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AHSOKA IN THE MANDALORIAN
Rosario Dawson has reportedly been cast as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian Season 2. Initial whispers of this news popped up Friday morning via /Film and were later circulated by Variety. Dawson, likely best known to genre fans for her time as Claire Temple (aka Night Nurse) in Netflix's Marvel shows, has long been a standout favorite among fans for the role. Dawson herself has welcomed the speculation.
It is difficult to know how exactly Ahsoka would fit into this spot in the timeline. Though we heard her voice in The Rise of Skywalker, the last we saw her physically in the timeline was in the epilogue of Star Wars Rebels, just as she was about to head off to unknown parts of the galaxy to search for Ezra and, perhaps, Thrawn, alongside the Mandalorian Sabine Wren.
That scene happened after the original trilogy wrapped up and could have happened anytime after Return of the Jedi, though I think it likely takes place after the Battle of Jakku. There's no indication of how long her journey to seek out Ezra might last. It's possible it wouldn't have lasted more than a year or two and she could make it back in time to participate in the events of The Mandalorian, which takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Would Ahsoka be drawn to the Force-sensitive child? Would the Mandalorian seek her out on his quest to find the child's home?
The second season of The Mandalorian hits Disney+ in October.
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER COMES EARLY
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was slated to come out on digital this week, but it came out early — likely due to the spread of the coronavirus, which has prompted several studios to make theatrical films available to rent or stream earlier than they had initially planned. As a result, fans could purchase The Rise of Skywalker on the iTunes store with all of its bonus features.
The behind-the-scenes film that documents the process of making The Rise of Skywalker is exhaustive and covers all aspects of production — from the time J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio signed on to work on the script after Carrie Fisher’s passing. Sadly, for those of us interested in the process and previous iterations, the documentary did not delve into any of Colin Trevorrow's time on the film, and it makes sense that Disney wouldn't want to showcase behind-the-scenes turmoil in this promotional extra.
Aside from that omission, the documentary is stunning and almost as good as the one that accompanied The Last Jedi. Whether you enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker or not (for the most part, I did), this documentary will help you understand that everyone involved in the film cared deeply about the choices they were making and had sound creative reasons to make them. In fact, watching the thought and care that went into everything softened me on some of the choices in the film that I thought had gone too far or not far enough.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available to purchase on Digital right now and comes out on Blu-ray on March 31.
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER CONCEPT ART
Phil Szostak is a name you don’t hear enough when talking about Star Wars. His Twitter feed is a movable feast of Star Wars concept art and behind-the-scenes trivia. He’s also the author of the "Art of …" books from the Disney-era films. He's able to connect the dots between ideas and give us our best look at the iterative creative process that creates a Star Wars movie.
This week, StarWars.com unveiled new pieces from the forthcoming Art of The Rise of Skywalker book, and they are gorgeous. The book itself comes out March 31, and it's worth checking out. Not only will it offer a window into the visuals of the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, but it will give you an additional window into how the film got to the point where we saw it.
BABY BEN SOLO
We all want more content involving Kylo Ren/Ben Solo as a young man, right? Our glimpse of who he was without the shadow of the dark side casting over him in The Rise of Skywalker tantalized us.
Well, we know have a new look at Ben as a toddler, albeit in an interesting and unexpected form.
Star Wars Roll Out is a new animated YouTube show, and I have to say that it’s rather charming. I had little intention of watching these unless my 4-year-old was interested in them, but when they led off with Ben Solo, I was intrigued. This first episode won me over.
It really gives a sense of the mischievous nature of young Ben, and how exhausting it must have been for Han and Leia (and Chewbacca) to parent him. And more than anything, this episode is just fun. For a silent short, it's a winner. Now if they'd only give us episodes starring Jar Jar ...
New episodes of Star Wars Roll Out will hit the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel periodically.
GALAXY OF ADVENTURES
Roll Out isn't the only series on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. Galaxy of Adventures takes audio from the Star Wars films and animates and mashes it up in new ways. I’m surprised by how often I get the chills when watching these shows; the juxtapositions can often be that powerful, especially when married to the classic film dialogue.
Season 2 launched last week, and this episode comparing Vader and Kylo Ren was one of those shiver-inducing moments:
Rey got her moment to shine as well:
AHSOKA RETURNS TO THE CLONE WARS
Star Wars: The Clone Wars remains a strong presence on Disney+, and the new season has just turned its first corner. After the completion of the “Bad Batch” arc, this week sees the release of the first episode in a new arc starring fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano.
The first episode sees Ahsoka crash-landing onto Coruscant’s fabled level 1313, and she gets involved with a pair of sisters working to scrape a life together in the underworld. "Gone With a Trace" was a genuinely great episode and fascinating because this is the first real glimpse we’ve received of Ahsoka's narrow window between leaving the Jedi and their total destruction.
The episode airs on Disney+ today, and the arc will continue for the next three weeks beyond.
A STIRRING IN THE SENATE
As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, I wanted to shine a light on one of the deleted scenes and plotlines from the film. This scene shows the very start of what would become the Rebel Alliance.
An interesting note about this scene: Mon Mothma is played by Genevieve O’Reilly. Her scenes were cut from the film entirely, but she was still asked to come back and reprise her role for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story alongside Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa, creating a nice continuity bridge across the dark times.
Until next week: May the Force be with you!