“Star Wars” is headed to some very Timothy Zahn-inspired places. And also some very Dave Filoni places. The new trailer for ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka’ just came out and it’s a feast of storytelling possibilities. It can’t come a moment too soon after that disappointing ‘Mandalorian’ season 3. Watch the trailer below.
What emerges is that this is absolutely a live-action continuation of “Star Wars: Rebels,” the four-season Disney XD series that was arguably the first and most artistically successful “Star Wars” storytelling to unfold since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. The series debuted in the fall of 2014 and concluded in early 2018. It told the story of the crew of the Spectre, who go on missions in support of the very early stages of the Rebellion against the Empire. The show kicked off some five years before the events of ‘A New Hope’ – and introduced such beloved characters as Specter Captain Hera Syndulla, Mandalorian artist and munitions expert Sabine Wren, and young Force user Ezra Bridger, who became the Jedi-hidden Padawan Kanan Jarrus.
“Rebels” ended on a heartbreaking note: After Kanan’s death, Ezra saved his friends by using the Force to blast himself and their nemesis, Grand Admiral Thrawn, through hyperspace to the other side of the galaxy – who knows if Ezra will ever make it. backwards? The final scene of the series showed Hera and Sabine joining forces with Ahsoka (who had been heavily considering Season 2’s “Rebels”) to go on a galactic quest to bring Ezra home.
That mission is referenced in the “Ahsoka” trailer where a mural of Ezra is shown, depicted exactly in his “Rebels” animated form. Finding him is clearly an overarching mission for the new series. Just as he defends the New Republic from Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen, now playing the character in the flesh after voicing him in “Rebels”), a tactical genius (to paraphrase his creator, author Timothy Zahn, is such as Erwin Rommel meeting Sherlock Holmes ) who wants to bring about a return of the Empire. It was introduced in Zahn’s celebrated 1991 novel “Heir to the Empire,” which was such a success that it likely revived “Star Wars” in the public imagination after it abruptly retired in the eight years following its release in halls of “Return of the Jedi .” The book showed what Han, Leia, and Luke were up to five years after the events of that film.
The iconic troika likely won’t side with Thrawn (although we know Lucasfilm loved some CGI rejuvenations/resurrections), as “Rebels” mastermind turned live-action series guru Filoni will likely wage the inevitable war with Thrawn himself. is focused more on the characters established in “Rebels” and the Disney+ series. We already knew from season 2 of “The Mandalorian” that Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka was determined to find Thrawn. And this trailer shows that she will be joined by Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), making their live action debuts.
Zahn, however, is also the mysterious new Jedi nemesis who has been given significantly more screen time in the trailer than Thrawn himself: this is a dark Jedi named Baylan, who fled to the Unknown Regions after Order 66 and apparently has turned away from the light side – his opening lines about how the destruction of war leads to creation certainly suggests so. He is played by the late Ray Stevenson, who died suddenly earlier this year. The character looks similar to a dark Jedi in “Heir to the Empire” called Joruus C’Baoth, a mad clone Jedi. Apparently, he’s now aligned with Thrawn, so Baylan has at least that in common with C’Baoth. And Ivanna Sakhno plays her apprentice, Shin Hati. She notices their strange orange lightsabers, suggesting they are neither Jedi nor Sith.
Watch the trailer below. “Ahsoka” debuts on Disney+ on August 23 and is spread over eight episodes.