Rosario Dawson Is With Ahsoka for the Long Haul as She Discusses Her Future

In a mammoth interview with Vanity Fair, Rosario Dawson discussed Ahsoka Tano at length. She spoke about filming the upcoming Ahsoka series and her debut in The Mandalorian. It appears that Dawson will play Ahsoka for as long as Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau will have her — indeed, she says as much at the end of the article:


As long as they want me, and as long as it’s possible, I’m in it.


Dawson also reveals a little about Ahsoka’s arc in the show. While fans have spoken a lot about Ahsoka being a “gray Jedi”, she is wearing white when she shows up at the end of Star Wars Rebels, like Gandalf in The Two Towers. It suggests an evolution of the character that Dawson hints may come in Ahsoka:


I feel like she’s unwavering and really represents the best of light-workers.

I do know that everyone talks about Ahsoka the Gray and Ahsoka the White and all these different things. There’s an idea about her wisdom—and how does she get there? I don’t know. But it’s going to be really fun to find out.


Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars Rebels


Rosario spoke at length about what it was like to prepare for the role — evidently, playing a role as physical as a former Jedi is not easy for someone in their 40s, and she found those physical challenges some of the most difficult. It was important to her that she overcome those challenges and made her performance feel authentic to those who knew Ahsoka well from the animated shows.


Man, I am not a workout-y person, and I’m in my 40s getting into the most physically demanding role of my life,” Dawson says. “[Ahsoka’s] not someone who gets tired. I can’t play this like a human. She is an indefatigable alien. She’s precise. She’s master level. The challenge is for me to show up and express that…. It’s like, I won’t necessarily work out for myself, but I’ll work out for Ahsoka any day of the week. I’m a huge fan, and I don’t want to watch and be like, ‘Yo, Ahsoka’s hand seems a little shaky there.’

Honestly, as an actor in my 40s, I figured I’d be sent out to pasture by now. I’m not going to say I take it for granted. Like, oh, I’m good for the rest of my life. But there’s a sense of peace that I feel.


It’s clear that Rosario is very respectful and appreciative of Ahsoka’s history in animation, and Ashley Eckstein’s performance in particular.


I’m building on top of years of work from so many other people. What Ashley did growing this character from a teenager on has given me a breadth of work to look at and build off of, which is so unusual.

I get to be a part of a universe, and a team, and a world in which even as I age I might still be able to participate. That’s huge. You know what I mean? To have that longevity with something, in my industry, that’s not particularly heard of. It makes me feel so grateful.


It’s been reported previously that Dawson loved the character even before she was cast, and she makes that very clear in the interview. She wants to continue playing Ahsoka because she finds her story genuinely interesting, not just because she’s a good fit physically right now.


It was not just because I’m the right age, not just because I had the right look for it, but that I’m known for being incredibly committed. That offer, they knew, could resonate with someone like me. I’m in this industry for the long haul. I’m in for this type of storytelling that matters.


Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian


Dave Filoni spoke a little more about writing the series after it was teased in Vanity Fair‘s initial interview, particularly how he collaborates with both Favreau and Carrie Beck:


I have various charts, and outlines, and graphs, and so many things that I work on and connect, as I’ve always done. Jon is great because he’s really enhanced the way I write. He’s able to point things out from a perspective of not being so deep in the weeds of Ahsoka’s history and every little bit of the animation. I need that point of view.

When I get a draft done, I send it to Carrie. She is always my first reader. She’s been along on this ride with me since Rebels, so she’s been a huge partner in all this.


Beck also offered some insight on the similar themes shared between Ahsoka, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett:


There’s this common thread through so much of it. When we look at Mando and we look at Boba and we look at Ahsoka as well, these are all characters who have survived something. In spite of whatever’s happened to them in their past, they make an active choice about how they’re going to engage in the present, or in the future, and what that means.



Filoni spoke to Vanity Fair at length about casting Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka:


Having Rosario become Ahsoka, it was almost intimidating because here’s this kid that I’ve known for so many years in my head. And now Rosario was going to be her in a very real, walk-up-to-you, say-good-morning kind of way. The experiment really was that episode, ‘The Jedi.’


According to Dawson, Filoni was particularly cautious when it came to convincing her to play the character for a long period of time, presenting her guest appearance in The Mandalorian as a one-off in case was all she was comfortable with.


Even as they were first talking about this potential of Ahsoka showing up in Mando season two, it was like, if you’re interested and you hate it and you never want to do anything again, we’re not contracting you to anything right now.


Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano


Filoni also wasn’t sure if the character’s look would translate well from animation to live action. Sure, fellow Togruta Shaak Ti had a minor role in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but she was never a protagonist. Filoni was concerned having a main character in such heavy prosthetics might not work the way everyone hoped it would:


You’ve got these strange head tails and horns. It looks great in animation, but suddenly you’re making this a main character and it’s a big question. I was like, how much are we going to get drawn in by this face, all orange with markings on it? Is it distracting, is it believable, can we have that dramatic feeling? Can we connect with her?

As soon as she showed up on set in the costume, she was the character. I had this tremendous sense of relief, which was, ‘Okay, so I don’t need to worry about that. Ahsoka’s going to be Ahsoka, I’m going to focus on everything else going on, and I’ll advise her when she needs it.’ But she really gets it.


One thing that was pointed out by many fans was that Ahsoka’s montrals were noticeably shorter in live action than they were in the animated series. Filoni has since explained that they took that decision to make the stunt work easier, but it’s reassuring to know that Rosario pointed it out too when she first had the prosthetics attached:


When I first put it on, I was like, ‘Oh they look different…’ He was like, ‘No, but we’re working with stunts and everything, and we want to be able to do all of that practically.


Dawson also insisted that they use contact lenses so her eyes matched Ahsoka’s:


When I put the contacts on, it went from cosplay to embodiment.


So far, that embodiment has been evident in her performances. Ahsoka promises to be something really special, and we can’t wait to get our first look at the show.


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Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.

Josh Atkins

Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.