Rosario Dawson is a Force to Follow in Disney+ Series Ahsoka

“Ahsoka,” the eagerly awaited Rosario Dawson film, definitely depends on a connection to previously portrayed characters to drive its opening emotional arcs. So, if you aren’t already involved in Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, Hera Syndulla, and other characters from past works like the Star Wars animated series “Rebels,” you can feel lost during the first two episodes.

As the first episode of this new Disney+ series begins, Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), who had previously been given to the Rebellion by Ahsoka for safekeeping, is set free by two Force-sensitive human criminals (Ray Stevenson as Baylan Skoll and Ivanna Sakhno as Shin Hati). When we first meet our heroine, she is searching for a route to the notorious “Rebels” bad guy Grand Admiral Thrawn, who Morgan Elsbeth is also looking for and who is probably with Ezra.

When given the map, Ahoska requires assistance understanding it. Ahsoka recruits Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), a former Padawan, with the support of Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Casual fans of the Star Wars franchise can be excused for not having seen every film and for possibly feeling a little bewildered at the beginning of “Ahsoka.” (Consider it retribution for not being faithful enough.) Still, “Ahsoka” features iconic Star Wars artistic flourishes, such as the way the episode opens with that recognizable scrolling text, albeit this time in a more somber red. We are also introduced to the mythology of the franchise early on, including Ahsoka’s past as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan and the idea that each lightsaber is unique to its owner.

Where “Ahsoka” fits in the Star Wars world is unclear based on the first two episodes that were made accessible to critics. It doesn’t seem to have the same political goals as “Andor,” an exposé of how fascism spreads and how it impacts immigrants’ lives when it does. There isn’t much of it in “Ahsoka,” just a passing reference to how the Empire attracts individuals more via greed than through loyalty. Additionally, “The Mandalorian’s” outrageous joy is absent. Here, there are no cuddly sidekicks or monsters of the week.

Ahsoka, a fascinating figure and enigma in the Star Wars universe, stands in for this. She was trained as a Jedi but departed before completing her training, so she is both a part of the main Darth Vader/Luke/Leia story and another one entirely.

She also clearly does not look like a human, which is unusual for a Star Wars protagonist. Moreover, a woman of color. Rosario Dawson thus has a full head and tails. She walks and speaks deliberately and slowly. Ahsoka is a strong heroine who is confident in who she is and where she fits in the cosmos.

Of course, that doesn’t preclude her from moving swiftly when necessary. There are many entertaining action scenes in “Ahsoka” that let us to see how Dawson’s character uses her two white lightsabers with purpose, quickness, and accuracy.

Will that be sufficient to sustain an entire series? Although the first two episodes don’t reveal much, the legend around the guy and Dawson’s portrayal are sufficient reasons to watch. We’ve waited long enough for it.

When the Vanity Fair cover with Dawson, Diego Luna (from “Andor”), and Pedro Pascal (from “The Mandalorian”) debuted last year, it seemed as though Latinos had finally arrived and were reclaiming our imaginations back on Earth as well as the galaxy far, far away. However, the reality is a little more convoluted because their characters aren’t Latino in the traditional sense—how could they be when they come from completely different worlds?

It’s considerably riskier for Dawson because she’s Ahsoka. In “Andor,” Luna maintained his Mexican accent, and the planet Mandalor may be interpreted as a country in Latin America that had been devastated by empirical avarice, much to Pascal’s own Chile. However, Ahsoka’s past is more of a Star Wars myth than it is a geopolitical fact.

Her body paint is another issue. She has a beautiful natural skin tone, however it is hidden by her whole orangeness. No matter how far certain designers take their imagined society, it seems they can still only represent Black women as others—never completely human—just as when Lupita Nyong’o plays Maz in this universe or Zoe Saldaa transforms into green (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) or blue (“Avatar”) in other galaxies.

Of course, the fact that Ahsoka is no longer a supporting figure is significant. She plays the lead role in an expensive and successfully advertised franchise. Her show is therefore a type of arrival. An Afro-Latina woman in this scene commands the screen and our attention as though she were destined for the part. And perhaps she was. We’ll have to wait and see where Dawson is taken next by “Ahsoka” to learn more.

A review screening of two “Ahsoka” episodes was place. On August 23, 2023, “Ahsoka” will debut on Disney+.

Leave a Comment