Ahsoka, out now on Disney+ Hotstar, might come across as a saving grace to those who were left famished by the Togruta Jedi’s brief appearance in The Mandalorian season 2, hoping to see where she’d be headed next. As one of the most complex characters from the galaxy far, far away — having survived Order 66 and all — it’s surprising to see that it took so long for creator Dave Filoni to kickstart a live-action show based on her exploits. The eight-episode series sees Rosario Dawson reprising her role as the titular Ahsoka Tano, as she heads out on a quest to save the fragile New Republic from the resurgence of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).
Although, who is Thrawn and why is his return posing such a massive threat to the galaxy? These are questions that only Star Wars veterans can answer, which is why I’m concerned about whether Ahsoka would be able to condense its past events from the animated Star Wars Rebels show into this short runtime, while simultaneously carving a new arc for the Torguta. The show also has the added responsibility of introducing the Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who was abandoned by Ahsoka midway through their training, so expect some family drama along those lines. I, for one, am keener on learning how she lost possession of the fabled Darksaber to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) — hopefully, they touch on that.
Sadly, only two episodes of Ahsoka are available to stream right now, and some of you might need some other great suggestions to keep you engaged. As we await its week-by-week release to unfold the story, we thought now’s a great time to revisit the best Star Wars shows (best to worst).
Despite bearing the Star Wars branding in its name, Andor is best described as a spy thriller — a twisted take that feels more grown-up than anything we’ve seen before in the franchise. Set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the series revisits the familiar rebel thief Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), as he wages war against the oppressive Galactic Empire, by planning a small-scale infiltration mission to leak intel, and eventually steal plans to the Death Star. Unlike the Felicity Jones-led movie, Andor has a hint of realism, becoming the first modern-day Star Wars project to forgo the StageCraft tech, which relies on giant digital LED screens to project backgrounds. Filming was done on real-world locations and across larger-than-life set pieces that were built to make its cast of characters appear tiny and helpless.
On his mission to uproot the Empire from within, Andor runs into the mysterious Luther Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), who’s been observing the young thief for a while now and recruits him into the Rebellion. Much of it has to do with Andor’s casual resolve, where he conveys the infiltration process in three easy steps — you need a uniform, some dirty hands, and an Imperial toolkit. All that’s left is to just walk into the enemy territory like you belong — as if you’ve always worked there. Created by Tony Gilroy (the Bourne trilogy), the 12-episode series also stars Genevieve O’Reilly as the senator Mon Mothma, Adria Arjona as his romantic interest Bix Caleen, and Denise Gough as the high-ranking Imperial officer Dedra Meero.
No one does a better job at playing a single dad than Pedro Pascal, and The Mandalorian was the first to cement that. In it, he plays the lone bounty hunter Din Djarin, who’s been hired to retrieve The Child aka Grogu, the force-sensitive creature from the same species as the familiar Yoda. As you’d expect, the pair form an inseparable bond during their exploits, while being pursued by the genocidal Moff Gideon (Esposito), who intends on using Grogu’s blood for selfish needs. What works in The Mandalorian’s favour is the thematic aspect of it all, where it is represented as a stylish space Western that doesn’t heavily lean into Star Wars jargon. Instead of establishing something new, the series draws inspiration from the same creative sources as the original Star Wars trilogy — resulting in a show that is able to exist on its own.
The series also stars Carl Weathers as the greedy agent Greef Karga, Gina Carano as the brutish mercenary Cara Dune, and Emily Swallow as The Armorer, the leader of the orthodox Mandalorian warrior tribe. Created by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian is also the first TV show to employ ILM’s StageCraft technology to its benefit, thereby avoiding any lighting issues that come with using blue screens. Its first season was also nominated among the Best Drama Series at the 2020 Emmys.
Star Wars: Visions
Star Wars: Visions is possibly the most outlandish entry on this list, serving as a platform for animation studios across the world to show their creativity and make their voices heard. Season 1 acts as the franchise’s formal foray into Japanese anime, with each anthology short offering a unique perspective on the universe, while maintaining the spirit of Star Wars storytelling — which itself lends its inspiration to Akira Kurosawa films. Season 2, however, expands past the anime style to incorporate takes from other studios, ranging between India’s 88 Pictures and the Irish Cartoon Saloon, best known for the Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers movie.
By now, you might have noticed a trend where Star Wars has some serious trouble in laying the past to rest. If you’ve seen the original trilogy, you already know where most of the characters from the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series will eventually end up. Having witnessed the corruption of his best friend Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) who turned to the dark side and became the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) now lives in hiding, under the alias ‘Ben.’ During his exile, he watches over a young fatherless Luke Skywalker, hoping to train him in the ways of the Jedi against the wishes of Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton), who is extremely cautious of Obi-Wan’s intentions.
Amidst that drama, he’s called on a life-threatening mission to rescue Anakin’s daughter Leia, who’s been kidnapped by the Galactic Empire — all the while dealing with Imperial Inquisitors and Darth Vader himself. Little does he know, the abduction was a ploy to draw Obi-Wan out of hiding, and with his Force powers now diminished over time, he must rely on his elite-level swordsmanship to pull him through. Deborah Chow, best known for Flowers in the Attic, directs all six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which stars an ensemble cast namely Rupert Friend (Homeland) as the Grand Inquisitor, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) as the con artist Haja Estree, Benny Safdie (Good Time) as Order 66 survivor Nari, and Moses Ingram as the Third Sister.
The Book of Boba Fett
Having made his big screen debut in 1980’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the dashingly armoured bounty hunter’s journey continues in the brisk seven-episode-long The Book of Boba Fett. Serving as a companion piece to the aforementioned The Mandalorian, the series explores the galaxy’s underworld — gangsters, crime syndicates, and the lot — through the eyes of Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and his trusty mercenary companion Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), as they return to the sands of Tatooine to claim the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt. To best understand its characters, we’d recommend watching this side-by-side with The Mandalorian, which establishes the relationship between its lead characters.
The Book of Boba Fett does suffer from structural problems though, thanks to some poorly integrated flashback sequences where creator Favreau basically retreads the same ‘lone bounty hunter’ path he did with The Mandalorian — as a means to eventually switch over to Djarin’s story when they ran out of ideas. Meanwhile, a portion of the Star Wars fanbase took issue with the titular character not wearing his helmet too often, though addressing it wouldn’t have saved the show from coming off as an unnecessary addition to the franchise.