Breaking down the epic first trailer for Ahsoka!

We got our first real look at Ahsoka over the weekend at Star Wars Celebration with the release of a brand new trailer.

It looks epic, and there was more information that came out over the course of the weekend, so let’s break down everything we learned from the trailer for the highly-anticipated series, coming to Disney+ this August.

Sabine Wren!

Ahsoka Tano is far from the only fan-favorite character created for animation to appear in this series, and starring alongside her is Sabine Wren (played by Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Sabine is one of the main characters of Rebels, a Mandalorian warrior and rebel who grows extremely close with Ezra Bridger. With the quest for Ezra seeming to drive part of this series, it makes perfect sense that Sabine is back. We get our first real glimpse at Bordizzo as the character, and even get to see a bit of her reunion with Ahsoka. Plus, there’s a Lothcat, which is awesome, and we get a brief glimpse of Ezra Bridger too (played by Eman Esfandi) through hologram, presumably as Sabine listens to his final message once again.

While this trailer didn’t include it, there was an extended version of the trailer shown at the Ahsoka panel in which Sabine was shown using Ezra Bridger’s green lightsaber, including in a duel against one of the other lightsaber-wielders. So while this trailer didn’t show it, Sabine will get to show off her skills with a lightsaber in this series, still keeping up the legacy of her teacher, Kanan Jarrus.

The Rebels epilogue!

The trailer includes some of the moments seen in the epilogue of Rebels, seemingly re-created for live-action here. That’s pretty exciting, and you can notice the obvious parallels. For instance:

But while we’re clearly seeing the Rebels epilogue show up again, I’m actually not sure that all of this is from that same moment. When Ahsoka and Sabine meet here in the trailer, they look entirely different than they do in that epilogue, and it can’t just be explained by the difference in mediums. Sabine has much longer hair, but more notably, Ahsoka wears her gray garments rather than her white robes. That’s really impossible to reconcile. So actually what I’m guessing happens is that we see this happen twice. I’d guess that Ahsoka arrives on Lothal after hearing rumors about Thrawn’s return, and she discusses these matters with Sabine. Then, later on, she returns to Lothal and enlists Sabine on the mission to go find Ezra. Ashley Eckstein did mention at Celebration being on set when Rosario Dawson was wearing a costume we haven’t seen yet, and perhaps Ahsoka dons the white along the way – in which case the series would also be showing us her progression to the point where we meet her in the Rebels epilogue, as a Gandalf the White type figure. And from a visual standpoint, seeing Ahsoka in white leading the charge against Thrawn, also in white, would be interesting.

The main point, though, is that I’m guessing we’ll see Ahsoka meet Sabine on Lothal twice in the series, and we’re seeing the first one while the Rebels epilogue details the second one. We shall see.

Hera and Chopper!

Joining Sabine (and Ezra) in the series are other members of the Spectres, namely Hera Syndulla and Chopper. We get to see Chopper again (he had a cameo in Rogue One), and we get to see Hera for the first time ever in live-action, piloting the Phantom! It was also announced that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is playing Hera, and we get to see General Syndulla aboard a New Republic cruiser saying, “We have to prepare for the worst.” At this point Hera is not only a friend of the main cast but is also (presumably) still a high-ranking member of the New Republic military, as she was an influential general during the Civil War and into the era of the New Republic.

And the scene of her aboard the New Republic cruiser looks like it might see her conversing with some other influential leaders, including one who will be quite familiar to Star Wars fans…

Mon Mothma!

Mon Mothma returns in Ahsoka, which is amazing. The character has been a big focus of storytelling recently as she starred in Andor, which is set years before A New Hope, when she is an Imperial Senator trying to work secretly behind-the-scenes to aid a not-yet-formal rebellion. She would, in the years to come, be the one to bring the rebel cells together (actually forming it aboard the Ghost with Hera and the rest of the crew). She served as chief of state and commander-in-chief of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and then after their victory at the Battle of Endor, Mothma became the first Chancellor of the New Republic. So this will be our first time glimpsing her in this New Republic era, which is so cool.

She appears alongside other New Republic leaders, and one of them is identified in press materials as Senator Xiono, which is surely Hamato Xiono, the father of Kazuda, who is the main character of Star Wars Resistance. That’s a cool easter egg, and presumably what’s happening in this scene is that Hera and the others are informing them about the dangers and threats surrounding Thrawn’s return. Whether or not the New Republic takes it seriously remains to be seen.

