Review: Star Wars Ahsoka – Prelude to Heir to the Empire

For many Star Wars fans, the various Disney Plus series released have resulted in a wide range of quality to hit the Star Wars franchise. While some were major hits that reinvigorated the love for Star Wars, others heavily divided fan opinions. The Ahsoka series luckily falls on the positive end of that spectrum with a great combination of fan service, interesting plot, and beloved characters. As a whole, the series adds to a legacy built off the back of the animated Star Wars shows, while moving forward with ideas that go into live-action with a sense of direction that other shows haven’t displayed before. Along the way, fans get to see the next stage of a character that has been built up for a long time.

The overarching plot of Ahsoka follows the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker in a post-Return of the Jedi time. The Rebellion has made the transition into the New Republic while remnants of the Empire lurk in the shadows of the galaxy, popping up here and there. Ahsoka continues to search for answers about the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn, which leads her to many of her old friends as things begin to unfold. But when two force users who claim to not be Jedi appear and break out an old foe from captivity, Ahsoka will find herself chasing a lead to prevent the return of Thrawn and stop a new war from breaking out with the New Republic.

Anyone who has been following the Star Wars shows since Star Wars Rebels is going to find a lot of joy in the Ahsoka series. There are many references and callbacks to elements from that show in clever ways, not just from characters making their debut in live-action. Ahsoka herself is at a different point in her life, played phenomenally by Rosario Dawson, in which she carries a weight from her past while trying to move ahead in the new age after the fall of the Empire.

Her interactions with the rest of the Star Wars Rebels characters we see are not always great at first, but eventually become stronger and more genuine as the series goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see all of the Rebels crew in the series for various reasons, but it will be something that is clearly being planned to happen down the line.

Outside of Ahsoka herself, the rest of the cast have varying degrees of success as their respective Star Wars characters. While unlikable at first, Sabine Wren played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo will grow on you as she spends time with Ahsoka on screen. Her story definitely picks up from where Star Wars Rebels left her, with time having passed and impacting her relationship with Ahsoka as an apprentice.

Hera Syndulla is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who doesn’t get a lot of screen time throughout the series. And yet she almost perfectly embodies the transition of the characters from animation into live-action, both in look and attitude. She even gets a few scenes with iconic characters from the Star Wars universe that are relevant to the main plot, despite being very brief.

But if there are a few characters that nearly steal the show in Ahsoka it would be Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. The late Ray Stevenson and Ivanna Sakhno play the two force users with very interesting backstories that are peeled away as the season goes on. We don’t get all of the answers about them by the finale, but the details of who they are and how they relate to Ahsoka are very interesting. The biggest shame comes from the loss of Ray Stevenson (who passed after completing work on Ahsoka season 1) and how it will be difficult to further develop Baylan and Shin as characters.

Baylan’s history with the Jedi order is described by him multiple times, which is very intriguing and connected back to the Clone Wars in a very neat way that fans of the animated Clone Wars series will love. For Shin Hati however, we only ever get so many details about her relationship with Baylan. She may be his apprentice, but that’s all we really get as far as her origin and significance to Baylan. Hopefully, a second season of the series or follow-up will explore this more and give fans the answers they were hoping for here.

One of the biggest selling points of the Ahsoka series for Star Wars fans was the introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn into live-action. This was significant because the character has a deep history with the franchise since the early 90s in the Star Wars: Heir to the Empire books that introduced him. And luckily, Thrawn’s debut in the series is every bit as impactful as longtime fans had hoped for. Played by Lars Mikkelsen, who also voiced the animated version of the character in Star Wars Rebels, Thrawn immediately grabs attention when he shows up on screen.

While the plot details of how Ahsoka and her allies try to prevent his return get murky towards the end of the series, Thrawn remains a very real threat to everyone from the start, including to his own allies. The character has been built up as the next major villain of the Star Wars franchise moving forward before this series, and where it leaves him and everyone else at the end reinforces that in a very significant way. How Thrawn will impact the New Republic going forward in the next Star Wars project is anyone’s guess, but the aftermath of Ahsoka is going to make waves for everyone to feel.

Star Wars fans also have a lot to chew on with Ahsoka because of the many references and fan service littered throughout the show. There are smaller nods to Rebels and the Clone Wars in nearly every episode, but they definitely won’t draw as much attention as the biggest fan service to Star Wars in certain episodes. The inclusion of Anakin Skywalker is very significant to both Ahsoka herself and to Star Wars fans who have been around since the very beginning of the franchise. While this is a new story, Anakin’s presence and role as the chosen one is felt throughout the entire series, especially when Ahsoka comes face-to-face with him once again in some unique ways.

With Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Anakin, fans get to see another dimension of the character that respects the legacy of Anakin Skywalker on multiple fronts. We get to see Anakin in his Clone Wars attire pulled directly from the animated series, as well as some very big flashes of Darth Vader in ways that Star Wars fans only dreamed of seeing in live-action. But the best part of all of this is how much it’s handled with care, thoughtfulness to the plot, and willingness to step forward with something new that pays homage to the history of Anakin Skywalker. It’s simply the best way to do fan service that is impactful and very cool to watch.

There are definitely some ups and downs for the Ahsoka series, but Star Wars fans will find a lot more positives to enjoy than the low points of the season. The way things conclude with the season finale leaves every character in a weird spot that will definitely require a second season to develop, but can also be a marker for where the next major Star Wars project will be taking them. Not every thread of the season is wrapped up or given answers to questions that arise, especially with characters like Baylan and Shin. But the action, spectacle, and heart of Star Wars is on full display here that other Star Wars series have yet to fully grasp. If you’re someone who hasn’t watched all of the Star Wars animated series just yet, you can still really enjoy what Ahsoka gives you and be part of the action. But those who have been around the entire time will get so much more in ways that greatly reward them for being a fan, while also promising great things to come in the near future.

What do you think of the Ahsoka series? Do you feel Star Wars fans will really enjoy watching it? What do you want to see happen next for these Star Wars characters? Share your thoughts about everything down below in the comment section!

Star Wars Ahsoka Series
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    Star Wars Ahsoka Series - 80%


The full series of Ahsoka has a lot of big moments for Star Wars fans, especially those who have watched many of the animated shows. The characters in here are interesting and have a lot of good aspects to them, some of which nearly steal the show with their backstories and presence on screen. Some plot points towards the ends of the series get lost in the shuffle, while a few episodes have action that is a little dull in comparison to other episodes. Not every thread is wrapped up by the finale, but instead sets up what might come later. The special effects in multiple episodes are great, and the fan service is handled with great care to the main story and reverence for the whole franchise.

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Jakejames Lugo

Jakejames Lugo is a writer and content creator that has been covering video games, movies, and various sides of entertainment for over a decade. He has published reviews and articles on many different outlets and continues to make content for different platforms. Jakejames also makes video content regularly for places like YouTube and TikTok, and share daily posts about gaming on social media.

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