Star Wars Tales of the Jedi Ahsoka Tano Interview: Ashley Eckstein

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Ahsoka using the force

Ahsoka is back.
Image: lucasfilm

About a decade ago, everyone was sure Ahsoka Tano was dead. Both dead on the screen, with their show The Clone Wars almost canceled, and off screen, because how could another Force user still be alive in the world of Star Wars?

Things have certainly changed. Ahsoka not only came back for plus clone wars episodesbut he was also back in another animated show, star wars rebelsand has been at the center of novels, comics, and even the world of live action, with appearances in the mandalorian Y boba fett book configuring your own program. But even that is only the beginning.

Last week, Ahsoka returned to her roots and appeared in three episodes of Star Wars: Tales of the Jedian animated anthology from the character’s co-creator, Dave Filoni, that aims to tell new and pivotal stories about Star Wars Jedi. TThe show meant actress Ashley Eckstein would get one more time to voice the character, and io9 spoke with her about the return and each of the landmark episodes.

“When Dave Filoni calls and says there’s a new project, there’s no release, that’s how fast we can say ‘Yes,'” Eckstein told io9 last week. He recorded his episodes during the pandemic via Zoom, and each one posed unique challenges and questions. Below, we break it all down.

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano Herself, Ashley Eckstein, Breaks Down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

tales of the jedi Episode 1: “Life and Death”

“Life and Death” tells the story of Ahsoka’s birth and her first experience with the Force. However, since the character is still a baby, Eckstein had nothing to do with the episode. As a fan of the character, she was fascinated by the fact that she finally got to see where Ahsoka was coming from.

“It was very, very interesting to see Ahsoka’s backstory as a baby and to see everyone in her town,” Eckstein said. “I think the problem with tales of the jedi it’s that it opened up more questions than we have answers to. Now, I have so many, so many questions.”

When Eckstein was doing The Clone Wars, she would ask Filoni about Ahsoka’s backstory, but he would never give her any information. “I asked a lot about it,” she said. “I always wanted to know his backstory. And to be honest, I don’t fully remember what Dave said. But what I do remember is that he was always shy about it. What he always deduced from his answers was that it was a story that he always wanted to tell. So, it’s great that he finally got a chance to tell it.”

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano Herself, Ashley Eckstein, Breaks Down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

tales of the jedi Episode 5: “Practice Makes Perfect”

The next time Ahsoka appears in tales of the jedithe story takes place at the beginning of his journey, around the timeline of the clone wars film and the first season of the series. For Eckstein, that meant returning to a voice he hadn’t had to do for years.

“I really enjoyed going back to a 14-year-old Ahsoka,” she said. “It’s fun to look back and go back to those days, and it was actually quite easy to change my voice back to 14-year-old Ahsoka. It’s like putting back on an old pair of boots that she has had for years and that she broke. They are comfortable. They simply mold to your foot. And that’s how she felt.”

However, that does not mean that there was no preparation. “I went back and saw The Clone Wars movie and several of the first episodes of the first season,” he said. “So I heard my voice back then and it’s shocking how different it is. Ahsoka has grown a lot and has gone through a great evolution.”

That evolution is due in part to her master, Anakin, putting her through such intense training. The episode doesn’t just feature Eckstein’s voices clone wars family (Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker), all of which were brought together on Zoom, but may hold the keys to multiple mysteries surrounding the character. For example, Ahsoka Tano has two lightsabers. This is why?

“I think so,” Eckstein said. “I actually got to watch the episodes with my nephew last night, which is like a Star Wars expert. And we come to the same conclusion. That he got the second lightsaber because of his training and because of these exercises.

Eckstein also found it interesting how this specific exercise of dodging the Clone Troopers’ explosions would become so, so crucial to the character’s survival. “[Anakin] I was preparing her to save her life,” he said. “And I think what was so heartbreaking for me, after seeing him for the first time, was that none of them knew that he was literally setting her up to save her life against the clones. The very people he was learning from are the very people he later had to escape from, which made it that much more heartbreaking. But that also answers our question of how could he do that? How was he able to escape the clones at the end of season five like he did and then how was he able to escape the clones obviously with Order 66?

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano Herself, Ashley Eckstein, Breaks Down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

tales of the jedi Episode 6: “Resolution”

The final episode of tales of the jediset shortly before the events of Srebel tar wars, brought out complex emotions for Eckstein. Ahsoka in PadmeThe funeral of, for me, I was crying during that scene while I was recording it,” he said. “It was very real when she says, ‘She was my friend.’ I could hear it because I knew what was going on, but I was crying my heart out during that scene. So. yeah, the emotions were very, very real in that episode.”

After the funeral, we meet Ahsoka in hiding as a farm girl. Some fans noted that the story has some very close parallels to the E.k johnson Ahsoka novel, but Eckstein says that was never discussed. “No, we didn’t have any conversations about the novel… but it felt like an extension of the novel,” he said. “I didn’t even ask Dave if this was before the novel or [after], I assumed this was something like the beginning of that chapter. So I definitely feel the parallels.”

A missing parallel is Kaedan Lartea woman who begins to fall in love with Ahsoka in the book. Stories has a similar character but has removed the love story and something (including io9) have criticized the show for seemingly replacing a queer character. When the subject was brought up, Eckstein could only express deep adoration for the character.

“I will say that I absolutely love the character of Kaedan and Miara, her sister,” he said. “EK Johnson and I collaborated on another book, From a certain point of view, where together we write a chapter and include those characters. But this is purely my opinion because I didn’t have any discussion about it, I hope we finally get to see Kaedan and Miara because I think EK Johnston wrote two amazing female characters that I hope we see in the future.

Finally, as was the case almost 10 years ago, Eckstein admits the final episode of tales of the jedi it made her sad because, for now, she’s not sure if this is the last time she’ll voice the character or not. “Every time I go into the studio and record Ahsoka I always have a lot of gratitude and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity,” she said. “I never look like, ‘Okay, well, what’s up ahead?’ And, ‘Why don’t we have more?’ I never look at it that way. I am grateful for what I can do. But there is always a sadness every time a project comes to an end. And that episode, in particular, was the last one, it was sad.”

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi now it’s on Disney+.


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