New dark side characters…

The trailer gives us several glimpses at two brand new villains wielding reddish/orange lightsabers, Baylon Skull (played by Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). They’re both seen attacking various New Republic ships, Shin is seen attacking what looks like Ahsoka’s shuttle, and Baylon faces off against Ahsoka in a lightsaber duel. What isn’t clear is who they are or who they’re working for, but it seems that all roads are leading back to Thrawn. My guess is that they aren’t Sith (that would create some continuity questions) but dark side acolytes, much like the Acolytes of the Beyond or something like that. But their inclusion makes it clear that there will be plenty of lightsaber action to fill our screens.

The lightsabers appeared rather orange-ish upon initially viewing it, which led some Star Wars fans to criticize the visuals (because it wouldn’t be Star Wars without some fans wanting to complain about something, particularly before it even releases). But Dave Filoni was asked about it in an interview and he confirmed that it’s intentional, and that it is perhaps an indication that they aren’t exactly what we think. It’s another reminder to not judge a show by its trailer, but it also raises some interesting discussion. As I already mentioned, I’d guess that Filoni’s comments allude to them being not Sith, but fallen Jedi of sorts who begin working with darker forces.

We also saw Morgan Elsbeth return in the trailer, but the biggest reveal of them all was another villain, whose appearance has been long-anticipated.

Thrawn returns

The return of the fan favorite Imperial Grand Admiral has been long teased in the Mandoverse (and get ready for more teases soon…), but we now have our first real look at him in live-action, even if only slightly. Thrawn is glimpsed in one shot of the trailer, from behind, walking onto the bridge of a ship that we also see Morgan Elsbeth on in a different shot. I love how the introduction of Thrawn in this trailer mirrors the introduction of Thrawn in the Rebels season 3 trailer, as the camera first introduces the character from behind and builds the hype.

It was announced that Lars Mikkelson is returning to play the character after voicing him in Rebels, and in the Celebration-exclusive footage there was a glimpse of his face, seeing Thrawn in live-action for the first time. Unlike in that trailer, though, this is the only glimpse we get of him. But it’s fair to say that much of the trailer is about him in a sense.

The first voiceover we hear is from Ahsoka saying, “Something’s coming. Something dark. I sense it.” Later in the trailer, as she reunites with Sabine Wren and Sabine says that it’s been a while, Ahsoka says, “Things have changed. I started hearing whispers, about Thrawn’s return. As heir to the Empire.” That last line is an obvious homage to Timothy Zahn’s classic book Heir to the Empire, which was released in 1991 and introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn for the first time, marking the first chapter of the Thrawn trilogy. Though the book is no longer considered to be canon, it’s a heavy influence for this era of storytelling and remains one of the most important Star Wars stories told.

An Inquisitor?

One of the reasons why it always seemed apparent that the lightsabers used by Baylon and Shin were intentionally orange-ish was because late in the trailer we see Ahsoka fighting another foe with a double-bladed lightsaber – and it’s clearly red. The figure is interesting, because it very much looks like an Imperial Inquisitor… particularly the Eighth Brother, who fell to his (presumed) death in “Twilight of the Apprentice” in Rebels by using his malfunctioning lightsaber as a helicopter. As we well know in Star Wars, when a person falls to their death we should just assume they’re alive… so we’ll see. It would be interesting to see an Inquisitor in this post-Empire timeline and how that would be explained. But it’s been long speculated, for as long as the Inquisitorious has been a thing, that perhaps Barriss Offee would be one of them, and if ever they were going to expand on that as an actual storyline it would figure to be in a series about Ahsoka. So I’m not expecting it, but I’m not ruling it out either.

The World Between Worlds… ?

Returning to the confrontation between Baylon and Ahsoka for just a moment, let’s discuss the scenery of the shot. The background evokes some major vibes of the World Between Worlds, and even the series logo does too. The stones around them make me think that this isn’t actually the World Between Worlds, but it’s possible that it could be another portal to it. It served a key role in Ahsoka’s story, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see certain elements of it return, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s what is happening here.


One last note from the trailer is that Huyang makes an appearance, saying that perhaps it’s time to begin again with the Jedi. He is once again voiced by David Tennant, who voiced the character in The Clone Wars. Huyang (or Professor Huyang, as he’s sometimes known) is a droid who served the Jedi Order for over a thousand generations by assisting younglings in constructing their lightsabers after they retrieved their crystals on Ilum. Included in the Jedi younglings he helped were Yoda and Mace Windu, and so many others in-between. He’s a strong connection point to the Jedi of the past, and it will be interesting to see what his role in this series winds up being.

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