20 March 2020 22:57
Rosario Dawson is joining the Season 2 cast of The Mandalorian as Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano, a popular character from the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, according to a report by Slashfilm. (A Disney+ source declined to confirm the news when reached by TVLine, adding that any official casting news would be posted first on StarWars.com.) Ahsoka Tano, who debuted in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, is a Jedi padawan who trained under Anakin Skywalker and ascended to the rank of commander in the Grand Army of the Republic. The character, voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the animated series, quickly became a fan favorite and establishes another link between The Mandalorian — which debuted on Disney+ last November — and the larger Star Wars canon. Dawson is well known for her big-screen work in movies like Sin City and Men in Black II, but she's been a frequent presence on TV in recent years. Rosario Dawson will be joining season 2 of The Mandalorian for Disney Plus, where she'll reportedly be playing fan-favorite character Ashoka Tano, according to a report from SlashFilm.
The move marks the most overt link between Disney's popular animated Star Wars TV shows — which include Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, both of which feature Tano as a character — and its live-action efforts. Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein on the animated shows) recently returned to The Clone Wars in the currently airing seventh season of the show, which was resurrected as a Disney Plus exclusive. Tano making the jump from animated to live action would be the biggest shift in the franchise since General Grievous (who debuted in the 2D animated Clone Wars series from Genndy Tartakovsky). Tano was introduced to the Star Wars universe in 2008 as Anakin Skywalker's Jedi apprentice in the spinoff Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie that also served as a backdoor pilot for the TV series. Despite the popularity of the character, she's never appeared in the more serious live-action iterations of the franchise (aside from a voice-over cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker).
While the first episode in her new arc is a bit low on stakes, her journey is materializing before our very eyes, which makes it easy to get excited for the rest of her story this season. "Gone With a Trace" picks up shortly after we last saw Ahsoka in the season 5 finale – although exactly when is unclear – with the force-wielder zipping through Coruscant on a speeder bike, setting out on her own. You just know their decision to work on some dangerous load-lifting droids is going to cause problems outside of their little circle, forcing the Martez sisters to decide if they're more cowboy or scumbag in this universe. Ahsoka needs to fix her bike, and agrees to help the sisters, but spends the episode trying to hide her Force powers in a very Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order manner. "I'm sure you have your problems up there with the Jedi running around starting wars, policing everything," Trace points out, before adding, "They've forgotten about us." "You seem to know a lot about everything," Trace says after Ahsoka flexes her droid knowledge.
This is hardly a surprise casting, as back in 2017, Dawson responded to a fan asking her to appear in a Star Wars movie as Ahsoka by saying "Ummmm... #AhsokaLives." Ahsoka was one of the main protagonists in Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie and TV series and was created by Filoni and George Lucas. She was voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the series, and even made an appearance in a small cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahsoka also appeared in Star Wars Rebels and, while many thought her fate was sealed after a confrontation with her old master who had since become Darth Vader, the ending of the series gave hope to those who wanted her story to continue.As for how Ahsoka could fit into the newest season of Disney+'s The Mandalorian, it may somehow be linked to the black-bladed Darksaber that was seen in the possession of Moff Gideon in the finale of The Mandalorian.The ancient weapon once belonged to Star Wars Rebels' Sabine Wren, who was last seen with Ahsoka before they went off to find Ezra Bridger.This news tracks with statements by previous Disney boss Bob Iger, who said that "The priority in the next few years is television, with The Mandalorian Season 2 coming in October and then more coming from The Mandalorian thereafter, including the possibility of infusing it with more characters and the possibility of taking those characters in their own direction in terms of series." For more on Ahsoka Tano and The Mandalorian, be sure to check out our explainer on beloved once-Jedi and our review of the first season of The Mandalorian. If you have yet to watch the tale of Ahsoka, be sure to jump on Disney+ and use our handy Star Wars: The Clone Wars chronological episode order guide and witness one of the best Star Wars stories from the galaxy far, far away. Please send an email to [email protected] Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN who is stating to the world that Ahsoka Tano is the best character in Star Wars. Rosario Dawson will guest star as Ahsoka Tano in "The Mandalorian" Season 2, marking the live-action debut of the beloved "Star Wars" character. Ahsoka first appeared in "The Mandalorian" director Dave Filoni's 2008 "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" film as the spunky apprentice of Anakin Skywalker. The Force-sensitive Jedi, who is a member of the alien Togruta race, was initially headstrong and petulant, but evolved into a more complex and wise character throughout her appearances in the long-running "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" television series (which recently returned from a six-year hiatus on Disney+) and "Star Wars Rebels." Ahsoka's youth made her particularly relatable for younger viewers, and her growing revelations about the morality of the Jedi Order and their galactic war helped make "The Clone Wars" television series a major critical and commercial hit. "The Mandalorian" takes place after the events of the aforementioned animated series and it is unclear how Ahsoka will fit into the Mandalorian's ongoing adventures with The Child, AKA Baby Yoda. Dawson is apparently a fan of the character; the actress, who most recently starred in USA Network's pulpy "Briarpatch" drama anthology series, enthusiastically told a Twitter follower in 2017 that she would be eager to portray Ahsoka in a "Star Wars" project and later told "Good Morning America" that it would be an "amazing" opportunity. Ahsoka isn't the only iconic "Clone Wars" element that will be appearing in "The Mandalorian" Season 2: The live-action show's first season ended with a fan-pleasing jawdropper of a cliffhanger, where Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) sliced his way out of a crashed TIE fighter with the Darksaber, a legendary black-bladed lightsaber that is beloved by the "Star Wars" fandom. The darksaber and Ahsoka's upcoming appearance indicate that "The Mandalorian" is gearing up to significantly raise the stakes for its titular protagonist and The Child, his Force-sensitive ward, and though Season 1 didn't feature any lightsaber battles or much Force-wielding antics, Dawson's introduction to the series suggests that that is likely to change in Season 2.