In the years since audiences first heard Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano demand information about Grand Admiral Thrawn in The Mandalorian, fans have wondered who could take on the mantle of the terrifying villain, with the release of a teaser trailer for Star Wars: Ahsoka confirming that Thrawn will make his live-action debut. Offering up only a look at the character from behind, the performer who is bringing the character to life has yet to be revealed, though director Dave Filoni recently detailed the process of finding the perfect person to play the part, which includes close collaboration with Jon Favreau. Star Wars: Ahsoka is set to premiere on Disney+ in August.
"It's something I've done several times now, is have an animation character make the jump [to live-action]," Filoni shared with ComicBook.com at Star Wars Celebration. "All I can say is, I asked [Lucasfilm president] Kathy [Kennedy] about this, 'How do you know when you've found the right person for the part?' and she just looked at me and said, 'Dave, you just know.' And she's right. Every time I've leaned into that process and gone through a bunch of auditions, [and] there's always one person that stands out. What might be notable for people, is Jon and I don't do that together, we do it separately. We like to do that because we like to see if we come up with the same person. We have an amazing record of accuracy together, to be connected to the same person."
He continued, "What's really telling is these are characters, in a lot of cases, in animation that I created, so I know them really well, but then I also like to get Jon's point of view, because he's a person that's seen it but doesn't know it in detail, but he'll know what I think is important about the character. When we bring that together, I think we've got a really good target for, 'Yes, that's the person,' and away we go."
Thrawn first appeared in a series of novels that are now part of the Star Wars Legends corner of the franchise, which aren't canonical. Filoni brought the character into the official Star Wars canon by incorporating him into the adventures of Star Wars Rebels. This has caused some fans to wonder if other Legends characters could be embraced into live-action, such as the bounty hunter Dash Rendar from the video game Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, with Filoni reflecting on how he never thought he would be directing a live-action Star Wars movie so it's hard to rule out any possibility for the franchise.
As far as the likelihood of a Dash Rendar return, Filoni confessed, "I would just say anything's possible. If I would have looked back over the years and said I would be doing live-action, I would have thought, 'I don't see that happening,' and yet, here I am, standing on that stage today and looking left and seeing Sharmeen [Obaid-Chinoy] and looking right and seeing James [Mangold], that's what's special to me, and it's a real thrill and it's a real responsibility that I take seriously. It's a great opportunity for myself and I hope to represent Star Wars and fans well."
Star Wars: Ahsoka is set to premiere on Disney+ in August. Filoni will be directing a live-action Star Wars movie for Lucasfilm.