Ahsoka Trailer: War Is Inevitable In The Latest Star Wars Series

BY RAFAEL MOTAMAYOR/JULY 11, 2023 12:49 PM EST

A new trailer for the upcoming live-action "Ahsoka" is here, and there are two possibilities. Either the metric ton of references to "Star Wars Rebels," one of the best "Star Wars" stories ever told, was like catnip to you, or the translation from animation to live-action — and the seemingly retconning of a lot of the character work done on that show — feels like a betrayal to the entire "Star Wars" animated output of the past 15 years.

The trailer makes it very clear this is not just a continuation to The MandoVerse, but a proper continuation to "Rebels," picking up right where we left off and promising a reunion with the Ghost Crew — except Garazeb "Zeb" for some reason, despite him already showing up in "The Mandalorian." We see the LothalNet comm tower E-272 (better known as Ezra's Tower) where we last saw Ahsoka and Sabine in the series finale of "Rebels," and even Sabine's mural of the Ghost Crew. We get the return of Hera trying to convince the Rebel command that they should fight rather than sit around and do nothing. We even get a prominent shot of Chopper, the best droid in "Star Wars" — eat it, R2! And a fan service-y shot of Sabine getting her cartoon haircut back.

Indeed, this poses a bigger problem than any other "Star Wars" show until now: how to make this a show that successfully pays off 15-year-old plot threads while also serving as many people's introduction to these characters. "The Mandalorian" didn't have that problem, and even "Book of Boba Fett" mostly relied on a bit of knowledge from a single movie, rather than four seasons of TV. We don't know the answer, but hey, Thrawn is here!

Hello, Thrawn

The trailer for "Ahsoka" really focuses on one thing: the second coming of Thrawn and showrunner Dave Filoni's upcoming adaptation-in-everything-but-name of "Heir to the Empire." We've known for a while that Filoni simply loves Thrawn and considers him the big bad of this era of the "Star Wars" timeline, and this trailer finally unveils him, revealing our first look at Lars Mikkelsen reprising his role as Thrawn from "Rebels."

We knew about Thrawn, but the trailer really makes it clear that this is the reason for the show to happen and for Ahsoka to seek out old allies, rather than purely focus on her and Sabine looking for Ezra. This is a clever way of not shutting out newcomers with four seasons' worth of story, but showing something simple that was already teased in "The Mandalorian."

Arguably the more interesting aspect of the trailer is how much it showcases the late Ray Stevenson's villain, Baylon Skoll. Though we still don't know who he is, his red-tinted orange lightsaber clearly means he's up to no good, but what is fascinating is how he directly addresses Ahsoka as Anakin's former padawan, saying the Fallen Jedi "spoke highly" of Ahsoka. Does this mean Skoll knew Anakin, and if so, was that before or after the events of "Revenge of the Sith"? We see Ahsoka fight an Inquisitor in the trailer, does that mean Skoll was one of them, or something else?

We'll find out when "Ahsoka" debuts on August 23, 2023, with a two-episode premiere on Disney+.

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