Rebels rejoice! The Ahsoka trailer is finally revealed at Star Wars Celebration London, and it’s jam-packed with exciting characters, fantastic action, and a deliciously villainous tease.
Perhaps more important than any of these, the trailer reveals a release date for the highly anticipated Disney+ series. Fans can expect the show to arrive to the streaming platform August 2023.
A little context, please?
The last time fans see Roasrio Dawson’s Ahsoka, she is on the hunt for information for Grand Admiral Thrawn in The Mandalorian. Canonically, Thrawn is last seen disappearing into the voids of space with Jedi Ezra Bridger via mysterious hyperspace whales known as purrgil—most recently spotted in live action during season three of The Mandalorian.
The popular animated series Star Wars: Rebels concludes with Ahsoka joining forces with another Mandalorian by the name of Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) to search for both Bridger and Thrawn. Fans have long speculated the resolution of this storyline would be continued in live-action, and the Ahsoka trailer proves this beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Star Wars fans who are unaware of the Rebels crew, including Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Chopper, Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, and possibly a young Jacen Syndulla, can rest easy. Zeb recently appeared in “Chapter 21” of The Mandalorian, so it appears Filoni and Favreau won’t bombard unfamiliar viewers with the entirety of the crew in one sitting. In fact, it’s still entirely possible Sabine shows up in one of the final episodes of The Mandalorian season three—fans will have to wait to find out!
Ahsoka trailer reveals first looks at Rebels crew and returning characters
The Ahsoka trailer opens with a voice-over from Rosario Dawson, warning the arrival of something dark. She searches what appears to be an old Jedi Temple before igniting her famed dual white blades against a trio of attacking droids. We next see Ahsoka as she catches up with Sabine in Lothal, which could retread the ending scene of Rebels in live-action.
Speaking of Lothal, the planet looks as if it was ripped from the scenes of the animated series. Fans of the show will recognize the location as the home world of Ezra Bridger, and a headquarters of sorts for the Ghost* crew. It will be interesting to see how much of the world from the animated series translates into live-action.
They are known as the “Ghost crew” or “Ghost squad” because their ship is called the Ghost. Interestingly enough, the Ghost seemingly doesn’t make an appearance in the Ahsoka trailer, but has made its live action debut in both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019). It is certain to make an appearance in the show.
Hera is also shown in her natural habitat of an “aerial dogfight,” with her trusty droid slash war criminal Chopper tagging along—to the delight of fans. She is shown one additional time in the trailer, though it remains to be seen to what level the character will feature in the show’s totality. Chances are, however, given the level of casting and the recent appearance of Zeb in The Mandalorian, that our favorite rebels are in it for the long haul.
It appears, too, that the New Republic thread sewn into the current season of The Mandalorian will be pulled in this series. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), last seen in 2022’s Andor, makes an appearance among what appear to be an audience of New Republic senators.
Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau seem intent on filling the gaps between the original and sequel series. Something that has long-drawn the ire of fans is how a Galaxy fresh removed from a totalitarian rule in the Empire, could fall so quickly back into arms of fascism (though, with one look at recent history, it might not be that hard to deduce). As expected, Ahsoka seems to be a pivotal piece in that puzzle.
Old villain and new character teases
A new red saber-wielding villain named Baylan (Ray Stevenson) is revealed, and he mentions a new beginning. For some this means war and for others—power. This could be in reference to a new generation of free Galactic civilians experiencing the terror of “The Rise of the First Order” and the vacuum of power being seized from the New Republic.
There are two more possible-Sith antagonists: Ivanna Sackhno’s yet-to-be-named character, and a masked Inquisitor; either or both could be Baylan’s apprentice, however the appearance of an Inquisitor lightsaber makes the latter unlikely. Is it possible that Lucasfilm could be setting us up for the long-rumored entrance of Mara Jade?
An additional villainous inclusion in the Ahsoka trailer is Diana Lee Inosanto’s Morgan Elsbeth, who fans first encounter in The Mandalorian “Chapter 13: The Jedi.” She is presumed to be dead after the events of the episode, which leaves viewers with three potential options:
- Parts of Ahsoka will flash back to before the events of that episode
- Elsbeth escapes Ahsoka Tano’s clutches, unbeknownst to the audience
- Tano releases or uses Elsbeth as bait, leading to…
The villain we’ve all been waiting for: Grand Admiral Thrawn
The Chiss admiral is an exceptionally striking villain, of which viewers familiar with Rebels—or more indicatively, Timothy Zahn’s book trilogies—are aware. The Ahsoka trailer teases the Heir to the Empire (nice one) just enough to pique casual fans’ interest, but to send fans in-the-know flying out of their seats.
It will be interesting to finally discover the backstory behind Ezra (who is briefly seen in the trailer for the first time in live-action) and Thrawn’s space rendezvous, and how the Grand Admiral fits into the larger plans of the First Order, given he isn’t present in the sequel trilogy. A captivating concept from the Rebels series that has yet to be explored in live-action centers around the World Between Worlds—a plane existing between time and space.
The markings around the Ahsoka logo are similar to that of the World Between Worlds. These same markings can be seen in the sky at what appears to be an excavation site at 1:08 in the trailer, similar to where Ezra Bridger originally discovers the parallel plane (dimension?). Hopefully we’ll learn more about this concept in what is shaping up to be the live-action continuation of the Rebels series (I’m not complaining!).
The trailer closes with a line from Huyang, the Jedi Lightsaber droid from The Clone Wars, voiced here by David Tennant: “Perhaps it is time to begin again.” This could be in reference to the start of a new Jedi Order, which was mentioned at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in reference to the return of Rey Skywalker.
The Ahsoka trailer is a win for Star Wars fans
While the path has seemed shaky, and fans are certainly divided towards their level of enjoyment of recent Star Wars projects, the Ahsoka trailer finally brings a sense of “this is what we’ve been building towards.” Fans have waited a long time to see their beloved characters brought to the screen for the first time, and the care the Dave Filoni has for his creations is evident.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo already seems like a perfect fit for Sabine, and Chop has the chaotic energy he needs to be the mainstream toy seller Disney is undoubtedly hoping for. Fans will have to wait for more glimpses of Eman Esfandi’s Ezra Bridger, but with the debut of this trailer, our full Rebels crew has crossed over into the live-action universe—something I’m still hopeful is on the horizon for Cameron Monaghan’s Cal Kestis.
Ahsoka is set to arrive on Disney+ August 2023. The cast includes Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eman Esfandi, Ray Stevenson, Ivanna Sakhno, Diana Lee Inosanto, Genevieve O’Reilly, and David Tennant.
Stay tuned to the Agents of Fandom socials during Star Wars Celebration London for live updates from the panels.