The Mandalorian, Chapter 13: The Jedi Delivers Ahsoka Tano In Live-Action
When reports came out that Pittsburgh’s own Dave Filoni was both the writer and director for the fifth episode this season, we all knew. Well, we hoped and guessed and eventually, we just knew. Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, titled appropriately “The Jedi,” gave us live-action Ahsoka Tano, as played by Rosario Dawson. From the opening moments of the episode, Filoni let us know that this would not be like the season 2 premiere. We weren’t just going to get a momentary glimpse of the character, letting fans know that Ahsoka lives. If anything, this is the first episode of this series that felt like a backdoor pilot, possibly for the rumored live-action series starring Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in the lead role. It was just Thanksgiving in the United States, and Star Wars expanded universe fans are eating very well.
Admittedly, the transition wasn’t perfect. The lekku headpiece they gave Dawson fit in that uncanny valley. Also, her skin color could have looked more natural. It’s a complicated look to get right, and there is certainly room for improvement. But, as any good Star Wars fan does, you have to forgive some of that and respect the attempt. Ahsoka looked, moved, and even talked like the Ahsoka from the cartoons. (Though, there was a quality absent in her that can be explained away with her journey to this point but boils down to a lack of Ashley Eckstein.)
This episode is also something of a case study in how giving fans both what they want and expect does not immediately mean “bad storytelling.” Many people on social media essentially predicted how this episode would go. Yet, Filoni and the rest of the storytellers pulled of the rarest of Jedi mind-tricks: living up to fan expectation.
Spoilers to follow.
The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi Is the Ahsoka Tano Show
Image via Disney+
It would not be out of line to call The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi, a love-letter to Ahsoka Tano. The most critical of Star Wars fans will rightly point out that this Ahsoka doesn’t act like the Ahsoka we know from The Clone Wars or even from Rebels. Like most of the legacy characters we’ve seen on-screen in this new era of Star Wars, she’s a bit broken and weary. Of course, who among us is who were at 14 when we’re pushing 40? Yet, there were plenty of Ahsoka elements at play here, from her absolute badassery in combat to her willingness to not let fear or assumptions dictate her decision-making.
The Mandalorian is prepared in Chapter 13 to hand the Child over to Ahsoka Tano in order to train as a Jedi. There’s a moment where he thinks this is going to happen, and Pedro Pascal (and whomever may have been in the suit) were able to deliver a painfully emotional moment. (Not a small feat.) But that’s when Ahsoka says what we all said since Chapter 3: Din Djarin is like a father to that child. (Also, Baby Yoda’s name is Grogu, so that happened.) She also reveals that she will not train Baby Yoda to become a Jedi.
The moment is perhaps the most intense of Dawson’s performance. In The Clone Wars, we get the sense that Ahsoka knows about Anakin and Padmé but never said anything. So, when she talks about how Grogu (oh god it’s weird to type) feels about Mando, we get the sense that is more about her hang-ups than his. We didn’t see this much in the cartoons, but I get the sense that Ahsoka blames herself for Anakin’s fall. Thus, it’s why she cannot train him.
What’s Next for The Mandalorian and Ahsoka Tano?
Image via Disney+
There were plenty of other moments that moved this series, and other Star Wars stories, forward. Of course, the big news is that she mentioned Grand Admiral Thrawn. When we last saw her (and Sabine Wren) they were looking for Ezra Bridger, who was last seen with the fan-favorite EU character. So, she’s not found him, but he’s not totally gone. She found one of his minions, a cruel woman known as the Magistrate. Still, Dave Filoni loves to drop these little bombs in his stories even if he’s not sure when (or if) they’ll ever go off. Yet, the possibility that we see Ahsoka again in live-action seems very high. Rebels might get that sequel series after all, just live-action not animated.
However, the developments in the Child’s story are even more interesting. We learn that he was at the Jedi Temple, but someone “took” him from there. He received training, but then had to hide his abilities to stay safe. Ahsoka tells the Mando that his abilities “will fade” without training, a new development in Force lore, I think. She also tells him to go to Tython, a name familiar to old EU fans. Tython is the ancestral home of the Jedi order, and apparently there is a “seeing stone” that will allow young Grogu to determine his own path.
Also, Mando got himself a spear made of beskar, which lightsabers can’t cut through apparently. So, he happens to get a melee weapon that could go toe-to-toe with someone wielding the Darksaber. While it’s a fair bet we may see Ahsoka, Bo-Katan, or even Sabine before the season is through, it’s just as likely that we won’t.
What did you think of The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi, and did live-action Ahsoka Tano live up to your expectations? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Disney+
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 "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.