STar Wars TV shows have reached a point that was surpassed by Marvel superhero series some time ago: fans of the franchise still thirstily swallow every news story in its entirety, but casual viewers don’t care. no more room in their schedule to commit blindly. So Ahsoka is a crossover thrill – like Andor, The Mandalorian (seasons one and two only!), and the latest episodes of Boba Fett’s Book? Or is it a fan-only chore, like most Boba, recent Mando, and all Obi-Wan Kenobi?
After a double opening program presenting us with the new adventures of Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), we don’t really know. Ahsoka has plenty of flickers of what made Andor and the first Mandalorian such a ride, but he suffers from the same syndrome that makes Bad Star Wars bad: he’s so impressed with the franchise’s story that he continues to take our interest for granted.
Our heroine is a former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker, the man who became Darth Vader, who did not follow his master to the dark side. While it can be hard to pin down exactly who Ahsoka is, which isn’t ideal for a main character – she’s a mentor/vindicator/repairer of sorts – she has a calm but stern figure in a time of fragile progress. . The monstrous Galactic Empire has fallen, but fears of imminent rebirth are well founded. Ahsoka’s quest is to find and neutralize Grand Admiral Thrawn, a pillar of the Empire in exile, and she has learned that a mysterious map may reveal his hideout. When two malevolent mercenaries who appear to be using Jedi-like powers for nefarious purposes also show interest in the map, a race is on. But it’s not a race in which everyone goes fast.
Ahsoka is set in a galaxy so far away that she hasn’t yet heard of the screenwriter’s old maxim of starting a scene late and leaving it early. Take, for example, the sequence where Ahsoka searches an abandoned underground center on a desolate planet. Like everything else in the series, this dusty, creaky lair is lavishly designed, and there are pleasing Indiana Jones vibes as secret trapdoors are opened, artifacts are found hidden in the sand, and stone obelisks are twisted into the right position to awaken their mysterious. feed them and open them. But it all happens at such a measured pace that if you haven’t come to the show ready to appreciate all that Ahsoka does – enthusiasts have spent over a decade watching the character develop in the Clone Wars animated series. and Rebels – you might wonder why you had to spend several minutes watching a woman find a map.
Eventually, despite many looks at admittedly impressive CGI backgrounds and plenty of other scenes where people walk around a bit before doing anything, a gang emerges. Ahsoka’s need for help deciphering the map leads her to take risks with her talented but unstable former protege, Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). More reliable help comes from Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a benevolent New Republic general.
The potential for this all-female trio lies in a nuanced, character-driven take on space capers, as kindergarten Ahsoka and Aunt Hera attempt to nurture Sabine’s savage warrior skills. Although Ahsoka is a bit too inscrutable — she sometimes looks like a sitcom mom, crossing her arms in mute exasperation at the silliness around her — and Hera’s main noticeable trait so far is she has a green face, the momentum is there. Not that the series forgoes spectacular action: Sabine’s impulsiveness means a hoverbike duel or chase is never far away, and Ahsoka regularly shows off her cool fighting tricks with her held lightsaber. reverse grip. Meanwhile, a fact-finding trip to a bustling port gives the action a bit of an Andorian insight into how the fight against fascism is a never-ending struggle, when it becomes clear that even if the gaffe doesn’t is no longer ruled by the Empire, everyone who rules it has seen the light.
So the foundations are in place, if the series can remember that star wars at its best, it’s snappy and fun, not slow and serious. There’s another lost opportunity in the form of Huyang, a droid voiced by David Tennant (reviving his Clone Wars role): he likes to pass off the robot as a caring but picky butler, with hints of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves and of Kryten from Red Dwarf. But in a series where, when a scene needs to establish something, the characters often stand there directly, discussing that thing curtly — “show don’t tell” being another writing rule that hasn’t survived the journey through the cosmos – Tennant is often forced to try to say unfunny lines with a funny voice. Like everything in Ahsoka, he could be so much better if he was allowed to go wild and entertain us.