The current arc of Clone Wars’ final season has lead to some fascinating developments for Ahsoka Tano, further examining the emotional and societal ramifications of the Jedi Order’s waning relationship with the citizens they’re meant to protect. But there are some fans who just want her to jump right to lightsaber-filled, Maul-y action…and Ashley Eckstein wants you to wait.
We know that Ahsoka will, eventually this season, find herself lightsabers-in-hands once more, helping Anakin and Obi-Wan liberate Mandalore from the grip of Darth Maul. The long-awaited “Siege of Mandalore” has attracted such fervor because it’s not just a culmination of so many key Clone Wars plotlines that were left unresolved, it’s also one of the untold stories we’ve been hearing about for years since the show was first axed. It’s understandable that people are excited to get to it.
What’s less so is a lot of the murmuring that the show’s current Ahsoka-led arc isn’t that hype-laden, Jedi-and-Clone-and-Sith-and-Mandalorian all out war. Instead, set shortly after she left the Jedi behind in season five, it’s seen her venture into Coruscant’s lower levels and get wrapped up in the hard lives of two young sisters buffeted by a galaxy at war, Trace and Rafa Martez. Because it’s not overtly important to the overall story of Clone Wars’ final season, for some fans at least, spending four episodes on it is being decried as that dreaded word, “filler.” Why waste time in this final season, people bemoan, when Ahsoka could be right there swinging lightsabers at Darth Maul’s face? But, at least according to Ahsoka voice actress Eckstein, this is important to Ahsoka’s journey.
“I’ve read a lot of people’s comments online and they like these four episodes, sure, but they can’t wait to get to the Siege of Mandalore,” Eckstein told Comic Book Resources in a recent interview. “But I will tell you these four episodes are so important because [Ahsoka] has to go through that before she can jump into the Siege of Mandalore, we need to see that part of her journey. And I said that to the fans back in the beginning of season one of Clone Wars—in the beginning, people felt that she was bratty and she was annoying and she was too snippy and how dare she say all these things. We were always a season ahead [in production] from what the fans were seeing and so I knew how much she evolved season by season. And so I asked fans for their patience and I asked them to go on this journey with her because no character’s perfect from the beginning and, if they were, they wouldn’t be that interesting.”
And she’s right. What’s especially weird about these complaints of filler—that this current arc isn’t laden with huge reveals important to the grand Star Wars canon that we can all gleefully apply to Ahsoka’s Wookieepedia page—is that, on a character level, it has been fundamental for laying the path between the Ahsoka we left at the end of Clone Wars’ fifth season, and the Ahsoka we go on to meet in Star Wars Rebels, keeping the light of the Force bright through her heroism but defiantly, adamantly Jedi No More.
As Eckstein noted, remember when people hated Ahsoka because she was an overeager young kid who called the great Anakin Skywalker “Skyguy”? And how now she’s beloved as one of the best Star Wars characters around, not just of recent memory but in the entire franchise? It’s having the chance to see that growth—over the entirety of Clone Wars and all of Rebels—and most importantly having had the time to watch that growth, that our appreciation of Ahsoka grew with it.
So yes: Good things do indeed come to those who wait.