|Star Wars character|
|First appearance||Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)|
|Motion capture||Lauren Mary Kim (The Clone Wars)|
|Voiced by||Ashley Eckstein|
|Portrayed by||Rosario Dawson (The Mandalorian, Ahsoka)|
|Nickname||Snips (by Anakin Skywalker)|
Ahsoka Tano is a character in the Star Wars franchise. Introduced as the Jedi Padawan of Anakin Skywalker, she is the central protagonist of the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the subsequent television series. Ahsoka reappears in Star Wars Rebels, where she uses the codename Fulcrum, and as a voiceover cameo in the 2019 live-action film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ashley Eckstein voices Ahsoka in these appearances. Ahsoka is also the main protagonist of the eponymous novel, which has Eckstein narrating the audiobook version. Ahsoka made her live-action debut in the second season of The Mandalorian, portrayed by Rosario Dawson. Dawson will return to play Ahsoka in her own Limited series Ahsoka on Disney+.
Although initially disliked by both fans and critics, Ahsoka eventually developed into a more complex, well-rounded character, and ultimately became a fan favorite. Serving as a foil for Anakin Skywalker, she has been highlighted as a "strong female character" of the franchise.
Creation and development
Ahsoka was developed to illustrate how Anakin Skywalker develops from the brash, undisciplined Padawan apprentice in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) to the more reserved Jedi Knight in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). Star Wars creator George Lucas, who had two daughters, also wanted the character to appeal to girls. Early in development, Ahsoka's name was "Ashla".[a] Lucas renamed her after the ancient Indian emperor Ashoka; the spelling was then altered by screenwriter Henry Gilroy.
The Clone Wars supervising director and writer Dave Filoni wrote a fable about Ahsoka's early childhood to help develop the character. He imagined the discovery that she has "the right stuff" to become a Jedi would be a cause for celebration in her hometown. Filoni said he is protective of the Ahsoka character.
Giving Anakin responsibility for a Padawan was meant to place the character in a role that forced him to become more cautious and responsible. It would also provide him with insight into his relationship with his own master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and depict how their relationship matured. Ahsoka and Anakin's relationship was seen as an essential story arc spanning both the animated film and the Clone Wars television series.
Filoni initially struggled with writing Ahsoka because he had "zero perspective" on what it was like to be a 14-year-old girl. He, therefore, shifted his focus and instead wrote Ahsoka primarily as a Jedi who just happens to be an adolescent female. Filoni said he "has always had a story in mind" for Ahsoka's overall development. He began thinking about the final confrontation between Ahsoka and Vader ever since he created Ahsoka; different iterations had different endings, including one in which Vader kills Ahsoka just as she slashes open his helmet to reveal Anakin's scarred face.
Ashley Eckstein, who primarily voiced Ahsoka, said she and the writers were aware that audiences initially found the character annoying, and that there was a "fine line" between Ahsoka being bratty and becoming endearing. Because production was a year ahead of what was broadcast, with Ahsoka developing over that time, Eckstein implored fans to be patient with the character's growth.
Although Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order at the end of The Clone Wars' fifth season, the storyline initially had her return to the Order. Filoni said this would be the "normal" arc and suggested to Lucas that she instead remain expelled; Lucas agreed. Lucas believed Ahsoka survived Order 66, the command that led the Republic's clone army to murder the Jedi.
The Fulcrum character introduced early in Star Wars Rebels was always understood to be Ahsoka. Filoni, who served as executive producer and co-creator of Rebels, worked with Lucas on identifying what Ahsoka would know about Anakin's fate. Filoni also collaborated with executive producer Simon Kinberg and season one executive producer Greg Weisman on developing Ahsoka's role as a Rebel agent.
The show's writers were excited for Ahsoka's return in the second season, and Filoni was anxious about Rebels instead becoming "The Ahsoka Tano Show". Consequently, Filoni required that Ahsoka play a role in service of Rebels' main characters, Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus; he saw Ahsoka's new role as similar to the one played by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Although Ahsoka is more mature in Rebels, Filoni wanted "aspects of that kid who was there to shine through". He initially envisioned Ahsoka as a more "passive player" not engaged in combat, but later decided it was more appropriate to see Ahsoka as a warrior during a turbulent time. Ahsoka's presence was necessary to allow Darth Vader to encounter the show's lead characters without the latter being destroyed; Ahsoka can stand toe-to-toe with Vader.
