Dave Filoni Confirms He’s Been Working On Ahsoka Tano’s Story For Disney+ Series For Years
Ahsoka Tano has two stories. There is, of course, what happens to this character within the narrative of the Star Wars universe. There is also the story of how she has run the gamut of Strong Star Wars Opinions™ as our first woman Jedi protagonist character. When Disney announced the character would get a live-action series starring Rosario Dawson, fans celebrated. Yet, in 2008, saying that Ahsoka should lead a TV series would have incited outrage amongst a fanbase prone to it. Despite what you may hear, Ahsoka hasn’t “changed” or become a better character. She’s just been part of the few Star Wars stories that have successfully pushed through fan pushback. When the Disney+ series Ahsoka premieres in 2023, the story Dave Filoni will tell is the one he’s always wanted to.
Yet, that story has evolved as other storytellers and creators add to the vast richness of the Star Wars universe. In fact, Dave Filoni himself said in the past that if not for George Lucas insisting Anakin had a padawan, Ahsoka Tano might not exist. Like many of us Star Wars fans, Filoni never imagined that Anakin had a padawan. Yet, I’d wager that if you asked him who the most important character in Star Wars is to him personally, the answer would be Ahsoka.
Voice actor Ashley Eckstein revealed that Filoni warned her about backlash against Ahsoka in the beginning. Even back then, he (or, at least, his boss George Lucas) was confident that fans would eventually warm up to the character. And that’s The (George Lucas) Way. Instead of fan service, he almost seemed to do things specifically to spite them.
Ahsoka’s Journey Through Star Wars Fandom
The young Ahsoka | Images via Disney+
To those of us who remember the late-aughts when The Clone Wars movie came out, the fan response to Rey vis-à-vis Mary Sue felt really familiar. Certain fans did not like Ahsoka’s brash attitude, disrespectful tone, nor the ease at which she was able to do awesome Jedi stuff. (Weird, reminds me of a certain chosen one….) Yes, the character did mature over the years, but that maturity only bolstered some of the things the fans originally did not like. In fact, I’d argue that what ‘rehabilitated’ Ahsoka in the eyes of the more negative Star Wars fans is that she was taken away from us.
One universal truth we all accepted was that, whether we wanted him to or not, George Lucas would continue to tell Star Wars stories. So, when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney in late 2012, everyone was stunned. While I don’t think it was explicitly clear at the time, fans knew both that The Clone Wars had a definitive end planned and a number of seasons’ worth of stories to tell. Yet, because the show was for Cartoon Network, a competitor to Disney, the deal meant the end of her story. That she was last seen walking away from the Jedi, I think, endeared her to fans who revisited her story with new eyes. They justify their initial dislike by saying “Oh she was a bratty kid,” and then acknowledge that the character grew into a Jedi powerful enough to rival Obi Wan or the Chosen One himself.
Thus, the enthusiasm for her inclusion in Star Wars: Rebels led to her live-action debut in The Mandalorian. The next step is her own show, where Filoni can tell a story he’s been dreaming up for years.
How Dave Filoni Changed the Ahsoka Tano Story Because of The Mandalorian
Ahsoka the wise | Images via Disney+
If you are someone like myself who is very interested in the intersection of Star Wars and storytelling theory, then you are likely quite familiar with Dave Filoni’s philosophy on both. As both a fan and a creative leader in the franchise, he’s able to talk about this universe in a way that even George Lucas struggled to. Like his former Master, Filoni has Star Wars stories tucked away in his noggin to tell when the time is right. There are fixed elements, but in keeping the details fluid, it allows a storyteller to incorporate the work of other creatives. Specifically, the story we’ll see in the Ahsoka series was not supposed to include our favorite Mandalorian and his little green son.
As Dave Filoni told Empire:
“It’s thrilling, I gotta tell you…. It’s something you imagine doing for a long time. And then it’s kind of startling when you’re sitting there, and now you have to do it…. I thought of this adventure for Ahsoka for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how it’s evolved. Years ago, I never would have imagined that it was sprung from a branch of a tree that had anything to do with a guy like Din Djarin, or a child that looks like Yoda. It’s a great lesson for me on how, when you have other creatives like Jon Favreau, they can help lend such dimension and depth to what you’re doing.”
Image via screengrab
Star Wars fans like to think that George Lucas cooked up a script for six-to-nine movies back in the 1970s, and then just went and made them. However, the Star Wars story was always in flux. For example, Lucas originally didn’t want to reveal Luke Skywalker’s sister until the sequel trilogy. Yet, as the movie was being made, and he and his collaborators decided on Leia. So, while the Ahsoka story has been cooking in the mind of Dave Filoni for a long time, he knows from working with George how to shift things to make them better.
I am so glad that Ahsoka, a character I liked from the jump because I am the father of a sassy kid, finally gets her due. The series is expected to begin filming in early 2022. Filoni and Favreau are currently at work on The Mandalorian season 3 which began filming in October.
The Book of Boba Fett debuts on Disney+ this Christmas.
What do you think? Are you excited to see this long-awaited adventure Dave Filoni dreamed up for Ahsoka Tano? Did you also always like the character? Share your thoughts and theories about what the story could be in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.