Fans of Star Wars animation have long been acquainted with Ahsoka Tano, the former Padawan of Anakin Skywalker who walked away from the Jedi Order and joined the rebellion. In the second season of The Mandalorian, the character made the leap to live-action storytelling, a hint at things to come in the forthcoming series, Ahsoka.
In an exclusive excerpt from the deluxe collector’s edition Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season Two, learn more about the character and how creators continued her evolution as she stepped out of the mist on Corvus in the first Star Wars live-action series.
With her two lightsabers and strength in the Force, Ahsoka Tano seems like the Jedi Mando has been looking for. Brave and kindhearted, Ahsoka quickly empathizes with Grogu; yet she fears his attachment to Mando may take him down to a dark path…
THE NICE LADY
As her physical appearance suggests, Ahsoka Tano is a Togruta, a species chacaterized by facial markings, horn-shaped sensory organs known as montrals and three long tentacle-like head-tails called lekku.
Selfless and kind, Tano doesn’t shy away from helping the oppressed and others in need. On the forest planet Corvus, she teamed up with the Mandalorian to free the city of Calodan and its citizens from the rule of ruthless magistrate Morgan Elsbeth.
Ahsoka’s generosity doesn’t prevent her from being a skilled and relentless fighter. Indeed, during a strenuous duel, she managed to defeat Elsbeth even though the latter wielded a spear made of pure beskar, notably one of the few metals lightsabers cannot cut through. Later, to reward him for his help, Tano offered the spear obtained from Elsbeth to Djarin, claiming that a beskar weapon “belongs with a Mandalorian.”
FEAR OF THE DARK
Formerly guardians of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic, Jedi are powerful knights able to tap into the energy field known as the Force. Hunted down by the Empire, the Jedi were ultimately destroyed at the end of the Clone Wars. The few who managed to survive were forced to scatter across the galaxy and hide out.
Ahsoka was trained as a Jedi but eventually decided to leave the Order and follow her own path instead.
Ahsoka is profoundly strong in the Force and is experienced enough to wield it effectively. On the planet Corvus, she used the Force to mentally connect with Grogu and hear his thoughts, thus managing to delve into his memories and learn his name.
Because of her abilities and expertise, Mando believed that Tano could be the perfect mentor for Grogu, and asked her to train him. But upon noticing the strong bond between the two, Ahsoka refused, worrying Grogu’s affection for the bounty hunter would make him “vulnerable to his fears.” And fear, as wise Jedi Master Yoda once said, “leads to anger. Anger leads to hate” – feelings not even the most powerful Jedi of all time would be able to control.
Despite her departure from the Order, Ahsoka Tano still used the weapon she learned to wield during her training: the lightsaber. More specifically, Ahsoka has not one but two lightsabers, which she generally uses simultaneously.
Probably the best ally of any Jedi, lightsabers are legendary weapons, more impressive when wielded by Force-sensitive beings. Their plasma blades are powered by specific crystals known as kyber crystals, which Jedi younglings must find as part of their training.
In terms of fighting style, Tano usually wields a standard-bladed lightsaber as her primary weapon and a shorter one – also known as a shoto lightsaber – as an off-hand weapon. She also often alternates between the standard grip and the so-called reverse grip, in which the lightsaber is held with the blade pointing down along the wielder’s forearm.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Created by George Lucas and Dave Filoni, the character of Ahsoka Tano made her debut in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where she was introduced as the Jedi Padawan of Anakin Skywalker.
A beloved character in both the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series, Ahsoka Tano appears in The Manadlorian from the second season only, a decision made by executive Producer Dave Filoni.
“I intentionally didn’t do anything with her in season one because I didn’t wanna mess it up. It’s a character that George and I created. She’s one of the first things I ever drew for Clone Wars. People know this character: they’ve watched her grow up, and the challenge was to take all of the elements we had and evolve them into this live-action version.”
A fan of The Clone Wars herself, actress Rosario Dawson started her preparation for the role by rewatching the animated series as well as the whole saga. “It was really fun to see how Ahsoka’s physicality changed, and her facial expressions changed, and her voice and her tenor changed as she just evolved.”
Makeup-wise, bringing Tano physically to life proved quite challenging. As makeup designer Brian Sipe explained “Her character was tricky cause it was walking that line of finding her look between human-realistic and something that would satisfy the fans of the Clone Wars graphic image.”
Another problem arose with Ahsoka’s two lightsabers. According to property master Josh Roth, “With the batteries and with the receivers, all the different wireless gak we had to put inside of it, the lightsaber kept getting bigger and bigger, and Dave was just ‘No, it can’t look like this.’” The problem was eventually solved by using an external battery so that the lightsabers could maintain their elegance and slenderness.
Read more in Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season Two and subscribe to Star Wars Insider now for more of the latest news, in-depth articles, and exclusive interviews in every issue!
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