Filoni cites fans' passion for the character as one reason for Ahsoka's prominence in Clone Wars and Rebels.
Eckstein said Filoni wanted her to bring some of her own personality into the Ahsoka character; he told her that her actions and speech between audition takes had a bigger impact on her getting the role than the actual audition. Once production on The Clone Wars began, it took about six months for Eckstein and the writers to understand Ahsoka; consequently, much of the dialogue for the first half of season one was re-recorded to depict the character better. Eckstein also credits the casting of Matt Lanter as Anakin, which occurred halfway through the first season, with helping solidify the Ahsoka character.
Eckstein reprised the role of Ahsoka for Rebels, although she did not do all of Fulcrum's voice work. She learned about Ahsoka's return about a year before the first season's finale aired and said it was hard to keep it a secret. Eckstein said Ahsoka developed a quiet confidence and quiet strength the younger character doesn't possess, but sometimes she played Ahsoka too seriously; she pointed out that "snippiness" and determination are still part of Ahsoka's personality. Eckstein pitched her voice down a bit but, because she and Ahsoka were now much closer in age, generally spoke like herself.
Not knowing Ahsoka's experiences between The Clone Wars and Rebels at times presented challenges for Eckstein's performance. Filoni avoids giving the actors plot details that might inappropriately affect their performance; for example, he did not tell Eckstein whether Ahsoka survives her duel with Darth Vader lest Eckstein telegraph something in her performance that the character would not know.
Ahsoka's design evolved over three years before her introduction in the Clone Wars film. Her appearance was inspired by San in Princess Mononoke. Ahsoka initially appears in what Wired called a "tube-top-and-miniskirt costume." In the third season, Ahsoka and other characters received new costumes. Filoni said the changes were meant to bring the show's aesthetic closer to that of Revenge of the Sith and were made possible by improved animation techniques. For the seventh and final season of Clone Wars, Ahsoka's design was once again tweaked due to improvements in animation technology. Her costume was also changed to a more grayish-blue color, similar to her appearance Star Wars Rebels, which aired prior to the season.
Ahsoka often uses a reverse lightsaber grip, similar to that of the Japanese film character Zatoichi. Along with the costume change in the third season of Clone Wars, Ahsoka also received a second lightsaber. In the seventh and final season, she received new blue lightsabers.
Ahsoka's armor in Rebels is based on a "pseudo-samurai look" influenced by photographs of samurai women. The armor is meant to appear as if she found it in an ancient Jedi temple, and her lightsabers' colorless blades indicate she is neither a Jedi nor a Sith. Filoni said the white lightsabers appear much better than he anticipated. Her facial markings were changed to show that she has aged. It was "new ground" for the production team to shift Ahsoka's animation style to reflect her older age.
The Clone Wars (2008)
Ahsoka Tano was introduced the 2008 Clone Wars animated film (serving as a pilot for the television series of the same name) as a 14-year-old Padawan apprentice assigned to Anakin Skywalker. Yoda assigns her to Anakin to teach him a greater sense of responsibility, and Anakin is initially frustrated by this decision. Their early interactions are "playfully contentious", with Anakin calling her "Snips" for her "snippy" attitude and Ahsoka calling him "Skyguy" as a pun on his surname.
The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Ahsoka Tano makes a vocal cameo in The Rise of Skywalker as one of the past Jedi who help Rey in her battle against the resurrected Darth Sidious. Ashley Eckstein returned to voice the character in the film.
The Clone Wars (2008–2020)
Ahsoka is a lead character in six of the seven seasons of The Clone Wars. She is a padawan-commander of the 501st Legion in the Grand Army of the Republic and continues to learn the ways of the Jedi as Anakin's apprentice. The two develop a mutual fondness, at times taking great risks to protect or save one another. Some of Anakin's actions taken out of concern for Ahsoka expose his darker tendencies, such as his torture of prisoners who may know her location when she goes missing. Ahsoka also finds mentorship from Captain Rex, a clone trooper with whom she and Anakin serve throughout the war. During the final arc of season five, Ahsoka is framed and imprisoned for a deadly explosion and a subsequent murder, both of which were committed by her friend Barriss Offee. Although eventually exonerated, she becomes disillusioned with the Jedi Council and leaves the Jedi Order in the season finale.
