Star Wars: Ahsoka: Key information
– Launching on August 23, 2023- Spin-off series from The Mandalorian- Developed by Dave Filoni and The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau- Filoni acting as showrunner- Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eman Esfandi and Lars Mikkelsen head up the cast- Filming wrapped in October 2022- Official trailer was revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2023
Star Wars: Ahsoka is the latest spin-off from The Mandalorian, and it’s set to continue the story of that famous galaxy far, far away in the post-Emperor aftermath of Return of the Jedi. The new Disney Plus series is also a follow-up to animated shows The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels where the eponymous Ahsoka Tano had a pivotal role to play, first as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, then as one of the founder members of the Rebel Alliance.
In other words, the former Jedi is one of the most pivotal characters in the galaxy, and in the Ahsoka TV show she’ll be joined by more familiar faces from Rebels, including pilot Hera Syndulla, Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren and – at some point – wannabe Jedi Ezra Bridger. We’ll also see the return of villainous Imperial officer Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most iconic bad guys in the history of the long-running franchise.
Over recent months we’ve learned that Star Wars: Ahsoka – one of many exciting new Star Wars TV shows and movies in the pipeline – will debut on Disney Plus on August 23, 2023. We also know that – along with The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett – it’s building up to a movie that’ll debut in theaters, and close out the interconnected stories” from this period of Star Wars “history”.
The Force is clearly strong with Ahsoka, so read on to discover the knowledge you seek about the release date, cast and potential storylines – The Clone Wars and Rebels spoilers lie ahead – before the show leaps into action on one of the world’s best streaming services.
Star Wars: Ashoka release date: August 23 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays ace pilot Hera Syndulla in Star Wars: Ahsoka. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
It was confirmed at the Star Wars Celebration event that took place in London in April 2023 that Star Wars: Ahsoka will debut on Disney Plus some time in August 2023. In early June, the exact date was subsequently confirmed as August 23. That means it’ll be the next live-action Star Wars TV show to emerge from that galaxy far, far away after The Mandalorian season 3 concluded in April.
We first heard about the Ahsoka TV show when it was one of many new Star Wars and Marvel TV shows announced at the Disney Investor Day in December 2020. The official Star Wars Twitter account confirmed that production began in May 2022, with filming wrapping a few months later in October.
Who is Ahsoka Tano?: the Jedi’s backstory explained
Ahsoka Tano made her Star Wars debut in The Clone Wars TV series. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
“When gone am I, the last of a Jedi will you be,” a dying Yoda told Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi – but the wise old Jedi Master was only correct from a certain point of view. Ahsoka Tano isn’t technically a Jedi – she left the Order before passing the relevant trials – but, in every other regard, she has all the necessary qualifications.
So, who is Ahsoka Tano? She made her first appearance in 2008, in the animated Clone Wars movie that set up the long-running TV show. (See how it fits into the overall chronology in our guide to watching the Star Wars movies in order.) The Togruta teen went on to serve as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan apprentice throughout the eponymous conflict.
Ahsoka became the first person to speak Grogu’s name when she appeared in The Mandalorian’s second season. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
A highly respected commander in the Republic forces, she fought with a distinctive two-lightsaber style, and was nicknamed “Snips” by her master, owing to her supposedly snippy attitude. In return, she referred to Anakin as “Sky Guy”.
Ahsoka went on to play a key role in the formation of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars Rebels, set more than a decade later during the run-up to A New Hope. She then made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian season 2 episode 5, ‘The Jedi’, and has since shown up in The Book of Boba Fett’s sixth episode, ‘From the Desert Comes a Stranger’. Her voice can also heard among the choir of Jedi giving Rey a pep talk when she faces the resurrected Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker’s denouement.
Star Wars: Ahsoka trailer
Warrior. Outcast. Rebel. Jedi.
