Ahsoka review: Episode 1 sets the bar for a promising adventure

Rosario Dawson is Ahsoka Tano in Lucasfilm's AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Rosario Dawson is Ahsoka Tano in Lucasfilm's AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Ahsoka Season 1, Episode 1.

Every new Star Wars TV show begins with a question — one the creators find themselves challenged to answer through their art. The question that has hovered over the Ahsoka series all this time is this: How do you execute growth and development in characters that have already survived multiple arcs of evolution throughout the franchise?

Because we’re dealing with Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren here. Even viewers who aren’t familiar with them beyond name are expecting to see them overcome major obstacles and confront extremely high stakes in a show set between two different galactic wars.

Which is why we start this story off with Ahsoka and Sabine having parted ways long ago, having not spoken in years, and having loads of unresolved emotions keeping them apart — even when standing in the same room.

Things are not going well. Not for Ahsoka. Not for Sabine. Not for the galaxy, either, though most are still in denial about that.

And how could we have really expected to reunite with these characters under happy circumstances? The heartbreak lingers from the final moments of Rebels; the pain of additional frustration and loss weighs heavily in every moment on Lothal. I didn’t expect my prediction to come to fruition — that when this show started, Ahsoka and Sabine would be on strained terms. But I’m happy to be right. The show needed that unresolved anger. It needed us to come in feeling the tension of having walked away from everything and all its consequences.

Everyone seems to want Star Wars to be “dark and gritty,” so you got what you asked for. It’s the emotional beats that fulfill that expectation. We have all separated from a friend under bad circumstances. Some of us have encountered them again years later, forcing that confrontation we hoped to never have.

Star  Wars is, as it always has been, about the connections between beings. It is woven through every storyline in every medium at every turn, and has been for over 40 years. The action sequences of Ahsoka thus far are breathtaking, the enemies terrifying, the mysteries captivating.

But it’s the relationships — and the scars of loss — that hold it together. Sabine missing Ezra. Ahsoka still trying to understand Sabine as a person. Sabine knowing she could have been great, frustrated that Ahsoka robbed her of that dream.

I am invested. There are so many great things about the premiere of this show, but what hooked me wasn’t the Rebels nostalgia or the general excitement of new Star Wars appearing in my living room. It was the realization that this show, among its many positives, is actually going to take its main players on an emotional, dare I say spiritual, journey right alongside their literal adventures through the galaxy.

It’s what Dave Filoni does best. It’s the heart of everything he makes. It’s what makes it shine, and it’s what makes that shimmer last long after every finale.

I’m saying all this, and it’s only just begun.

New episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka drop Tuesdays exclusively on Disney+.

Next. Ahsoka Tano: A deep dive into her life and purpose so far. dark

Make sure to check Dork Side of the Force after Ahsoka season 1 episode 1 releases for updates and news about the series!