By ZZoMBiE13 0 Comments
I've always been a Star Wars fan. Literally. As in, I do not recall a time before I loved the movies. Of course, I'm 45 years old. I saw the first film when I was 5 years old in 1977, so my experience may be a bit different than many of you who grew up watching them on home video, but if you're a fan you know what it means to have gone through the good times (Original Trilogy era), the dark times (prequels), and the modern era.
When I first watched the original animated Clone Wars series (the first one with traditional animation), I loved it. Of course it was less a series and more of a proof of concept, but we didn't know that at the time. Back then it was just the thing that made the otherwise abysmal Attack of the Clones film a bit more palatable.
Fast Forward to the CGI animated The Clone Wars and I honestly didn't even bother at first. I tried to watch the movie that kicked off the series, but it was not a good start. I had a host of issues with it. I didn't care for the art style, they had never made Anakin a likable character in the films so the thought of an entire series set around him and a heretofore unmentioned padawan made little sense, and then the mission upon which the characters were tasked with looking for Jabba's never before mentioned son... what the actual biblical Hell were they thinking? But chief among my issues with it was the Ahsoka Tano character. Every time the character would smugly refer to Anakin Skywalker as "Sky Guy" I'd secretly wish for the ability for Force choke myself to death.
By all accounts, I expected this would follow a safe, "child friendly" style. I expected it would be nothing more than what we used to call "Saturday morning cartoon" fare and I assumed I would not like it. Star Wars seemed to be in it's death throws anyway at that time what with the Revenge of the Sith being better than it's predecessors, but still the same kind of logic leaping and ultimately poor quality film I'd gotten with Phantom Menace and then Attack of the Clones. While there are great moments in the prequels, I still don't care for them and I doubt I ever will. I know there are some who have come to like them, and I honestly wish I could like them as well, but I just can't. Those issues combined with Lucas seemingly trying to make fans hate him with constant edits to the Original, the swearing that the actual Original trilogy didn't exist and could never exist again, and all the other baffling things he said in public it seemed Star Wars was well and truly over for a while there. At least from my perspective.
So we fast forward again to the Disney era that we are currently going through. I'd heard that the canon had been drastically cut back by the purging of the former EU (now Legends) line and while I did enjoy many of those books and comics over the years, I thought it was likely a good plan. But I also started hearing people say that they were genuinely sad at the announcement that The Clone Wars would be ending and be replaced by something else. "Really?" I thought to myself. I found myself reading up on what fans thought and there seemed to be a genuine love of the series among many die-hards.
During the lead up to Episode 7, I was really in the mood for some Star Wars so I decided to give it a try. It was free to watch the entire series with my Netflix sub and I was eager for some Star Wars goodness anyway, so why not, right? While it takes it's sweet time, not really getting objectively good until well into the second season, I started to let the show stand on it's own merits. And I started to like it quite a bit. It humanized the Clone army in unexpected ways. It showed many of the Jedi we didn't get a chance to know well in the films or even the games. And most importantly, it had started to do the one thing the prequels had never managed to accomplish (or had they even bothered to try?). The Clone Wars let me like Anakin. The films showed him as annoying brat, bratty teen who talked back to the one character I already liked (Obi-Wan), and finally bratty grown-up but willing tool of his own demise by falling to the Emperor's obvious lies. But I digress, by the time I had gotten through the second season of TCW I was fully on board, but I was still not liking Ahsoka as a character.
I'm not stupid. I know how these things work. They add a young character to be the P.O.V. insert for the young audience they hope to court. It's not an ineffective move either. From a storytelling perspective it allows exposition to come across as almost fatherly lessons (something I can relate being a father) and it gives the kids a perspective they can call their own. But it's precisely because of this almost cynical approach that I found myself just never able to gel with the character. Or rather, not able to gel with her at first.
The reason I titled this blog "The Curious Case of Ahsoka Tano" is because of the way I went from truly not enjoying a characters presence in the least to feeling that she was essential. And by the time I got around to catching up on the new Rebels show, I loved it when she showed up having aged and grown since our last TCW encounter with her and the pre Original Trilogy timeline of the show. Once I got to the end of the second season of Rebels and the huge confrontation she has with Darth Vader, and her realization of who he is under the mask, I was almost in tears for her. I realized in that moment that she had become one of my favorite Jedi characters without my even noticing.
Like I said earlier, curious indeed.