Star Wars used to be exciting. It used to be these cinematic events that would bring generations of fans together and take them on adventures unfolding in galaxies far, far away from our own. When the franchise made its way onto the small screen via animated and live-action TV shows, it began to diversify its appeal because the theatrical experience wasn’t enough for them. And while that garnered its own fan base, the current crop of Disney+ shows turned out to be a total mistake, filled with stale cinematography, wooden performances, and an over-reliance on what came before instead of crafting something new. Yes, they messed up the critically acclaimed The Mandalorian as well. However, there was a spark in the form of Andor, with new characters, fresh lore, and interesting political commentary—things Star Wars used to be synonymous with. But we’re back to square one with Ahsoka.
Ahsoka Tano Gains Access To A Map
The opening crawl for episode 1 of Ahsoka states that even though the Empire has been overthrown and the New Republic has taken its place, there’s an attempt to bring back Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn and regain what they had lost. For that, they’ll need a map, and Ahsoka Tano wants to get to that map before anyone from the Dark Side does. Thrawn had a detailed history in the comics, which was then rendered moot due to corporate politics. Then he became a central figure in the Simon Kinberg, Dave Filoni, and Carrie Beck-led show Star Wars Rebels. He tormented the squad made up of Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Zeb, and Chopper. At the end of that series, both Ezra and Thrawn were dragged away by a Purrgil (those space whales that we briefly saw in The Mandalorian). Clearly, they’re set to re-enter the franchise again, because nothing stays dead. Everything and everyone can be turned into a metaphorical set of keys and jingled in front of “fans” when you don’t know how to keep a franchise alive with new stuff.
Anyway, coming back to the show, Ahsoka learned about this map from a prisoner named Morgan Elsbeth. Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, both dark force users, get Elsbeth out of the New Republic’s clutches. Tano reaches some gray-colored planet to get the map that’ll lead her to Thrawn. She is forced to confront a bunch of droids, and since Dave Filoni is the most talentless hack in existence, he makes her fight them in the blandest way imaginable. The droids self-detonate, and Tano gets out of there in the ship being piloted by her trusty droid, Huyang. When Tano makes her way back to the ship where Elsbeth was being held, she is briefed by General Hera Syndulla about her escape and the involvement of Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. Basic exposition; nothing interesting. I do want to make it clear that I don’t have an issue with exposition. I just hate boring exposition that’s being delivered by actors who seem like they don’t want to be there in that scene. To be fair, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosario Dawson are very talented actresses. Therefore, I’m guessing Filoni has worked his magic here and made them sound so robotic.
Shin Hati Arrives On Lothal To Get The Map
The narrative shifts to Lothal, and we are hit with a jarring mural of the characters from Star Wars Rebels. You see, the character designs resemble the cartoon versions of Hera, Ezra, Sabine, Kanan, and Zeb. But we are in a live-action show where the live-action actors look nothing like the animated characters. And a mural in a live-action universe would resemble the actors playing them and not their animated versions. I don’t even know what else to say. So we soldier on with a boring introduction to Sabine Wren’s live-action version. Natasha Liu Bordizzo isn’t a bad actor, and she is an incredibly experienced martial artist. It’s just that under Dave Filoni’s guiding presence, she feels hollow. Talking about the jingling keys, we get a brief glimpse of the live-action version of Ezra Bridger through a pre-recorded message where he wishes her the best in her efforts to keep peace in the universe.
Shin Hati, Baylan Skoll, and Elsbeth reach the ancient temple built by the Nightsisters of Dathomir, only to realize that Tano has raided and razed the place. Elsbeth orders Shin Hati to go to Lothal and retrieve the map that Tano has stolen because we need to keep the plot moving. Tano arrives at Lothal and then faffs around with Wren about “preventing a war” and the “importance of knowing what the map does.” It’s just self-important nonsense. There are no personal stakes involved. No one is actually motivated to do anything because they want to do it. It’s just another piece of “end of the galaxy” nonsense that has to be prevented because only then will the plot feel necessary. Amidst all this, we get yet another expository sequence about Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati’s history. All this can be shown to us. But the great Dave Filoni decides to bring things to a halt and just stand around holograms of lightsabers and talk. Riveting stuff. By the way, while they’re doing all this, Shin Hati and her droids land on the outskirts of Lothal and track down Wren.
Did Shin Hati get the orb from Sabine Wren?
Tano stands around and talks with Hera and Huyang about Sabine, and it’s so painfully boring that I can put my hand through the screen and end this. But since Disney and Lucasfilm won’t pay for my laptop, I won’t do something so drastic. Are you wondering what Sabine Wren has been doing all this time? She’s sitting around, figuring out the map. Is she successful in doing so? Yes, she is. However, before she can act on it or inform Tano, she’s attacked by Shin Hati and her droids. While she’s fighting one of them, the other one retrieves the orb, destroys all of her equipment, and makes its way to Shin Hati. At the end of Ahsoka Episode 1, Sabine calls for backup, but before Tano can get to her, she is stabbed in the gut by Shin. We’ve all seen the teasers, the trailers, and the promotional material. Is this lightsaber stab to Sabine Wren’s gut supposed to mean anything? No, it’s not.
The only time a lightsaber stab meant anything was in The Phantom Menace because Qui-Gon Jinn died. Since then, multiple characters have been stabbed by a lightsaber, and it has been treated as a simple flesh wound or something that can be healed by taking a nap. If that doesn’t underscore the frivolous nature of this current era of Star Wars, I don’t know what does. I mean, the characters can pretend to be as serious as they want to be and talk poetically about “consequences.” However, if there aren’t any actual consequences to one’s actions, why should I show even an ounce of interest? Well, maybe this show isn’t made for me. It’s for the Rebels fans who are just happy to see their favorite animated characters being played by live-action stars. What does the end mean? It means that the villains of the show have the map to Thrawn now, and the heroes have nothing. Sabine has a vague idea of the planet the map was pointing to, and they have an idea of who Skoll and Hati are. Therefore, they can either search the galaxy based on a vague idea or go after Skoll and Hati and retrieve the map from them before they bring Thrawn from his exile.