The Star Wars: Ahsoka trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration 2023, and it’s something of a Star Wars Rebels reunion. As well as featuring plenty of scenes with Ahsoka herself, the teaser provides our first look at the live-action incarnations of several members of the Ghost crew: Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren, ace pilot Hera Syndulla and (very briefly, as a hologram) trainee Jedi Ezra Bridger. We also get to see – albeit from the back – Star Wars Rebels Big Bad Grand Admiral Thrawn, who’s returned from the far reaches of space to make life difficult for the nascent New Republic.
The Ahsoka trailer also introduces a pair of Dark Side Force wielders in the form of Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, and confirms returns for both New Republic leader Mon Mothma, and Huyang, the ancient droid who helped Padawan learners construct their lightsabers in The Clone Wars.
Star Wars: Ahsoka cast
Mandalorian Sabine Wren moves from animation to live-action, and is now played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Here’s what the Ahsoka TV show cast currently looks like:
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka TanoNatasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine WrenEman Esfandi as Ezra BridgerMary Elizabeth Winstead as General Hera SyndullaLars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral ThrawnIvanna Sakhno as Shin HatiRay Stevenson as Baylan SkollDavid Tennant as HuyangGenevieve O’Reilly as Mon MothmaDiana Lee Inosanto as Morgan ElsbethChopper as himself
Although Ashley Eckstein voiced Ahsoka throughout The Clone Wars and Rebels, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Daredevil) has played the character in live-action Star Wars projects. Dawson returns as the Jedi in the new Disney Plus series.
Dawson will be joined by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, replacing Tiya Sircar who voiced graffiti-loving Mandalorian explosives expert Sabine Wren across four seasons of Star Wars Rebels. The show’s Star Wars Celebration 2022 panel in Anaheim also announced the return of surly astromech droid C1-10P, better known as Chopper. Then, in September 2022, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Eman Esfandi will play aspiring Jedi Ezra Bridger, a role originated by Taylor Gray in Rebels.
Additional members of the cast were announced at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London.
Birds of Prey’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Hera Syndulla, who captained the Ghost throughout Rebels (where she was voiced by Vanessa Marshall), and has since been promoted to the rank of general in the New Republic.
Following the confirmation of Hera’s return, the only surviving member of Rebels’ Ghost crew who isn’t definitely returning to action in Ahsoka is Lasat muscle Zeb Orrelios. But, seeing as he turned up in The Mandalorian season 3, we’ll be extremely disappointed if we don’t get a full-on Star Wars Rebels reunion somewhere down the line. (Fugitive Jedi Kanan Jarrus sacrificed himself to save his friends during the final season of Rebels.)
The Dark Side of the Force will be represented by Pacific Rim: Uprising’s Ivanna Sakhno and Punisher: War Zone/Black Sails star Ray Stevenson as Dark Siders Shin Hati and Baylan Skoll, respectively. Sadly, Stevenson passed away in May this year.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, aka the “heir to the Empire”, in Star Wars: Ahsoka. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Arguably the most exciting piece of Ahsoka casting news – for Star Wars Rebels fans, at least – is the identity of the actor playing Grand Admiral Thrawn, the blue-skinned Imperial mastermind who first appeared in Timothy Zahn’s much-loved series of (now non-canonical) 1990s novels, starting with Heir to the Empire. While fellow Rebels veterans Ahsoka, Sabine, Hera and Ezra have all been recast, actor Lars Mikkelsen is following in the footsteps of Katee Sackhoff (voice of Mandalorian Bo-Katan Kryze by taking a character from animation to live-action. This is great news for the Ahsoka TV show – not only was Mikkelsen suitably chilling in Rebels, he also has a track record playing memorable villains after his appearance in Sherlock season 3 finale ‘His Last Vow’.
The Star Wars: Ahsoka trailer also confirms a return for Diana Lee Inosanto, who played Thrawn acolyte Morgan Elsbeth in The Mandalorian season 2. And other actors reprising their roles from previous Star Wars projects include Genevieve O’Reilly as former Rebel and New Republic Chancellor Mon Mothma, and Doctor Who star David Tennant voicing lightsaber-expert droid Huyang.
