The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is releasing on Disney+, bringing Ahsoka Tano's original story arc to its epic conclusion in the Siege of Mandalore. The Clone Wars executive producer Dave Filoni and Ahsoka's voice actress Ashley Eckstein spoke to Vanity Fair for its oral history of Ahsoka. Looking back, they revealed how the character morphed and changed during the creative process. They reveal that George Lucas himself came up with the character's name and that they almost retconned her into one of the films in the Star Wars Skywalker saga, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
"She was always an alien," Eckstein says. "Ahsoka being a Togruta, Ahsoka having orange skin, Ahsoka having the blue and white head tails. She has always been an alien, at least from when I was cast and entered the scene… I do know that at one point they were considering the name Ashla, which is just weird since my name was Ashley."
Filoni adds, "We called her Ashla in the beginning. That was 2005, and that worked on several levels for me. I think it was the name given to one of the [young Jedis Yoda was training] in Attack of the Clones. There was a little Togruta girl. We kicked around the idea that maybe that was Ahsoka but then we thought the age didn’t really work out for it to be the same character. She was too young in the film."
Eckstein says, "I had so many conversations with Dave. I’ve had a couple of conversations even with George Lucas when I got to meet him for the first time, and we talked about our hopes and dreams for the character of Ahsoka and her journey and even the series as a whole."
"Way back in the beginning, Ahsoka was more involved in the black-market world and working with a Jedi in a way that was not really involved in the day-to-day big battles of the war," Filoni says. "She was involved in the intrigue and the plots of where we ended up [in season seven], which is that she’s trying to help prevent these criminals from taking advantage of this situation of wartime."
Speaking to ComicBook.com earlier this month, Eckstein reflected on how Ahsoka has become a Star Wars icon in her own right. "She's become so, so powerful and so inspiring to people all over the world," Eckstein says. "There's something about Ahsoka. When she walked away from the Jedi order in season five, she connected with people on a whole different level and I started receiving stories from fans all over the world about how Ahsoka either changed their life or saved their life. From day one I always knew how groundbreaking Ahsoka was, so that's why I dedicated so much of my heart and soul and life to Ahsoka. She literally became a part of me and I saw how much good she was doing and I view it as such a privilege to be a part of the Star Wars universe. I so badly just want to do good with it and I want to be a real-life version of Ahsoka, but once Ahsoka walked away at the end of season five then I truly saw the impact that she was having on people's lives.
"I wanted to just continue that in any way I could and kind of be a real-life reflection of her and help continue her legacy in any way that I could whether it be narrating the audiobook or voicing toys or making merchandise or just writing books or being on the front lines at conventions," Eckstein continues. "That's very important to me because I see that this is not just a character that people tune in to watch and then they forget about. No, they're literally taking the lessons that Ahsoka's teaching in these episodes and then altering the course of their life and that's something I don't take lightly, I take it very seriously."
New episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars debut Fridays on Disney+.