Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

I’m not sure how Ahsoka plays to audiences unfamiliar with the character or her adventures during Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, the latter of which informs just about everything else in the first two episodes of her new self-titled show. If you haven’t seen or don’t care for Rebels, what does it mean to you to see the planet Lothal in live-action? To see Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), daughter of Mandalore, struggling with the loss of Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), her Jedi friend who disappeared at the end of Rebels? What do you make of the big mommy energy emanating from Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), desperate for her friends to get along but mature enough to know how to get arguing children to calm down and hug again? How do you process Rosario Dawson’s extremely reserved, almost zen-like performance as Ahsoka, a woman whose days of being intense and reckless are long behind her?

When Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) reveals her Nightsister heritage, do you have any idea that she means she’s part of a coven of Force-sensitive witches who have caused problems for millennia and were responsible for the rise of Darth Maul? Do you understand the whole deal with the mystical map MacGuffin is that it isn’t a map to Grand Admiral Thrawn per se but rather a chart for ancient Purrgil migration routes? Do you even know what a Purrgil is? (It’s a large Force-sensitive space whale that can travel through hyperspace; perhaps you saw one interacting with Grogu earlier this year in the first episode of The Mandalorian‘s third season.)

Does that sound stupid to you? Not my problem.

I guess it isn’t my problem if Ahsoka has to do a lot of heavy lifting for newcomers to this section of the franchise because I’m not a newcomer and I already love all of it, and I loved Ahsoka just as much. I’ve cared deeply about the title character and her Rebellion-era friends for a long time now, and seeing them in live-action, written and directed by Dave Filoni (the guy who created them), is like a dream come true. This essay series isn’t about being objective: It’s about how these shows make me want to buy shit because I’m incontrovertibly attached to the Star Wars franchise and the collecting habits it created in me. I don’t know what else to even write about the show. It feels made for me.

“Made for me.” I’ve said a lot about these Disney+ Star Wars shows, and frankly, I’m ecstatic with their recent run. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a solid C in my book; it wasn’t what I ultimately needed it to be but it still felt additive. After that, though, it’s been gravy all the way: Andor, season two of The Bad Batch, season three of The Mandalorian and now Ahsoka have all felt like “pinch-me” shows, the kind of material I’d always wanted to see onscreen but never thought possible.

I’ll lapse into note format now. Frankly, this entry in Serial Consumer is more about establishing my coverage of Ahsoka rather than breaking down the first couple of episodes. Just watch them, OK?


I’ve seen a lot of criticisms about the show’s pacing. Dialogue scenes, particularly in the first episode, feel quite airy. This didn’t bother me. I guess I understand why it bothered other people, but I enjoyed simply existing within the scenes with these characters I love. 

Dawson’s Ahsoka has also received some critique. I guess it’s important to remember this isn’t her first, second or third adventure. Her character was introduced 15 years ago, and this is, like, the fifth major show to chronicle her story after Tales of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. She was adopted as a child by the Jedi Order of old, fought in the Clone Wars under Anakin Skywalker, left the Jedi Order after being betrayed by them, came back to help her friends right before the fall of the Republic, had to massacre her clone friends during Order 66, became a major intelligence source for the Rebellion during the Dark Times, almost died after confronting Darth Vader, and then tried to train her friend Sabine in the Jedi Arts but failed due to their mutual strong-headedness.

This character has lived more of her life onscreen than any other in Star Wars, and she has ascended to a sort of zen-like wisdom that clearly masks a deep frustration and sadness. I have no problem seeing that in Dawson’s performance. She’s not a propulsive, charismatic protagonist … yet, but I suspect pairing her up with Sabine again will bring that element of her back to the fore. I’m excited to see how the two develop.

Speaking of developing: I’m over the moon that Huyang (a robot who helped Younglings build lightsabers in the Jedi Temple; he’s also from Star Wars: The Clone Wars) makes it explicit that Sabine is no Force prodigy; she’s barely even sensitive to the Force. More than any other writer or director attached to the Star Wars franchise (besides maybe Rian Johnson), Filoni is the best keeper of George Lucas’s vision, and he understands the Jedi more than anyone else. The Jedi aren’t superheroes, they’re samurai, and the Force isn’t a superpower, it’s an energy field that binds us together. Force users can sense and manipulate it, and everyone and every living thing is connected to it. That’s not to say everyone can manipulate it to the same degree (Midi-chlorians, etc.), but being a Jedi is about more than innate ability. That’s really the story the sequels should’ve continued with rather than making Rey the granddaughter of Palpatine (even though I don’t hate that choice in theory). A nobody can be somebody. We’ll see how Sabine grows.