It looks like Ahsoka Tano will face Morgan Elsbeth again in Star Wars: Ahsoka. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Rumors also persist that Hayden Christensen is set to follow-up his spectacular return as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi – you can watch Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni neither confirm nor deny Christensen’s return in an interview he gave to CinemaBlend at Star Wars Celebration 2023.
Star Rosario Dawson – who previously starred alongside Christensen in 2003 drama Shattered Glass – was similarly evasive regarding the Vader actor’s involvement in the show during an interview with Total Film magazine (via GamesRadar). “It’s just been really cool that at this moment, I’m joining it, and he’s been able to come back [in Obi-Wan Kenobi] and also get embraced by the Star Wars family in a way that I think is much deserved,” Dawson said. “It’s definitely one of those things that would be super cool if he was [in Ahsoka], but I’m just really grateful that we’re in the same universe.”
And Luke and Leia’s dad isn’t the only character with the potential to cameo in Ahsoka. Seeing as the show exists at a similar point in the Star Wars timeline to The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, don’t be surprised if the likes of Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kryze, Pedro Pascal’s Mando/Din Djarin and Grogu make appearances in the series. There’s also a possibility of The Book of Boba Fett star Temuera Morrison turning up to play Ahsoka Tano’s Clone Trooper buddy Captain Rex – Boba and Rex were born in the same Petri dish, after all.
In fact, seeing as all the shows in this part of the Star Wars universe are building up to a “climactic” event movie directed by Filoni (and set to be released in theaters), it would be a big shock if we don’t see any big-name guest stars from elsewhere in that galaxy far, far away in Ahsoka. Han Solo, Leia Organa and Lando Calrissian are all active at this point in the timeline, so anything could happen…
Don’t hold your breath for another digitally de-aged performance from Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, however – although he reprised the role in both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Hamill suggested in an interview with Esquire that his time in those Jedi robes might be over. But never say never…
“One thing you learn working for Lucasfilm: everything is confidential,” he admitted. “So, if I were involved, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. And if I were not involved, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. So, I don’t know. We’ll all find out together, I guess.”
“Perhaps it is time to begin again,” says veteran Jedi droid Huyang. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Star Wars: Ahsoka showrunner and directors
Lucasfilm Executive Creative Director Dave Filoni co-created Ahsoka Tano alongside George Lucas for The Clone Wars and – having worked extensively on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett – returns to call the shots on her TV show.
As well as being showrunner on Star Wars: Ahsoka, it’s been confirmed that Filoni will direct at least one episode. Other directors on the show include Steph Green (The Book of Boba Fett), Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Jennifer Getzinger (Jessica Jones), Geeta Patel (House of the Dragon) and Rick Famuyiwa (The Mandalorian).
Star Wars: Ahsoka story
For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t watched the animated Star Wars shows, here’s a brief history of Ahsoka Tano’s life and times.
Having served the Republic with distinction throughout the Clone Wars, she left the Jedi Order under a cloud during The Clone Wars season 5. Although she was eventually exonerated for bombing the Jedi Temple – she’d been framed by her friend and fellow Padawan Barriss Offee – she decided not to return, and went out into the galaxy solo.
During the final days of the Clone Wars, she helped Bo-Katan Kryze remove Darth Maul from the Mandalorian throne, and was on her way to return the former Sith Lord to Jedi custody when the Emperor initiated Order 66. With some help from her old friend (and Clone Trooper) Captain Rex – whose mind-controlling inhibitor chip she surgically removed – Ahsoka survived the Jedi purge and went into hiding. Interestingly, one of the episodes from 2022 anthology series Tales of the Jedi (available on Disney Plus) shows how a chance encounter with one of the Empire’s Jedi-hunting Inquisitors persuaded her to rejoin the fight.
Ahsoka turned up again in Star Wars Rebels, set around 15 years after the Emperor came to power. It was eventually revealed that Ahsoka was the mysterious Fulcrum, an agent who helped pull disparate cells of freedom fighters together to form the Rebel Alliance.
