When it comes to the expanding universe of live-action Star Wars shows, no other show quite does it like Ahsoka! Now that we are a week removed from the finale and have given it time to settle in our thoughts it is clear that Ahsoka is a unique gem in the sphere of live-action Star Wars shows.
The show has carved out a niche for itself, distinguishing its narrative, tone, and visual style from other entries in the franchise. Let’s explore the key features that make the Ahsoka series an exceptional addition to the Star Wars canon.
While most Star Wars narratives focus on the distinction between the Sith and the Jedi, the Dark Side and the Light, Ahsoka treads the blurry middle path (I refuse to say “grey” in the same sentence as “Jedi”, except just this once). Having left the Jedi Order after being falsely accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Ahsoka neither identifies as a Jedi nor does she succumb to the Dark Side. But she isn’t the only one. The new players in town, Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, also walk an ambiguous line between the light and dark.
While initially they seem to be strictly in the Empire’s (dark side) camp, it becomes more apparent as the show progresses that they don’t have a specific allegiance. Logan Barclay over on the Star Wars: Geeks Of The World Unite Page added this: “Baylon Skoll & Shin Hati made [Ahsoka] interesting to me. It’s unique to see former Jedi that are mercenaries.” I highly agree with him.
By the end of the show they have abandoned each other as well as the other two major factions. Baylan keeps his word to Sabine even though having no real obilgation to do so. Baylan even shows respect for Ahsoka in their duel and makes it clear nothing he does is personal.
This creates a unique narrative opportunity to delve into the nuances of the Force and morality without the conventional binary lens (especially with the Mortis Force God monuments looming in the background of the last episode), something no other live-action Star Wars show has focused on.
One of the most noticeable features of the series is its oriental aesthetic. While series like The Mandalorian have a western-inspired tone and The Book of Boba Fett delves into the gritty underworld of the galaxy, Ahsoka offers something different. Drawing inspiration from Japanese samurai films and other classic influences, Ahsoka feels foreign even for a galaxy far, far away.
The meticulously choreographed lightsaber duels, resembling samurai sword fights, and the picturesque landscapes evoke a different, more grounded tone than the sci-fi heavy visuals typical of other Star Wars installments.
The armor used by the nomads on Peridea looks very heavily influenced by samurai armor. The way that Ahsoka dispatches Marrok with a single slice has a very Kurosawa/Ronin feel to it when we see both duelists hold their poses for a few seconds after the finishing blow. Even down to the night troopers who have gold cracks in their armor, a Japanese custom known as kintsugi, where powdered gold and lacquer are used to repair ceramic and porcelain vases, creating a gold-vein look on their armor. Ahsoka does a wonderful job of creating its own identity while blending in Asian motifs.
Star Wars has always celebrated strong female characters, from Princess Leia to Rey. However, Ahsoka is unique as it revolves entirely around a female lead whose strength isn’t just physical but also emotional and spiritual. Ahsoka Tano’s journey of self-discovery, her leadership, and her moments of vulnerability make her one of the most relatable and admired characters in the Star Wars universe. Not only that but we get fan favorite co-leads with Sabine and Hera, who also go on their own unique journeys along Ahsoka.
And it’s not just the heroes, but the most prominent villains throughout the entire season are two women as well, Morgan Elsbeth and Shin Hati (Yes, I know Baylan is there too with them). Morgan is the calculating villain pulling the strings to bring Thrawn back, while Shin is a much more physical threat for most of the season whether with a starship or a lightsaber.
The final showdown in the season finale is one of the most impressive displays of martial arts and lightsaber dueling we have seen in live-action yet, and it is between two women! Filoni really did a phenomenal job of displaying girl power while not making it feel overly done or too on the nose (like that girl power moment in Endgame that felt too forced and on the nose).
In a sea of Star Wars content, live-action and animated, Ahsoka has done a phenomenal job of forging its own unique identity and path. And while I wasn’t too hot on the season finale, I wholeheartedly loved the overall product. What do you guys think about my assessment of Ahsoka? Disagree with my points? Agree with them? Have some you would like to add? Sound off in the comment section! Dory Bianco over at the Temple Of Nerdom Facebook page thought Ahsoka “Wasn’t as boring or whiny as the others“. I presume she meant she liked the show.
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