Is there such a thing as peace in the Star Wars universe?
At the beginning of Ahsoka Season 1 Episode 1, the Galactic Empire’s reign was a distant but painful memory, but by the end of Ahsoka Season 1 Episode 2, Ahsoka Tano and her allies were once again thrust into a deadly plot to save everything they fought so hard to protect.
After the polarizing reaction to The Mandalorian Season 3, which was fantastic in my book, there was much excitement about how Ahsoka would usher in the next era of the venerable franchise.
Far too often, characters beloved by fans are given a TV series, and let’s just say it doesn’t always work. I’m looking at you, Obi-Wan Kenobi!
Off the bat, Ahsoka benefited by having compelling villains, high stakes, and a fraught relationship between our titular character and her one-time apprentice Sabine Wren.
Morgan Elsbeth is positively deranged, and after her appearance on The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 5, she’s intent on reconnecting with Thrawn.
Oh, yes, this is a storyline thread that was planted quite a while ago, and it’s going to be so much fun watching it sprout into something bigger than we could have ever imagined.
In the last 500 years, I’ve only known one student who built a saber such as this. Baylan Skoll. He disappeared at the end of the Clone Wars. Like so many Jedi.
Diana Lee Inosanto can play a villain well, and her plan to reel in Baylon Skoll and his apprentice, Shin Hati, to aid in her quest delivered plenty of excitement.
Baylon, played by the late great Ray Stevenson, is straight to the point and fatal, two fundamental traits that will solidify him as one of the finest baddies in the Star Wars universe.
Shin Hati is fascinating because she’s a remarkable fighter and isn’t afraid to go into battle against anyone.
Baylon and Shin’s master and apprentice relationship is quite distinct from Ahsoka and Sabine’s, which has to be intentional, right?
There has to come a point in which Sabine and Shin are backed into a corner, and they’ll speak about their time as trainees.
Ahsoka: I just wish she had changed a little. But she’s still just as stubborn and bullish as ever.
Hera: She’s Mandalorian. You knew what you were getting into.
Ahsoka: I thought I did. Things didn’t turn out the way either of us wanted. Hera: Mentoring someone is a challenge. I bet your Master found you difficult at times. Ahsoka: Anakin never got to finish my training. Before the end of the Clone Wars, I walked away from him. And the Jedi. Just like I walked away from Sabine.
The same could probably be said for Ahsoka and Baylon. This show has so much potential.
It was evident from the beginning that Sabine wasn’t making the best decisions because she was driven by this need to find out what happened to Ezra.
If Thrawn somehow survived vanishing into hyperspace, then, of course, there was a chance Ezra was alive, too.
You’d think that little nugget would have been enough to reunite Sabine and Ahsoka, but the pair’s master and apprentice relationship was pretty much nonexistent.
Sabine wasn’t ready to work as part of a team again, which explains her determination to steal the map and go rogue.
That decision might have been an eye-roll moment for many viewers, but the resulting battle with Shin and Sabine almost being killed made her realize she needed to work as part of a team.
Being away from Ahsoka for years made the distance between the pair bigger than ever, but you could tell Sabine still wanted the assurance of her former master throughout all of their interactions.
Ahsoka: Where are you going?
Sabine: Somewhere I can think more clearly.
Ahsoka: I’m not sure that’s a good idea.
Ahsoka: This isn’t just about finding Ezra. It’s about preventing another war.
Sabine: You think I don’t know that?
Ahsoka: The map stays here.
Ahsoka was understandably resentful that Sabine went rogue because she almost killed herself. Plus, she made the fight to find Thrawn and Ezra far more complex.
Ahsoka was giving Sabine the cold shoulder because her former apprentice’s decisions lacked thought about the bigger picture.
How can you sympathize with someone pulling that schtick, especially someone you’ve trained and expect better of?
While Ahsoka and Hera would exercise some form of restraint, Sabine was more about living in the moment and making determinations on the fly without thinking them through.
It’s surprising then that Sabine cut off her hair and declared she was ready to resume training.
It felt like a development we’d be waiting another couple of episodes for, but it’s a testament to the fast-paced nature of this latest branch in the Star Wars universe.
Sabine slowly but surely figuring out the nuances of the map highlighted her importance to the narrative, so hopefully, she’ll fight by Ahsoka’s side in what’s sure to be a cadaverous battle.
Ahsoka is one of the trickiest people in Star Wars to read because nine times out of ten, she has this stoic look on her face.
That’s often difficult for viewers to understand, but thankfully Hera was on hand to tell Sabine that Ahsoka would love nothing more than to have her by her side.
Hera was the voice of reason throughout the first two episodes.
Ahsoka was critical of Sabine’s efforts and wasn’t impressed that her apprentice was making these unilateral decisions that could have gotten her killed.
Hera pointing out that Ahsoka probably got under Anakin’s skin was food for thought.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was perfect as this live-action Hera. She delivered a multi-layered performance as this general who doesn’t give a damn about barriers.
Hera and Ahsoka’s trip to Corellia was engaging for several reasons, but mainly because the pair teamed up like never before to discover the truth about what was happening at the shipyard.
You could tell from the moment they touched down there was a sketchy operation going on that would result in a brutal fight for survival.
With the Imperial’s grip seemingly tightening again, I wonder how many people Morgan will be able to wrangle to stage what can only be described as an uprising.
If she gets her wish and Thrawn returns, it’s hard to envision anything good coming from it.
Shin already made a big mistake by being tracked, but with Baylon understanding Ahsoka was in tow, it makes the next phase of the battle all the more gripping.
The biggest shock about the series is the marketing.
You’d think Disney+ would have called it Star Wars: Rebels Reunite or something because it’s basically a follow-up to the hit animated series.
That’s not a bad thing. There’s a thin line between nostalgia and in-your-face, but Ahsoka gets the live-action iterations of the characters so right that it feels like a natural progression.
That can’t have been easy, so the creatives and stars deserve all the credit here.
Ahsoka Season 1 is off to a winning start, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest.
What did you think of the premiere, Star Wars Fanatics?
What are your thoughts on all the familiar faces?
Hit the comments.
New episodes of Ahsoka air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. PT on Disney+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.