she did was was absolutely incredible.”
Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen)
After voicing the character in Star Wars Rebels, Mikkelsen said he was surprised to get the call to play the villainous, cunning Empire senior officer in a live-action context.
“When we wrapped up on Rebels, [Dave Filoni] teased me. He said, ‘You ever been to L.A.?'” he recalled. “And I said no. And he said, ‘Well, let’s see if we can make that happen.’ And I didn’t understand what he meant, you know?”
Plenty of mystery surrounds the threat of Thrawn going into the standalone series — a trailer ominously describes him as “the heir to the Empire.” But for Mikkelsen, one of the biggest obstacles was translating the character from his animated form to a flesh-and-blood villain.
“I mean, the biggest challenge is to transition between what we’ve done, which really works, but we can’t just repeat that,” he noted. “You have to level to that. But then again, not lose what we’ve done here.”
Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto)
Inosanto’s character was introduced in The Mandalorian, but the actress said had no idea she’d be coming back for future installments in the Star Wars universe.
“In fact, I didn’t even know at the time when I did The Mandalorian that my character had a name,” the actress admitted. “I just knew her as The Magistrate.”
“There was always a part of me my heart that I hope that maybe because we never saw her die, that maybe there might be a chance that she would be put somewhere in the universe,” she continues. “And so when I got the call, I was overjoyed that the planets and the stars could line up and this could happen for Morgan.”
An Imperial Magistrate who serves Thrawn, Inosanto said of her character, “The fans, I’m sure, have picked up she’s pretty cold-hearted.”
“But I think what fans are going to be absolutely happy about is, we’re going to really dive into her background. And I’m really excited about that,” she revealed. “The extent of her loyalty to Grand Admiral Thrawn is pretty huge. And it’s unwavering. So this is going to be, I think, a game changer in many ways.”
Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson)
After voicing Gar Saxon in two episodes of Star Wars Rebels, Stevenson got the call that Filoni had written him a second role in the Star Wars universe — one that would end up being on of his last roles on screen.
A former Jedi who survived Order 66 by fleeing into the Unknown Regions, Baylan Skoll is another of Ahsoka’s antagonists, as an ally to Thrawn and master to Shin Hati. He’s also got a unique fighting style that will make him a formidable opponent for the titular hero.
“He doesn’t adopt the sort of foundations of the Kurosawa-based movies, the katana-style Japanese fighting,” Stevenson explained. “He’s much more aligned with medieval swordplay.”
“So there is a completely different style when he goes up against the Ashoka… there is a clash of culture as well,” he added. “There is definitely a huge separation from where their worlds are originated. So these two satellites crashing, and he’s got this dynamic that drives the story — it’s quite thrilling.”
The Northern Irish actor died on May 21, 2023, and Ahsoka will be his first posthumous release. Dawson, who was in Italy filming Cassino in Ischia with Stevenson at the time of his death, paid tribute to “a giant of a man” after the news of his death.
“Stunned and reeling from this tragic, devastating news. Gone too soon from this world,” she shared of her friend and co-star. “At a loss for words… just wanted to mark this moment and share your ever ready and present smile. Love you forever. Holding your family in my heart.”
Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno)
The Ukranian actress joins the Star Wars universe in Ahsoka as Shin Hati, an apprentice to Baylan who is a user of the dark force and wields a lightsaber.
Sakhno said her character, who is ordered by Baylan to hunt down Ahsoka, is motivated by “the unknown and the desire to understand… That is as much as I can say. You will see, if it’s the desire for power, or the desire to belong.”
The actress underwent months of fight training to develop Shin’s unique combat style, which she likened to a Tibetan fox.
“A couple of months of training and working with Ming [Qiu, Ahsoka‘s stunt fight coordinator] really enabled for me to find the physical language in Shin,” she recalled. “She resembled the movements of Tibetan fixes to me, they kind of move in stillness and with great precision, and they [are] quite fast. So yeah, that was part of discovering her.”
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly)
One of only four female characters with dialogue in the original Star Wars trilogy, Mon Mothma — the Rebel Alliance leader-turned- Chancellor of the New Republic — was played by Caroline Blakiston in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
George Lucas cast O’Reilly to take over the role in 2005’s Return of the Sith, but her scenes were ultimately cut from the film. However, the character returned in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and its subsequent prequel series, Andor, and, in animated form, in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
In true Star Wars fashion, little is known about the plot details of the upcoming series, with the tagline offering only that the titular character will be investigating “an emerging threat to the galaxy following the fall of the Empire.”
“I started hearing whispers about Thrawn’s return as heir to the Empire,” Ahsoka warns in a trailer, while also fending off her history in another: “I’m not here to discuss my past,” she says.
In terms of the Star Wars timeline, like The Mandalorian,Ahsoka is set following the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. It is also a continuation of events in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
HOW TO WATCH
Ahsoka‘s eight-episode first season will debut with two episodes on Aug. 23, before releasing weekly on Wednesdays on Disney+.