George Lucas Was on ‘The Mandalorian’ Set for Ahsoka’s Live-Action Debut; He Created the Character in the 2000s To Help Anakin Grow Up
Fans of Ahsoka Tano know that her character has gone through so much. From trying to prove herself worthy of being a Padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, to fighting her former master on Malachor in Star Wars Rebels, she’s one of the few characters that’s been able to grow up on-screen so much in the franchise. She’s always been faithful to herself, though, and has made some really tough decisions throughout her life.
Her fans have a special place in their hearts for her, and it only makes sense that that’s the case for her creators: George Lucas and Dave Filoni. And it turns out Lucas was on set the day his creation was brought to life in The Mandalorian as well. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Season 2, “Chapter 13: The Jedi”].
George Lucas created ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ to dive into the war period he couldn’t with the movies
Even though the prequels to the Star Wars Skywalker saga weren’t received with 100 percent positivity at first, they are important. They told the story of how Anakin Skywalker could turn to the Dark side. And how he turned from his love for Padmé as well as his brother/father-figure, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In doing that, though, the movies skipped over the majorly important Clone Wars. It’s the civil war conflict between the Republic and the Separatist planets and the Jedi chose the side of the Republic. The masters became generals and their Padawans were commanders. It politicized them in a way that was able to further cloud them and lead them further away from their original purpose as Jedi.
However, that’s all sort of lost in the movies; it’s touched on and established, but audiences can’t really grasp it that well. So that’s mostly what Lucas set out to do with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the movie and then the show.
“[With this series] I got to fill in a blank and go around in a universe that’s not as restrictive and not as dark,” Lucas said at a press conference in 2008, according to io9. “It’s more lighthearted. The series will be more like Indiana Jones — episodic. And we used ideas from anime and manga too.”
He created the character of Ahsoka Tano to help Anakin’s character, but she of course became her own iconic figure
Of course, it wasn’t just showing Anakin and Obi-Wan’s arguments in the field or Padmé’s amazing speeches in the Senate. The series humanized the Clone troopers by not only giving them names, personalities, and more, but by focusing whole arcs on who they are. And in addition to adding Captain Rex and more, Ahsoka Tano made her debut in 2008 as well.
Ahsoka, originally brought to life by Ashley Eckstein, was a spunky and stubborn 14-year-old who came on the scene at the orders of Master Yoda after Obi-Wan “requested” a new Padawan. But, instead, she was assigned to Anakin. Young Skywalker, like the naive and immature 19-year-old he still was, was very against having his own Padawan to train and look after. But after their first mission together, Anakin really softened up to her, and the rest is history.
This, of course, was all a part of Lucas’ plan.
“[With Ahsoka] I wanted to develop a character who would help Anakin settle down. He’s a wild child after [Attack of the Clones],” Lucas said in 2008. “He and Obi-Wan don’t get along. So we wanted to look at how Anakin and Ahsoka become friends, partners, a team.”
Ahsoka then went on to inspire so many fans and develop her own story, away from being just tied to Anakin’s. She did succeed in helping him grow, showing that he really did do a lot of maturing between Episode II and Episode III. But she also came into her own.
Not only was she one of the most skilled fighters, facing off against Grievous and Mandalorians and holding her own, but she also holds so much maturity by Season 5. When she leaves the Jedi Order it’s because she can acknowledge that maybe she has moved past the Jedi Order.
Lucas was on the set of ‘The Mandalorian’ and saw Rosario Dawson in Ahsoka’s live-action form
This all, of course, then leads into her appearances in Season 7 of The Clone Wars, where she sees the flaws of the Jedi further. And then in Star Wars Rebels where she’s a full-fledged Rebel spy.
Now, in her live-action debut, it’s of course a big moment for fans of the character. But for Lucas and Filoni, it’s their creation come to life. And while Filoni was there because he directed and wrote the episode, Lucas was also on set. And it was also the day of the now-famous Lucas/Baby Yoda photo that Jon Favreau posted in January on Twitter.
“I was there that day. I was all dressed up, I was just off to the side of that photo, all done up as Ahsoka,” Rosario Dawson told Vanity Fair in an interview on Nov. 30. “And I remember it broke the internet when that picture came out. It was just an amazing, amazing moment, and we were all beside ourselves. It was definitely very ‘geek out.’”
For Dawson, who is newly stepping into the role, she was “nerve-racked” and having Lucas there came with “a lot of pressure,” but it was still “great” and “a lot of fun.”
“Both of them were looking at me but they weren’t, you know what I mean?” she said. “They were looking at their imaginations come to life.”