Will master and apprentice meet again in Ahsoka? (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
She also fought a fateful duel with her former master. When she removed a portion of Darth Vader’s helmet with her lightsaber – much as Obi-Wan did in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show – she became one of the few people in the galaxy to realize his true identity. The Vader/Anakin Skywalker connection wouldn’t become common knowledge for several decades, with the secret eventually being leaked to damage Leia Organa’s post-Return of the Jedi political aspirations in Claudia Gray’s 2016 novel Bloodline.
Ahsoka barely made it out of the duel with Vader alive, but she was saved by a future version of Jedi apprentice Ezra Bridger. He pulled her into the so-called World Between Worlds, a mystical realm where the usual rules of time and space do not apply. By the time of the Rebels epilogue – set some time after Return of the Jedi – Ahsoka had somehow returned to the normal reality of that galaxy far, far away.
Aside from the flashbacks of Tales of the Jedi, her most recent canonical appearances came in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
In The Mandalorian episode 13, otherwise known as ‘The Jedi’, she met Din Djarin (aka the Mandalorian) and Baby Yoda. While communing with the Child, she learned his real name was Grogu, and gave Mando some pointers to help find some other Jedi – who just happened to be Luke Skywalker.
She then unexpectedly showed up again in The Book of Boba Fett’s sixth chapter, ‘From the Desert Comes a Stranger’. The episode provided confirmation that Ahsoka has been in contact with Luke Skywalker, as she paid him a visit at his new Jedi academy on Ossus. She also counselled him about Grogu’s training, and told him that he reminded her of his late dad. When Luke asked if he would see her again, she replied with a cryptic “Perhaps”. (In other words the door is open for Luke’s return – or not!)
Ray Stevenson’s Baylan Skoll represents the Dark Side in Star Wars: Ahsoka. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
So what do we know about Star Wars: Ahsoka’s plot? Well, it’ll have plenty of existing canon to work from, and there’s nobody on the planet who knows how to navigate the Star Wars timeline better than Dave Filoni. During his previous life as supervising director on The Clone Wars, Filoni co-created Ahsoka Tano with George Lucas. He then went on to shepherd her through seven seasons of The Clone Wars and several guest appearances on Rebels. He also directed her episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, and clearly has a long-standing plan for the future of the character.
In fact, this is why he insisted that Ahsoka shouldn’t be the Jedi to train Grogu in The Mandalorian. “I was telling Jon [Favreau, Mandalorian showrunner] that as much as I wanted to have Ahsoka in the show, she can’t take this kid on,” he told Empire magazine in March 2023. “That‘s just not what I have planned.”
Going by StarWars.com’s original announcement, it looks like the new series will pick up soon after Ahsoka’s meeting with Mando and Grogu: “After making her long awaited live-action debut in The Mandalorian,” the site’s article reads, “Ahsoka Tano’s story will continue in a limited series.”
It’s currently unknown whether that Rebels epilogue takes place before or after Ahsoka showed up in The Mandalorian. However, we do know (from footage screened at Star Wars Celebration 2022) that the animated show’s closing scenes have been recreated in live-action for Ahsoka.
They tend to come in pairs… Baylan’s apprentice, Shin Hati. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
As is traditionally the case with Lucasfilm, solid details of the Star Wars: Ahsoka plot are thin on the ground. The trailer does offer up a few clues, however – especially in the snippets of dialogue.
It begins with Ahsoka Tano announcing that, “Something’s coming. Something dark. I sense it.” New character Baylan Skoll, a Dark Side Force-wielder, then chips in to speak of a “new beginning. For some, war. For others, power.”
The most important line, however, arguably concerns the comeback tour of an infamous Chiss officer, last seen disappearing (along with Ezra Bridger) into deep space in the Star Wars Rebels finale:
“I started hearing whispers about Thrawn’s return,” says Ahsoka. “As heir to the Empire.”
