A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Hold onto your head tails - Ahsoka is almost here. But, after years of anticipation from Star Wars fans, does the new Disney Plus series live up to the hype?

Advertisement

Yes and no. For some who have fallen slightly out of love with Star Wars after quite the lull, Ahsoka might be the answer. For others, it might just push them further away.

The new show catches up with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and co following the events of animated series Rebels, which saw fan favourite character Ezra Bridger (played here for the first time in live-action by Eman Esfandi) sacrifice himself to defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn (played by the returning Lars Mikkelsen).

The pair disappeared into the galaxy, seemingly with no hope of rescue. Thrawn is presumed dead by many, but Ahsoka must now investigate an emerging threat to the galaxy - which could have catastrophic results.

From the two episodes provided for review, it's a slightly slow start to the Disney Plus show (but haven't we come to expect that from Star Wars series?).

It's not difficult to forgive episode 1, which has the much more challenging job of introducing an ensemble of live-action characters, catching fans up on just where we left our Rebels, providing the set-up for the series and, of course, offering some epic lightsabre action.

But episode 2 in particular is rather slow-going, with some crises being solved momentarily, and seemingly world-ending problems being figured out very easily.

Yet making up for that in force is the classic Star Wars feel. From the opening crawl, which we've missed from various films and series in recent years, to the glorious visual effects, it's not difficult to sit back and be transported right back into the world we love so much.

Far from being cliché, these moments are essential after a lacklustre season 3 of The Mandalorian and at a time when some fans might not know how to feel about the franchise. It might just remind you of why you fell in love with Star Wars.

Plus, while the series risked alienating more casual fans who haven't delved into the animated series, it does well to balance the level of detail needed to keep hardcore fans surprised (don't worry, there are a couple of gasp-worthy moments for Rebels fans in there) while ensuring that the less up-to-date viewer won't be sat on Google the whole time.

More like this

Then there's the cast. As expected, they'll be a treat for Rebels fans, with the stacked line-up bringing many of the beloved characters to live-action for the first time. At the risk of listing the entire cast of the show for plaudits, we have to focus in on a few.

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in Ahsoka standing next to each other, looking off camera
Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in Ahsoka. Disney Plus/LucasFilm

No one else could have taken on Ahsoka Tano like Rosario Dawson. Ahsoka herself has had quite the journey both within the Star Wars universe and when it comes to how fans have reacted to her, with the character ultimately becoming one of the most beloved in the galaxy - in no small part thanks to Dawson. She knows Ahsoka inside out, playing her with nuance, and the dynamic between her and Natasha Liu Bordizzo's Sabine Wren is a joy to watch.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a no-brainer as Hera Syndulla, while Diana Lee Inosanto immediately captures the imagination as Morgan Elsbeth. And that's not to mention David Tennant providing some welcome comic relief as droid Huyang (lest we forget, a role the Doctor Who legend has won a Daytime Emmy for).

The late Ray Stevenson is also outstanding as Baylan Skoll. No stranger to the Star Wars world after his turns in Clone Wars and Rebels, he's quietly chilling as the mercenary with a complex relationship with apprentice Shin Hati, played by Ivanna Sakhno, with his entrance into the series likely to stand as one of the most memorable moments of the entire show.

There's a lot more to come from the impressive cast, with some familiar heroes and villains still set to grace our screens. There are hints and glimpses of what's on the way in the first two episodes but, of course, much of the action is still being kept under lock and key.

All in all, it's a promising start for Ahsoka, and it'll be interesting to see how the series ramps things up from here on out.

If it avoids traps that The Mandalorian fell into, we could be into a stellar new addition to the Star Wars roster.

Ahsoka will premiere on Disney Plus on 23rd August 2023. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 per year.

Visit our Sci-Fi hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.

Advertisement

Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10, PLUS a £10 John Lewis and Partners voucher delivered to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement