Sunday 5 November 2023

What's next for Ahsoka?

Ahsoka has concluded on Disney+. The standouts for me were the soundtrack from composer Kevin Kiner (Star Wars Rebels), Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), Huyang (David Tennant) and the return of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen).

Whilst there's no official announcement regarding a second season (rumours suggest Lucasfilm is moving the production from LA to London), Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, muses on the possible future of Dave Filoni's Star Wars live-action spin-off series.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Ahsoka gave us a cliffhanger ending with Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) on the loose and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) stranded, leaving a million voices suddenly crying out for a second season. While the intro episodes were sedately paced, easing new viewers into Ahsoka’s world, season two will have to pick up speed to reach the breathtaking heights we expect from Star Wars.

Here’s what I’d like to see in a second season of Ahsoka:

1. More Star Wars Rebels characters

The Star Wars Rebels show was full of rich, often humorous characters such as the unmitigated scoundrel Hondo Ohnaka and the dry-humoured former Imperial droid, AP-5. While Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum) made a cameo in The Mandalorian, Ahsoka would be foolish to ignore Rebel’s rich dramatis personae and I look forward to seeing Zeb reunited with Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi).

2. More Hera and Chopper

While we’re at it, we’d also like to see more of the Rebels we did meet, especially Hera Syndulla – a highlight of the first season, it ain’t easy being green but she maintained her cool – and C1-10P AKA Chopper, who has enough feisty droidiness to out-cheek R2-D2. Hera in particular had a fleshed-out family and cultural background, making her a well-rounded character. Rosario Dawson could learn a thing or two from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who gives a nuanced performance hinting at her humble Twi’lek roots.

3. Ahsoka is a complex character

Yes, Ahsoka is a grown Jedi packed with poise and grace. But as the titular character of this show, she needs to give us more than an occasional smirk and bad-ass stance. Throughout the first season, Rosario Dawson maintained her performance of Ahsoka as a stoic, poker-faced character, very different from the young Ahsoka who would take on General Grievous because, ‘it seemed like a good idea.’ Dawson’s got the chops to show Ahsoka’s younger, chirpier side shining through, proving that they’re the same person in more than name.

4. More World Between Worlds

In Rebels and Ahsoka, we visited the World Between Worlds, where times, places and planes of existence collide. This ethereal realm offers so many possibilities for Star Wars characters from different timelines to interact, for Ahsoka to glimpse what might have been... or what could be. There’s still a chance to save Han!

5. A faster pace

One of the many joys of the original Star Wars trilogy was its breakneck pace, which didn’t give us time to scrutinize the storyline or recognize old tropes (of course, that has changed after countless rewatches). We already have a slow show (Andor), which harkens back to ‘70s drama. If it wants to continue, Ahsoka should develop its own dynamic and appeal to the short-attention-span viewers who responded so well to the first season’s lightsabre duels and space battles.

6. Thrawn unleashed

Thrawn is a beautifully crafted villain, maintaining his panache despite being stranded on a remote hostile planet for years. He is intelligent, sophisticated and deadly, with his own strict yet twisted code of conduct. He is one of the few Star Wars characters in existence who could replace the Emperor as a threat to the New Republic. The worse the villain, the more fun it is to see our ragtag fugitives bring him down!

7. Why They Fight

We got a peek at the Republic and the problems they face in season one, but let’s see the good guys enjoying their victory before it’s shattered by Thrawn. What makes the alliance different from the Old Republic, or the Empire? What good have they done, and how can that be threatened by Imperial remnants? How precarious is the peace that Luke Skywalker secured?

8. More new characters

Beyond that whole rich tapestry thing, Star Wars is all about showing us weird alien races and entertaining characters. Season one brought us the howler steeds and the nomadic Noti; it’s a big galaxy, so I expect to see plenty more imaginative character designs next time around.

9. More relevance to the general audience

You don’t need to see animated Disney movies to understand the live-action versions. The same should apply to Star Wars. So far, writer Dave Filoni has done a good job of dropping some backstories without alienating new viewers. It’s time for the show to tell its own story without reliance on prior events.

10. More mystery and wonder

From the mythological statues of Peridea to the majestic, whale-like Purrgil, Ahsoka depicted some jaw-dropping moments of wonder. Since Thrawn has the Night Sisters in tow, I’m looking forward to seeing our heroes cope with dark magic on an awe-inspiring scale. But let’s hope there are more positive phenomena to behold as well, beyond the sheer beauty of infinite, starlit space.

Have you watched season one of Ahsoka on Disney+? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Nick Smith's new audiobook, Undead on Arrival, is available from Amazon (affiliate link).

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