This week’s episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian finally cemented a fan-favorite character in the live-action series and lore. According to CNN, the fifth episode entitled “The Jedi” debuted Rosario Dawson (Men In Black II, Marvel’s Daredevil) as Ahsoka Tano, a character originating from Cartoon Network’s critically-acclaimed animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The Clone Wars premiered in 2008 and ran on Cartoon Network for five seasons. In 2014, a sixth season aired on Netflix. In February of this year, Disney+ released a final seventh season compiled of twelve episodes. Overseen by Dave Filoni (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: Resistance), the series explored the Star Wars universe between the second trilogy films Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In the series, Tano was a Padawan or apprentice of the then-Jedi Anakin Skywalker. Tano was voiced by Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, That’s So Raven) in the show.
According to CNN, the episode was written and directed by Filoni. In addition to Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman: 1984, Game of Thrones) as the title character, the episode featured Micahel Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens). Rumors of Dawson’s casting as the beloved character had buzzed for months leading up to the second season premiere. Fans finally witnessed Ahsoka, with twin lightsabers and all, as she became the latest objective in The Mandalorian’s quest. Two episodes prior, another Clone Wars character, Katee Sackhoff’s (Longmire, Battlestar Galactica) Bo Katan, referred Ahsoka as being able to assist The Mandalorian on his mission to reunite “baby Yoda” with the likes of the elusive Jedi. Following this lead gave viewers backstory on the child, a great action sequence, and greater hints of what may come in the series’ future.
In the episode, Mando inadvertently crossed paths with Ahsoka after being commissioned to kill her for a tyrannical Imperial Magistrate. The two instead joined forces taking down the enemy and freeing a neighboring village. In the process, viewers received two major story developments.
According to CNN, Mando and Ashoka’s meeting revealed that “Baby Yoda” is named Grogu, and only the second of its kind Ahsoka had encountered. This could be viewed as a clear reference to Jedi Master Yoda. Ahsoka detailed Grogu was in training with the Jedi to build his abilities enabled by the Force. But with the rise of the Empire, he was kidnapped and repressed his powers at the risk of being caught. Mando intended to leave the child in Ahsoka’s custody as promised, but Ahsoka sensed the deep connection and calm Grogu had developed in Mando’s care. She recommended he take the child to a temple as it is best for his powers to flourish without fear. This is a clear reference to the Light and Dark sides of the Force and Ahsoka witnessing Anakin’s demise into becoming Darth Vader.
The second story development dealt with Ahsoka’s immediate mission and the intel she collected. After defeating the Imperial Magistrate, Ahsoka requested the whereabouts of the woman’s master, Grand Admiral Thrawn. According to CNN, Thrawn was a high-ranking Empire official that appeared in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Rebels documented the rebellion against a powerful Empire prior to the events of the film Star Wars: A New Hope. This information hints at a possible appearance from the character and showdown between him and the series’ protagonist.