This isn’t just a sly callback to the aforementioned Timothy Zahn novels. We’d long suspected that Thrawn was going to be the main antagonist in Ahsoka, not least because Ahsoka asked Morgan Elsbeth about her “master”‘s whereabouts in The Mandalorian season 2. The new trailer provides definitive confirmation, however, even providing a glimpse of the man himself, albeit from the rear. (The lucky attendees at Star Wars Celebration 2023 also got to see Thrawn’s face.)
How Thrawn (and presumably Ezra) have made it back to this corner of the galaxy is surely going to be one of the big questions answered by the Ahsoka TV show. Could it have something to do with the purrgil (space whales) who made an appearance in hyperspace in season 3 of The Mandalorian, perhaps?
It looks like Thrawn’s impact will stretch way beyond Ahsoka, as his imminent return was discussed by the Imperial Shadow Council in The Mandalorian season 3 episode ‘The Spies’. Indeed, it looks like he’s being set up as the Big Bad for this whole era of the Star Wars galaxy as the action builds up to a movie (directed by Filoni) that –according to StarWars.com – will “close out” interconnecting plot threads from The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, The Book of Boba Fett and (we’re guessing) the upcoming Skeleton Crew.
Will the New Republic take the threat of Thrawn’s return seriously in Star Wars: Ahsoka? (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
With The Mandalorian tackling the re-emergence of the Empire from a Mandalorian perspective, and The Book of Boba Fett hanging out in the criminal underworld, Ahsoka seems primed to explore what it means for the New Republic and what’s left of the Jedi.
Who knows, Ahsoka may have a part to play in restoring the Order to past glories. “The Jedi fell a long time ago,” she acknowledges in the trailer. “There aren’t many left.”
“Perhaps it is time to begin again,” replies Huyang, an ancient droid who’s been associated with the Jedi for millennia.
But, having turned her back on the Jedi decades earlier, we think it’s unlikely Ahsoka will join forces with Luke Skywalker at his (ultimately doomed) Jedi Academy on Ossus, so her involvement may be more advisory than hands-on.
“[Ahsoka’s] a wanderer at this point,” Filoni told Empire in June 2023, “and is in a lot of ways wary of any organisation as such because of the power that comes with it as a group. She walks a path that basically died out a long time ago. And there aren’t many like her left, if any. So that’s a lonely thing. What is that life like? If you are a loner, you have a very small circle of friends. What is it like, then, when you try to open back up?”
With Hera now a general in the New Republic military and Mon Mothma at the head of its government, Ahsoka has friends in high places. But we know from both The Mandalorian and the Star Wars sequel movies (where Empire spin-off group the First Order have risen to power in secret) that the New Republic are frustratingly slow to act on the growing Imperial threat on the Outer Rim. This means that Ahsoka may be left to take on Thrawn’s forces alone – or, at least, with the help of her old friends from Star Wars Rebels.
It’s also clear that she’ll be facing a new enemies from the Dark Side in the form of Baylan Skoll and his Force-wielding apprentice (as confirmed by actor Ivanna Sakhno at Star Wars Celebration) Shin Hati. It’s safe to assume they’re not Sith – following the deaths of Darths Vader and Sidious, the arch-enemies of the Jedi are unlikely to make another appearance until The Rise of Skywalker – but they’re clearly powerful enough to give Ahsoka some serious headaches.
Skoll was actually a Jedi before he became a mercenary in the wake of the Order 66 purge. “He has a stoic lethality in that there’s a purpose to him,” Stevenson explained in an interview with Empire. “He is not genocidal or malicious or overly aggressive. He will request that you get out of his way. But if you don’t, he will take you out of his way.”
Whatever happens, the TV show that bears her name clearly has a big role to play in shaping the Star Wars galaxy as it approaches the era of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
For more Star Wars-based content, read our interview with The Mandalorian season 3 director-executive producer Rick Famuyiwa. Additionally, find out which Star Wars TV series made it onto our best Disney Plus shows list.
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