Secrets fans learned about ‘Ahsoka’ if they were at the Star Wars Celebration 2023 panel


Ahsoka is officially the next Disney+ series coming to excite Star Wars fans everywhere. The character, created by Dave Filoni and named by George Lucas 15 years ago, became a formidable, heart-warming, and heroic presence in the animated Clone Wars TV and film series, and she’s been woven into other animated Star Wars offerings as well. Now, following a brand new trailer for the live-action series presented at Star Wars Celebration 2023, at ExCel London, here’s everything we learned about casting, plot, and collaborators on Ahsoka.

Dawson, Filoni, and the new show’s co-creator Jon Favreau joined a panel of stars including Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead – who play Star Wars: Rebels characters Sabine Wren and Hera Syndula – plus villains: Ivanna Sakhno (Shin Hati), Diana Lee Inosanto (Morgan Elsbeth) and Ray Stevenson (Baylan Skoll). In typical covert fashion, the panel skirted around much of the specific details of the series and did not offer a more specific August 2023 launch date, but fans finally got the confirmation that they wanted about Grand Admiral Thrawn.

What to expect from Lars Mikkelsen’s jump to live-action as Thrawn

Tweaking the teaser trailer shown at the Lucasfilm Showcase a day earlier, fans got to see more than the back of big, bad Grand Admiral Thrawn’s head; they got to see for the first time Lars Mikkelsen’s face as the live-action villain after voicing the character in the animated series. Created by Timothy Zahn, Thrawn, a member of the Chiss race who became an Imperial military leader, led a trilogy of novels following his efforts to lead remnants of the Galactic Empire against the New Republic. The Mandalorian has already hinted that this Star Wars Legends storyline has been adapted for the live-action series; in the trailer, Ahsoka says, “We started hearing whispers about Thrawn’s return as heir to the Empire,” which is the title of Zahn’s first Thrawn novel. 


Star Wars Celebration 2023: What we learned.

“It was so unique and wonderful to have this kind of Moriarity villain; strategically brilliant [who] doesn’t have the Force but it doesn’t matter,” says Filoni. “He will outsmart you and track you, play chess better than you. That was so compelling to read. It’s [Zahn’s] thing and we feel really, really privileged — Lars too — that we get to bring it to life in this way, but we want to make sure we get it right.”

The storylines and relationships that will drive Ahsoka

Over the course of the series, Ahsoka will continue her mission to locate the AWOL Imperial leader as well Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi). “Her relationship with Ezra is something that’s really powerful and so I think that’s just always top of mind for her and is probably what continues to drive her,” says Dawson. The Jedi and Ghost crew member trapped himself with Thrawn in hyperspace at the end of season four along with a semi-sentient whale creature called a purrgil which is glimpsed at the end of the Ahsoka trailer. Is it the same purrgil? It seems likely as Ahsoka attempts to prevent another Galactic threat from rising. 

“She was hot-headed. She’s still stubborn now, but the nuances were something to build on,” says Dawson. “With [Rebels], it feels like I have actual visual memories to reflect upon, and it’s incredible.” 

“Though she is not a Jedi, she is really driven by trying to do good and she recognizes a threat that other people aren’t necessarily seeing,” adds the actress. “She’s keeping her eye on the ball and knows that [Thrawn] is something that is formidable and not someone to just take lightly.”

Ahsoka‘s supporting creators

As with prior Star Wars series, Filoni has welcomed a slew of directors to join him on Ahsoka including Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Steph Green (Book of Boba Fett), Geeta Patel (Meet The Patels), Jennifer Getzinger (Westworld) and Rick Famuyiwa (The Mandalorian). Kevin Kiner will also score the music for the series having previously served as the composer for The Clone Wars and Rebels

“When I tell this type of story with this character, he knows it because he knows the music,” said Filoni. “Kevin has been a through-line from Clone Wars to Rebels and of course, we have this one thing which is collaboration. So everybody gets involved.”

Mandalorian composer Ludwig Goransson also “did some stuff” for the season, Filoni confirmed.

Ahsoka is currently in post-production and scheduled for an August 2023 release on Disney+.

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