Filoni said an initial finale concept for The Clone Wars would have had Rex escape Order 66, and his and Ahsoka's presence elsewhere would have explained both characters' absence from Revenge of the Sith. Ahsoka returns in the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars, which aired in 2020 on Disney+. She is the focus of two of the three story arcs featured in the season. The second one, set during the events of Revenge of the Sith, sees her briefly reuniting with Anakin and acting as an advisor to Rex (promoted to Commander) in the 332nd Company (split from the 501st Legion) during the siege of Mandalore to capture the former Sith Lord Maul. When she confronts Maul, he reveals that Darth Sidious intends to make Anakin his new apprentice and offers to join forces to prevent this, but she does not believe him. Ahsoka defeats and captures Maul, but on the way to Coruscant, she senses her former master in trouble, though unaware that he has fallen to the dark side and helped kill Mace Windu. Order 66 is issued, causing Ahsoka's clone troopers, including Rex, to turn on her. She escapes and manages to remove Rex's chip controlling his brain, while also freeing Maul to create a distraction. Ahsoka and Rex escape the Venator-class Star Destroyer they are on before it crashes on a small moon, where they bury all the deceased clone troopers. Ahsoka also discards one of her lightsabers before parting ways with Rex. The final scene of the series depicts Darth Vader leading a search party on the moon and walking up to the remains of the ship. He notices Ahsoka's blade on the ground, picks it up, and ignites it, before leaving with the saber in silence.
Ahsoka is a secretive Rebel agent in the first season of Star Wars Rebels, which takes place 14 years after The Clone Wars concludes. Operating under the codename "Fulcrum", she provides the Rebel crew of the Ghost with intelligence and supplies, while disguising her appearance by using an altered voice and appearing as a hooded hologram. Her identity is revealed in the season finale.
She becomes a recurring character in the second season, continuing to help lead a group of Rebel forces and working with the Ghost's crew, especially with its Jedi members Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus. Having assumed that Anakin died like most other Jedi at the end of the Clone Wars, she is overwhelmed to recognize her mentor under "a layer of hate" in Darth Vader. Later in the season, a vision of Anakin blames her for leaving him and allowing him to fall to the dark side. In the season finale, Ahsoka duels with Darth Vader inside a Sith temple on Malachor, allowing her friends from the Ghost to escape Vader and the temple's destruction. As the episode concludes, Darth Vader is shown injured and leaving the temple, watched by a green and white owl. The owl, previously a companion to Ahsoka in the show and an avatar of the Daughter of Mortis, then flies back into the temple to witness Ahsoka seemingly walking deeper inside its walls. Filoni said Ahsoka's fate is ambiguous and "a bit open-ended" though Eckstein believed the character to still be alive.
In the fourth-season episode, "A World Between Worlds", Ahsoka's fate is finally revealed. Ezra, having ended up in the realm "between worlds and time" within the Jedi temple on Lothal and guided by Ahsoka's convoy Morai, pulls her out of the moment before Vader could deliver the deathblow and thus altered her fate. Ahsoka is updated on what occurred to the Ghost crew while convincing Ezra to not prevent Kanan's fate as he would risk losing his own life. Palpatine then makes his presence known as he attempts to force Ezra into bringing him into the realm using Sith sorcery. Ahsoka helps Ezra escape while returning (with Morai) to her timeline moments after the Sith temple collapsed, vowing to find Ezra and the crew again. Ahsoka makes a return appearance in the epilogue of the series finale "Family Reunion and Farewell", returning to Lothal following the events of the Battle of Endor to join Sabine Wren in her quest to find Ezra, who disappeared during Lothal's liberation.
The Mandalorian (2020)
Rosario Dawson expressed interest in playing Ahsoka Tano in early 2017, with some fan support. In March 2020, Dawson was reported to be appearing as the character in the second season of The Mandalorian. The next month, Dawson said the casting was yet to be confirmed. In October, the German Disney+ Instagram account published a story naming Dawson as part of the then-upcoming season's cast.
