While the tragic opera that is Revenge of the Sith still burned in many fans’ minds, news of a new Star Wars project appeared — an animated television adventure set during the Clone Wars.
Over the next three years, feelings ranged from skepticism to pure doubt. How could this work? Would this be some glorified toy commercial?
While toys were definitely going to be a component of this, those who really knew the work of George Lucas could see the possibilities: A serial war story from a man whose creative process was formed on Flash Gordon and World War II news shorts.
It didn’t take long to see that we got exactly that — and more. Right off the bat, we were presented with real war stories that dealt with big moral themes in areas like enhanced interrogations, and even right-to-life issues.
But Lucas’ real, lasting contribution was not the whiz-bang adventures in that unique Star Wars visual prose, but rather who he hired to run the show … Dave Filoni.
Many artists have a part of their soul dedicated to Star Wars, but Filoni IS that soul — a unique fan, whose love and knowledge is like so many others, but that paired with the pure Star Wars instinct is incredible.
It’s not hard to see how he became the Palawan to Lucas, who has all but handed the spirit of this world to him. Disney may have the legal rights, but Filoni is the spiritual heir to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Now, even his colleagues on The Mandalorian — including show-runner John Favreau has acknowledged that the show wouldn’t be the same without Filoni.
While Filoni is honoring the Star Wars aesthetic, he has taken the baton from Lucas, and greatly expanded the universe, and he has given us a guide through on this journey — the show’s breakout star, a young Togrutan names Ahsoka Tano.
This show was driven by not only a female character, but one who is not human … and no one seems to be talking about what an accomplishment this is. She is universally embraced by fans around the world, but the larger media and annoying outside rabble still want to harp on the criticism leveled to Rey.
I happen to be a giant Rey fan, but I get the criticism. Ahsoka, however, is difficult to criticize in any effective way.
Presented as the surprise padawan to Anakin Skywalker, she quickly forged her own arc. And in the main Star Wars tradition, she did so in a mythological way that reflected the Joseph Campbell monomyth, but most importantly, reflected the mindset of people her age in the “real world.”
Like an entire generation today, who were born under the Patriot Act, War on Terror, Surveillance, and every nasty statist creature concocted, Ahsoka doesn’t know anything else. What’s worse is that she’s a Jedi — and not supposed to be a soldier, but rather a peacekeeper.
In one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the entire series, Ahsoka conveys this problem to Clone Trooper Rex in the penultimate episode. It pays off in an elegant series finale that’s as poetic as it is rousing.
I am still speechless thinking about it.
If you love Star Wars, don’t dismiss this show.
If you love compelling storytelling, don’t miss this show.