The following Ahsoka premiere review was made possible by advance screeners of episodes 1 and 2, provided to Agents of Fandom by Walt Disney Studios for review purposes.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Although the Skywalkers have always been the most popular characters in Star Wars, it’s finally time for Anakin’s Padawan to step into the limelight in Ahsoka. The long-anticipated series premiere is now streaming on Disney+ with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and fan-favorite Rebels Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) taking center stage.
While the first installment of the series starts out fairly slow, the Ahsoka premiere functions as a re-introduction to characters that have remained unseen since Star Wars: Rebels. The premiere works well on two fronts, quickly explaining backstories for characters who are debuting in live-action while delivering chilling callbacks for fans of Star Wars: Rebels.
Each mention of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson), Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) is thrilling and the original Star Wars: Rebels score from Kevin Kiner adds familiarity to this new beginning. Regardless if fans have seen the Star Wars animated content, the Ahsoka premiere episodes find the balance to be enjoyed by all.
*Warning: spoilers ahead for the Ahsoka premiere, episodes 1 and 2*
Ahsoka episode 1 establishes a new rule of two
It’s been hinted at throughout trailers that Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson) will be the overarching villain of the series. Even back when Ahsoka Tano made her first live-action appearance in The Mandalorian, it was clear finding Thrawn was her primary focus. However, two new additions to the Star Wars universe are important figures throughout the two episode Ahsoka premiere.
The main antagonists of the series are set to be former Jedi, Baylan Skoll, played by the late Ray Stevenson and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). The duo teases dangerous power with additional intrigue due to their mysterious backstory. It’s still unknown how the former Jedi survived Order 66 and turned to the dark side. However, it’s revealed in Ahsoka episode 1 that it’s related to Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto).
The Ahsoka premiere introduces Master and Apprentice
Undoubtedly the most exciting part of the trailers is Sabine Wren uttering the word “Master” to Ahsoka Tano, revealing she had been training under the former Jedi as her apprentice. Sabine is no stranger to training with a saber, as she previously wielded the Darksaber for an extended period of time. Fans of The Mandalorian may still be wondering how Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) received the Darksaber prior to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). One of the incredible arcs featured in Star Wars: Rebels surrounds the Darksaber, where Sabine eventually passes the weapon to Bo-Katan.
It remains to be seen whether Sabine is force-sensitive, but wielding Ezra Bridger’s green lightsaber and training with someone as powerful as Ahsoka Tano opens up some interesting possibilities.
With the Darksaber being destroyed in season 3 of The Mandalorian and Ahsoka partnering with a droid who used to build lightsabers, the potential for Sabine to create a new Darksaber in the future en route to leading Mandalore to a successful rebuild remains in the cards.
It’s rare for a Master and Padawan to get along without a hitch, and to say Ahsoka and Sabine butt heads is an understatement. Although viewers don’t know the extent of their relationship struggles, it’s made clear in Ahsoka episode 1 that the two haven’t trained together for some time. Thankfully, Hera Syndulla’s leadership skills have brought the duo back together.
Hera’s proven throughout the four seasons of Star Wars: Rebels that she is not only one of the best pilots in the galaxy, but also one of the Republic’s strongest leaders. Ahsoka clearly has the utmost respect for Hera, which compels her to heed the strong advice of reuniting with Sabine in her search for Ezra and Thrawn.
The dynamic between these three characters is the highlight of the episode, alongside the live-action debut of Lothal and epic action sequences. Natasha Liu Bordizzo couldn’t be more perfect as Sabine Wren, and finally seeing a Lothcat in live-action is an adorable welcome addition to the Star Wars universe.
Sabine and Lothal likely would’ve stolen the show in episode one, however, Ahsoka’s incredible lightsaber action sequences keep her story at the forefront. Despite the amazing lightsaber sequences, the best part of the Ahsoka premiere belongs to the live-action debut of the coolest droid in the Galaxy, C1-10P, better known as the war-criminal Chopper. Chop’s escapades are some of the most hilarious moments in Star Wars: Rebels and the larger his role in Ahsoka, the better.
Ahsoka episode 2 picks up the pace
It was a smart decision by Lucasfilm to release the first two episodes at once. Although the first hour of the series is an enjoyable experience, it’s still relatively slow-paced. Thankfully, both episodes of Ahsoka are now streaming on Disney+ for viewers to dive into at their leisure.
Ahsoka episode 2 picks up the pace in a big way. The action sequences are plentiful as Sabine portrays the same stubbornness fans have grown to love throughout Star Wars: Rebels. Her head-to-head matchup with Shin Hati goes poorly, however, it’s Ahoska’s handling of the situation that is the biggest head-turner.
As flawed as Anakin Skywalker was, he was a fantastic mentor to Ahsoka. He taught her compassion in addition to strength and wisdom. Throughout the animated projects in which Ahsoka appears, that same compassion is present with each and every person she meets. However, this isn’t the case when interacting with Sabine Wren so far through the Ahsoka premiere.
Much to build on moving forward in ‘Ahsoka’
Throughout the rest of the series, it’s imperative that the story explores the relationship between Ahsoka and Sabine. Viewers are still in the dark about what went wrong the first time these two trained together, however, it clearly must’ve imploded due to the animosity that now exists.
While Ahsoka and Sabine can’t get on the same page, the dark side is clicking on all cylinders. Ineptitude and loyalty to the former empire within the New Republic allows for these new enemies to thrive in the shadows. The force-sensitive duo of Baylan and Shin alongside Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth would be enough to contend with, however, the group is also on the path to discovering their lost leader.
The return of perhaps the most sinister villain in all of Star Wars looms. Grand Admiral Thrawn is coming. Ahsoka, Sabine, Hera, Chopper and the rest of the crew must come together quickly if they’re going to stand a chance against the impending evil.
New episodes of Ahsoka release every Tuesday at 6pm PST / 9pm EST exclusively on Disney+. Be sure to check out the Agents of Fandom socials and subscribe to our podcast network where we break down each episode of Ahsoka in depth.
'Ahsoka' Premiere, Episodes 1 and 2 Review'Ahsoka' Premiere, Episodes 1 and 2 Review
- Provides a great balance between re-introducing characters for those who haven't seen the animated series, while providing emotional callbacks to hard core Rebels fans
- Exhilarating light saber action
- Natasha Liu Bordizzo steals the show with an amazing performance as Sabine Wren
- Releasing alongside episode 2 counteracts the slow pace
- Introductions to two new antagonists balanced intrigue and action
- Slow pace could turn off some viewers who aren't already fans of the characters
- Certain call backs won't feel as important to those who haven't seen 'Star Wars: Rebels'