Ahsoka made an appearance in "Chapter 13: The Jedi", the fifth of the season, released on Disney+ on November 27, 2020. During her search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, she attempts to liberate the city of Calidan on Corvus from Imperial occupation, and encounters the titular character, who was told to seek her out by Bo-Katan Kryze so that she could train "The Child". Communing with him through the Force, she learns that the child's name is Grogu and that he was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, before being rescued during the Great Jedi Purge and hidden for his own safety, which is why he suppresses his Force powers. Sensing great fear in Grogu, and a deep connection with the Mandalorian, Ahsoka refuses to take him as an apprentice, fearing that he could follow the same dark path as her former master. After the Mandalorian helps her liberate Calidan, Ahsoka tells him to take Grogu to the Jedi Temple on Tython, where he might be able to reach out to another Jedi through the Force.
In December 2020, Lucasfilm announced Ahsoka would be getting her own limited series on Disney+, titled Ahsoka. Developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, it exists alongside The Mandalorian and Rangers of the New Republic through interconnected stories culminating in a "climactic story event". Dawson reprises her role as Ahsoka Tano.
Filoni said he does not want Ahsoka thought of as an animated character, but rather as a Star Wars character who can exist "in all forms of media". Ahsoka appears in the Star Wars Forces of Destiny series, in the comic Touching Darkness, and as a collectable, playable character in the video game Disney Infinity 3.0. At Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, Filoni, Eckstein, and Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo held a panel about Ahsoka's "Untold Tales" that occur between The Clone Wars and Rebels.
Star Wars: Ahsoka is a young-adult novel by E. K. Johnston published in October 2016. It is set between the events of The Clone Wars and Rebels, and makes several references to Ahsoka's "Untold Tales". Filoni was heavily involved in developing the novel, and the cover art by Jason P. Wojtowicz is based on a sketch Filoni created several years prior. Eckstein narrates the audiobook version. The novel was on the New York Times best sellers list and in the category of young adult hardcovers it reached number one shortly after release.
After her introduction, some critics called Ahsoka annoying and predicted the character would die before The Clone Wars series ended because she does not appear in Revenge of the Sith. The Los Angeles Times called Ahsoka a "carefully calculated-to-be-cute" character in The Clone Wars film. Wired criticized Ahsoka's "half-naked" appearance in The Clone Wars' first two seasons, calling her third-season costume change "more appropriate". Blastr said Ahsoka's initial immaturity gives the character room to grow, saying she becomes "a well-rounded and complex character in every sense". Ahsoka's youth aided her in being a point-of-view character for younger viewers. io9 called Ahsoka's development arc one of the best aspects of The Clone Wars, highlighting the character's role in exploring the nuances of war and the flaws of the Jedi Order. According to Tech Times, Ahsoka's maturation and development mirror the show's, and the producers chose wisely in making Ahsoka the audience's "entry point" to The Clone Wars. Chris Taylor called Ahsoka's decision to leave the Jedi Order "the show's most shocking cliffhanger". Ashley Eckstein was nominated for the 2012 and 2013 "Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series - Action/Drama" awards from Behind the Voice Actors.
The Mary Sue said Ahsoka's relationship with Anakin is critical in understanding his development between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and the publication called Ahsoka a foil for Anakin's growth. Blastr commented that Anakin's interactions with Ahsoka help show that he is a powerful Jedi and war hero. Blastr also hypothesized that Anakin's sense of failure when Ahsoka leaves the Jedi contributes to his fall to the dark side; io9 posited that Anakin might have succeeded in reforming the Jedi if Ahsoka had stayed with him. io9 said Ahsoka, more than Anakin, articulates moral guidance in The Clone Wars.
Blastr identified Ahsoka as one of the most important characters in Star Wars, especially for young girls who, until that point, had not seen a potent female Jedi depicted on screen. Erika Travis of California Baptist University said Ahsoka is "compassionate and feminine, without being overtly sexualized". Mara Wood called Ahsoka a feminist icon, adding that Ahsoka is one of several characters that make The Clone Wars superior to the original and prequel trilogies in depicting strong women. Wood added that Ahsoka probably shows the most growth of any woman in the Star Wars canon.
|Jedi Order master-apprentice relationship|
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