It’s so great to see Hera again and to see Filoni write her as the confident New Republic General she deserves to be. She’s my favorite of the Rebels crew; along with Chopper, their little arc in “Toil and Trouble” feels ripped straight out of that show. I’m so glad Winstead’s performance is full of very knowing, thoughtful, silent glances toward her warring friends. I hope we get to meet her son, Jacen, at some point in the story.

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson, RIP) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) are cool, too — types of characters we used to see a lot in the old Expanded Universe but haven’t gotten to know in this “new” canon. They’re not Jedi but they’re not Sith, and they’re not necessarily evil. Baylan reminds me a bit of Zaheer in The Legend of Korra — a villain with motivations that aren’t necessarily evil and whose greatest strength is his calm and level-headed approach to the world. Given that he’s also a former Padawan who survived Order 66, I just can’t wait for him and Ahsoka to talk about their lives. Their orange lightsabers are cool as shit, too.

Ahsoka will presumably be the first step toward Filoni’s big crossover movie event, if that ever actually happens, where all the characters from The Mandalorian, the forthcoming Skeleton Crew and this show will team up to fight Grand Admiral Thrawn and his forces from the teased neighboring galaxy. I’m really excited for the moment where Ahsoka calls upon her old friend Bo-Katan and the forces of Mandalore to help the New Republic repel whatever the Imperial Remnant have up their sleeves. I hope it happens.

Last thought: We’re seeing even more of the dysfunctional reality beneath the nascent New Republic. I’m very pleased that both shows taking place after Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi are emphasizing this. The sequels are frustrating in many ways, but the worst sin they committed was starting the whole thing as a quasi-reboot where the New Republic essentially fell right away to a bunch of Empire cosplayers. The more that “new” canon weaves in the First Order’s rise into the interim era, the better — especially if it depicts the New Republic almost decimated by an as-yet unchronicled conflict that helped the First Order gain political and military power on its own. I wouldn’t be surprised (and in fact would be delighted) if, at some point, we see Ilum start to develop into Starkiller Base. That was a stupid idea. But the more it feels like a natural part of a larger story, the better the entire sequel trilogy will feel as we start moving past it in a new era of Rey’s Jedi Order.

It goes without saying: I really hope Ahsoka lives beyond The Rise of Skywalker and helps Rey in future stories. She’s witness to the entire Skywalker Saga, and it would feel weird if she doesn’t meet the newest one.

Consumer Report

I recently sold an unopened Asajj Ventress to buy the Mara Jade Black Series figure. Very much worth it. I didn’t even know the Ventress was sitting in my office closet — and until I knew what she was worth, I wasn’t sure whether I’d buy Mara Jade at her somewhat inflated price. She’s both popular and basically exclusive to online retailers, which means $30 will be the norm for a while. A little much, but I’m glad to have her gracing my Expanded Universe shelf next to my Heir to the Empire version of Luke Skywalker. Her figure technically represents the second book in that trilogy, Dark Force Rising. If they do another set of comic / publishing characters, I’d love to see one from The Last Command to complete the set. Given that these are repaints, I doubt we’d get Joruus C’baoth, but maybe a new version of Thrawn with some cool accessories? I’d buy him again. And again. And again.

What I’d Buy

Pretty much every character in this show will someday grace my shelves. I left a very large area in my post-Return of the Jedi-era section when my son Luke and I re-arranged my figures a few weeks ago, knowing Ahsoka would need a lot of space (along with some long-awaited Book of Boba Fett figures). I’ll likely clearance-wait Morgan Elsbeth, as her figure looks like an absolute shelf-warmer — not even packed with any cool accessories. There isn’t a new version of Ahsoka yet as they’re just repacking the Mando version I’ve owned for years, but both Hera and Sabine have new versions matching their live-action appearances that are must-own. Of course, my biggest wish is to see some really great Baylan and Shin figures. Fingers crossed those are out by Christmas.

If you read through past essays in this series, you can follow my odyssey toward finally buying both a Darksaber and Qui-Gon Jinn replica lightsaber. When I got those at the end of last year, I declared them my final expensive lightsaber toys. To my credit — and, please, congratulate me for this — I’ve since resisted some great online sales on Force FX Elite Lightsabers and friends offering to ship me stuff from Galaxy’s Edge. Truly, I’m a changed man …

… but I also really want a damn good version of Baylan’s big-boy lightsaber hilt — provided, of course, the proportions are accurate and the color is appropriately orange. I’m a little afraid any Galaxy’s Edge version will default to the usual red LEDs, which would be a huge shame. It’s exciting to get more lightsaber colors. They mean something to me. So, when Baylan’s becomes available and provided I have the means to get one, it will be my new exception to the “no more lightsabers” rule.

Oh, and throw me one more “congrats” for resisting the appropriately priced $320 Ahsoka set, which includes both of her white sabers with blades. I’d love those, but they’ll probably be available for a long time at Galaxy’s Edge, so there’s really no rush … right?