Lucasfilm has worked to bring the “Star Wars” universe to streaming in a way that will please devoted fans without alienating someone who has never been to a galaxy far, far away ever since “The Mandalorian” made its debut on Disney+ in November 2019. That task is in many respects made more difficult by the newest “Star Wars” show, “Ahsoka.”

Technically a spin-off of Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi, in “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett,” the show is actually a continuation of two “Star Wars” animated series: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.” The events between “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” (on “Clone Wars”) and “Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: A New Hope” (on “Rebels”), respectively, are largely covered by these 208 TV episodes that ran from 2008 to 2020. Even “Star Wars” aficionados who have seen all 11 live-action feature films numerous times may find the expansive and sophisticated story structure overwhelming to contemplate.

According to the first two episodes, “Ahsoka” creator and executive producer Dave Filoni—who also co-created “Rebels” and directed “The Clone Wars”—has managed to keep the series approachable for those who have never seen the original series. But just barely. If you haven’t read Variety’s guide to everything you need to know to enjoy “Ahsoka,” then you won’t be able to completely appreciate the references to people and events in “Ahsoka” that only “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” fans will fully understand.

Ashoka Tano: Star Wars

Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) is introduced to us as an Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan pupil who is 14 years old. She is Togruta from the planet Shili, and the tentacles that shoot out of her head are referred to as lekku.

At first, neither Ahsoka nor Anakin are particularly happy to be matched together, but they soon form a close bond. Ahsoka refers to Anakin as “Skyguy” (for obvious reasons), while he refers to her as “Snips” (because of her snippy demeanor). When Ahsoka is accused of murder and exiled from the Jedi Order, Anakin fights tooth and nail to restore her reputation. The event, however, leaves Ahsoka so demoralized that she deserts the Jedi and abandons Anakin.

Late in the Clone Wars, Ahsoka befriends the Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan Kryze (voiced by Katee Sackhoff, who also portrays her in “The Mandalorian”) and asks her for assistance in her mission to retake the planet of Mandalore from Darth Maul (yes, he survived dying in “The Phantom Menace,” it’s a long story, just go with it). Ahsoka doesn’t believe Maul when he tells her that Darth Sidious intends to make Anakin his next apprentice after their fight.

Following Order 66, which virtually eliminates the Jedi, Ahsoka goes into hiding and soon starts working under the alias Fulcrum to help the crew of the Rebel spacecraft Ghost, which was given that name for its capacity to evade Imperial surveillance. In the “Rebels” Season 2 finale, Ahsoka ultimately faces Darth Vader within a Sith temple while the Ghost crew is in peril. Vader escapes, but Ahsoka’s destiny isn’t revealed until Season 4, when Ghost crew member and aspiring Jedi Ezra Bridger saves Ahsoka before Vader can kill her. Ezra Bridger has traveled into a realm that exists between life and death and beyond time (again, just go with it). As they separate ways, Ahsoka goes back to her earlier time.

In the “Rebels” series finale, after the Empire has been vanquished at the Battle of Endor, Ahsoka teams up with Sabine Wren, a teenage Mandalorian, to search for Ezra.

Ahsoka and Sabine split up many years later, and now she is a lone warrior searching for the vanished Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn. She teams up with Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) on that mission to apprehend Morgan Elsbeth, an Imperial warlord, played by Diana Lee Inosanto.


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