Rosario Dawson launched into The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett getting her own series in the new Star Wars show Ahsoka on Disney+ this August. Though Dawson (Batman: The Audio Adventures) will play the distinguished montral wearing character, she has always respected the woman behind the original Ahsoka, Ashley Eckstein (Sydney White).
In 2008, Eckstein voiced Ahsoka Tano in the animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars which then turned into a series on Cartoon Network. The series was then pushed to Netflix and then Disney+. For all seven seasons, Eckstein played Ahsoka as well as in the animated series Star Wars Rebels and 2022’s Tales of the Jedi. From EW’s launch pad, the Dagobah Dispatch podcast, Dawson, joined by fellow Ahsoka stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Day Shift), emphasized how Eckstein’s performance provided the stencil for Dawson to fill in.
“You have this volume and work and performance to go back to,” Dawson said, “and these memories and reflections and The Clone Wars and Rebels with the work that Ashley did. We got to watch her grow and develop, and see the heart and the energy and the passion and the love that Ashley has brought to this character.”
Dawson’s connection to Eckstein’s Ahsoka eclispses every screen. “Any single time there’s a Tano Tuesday or any of these different things, she just goes off and she’s just got this history and this connection with the fans for so long,” Dawson said.
The connection deepened when Eckstein visited the set of Ahsoka to observe Dawson filming the space drama. “It was just absolutely remarkable to have her on set,” said Dawson. “We were beside ourselves. And she came in and you could just see it in her eyes. It’s very similar to the look in [Clone Wars, Rebels, and Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni’s] eyes. These are people who have been working in dark rooms with microphones and these animated characters for so long. And to see it now three-dimensionally is pretty wild. And to have her energy there and her blessing on this show is everything, because she’s so much a part of this show.”
Dawson doubled down on just how much Eckstein’s spirit permeated the show’s membrane, explaining, “We literally religiously watch these episodes over and over again as homework, which is like the easiest and the best homework in the world. And the inflection of the voice and the heart and the love and just the commitment over so many years — I mean, she’s a true believer. And I think that heart just lives on in this story.”
Having those like Filoni (Star Wars: The Bad Batch) and Eckstein ride along with the live-action Ahsoka, for Dawson, it lights up all the shadows between the stars. “To have Dave and her guiding it to this next thing is really quite beautiful,” Dawson said. “And it’s nice to see the fans appreciate that as well, because we’ve all been on this journey together for a long time, and now it’s exciting to see where it goes next.”