ahsoka show

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Why some ‘Star Wars’ fans are mad about Ahsoka being called a Jedi

The new show describes Ahsoka Tano as a Jedi. But fans argue that her non-Jedi status is a crucial canon detail.

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

While there’s plenty of hype for Disney+‘s live-action Ahsoka show, it’s surprisingly divisive among diehard Star Wars animation fans.

On the one hand, Ahsoka will bring a beloved character to a wider audience. However, some Ahsoka Tano fans believe the live-action show is downplaying the character’s animated origins, playing into long-running biases about live-action being a superior medium.

There’s also widespread concern that the live-action spinoff will simplify or mess around with Clone Wars canon to make Ahsoka more accessible to new viewers. Case in point, the recurring criticism around Disney marketing Ahsoka as a Jedi:

This became a point of contention after Rosario Dawson debuted her version of Ahsoka in The Mandalorian in 2019. But the latest wave of complaints stems from a promo video for her solo show, with Dawson sharing a 30-second summary of Ahsoka’s backstory.

This teaser doesn’t use any footage from the animated shows, which inevitably frustrated a lot of Clone Wars/Rebels fans. But on top of that, the teaser also describes Ahsoka as a Jedi and Anakin Skywalker as a “Jedi Master,” which isn’t strictly accurate. Yes, we are getting into nitpicky territory here. But Ahsoka’s non-Jedi status is a contentious issue.

Is Ahsoka a Jedi?

Introduced as Anakin’s Padawan in The Clone Wars, Ahsoka is a trainee Jedi for most of her canon screentime. But in season 5 of Clone Wars, she leaves the Order due to ethical conflicts with the Jedi Council.

Rather than turning to the dark side like Anakin or Dooku, she continues to be characterized as one of the good guys. She just renounces her Jedi affiliation, and many fans see this as an integral part of her character. So when Disney+ refers to her as a Jedi, this raises concerns that the show doesn’t understand her backstory. (As for the “Anakin isn’t a Jedi Master” complaints, that’s a technicality. He didn’t achieve the rank of “master,” but he was definitely Ahsoka’s master, ie. her mentor.)

One of the weirder elements of this discourse is that the Ahsoka show is actually co-run by Ahsoka’s original co-creator Dave Filoni. He shaped Ahsoka Tano’s backstory in the animated franchise, so you’d think fans would give him the benefit of the doubt.

Filoni actually addressed the “Is Ahsoka a Jedi” issue back in 2020, following her first live-action appearance. “[Fans] all focus very hard on the line, ‘I am no Jedi,’ from Star Wars: Rebels,” he said. “But it’s undeniable that she’s trained by the Jedi.”

He explained that although Ahsoka left the Jedi Order, she still embodies many Jedi traits. It makes sense for other characters to identify her as a Jedi, which is exactly what happens in The Mandalorian.

So the live-action franchise isn’t necessarily backtracking on Clone Wars/Rebels canon here. Plus, of course, much of the backlash targets Ahsoka‘s marketing campaign, which relies on a lot of simplified language aimed at new viewers. The show will presumably delve deeper into Ahsoka’s Jedi identity, which may have evolved in the decades since she left the Order.

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