Ahsoka is a massive disappointment.
Ahsoka is a massive disappointment.
I haven’t had a lot of fun from most live-action Star Wars TV shows. I am being kind here. I hated most of them. It appears, as it does with a lot of television on streaming services, as though Disney has been consistently churning them out like mass-produced commodities rather than allowing genuine artistry to flourish. Stars Wars sells, Disney thought. Why not just spend millions and millions to create more such products? We find ourselves inundated with content, so to speak, rather than experiencing true artistry. With the sole exception of Andor, which indeed was something of a stunning surprise to me, there is little creativity or verve to be seen that made these stories set in a galaxy far, far away special.
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Rosario Dawson-led Ahsoka, I am sad to say, is more like The Book of Boba Fett rather than Andor.
I do have one good thing to say about the show, and it is the production quality, a hallmark of modern Star Wars adaptations. Disney, after all, does not have any lack of money. Where to put that money, and to whom… is, I believe, the problem here. Dave Filoni, who is basically the Kevin Feige of Star Wars TV universe, is the creator here. His work, I feel, has been something of a hit-and-miss, and more often a miss. I like The Mandalorian, on which he collaborates with Jon Favreau, but I like it warily as though it would bite me when I least expect it. By biting me I mean, of course, confounding and needless cameos.
Ahsoka holds promise, until you watch it
And here we are, with Ahsoka, a series born from the creative nucleus of Filoni’s vision. I am not a Star Wars geek who digs too deep into the lore, I loved the original trilogy, and indeed, I loved The Last Jedi, probably the most divisive film in the entire franchise. I approach the franchise with an appreciation for its narrative potential because George Lucas did build an immersive, immensely detailed world with lots to explore and discover. And Ahsoka beckoned me with promises of both greatness and challenges.
Only two episodes were provided to the critics, but they hold little promise. And unless the series does a 180 and provides exciting storytelling and fresh character beats, I believe Ahsoka will also be forgotten as soon as it finishes airing.
There are moments of character depth and the expansion of the franchise’s intricate lore. However, beneath the surface, certain issues persist — especially the penchant for fan service and an overreliance on pre-existing Star Wars material. The series seamlessly introduces characters from these animated realms into live-action terrain, but without prior familiarity, their significance may be lost on newcomers. And worse, it makes no effort to make any of it interesting. This is just copious amounts of exposition, hopelessly aiming to bridge the gap by fleshing out relationships and backgrounds.
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This necessity of bridging gaps is one thing that instantly takes me out of the experience with these interconnected universes. While occasional references and callbacks can be fun, there’s a palpable urgency to interlink plot threads from disparate shows and films at the expense of the ongoing story. Star Wars tales are increasingly born in the interstices of existing sagas, often lacking the autonomy to stand on their own.
I don’t want to do my homework before watching a TV show.
Ahsoka also fails at faithfully translating animation to live-action
Also translating an originally animated story to live action faithfully can often be an unrewarding and difficult experience. But then why do it in the first place? The constraints in Ahsoka become most apparent in the action, where the fluidity and kinetic charisma of the animated version turns into drab, awkward, and wooden sequences. Visuals, too, occasionally fall short, with muted exteriors, drab colours, and a disconnect between characters and their surroundings. This deficiency dilutes the immersive quality that characterised the original version.
At the heart of it all lies the persistent struggle to recapture the essence of the past, whether rooted in Rebels or The Clone Wars. This endeavour weighs on Ahsoka, casting a shadow over the promise it holds. The remainder of the season might yet prove me wrong as I said earlier, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I do feel bad for Dawson, who deserves better.
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