If you haven’t watched the most recent episode of The Mandalorian yet, then you either don’t care, lost your Internet access, or are dead, so don’t read on if that is the case because there will be a TON of spoilers for “The Jedi”.
Anyway, Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson sat down with Variety to discuss her being cast as Ahsoka Tano in the flesh, and a few of the other reveals from the episode like Baby Yoda’s real ass name.
You can read the full article over on Vartiety.
How Rosario Got the Part and Meeting George on Set
Rosario and Dave were asked about how she was cast as Ahsoka, and for the most part, she was 100% fan-cast, but she did have an official chat with Dave and Jon once Dave knew he was going to feature the character in the show.
Rosario Dawson: Actually it first came from fans online. Someone tweeted me and fan-cast me. I retweeted back and I was like, “Absolutely, yes please” and “#AhsokaLives.” And apparently that got the attention of someone who has been doing the Star Wars press for years. She forwarded it to Dave Filoni. That kind of started a whole thing. I was like, “Oh my goodness, did I just get fan-cast in something?” And then nothing happened.
Dave Filoni: That was the first time and I looked at Rosario and I thought, Huh. Yeah, I think maybe she would make a good Ahsoka. I just kept loosely aware of what she was up to, and she was doing some Marvel things. But I’d seen interviews with her where she would talk about wanting to play the character and her excitement, so it was interesting.
VF: People might assume that when she was asked that, it was already in the works.
Filoni: Oh, no. Not at all. I was still trying to figure out how to get off Tatooine myself at that point. But when I started working with Jon [Favreau], I’d bring up the character and he’s like,
“Well, who are you thinking of playing her?” I said, “Well, Rosario Dawson’s top of my list,” and he’s like, “I know her!” So immediately that starts to fit really well.
Dawson: People have been fan-casting me on all kinds of things, like She-Hulk and stuff. And I always just think it’s really fun, because I get to see myself in different kinds of art. But then I got a FaceTime call from Jon Favreau and Dave. They were building out The Mandalorian, and I got to have a behind-the-scenes look at visuals and concept [from] what they were planning on doing with this second season.Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF
So Rosario was basically cast as Ahsoka right when the first season dropped in 2019. In fact, she was on set, in the full Ahsoka makeup when George Lucas visited, which is also when the famous snap of him and Grogu was taken.
Dawson: I actually got to be there on the day that there’s that photo. Someone took a picture of George Lucas holding Baby Yoda. I’m still calling him Baby Yoda—Grogu! I was there that day. I was all dressed up, I was just off to the side of that photo, all done up as Ahsoka. And I remember it broke the internet when that picture came out. It was just an amazing, amazing moment, and we were all beside ourselves. It was definitely very “geek out.”Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF
Live Action Ahsoka’s Design Considerations
I know many of you were put off by Ahsoka’s lekku and horns in The Mandalorian, and I know it’s because Star Wars fans can never just enjoy Star Wars without bitching about it, but like I said in our Discord, I’m sure the decisions were made to make them smaller for good reasons, and that’s what Dave explained in this interview.
Filoni: It was a pretty amazing thing as we designed the costume and worked out all the details of that. Everything got considered to an unbelievable degree—the headtails, the horns, I can’t even tell you. It’s hard. It’s so rare a person in my position from animation gets to craft and guide the character’s jump to live-action.
VF: How do you make sure that the makeup and headpiece don’t get in the way of the performance?
Filoni: Yes, it’s tricky. That was one of the big considerations. Performance-wise I don’t want her to be lost in all of this headgear and makeup, but she definitely is not. I kept things subtle in some ways with the markings. I mean, the funny thing is that the white markings over the brow are always done in animation to give an eyebrow performance. I didn’t want a brightly saturated character. Again, in animation it works, but in live-action I think it works another way, and so you just have to play with the values and see.
VF: There’s a lot of lightsaber fighting in this episode too. Was that a consideration with the headtail prosthetics?
Dawson: Everything was pretty firmly on. Everything was built specifically to my skull and body, and the headband that she has on with the tails actually clips in the back and holds it in place. We were doing stunts in it and everything, and it wasn’t going anywhere.Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF
Ahsoka The Wandering Samurai and is More of a Jedi than Most Jedi
Dave talks about who Ahsoka is at this point and describes her as being a wandering samurai hellbent on doing good on a smaller scale, but with a big picture plan also in the works (think Thrawn). He also mentions how she may not be a Jedi by title, but the way she has acted her whole life has made her more of a Jedi than others who held that title.
Filoni: She is, for lack of a term, a master, because she’s largely an independent at this point. I play her much more as a knowledgeable knight. A wandering samurai character is what she really is at this point. I’ve always made comparisons to her heading toward the Gandalf stage, where she is the one that has the knowledge of the world and can help others through it. I think she’s reached that point.
Filoni: Yeah, I think something fans like about the character is that she’s rather complex. They all focus very hard on the line, “I am no Jedi,” from Star Wars: Rebels, but it’s undeniable that she’s trained by the Jedi. I think to most observers she is very Jedi to them. I would argue in some ways—by being so selfless and rejecting a lot of paths that would have given her power—she’s more Jedi-like than even some characters who claim to be Jedi.Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF
The Baby Yoda Name Reveal Timing
Dave talked a bit on the whole Grogu name reveal and why this episode was the right time to let it loose.
Filoni: The name has been around for a while. Jon told me early on in season one what it would be, which made me start to think about how people could learn the name. This gave me the idea that Ahsoka, who is very compassionate, would be able to connect with the Child, and that without words they could probably communicate through memories and experiences. Through that connection, she learns the name and then tells Mando and the audience.
Filoni: I felt that if anyone would know or understand the Child’s history it would be Ahsoka. She has such a long history as well. By having her relate the story it also helps the viewer to understand some of her own backstory. This is similar to when Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father’s history. Through the story about Anakin, you are getting a look at Obi-Wan and his backstory as well. A lot of the campfire scene, as I call it, is shaped around that scene between Obi-Wan and Luke in A New Hope.Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF
Dave on the timing of the Star Wars Rebels Epilogue and how it may fit with The Mandalorian’s timeline
Now this could be the most interesting quote from this interview, at least from a speculation standpoint. Dave teases the idea that the epilogue in Star Wars Rebels may not be taking place before the story we are witnessing in The Mandalorian. He hints that it’s possible that the scene between Ahsoka and Sabine Wren, in which they pledge to find Ezra, could be happening after the story we are getting right now in Jon’s hit series.
Filoni: Right. But no, it’s an interesting one… That’s not necessarily chronological. I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don’t really know how much time has passed. So, it’s possible that the story I’m telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I’m saying it’s possible.Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson – VF