Ahsoka review: The force is strong with Star Wars fan favourite's solo venture

Ahsoka premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, 23 August

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: Ahsoka (Disney+/LucasFilm) (Lucasfilm Ltd.)
  • 📺 Where to watch Ahsoka: Premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, 23 August

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 4/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: Star Wars: Rebels, The Clone Wars, Andor, The Mandalorian

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ray Stevenson, Lars Mikkelsen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

  • How long is it? 8 episodes, between 30 minutes to one hour long

  • 📖 What’s it about? Ahsoka Tano has heard whispers that Grand Admiral Thrawn is alive, and as the remnants of the Galactic Empire search for him the Jedi Knight investigates a way to find him (and lost rebel Ezra) before her enemies can in order to avoid war from breaking out.

In a galaxy far, far away Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) is on a mission. Her quest? To find a map that will show her the whereabouts of one of the Galactic Empire's most formidable leaders, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), who was previously thought lost alongside rebel fighter Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi).

Read more: Ahsoka recap: Everything you need to know about the Star Wars legend

To do so Ahsoka will need to reunite with old friends, including her former Padawan Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and fellow rebel Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), so they can face enemy forces that are beginning to emerge.

Watch: Yahoo UK's Ahsoka review

Disney+'s latest Star wars series begins on a thrilling note that introduces villains Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) — a wonderfully menacing character thanks to the late Stevenson's foreboding presence — and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) to viewers in a sequence that will bring the opening of A New Hope to mind.

It's a great way to kick things off before bringing us back to our titular hero — her first solo venture since her live action cameos in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett — as she embarks on her aforementioned quest.

The first two episodes of Ahsoka take their time, and that's not to say they are slow or boring but rather that the show is not in a hurry. Viewers are taken through Ahsoka's investigation as it happens, with creator Dave Filoni using stunning visuals, grand set pieces and epic lightsaber battles to draw us into the story.

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) in Lucasfilm's AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. (Lucasfilm)
Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka (Lucasfilm) (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Fans will need to wait to get their first glimpse of fan favourites like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger, but taking the time to reach these reveals seems like a good thing because it will likely make the pay-off all the sweeter when it does happen.

Read more: Everything we know about Daisy Ridley's return as Rey

Those that love Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels will have plenty to enjoy in Ahsoka, the show marks the live-action debut of many of the cartoon fan favourites and follows them on a new chapter of their journey.

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka (Lucasfilm) (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Some have adjusted better than others: Hera is now a general whereas Sabine has chosen to completely isolate herself after losing Ezra at the end of Rebels.

Both Bordizzo and Winstead embody their characters brilliantly, but Bordizzo is especially so as she lends a subtle vulnerability to Sabine that is most evident in her facial expressions whenever faced with Ahsoka's dismissal. The actor works well opposite Dawson, suggesting the duo will make great partners in future episodes even if they often frustrate one another.

Those who have not yet delved into the animated shows may have some concerns over how much they'll understand Ahsoka, and the good news is that the live-action series catches viewers up to speed on the events of The Clone Wars and Rebels for the most part.

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren in Ahsoka (Disney+/LucasFilm) (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

But while those viewers will have a good understanding of what came before there will still be a sense of something missing, namely a deeper understanding of the relationships and frayed bonds between characters like Ahsoka and Sabine (who were once Jedi Master and Padawan).

Read more: Every Star Wars movie and show in development

It won't detract from one's enjoyment of the current Disney+ show necessarily, but it does feel a bit like jumping into a conversation partway through and going along with it anyway.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano (Credit: Disney)
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano (Disney)

Filoni has designed this series as a continuation of his animated shows, and even if it doesn't alienate newer viewers they will likely need longer to invest in these characters in the same way that Rebels and Clone Wars fans have already.

What other critics thought of Ahsoka:

The Daily Beast: New Series Is Great Fan Service to the Biggest Star Wars Nerds (6-min read)

IndieWire: Star Wars Drifts Back to Dark Side in a Sluggish, Stock Disney+ Spinoff (5-min read)

Evening Standard: Star Wars finds its heart again (3-min read)

The Independent: Disney’s latest Star Wars outing is flat, flimsy and devoid of life (4-min read)

From what we have seen so far, Ahsoka is off to a strong start thanks to its sleek visuals and intriguing narrative that has set the stage well for what will hopefully be a thrilling Star Wars show.

Ahsoka premieres on Disney+ with its first two episodes on Wednesday, 23 August.

Watch the trailer for Ahsoka