According to Rosario Dawson, her role as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian season 2 was designed as a one-off outing. The Mandalorian featured Ahsoka’s first live-action appearance, but that was far from the character’s first introduction to the Star Wars franchise as she played a huge role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) as Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi padawan. Ahsoka later appeared in Star Wars: Rebels as an agent for the budding Rebel Alliance before a duel with Darth Vader left her stranded on the planet Malachor.
While the Rebels epilogue confirmed that Ahsoka survived past the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi, her role in The Mandalorian confirmed what she was up to in the galaxy following the fall of the Empire. On his quest to reunite little Grogu with the Jedi, The Mandalorian lead Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) ventured to the planet Corvus after Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), one of Ahsoka’s allies from her Clone Wars days, informed him that Ahsoka was there. Although Din and Ahsoka briefly clashed, the two eventually teamed up to defend a small town. Following the skirmish, Ahsoka refused to train Grogu as a Jedi, but set Din on the path to look for other Jedi who might be willing to do so.
Vanity Fair recently caught up with Dawson, whose role as Ahsoka has expanded far beyond a single appearance in The Mandalorian as she prepares to helm her own series, Ahsoka. However, that was not always the plan as her role in episode 5 of Mandalorian season 2 was a test to see audience reactions to Ahsoka’s jump to live-action. See Dawson’s statement below.
“Even as they were first talking about this potential of Ahsoka showing up in Mando season two, it was like, if you’re interested and you hate it and you never want to do anything again, we’re not contracting you to anything right now.”
It’s interesting to look back on Ahsoka’s appearance in The Mandalorian and realize that it was an opportunity for Dawson to see how she felt in the role as well as a test of whether or not the character worked effectively in live-action. While some audiences bristled at not hearing Eckstein’s voice attached to the character she had played for nearly a decade and others took issue with Ahsoka’s shortened head tails – her montrals and lekku, in Star Wars lingo – reception to her role was generally positive. Dawson’s work brought Ahsoka’s thoughtfulness and wisdom from her animated appearances to live-action seamlessly. Plus, Ahsoka’s iconic white lightsabers from Rebels transitioned perfectly.
Following Dawson’s successful first run as Ahsoka in The Mandalorian, she made a surprise appearance in The Book Of Boba Fett, where it was revealed that she was on the same planet as Luke Skywalker as he built his Jedi school and trained Grogu. Although Ahsoka could very well appear in The Mandalorian season 3 if the conflict between Bo-Katan and Din gets too heated following his acquisition of the Mandalorian darksaber, her next confirmed appearance is in her own series. Details about Ahsoka are scarce, but Ahsoka’s revelation that she’s looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn during The Mandalorian suggests that may be the crux of her series since Thrawn is connected to a young Jedi, Ezra Bridger, whom Ahsoka is looking for. With plenty on the horizon for the beloved former Jedi, Dawson’s run as Ahsoka is seemingly just beginning.