Ahsoka’s triumphant return, homages to clasic Kurosawa films and name dropping fan-favorite Grand Admirals were all on this week’s Mandalorian.
Live Action Ahsoka
Ahsoka is back bay-bee! She’s come a long way since her introduction back in 2008, growing from Anikan’s apprentice and a character that seemingly everyone agreed was pretty annoying to a certified bad ass and one of the most popular characters in the canon. Once Din finally finds her she drops a few very loosely veiled references to Anikan/Darth Vader in trying to explain why Grogu/ Baby Yoda could be potentially dangerous to train. Now that is disappointing but not entirely surprising, and tells the Mando where he should try to head next; but we’ll get to that in a bit. Also, more detail minded Star Was fans may have noticed that her lekku and montrals situation probably should have been larger. As an adult Togruta it would make sense for her to have something a little closer to Shaak Ti’s situation and her animated counterpart has been shown with longer lekku earlier in the timeline than this episode took place. Unsurprisingly, those are next to impossible to move in and for a stunt heavy character like Ahoka would have made for a difficult few days of filming, so the costuming department scaled it back to something more… y’know… reasonable.
Lothcats and Morai, Oh My
If you were paying attention to background details you may have noticed some familiar animals. The Morai is the owl looking creature in the above picture’s upper left. It has strong ties to what I can only really describe as Jedi mythology and has been a friend to Ahsoka for years and years by this point. Later in the town Din stumbles upon a lothcat that was quick to jump out of frame. Those have no special significance to Ahsoka, but seem to be one of Dave Filoni’s favorites. And mine. I love a good lothcat; easily top three weird Star Wars animals.
Solid Kurosawa Film Nods
It’s fairly obvious that large portions of The Mandalorian pull inspiration from places like classic Westerns and Lone Wolf and Cub, and these themes and styles always work exceedingly well. So it was no surprise to see this week’s episode may homage to Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 Yojimbo.
Ahoka tells Din that she can’t train
Baby Yoda Grogu because he’s already too attached, but maybe he can find someone who can. She then tells him to bring the child to a Jedi temple on Tython and see if a Jedi responds to his need for a master. She also adds a little ominously that there are very few Jedi left in a comment that I’m sure is supposed to keep the Mandalorian’s expectations low, but I think piqued most of our interest. There are very few Jedi left, but having nobody respond to the call probably won’t happen, it would be boring writing. Which leaves very few potential force users. Luke is always a possibility, but I doubt it. In theory Ezra is still out there, and I’m very interested to see what he’s been up to since the series finale of Rebels. But specifying Tython is interesting. The ancient planet and the Jedi temple there have old connections to Darth Revan. And Ahsoka has already told Din and us not to get to hopeful for a Jedi. That said, my money is on an Ezra appearance even if he doesn’t end up training Grogu… and a history lesson.
Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth
Very little is known about the Magistrate, and unfortunately, some of the most interesting rumors are dubious. We know that she’s a survivor of a people who were massacred, that she for some reason has a beskar staff, and that she reports to some degree to Grand Admiral Thrawn, and we will get to that in a moment. The actress, Diana Lee Inosanto is a successful actress, stuntwoman, and martial artist and was the goddaughter of Bruce Lee. And her hairstylist mentioned on instragram in a post that is now deleted that Morgan Elsbeth was one of the “last survivors of Dathomir.” She doesn’t look much like a Night Sister to me and the most has been since amended, but that idea is still floating around now. Will we be getting a Dathomir B plot or was this a misunderstanding? I guess we’ll see!
At the end of the episode Ahsoka manages to best Magistrate Elsbeth and asks her once and for all where her “master” is, name dropping Grand Admiral Thrawn. The answer, of course, is that he was probably at some art gallery. Thrawn is one of those rare characters who made the hop from Legends into New Canon, appearing in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy 1991 and then coming back as the main antagonist in the third season of Rebels. He is also probably my single favorite Star Was character if all of the merch in the room with me right now is any indication.
Accompanying his return in the cartoons are a number of new canon Thrawn books have been published which paint a picture of him as perhaps not as committed to the core principals of the Empire as he could be, making a post-empire Thrawn a character that has interesting potential. As it turns out, Zahn is also interested to see what The Mandalorian has in store for this character. I’m hoping this teases at a possible live-action appearance of the Grand Admiral himself in coming episodes or even next season.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you notice anything I didn’t mention? What are you most looking forward to or hoping for? Let us know in the comments!
May The Force Be With You, Adventurers!