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Disney+'s Ahsoka is the show for the next generation of Star Wars fans (which may or may not be you)

It's more colorful and obvious, and that's not a bad thing

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t particularly impressed by the opening episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka. As much as I wanted to love the show, I found the pacing to be slow, some character beats to be too obvious — Sabine’s introduction, especially — and the whole thing a little clunky. Looking at social media, it seems as if I’m not alone; there’s no shortage of people complaining about the first couple of episodes, it appears. But here’s the thing: we might all be wrong.

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Well, not wrong, per se, but missing the point, at least. Because I didn’t watch Ahsoka alone; I watched it with an 11-year-old who, after the episode was done, announced that it was amazing and “the most Star Wars-fest of all the Star Warses.” Their reasoning? Pretty much everything that I’d not liked about the show: that it spent time on world building, the character beats that I hadn’t enjoyed but they thought were bad-ass, and that everything was particularly easy to follow - as opposed to the internecine mechanics of something like Andor, or even Obi-Wan Kenobi. Listening to them talk about just how much they loved the show, and why they loved the show, I realized: the problem with Ahsoka isn’t the show’s problem, it’s mine — I am very much not the target audience for the show.

Still image from live action Ahsoka series
Image credit: Disney+

Reproaching Ahsoka from this point of view, I found a new appreciation of it. Sure, I’m too cynical to appreciate Sabine’s speeder bike run, but it’s something that probably played well to other younger viewers in addition to the 11-year-old: it’s not only the punchline to the gag about her not showing up for her own celebration, but it’s something that has its own appeal to a degree, showing Sabine as a loner but also someone who has a cool-looking bike that flies. As jaded as those of us who saw Return of the Jedi may be, to newer viewers… that is pretty great.

The same is true of the climactic lightsaber battle at the end of the first episode. I knew too much to think that Sabine would really be killed at the end of the first episode, but not everyone feels the same, which makes that moment land far more powerfully because they’re seeing the scene as it was intended. There’s something wonderfully pure about that.

Still image from live action Ahsoka series
Image credit: Disney+

In a strange way, the aesthetic of Ahsoka leans into the idea that it’s a show aimed at a younger audience moving from the animated shows to the live action Star Wars. It’s a far more colorful show than, say, The Book of Boba Fett or The Mandalorian, to the point of being garish, almost. The visual language feels similarly blunter, and less interested in “pretty” shots than simply sharing information. (Again, compare the direction of something like Andor to Ahsoka.)

None of this is said to be derogatory to Ahsoka, or to imply that it’s some kind of 'Baby’s First Star Wars' show; just the opposite — it makes sense that, as a show that is, to all intents and purposes, the sequel to an animated series aimed at a younger audience, it should act as a bridge between animation and live action for younger viewers. This is exactly what the property needs in order to grow its audience, after all… and there’ s something genuinely thrilling about watching a franchise as big as Star Wars not just cater to its aging core fanbase.

So, Star Wars: Ahsoka doesn’t work for me? Ultimately, that’s to its credit — and, given the choice, I’d rather the space opera about space wizards and their laser swords was made for kids, rather than middle aged dudes who remember loving it four decades ago anyway.

Want to watch Ashoka’s story from the start? here’s how to do it.

Graeme McMillan

Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.


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