Ahsoka continues to be one of the most interesting experiments Star Wars has done in the Disney era, a direct continuation of 11 years of animated series from Dave Filoni, 7 of Clone Wars and 4 of Rebels, with Disney now letting him do whatever he wants, given that there’s not really a clear direction for the overall universe right now outside of his plans.
But a show like Ahsoka has proven to be somewhat divisive. It feels like a dream for those who have followed Filoni’s animated run, but outside of that, it can be a bit hard to penetrate with so much history required both to understand it, and to make its emotional moments land.
That was on full display last night with an Anakin Skywalker-focused episode retreading his Clone Wars-era relationship with Ahsoka, back when she was effectively a child soldier. This did involve a de-aged cameo from Hayden Christensen, acting like a combination of his prequel self, but mostly channeling his more well-developed Clone Wars personality.
I remarked that it felt like an episode that was specifically devised to service the cameo, rather than the cameo servicing the show, which we’ve seen before like Luke appearing on The Mandalorian, and really I’d argue the entirety of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show felt like this in some ways.
However, Clone Wars fans are ecstatic with how this episode turned out, with many saying they think it’s the greatest episode of Star Wars TV that’s ever been produced, which in an age of some very good Mandalorian episodes and some truly stunning episodes of Andor, is saying a lot.
I liked seeing Anakin here and Christensen was definitely having fun. I thought Ariana Greenblatt did a great job as young Ahsoka in these few scenes. But without the full Clone Wars history, it felt like I was watching a wedding of two strangers. It’s a hugely emotional moment for them and those that know them, but I felt like an outsider missing the larger context here. To me, it felt like Ahsoka could have just crawled back up out of the water and this entire episode could have been skipped. But to Clone Wars fans, it felt like the proper culmination of an 11 year relationship in many ways.
I am certainly glad Filoni fans are having fun. I am enjoying some elements of Ahsoka, certainly, though ironically the non-Filoni stuff like new rogue Jedi Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. Ahsoka, Hera and Sabine are fine, but again, I do not have this history attached to them, so things that feel like they should be landing, are not.
Filoni fans are…not especially understanding of the perspective of those outside the bubble I’ve found. I guess I understand that, this was made specifically for them and them alone, more or less. I just don’t have 50 hours to catch up on 11 seasons of animation, and given that many people watched these shows for over a decade growing up, even if I did that, I’m still not sure it would resonate the same way.
So yeah, I guess I’ll stop complaining that this is large amount of fan service as I guess Star Wars kind of is 90% fan service these days. And who tends to like fan service? Fans. So here we are. All of this just seems so weird and splintered now. Filoni living out his dream like this. The blockbuster movie portion of the world falling apart. Andor feeling like a parallel universe of quality. It’s all very odd. But I’m glad Ahsoka is making a lot of people happy.
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