Heir to the ‘Empire’

Ahsoka mid-season review (no spoilers)

Published by James Cressman, Date: September 21, 2023
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For the first time since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, “Star Wars” feels rooted to the foundation that series creator George Lucas built between 1977 and 2008. While George Lucas may not be at the helm, a man who has been described by fans as his true successor, Dave Filoni, a Mount Lebanon Township native, has created what can only be described as a love letter to the “Prequel Trilogy” era.

Ahsoka, an eight-part Disney+ original series, continues the story of Ahsoka Tano, the once Jedi padawan of Anakin Skywalker who embarks on an emerging threat in the wake of the fall of the Galactic Empire.

The story, set some time after the events of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” embraces both the feeling and look of the “prequel trilogy” and the “original trilogy,” while also finally finding the perfect opportunity to blend live-action “Star Wars” with the animated canon material that began in 2008.

The war is over, the Empire, the Emperor and Darth Vader are gone. The Rebel Alliance is now the New Republic and everyone believes that the worst is behind them. Ahsoka Tano, on the other hand, has begun to hear whispers of the return of a former enemy, Grand Admiral Thrawn, the heir apparent to the Empire.

While the series is a continuation of the “Star Wars” series as a whole, it also serves as a direct continuation to “Star Wars: Rebels” which introduced audiences to Thrawn on screen for the first time since the character’s conception in the 1991 Timothy Zahn novel, “Heir to the Empire.”

Another major aspect of the series is the story beneath the story, Ahsoka has never confronted her past and the guilt she holds onto for what happened at the conclusion of the Clone Wars.

In “Revenge of the Sith,” Anakin Skywalker finds himself at the tipping point as he has beaten Count Dooku and must decide to take him prisoner, or worse. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Luke Skywalker too stands at the crossroads as he faces off with the illusion of Vader in the Cave. Filoni takes these two moments and crafts a crossroad of his own for Ahsoka, a moment in which power teeters on a very thin line.

Filoni has captured each and every one of us who grew up with the prequel trilogy, making the viewers confront “Star Wars” past in order to welcome its future. Had someone told me in 2008 that as a “Star Wars” fan I would have this series to look forward to, I would not have believed it. I may have even been apprehensive about the idea because the “Star Wars” animated content is so special to me.

What Dave Filoni has done with Ahsoka for fans of the “prequel trilogy” and “Star Wars Clone Wars” can never be thanked enough. He has made it a time to be a proud “Star Wars” fan, and in many ways seems to be the only person who’s been listening for nearly the last decade. If there was ever any doubt before, “Ahsoka” is the reminder that Dave Filoni is the heir to Lucas’s “Empire.”

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James is a senior Strategic Communication and Media major with concentrations in digital media production and multimedia journalism. He also minors in film & media studies. James serves as the News Editor at The Rocket and President of Lambda Pi Eta: the National Communication Association’s Honor Society. James is a movie enthusiast, a “Star Wars” fanatic and a fan of all things comedy. James previously served as the President of WSRU-TV (2022-2024).

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