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‘Ahsoka’ strikes back with refreshing debut

Itzel Sanchez
“Ahsoka” improves on the flaws of it’s preceding shows, making the viewing experience much more enjoyable.

On Aug. 22, 2023, “Ahsoka” made its long-awaited debut on Disney Plus, centering on the return of Ahsoka Tano and her journey to find Grand Admiral Thrawn. Featuring Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla respectively. “Ahsoka” follows the journey of the three heroes as they attempt to find and prevent Thrawn’s return, who’s main goal is to unleash total war following the end of the TV show “Star Wars Rebels.”

“Ahsoka” is Disney’s best answer to a fifth season of “Star Wars Rebels,” continuing both plotlines and the events of characters introduced in the latter. It’s clear that a lot of effort has been put into making the transition from animation to live-action as smooth as possible, and fortunately it paid off. It’s noticeable that even the smallest of details seen in “Rebels,” like Sabine’s art, has been carried over and recreated nearly perfectly.

Speaking of characters, there has been a massive improvement in the way dialogue is written, especially in one-on-one conversations. The way Ahsoka and Sabine talk to each other does a good job of conveying the fact that their relationship is strained, as they hadn’t exactly ended on great terms, and it’s really satisfying to see these characters talk like they’re real people, as opposed to the stringing of quotes like that seen in the third season of the “Mandalorian.”

Furthermore, Ahsoka, Sabine and Hera all interact as if they were comrades who have spent years with each other; it all feels very natural as opposed to the stiff conversations that have plagued the franchise for the past few years. For example, the way Ahsoka and Sabine banter back and forth with the occasional harsh interjections from Huyang, the Jedi bookkeeper droid, is something that calls back to the roots from “Ahsoka’s” predecessors.

This also extends to newcomers Baylen Skoll and Shin Hati, two force-wielding mercenaries whose primary goal is immense power, and will do anything to stop people from getting in their way. The two villains’ performances really shine though Ray Stevenson’s and Ivanna Sakhno’s use of their body language, showing disdain for the orders they receive from Thrawn’s subordinates. It’s refreshing to see characters act like real people, instead of plot devices that only exist to further the story.

“Ahsoka’s” strongpoints aren’t just its high-quality characters— it’s also the impressive visual effects that combine the detailed, modern CGI with the more classical use of physical sets. One of the biggest criticisms of the past few Star Wars projects is that their visual effects were lacking, often giving off a vibe similar to that of a low-budget fan film, so it’s nice to see that Disney learned from their critics and thus improved. The improvements are also seen within the fight choreography, which is fast-paced and fluid, none of the characters just awkwardly swing their weapons at each other.

There’s plenty of little visual easter eggs strewn throughout the episodes as well, ranging from graffiti on the walls to entire characters and creatures who only previously existed in an animated world. The extra effort to make sure the continuity is consistent is a small yet noticeable aspect that will make dedicated fans of Star Wars feel appreciated to see that their favorite bits of the franchise haven’t been forgotten.

While the past few projects within the franchise may have been rocky, “Ahsoka’s” well-made and high-quality production casts a light towards the future of this galaxy.

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