The DVD/Blu-ray for Star Wars Rebels Season 2 is out today and I recently got a chance to chat with Ashley Eckstein, who voices Ahsoka Tano. Fans of the show know about the big event that happened (or didn’t happen) at the end of the season, and we are going to talk about it, so please note that there are SPOILERS for Season 2 ahead! Eckstein tells us about the show, the fan theories about the event, what happened between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels. If you guys haven’t checked out her company Her Universe, which gives us amazing geek clothing and accessories for women, as well as books under Her Universe Press, you should do it right now! Check out our interview below and let us know what you think. Star Wars Rebels will return to Disney XD on September 24 at 8:30!
Legion of Leia: Can you tell us about the moment you found out Ahsoka was coming back in Season 1.
Ashley Eckstein: It was pure joy and excitement. And not just for me as an actress, but for me as a fan of Ahsoka. I have become such a massive fan of Ahsoka. I care for her so deeply. She is a member of my family. An extension of me. I worry about her. It’s so crazy! It’s so crazy to say that I worry about an animated character. But I do. And so to find out that she was alive, what she was doing, that she was coming back to help the rebels, I was just ecstatic. And happy with her arc and evolution on the show.
Legion of Leia: And how did [director] Dave [Filoni] tell you?
Ashely Eckstein: You know, I’m trying to think back. Because we talked about it for a while. The thing about Dave and the Clone Wars cast–you know, we became like family and close friends. We talk often. So I knew a lot about Rebels. So, I don’t think it was like this big announcement. I think it was more just in casual conversation. He let me know like, okay, I’m going to bring her back! [laughs] I don’t remember the exact moment, but I think it was–you know Dave. He’s usually very sly and coy about things. So I think he just did it in casual conversation one day and I had to keep my cool. I was like, yes, yes I would be happy to come back on the show.
Legion of Leia: I was there at the big Season 2 finale event at Disney, and people in the audience were crying. I’m curious about when you read that scene and what he told you about that.
Ashley Eckstein: So, I had an interesting moment with that screening because, I walked in, honestly convinced that Ahsoka was going to die; that I was going to watch her death unfold on the screen. And of course, Dave had joked with me, to great lengths to make sure I didn’t know what happened. You know, he had even convinced my husband David that Ahsoka was going to die. So I went in preparing for the worst. I mean, literally, my heart was racing. I’d seen most of the episodes up until the end. And when it got to the point where it was the scene that I hadn’t seen yet, I could feel my heart beating out of my chest and my eyes were welling up with tears because I thought, oh god, this is it. And then, cut to that scene of her walking into what we think is a Sith temple, and I just immediately said out loud, “What?” [laughs] And then, a look of just pure confusion came over my face. Because I had more questions than answers at that point. And then I had to go backstage to do a Q&A at that point, and I wasn’t even prepared to answer any questions. I had more questions than answers! So I think it went from tears and being terrified to just hope and confusion at the same time.
Legion of Leia: I think fans felt the same! And, of course, fans are speculation about everything. She lived, she’s a Force ghost, all that stuff. Have you heard the Daughter theory? [Editor’s note: You can read about it here, but in essence, it’s the a piece of the Daughter’s–the personification of the Light side of the Force–spirit went into Ahsoka when she gave her life for her in Clone Wars, and now Ahsoka is more than mortal.]
Ashley Eckstein: Yes! So the funny thing is, that was one of the first theories I heard right after the finale. And that one makes the most sense to me. So, this is purely my opinion and not based on any sort of fact, but I do think there is some connection because that convoree bird, if you look closely, is the colors of the Daughter, and the Daughter gave up her life for Ahsoka. So there is something there. What have you heard? [laughs]
Legion of Leia: I’ve read every theory I could find and that one makes the most sense to me! I didn’t catch it when it happened, but it feels like that could be right.
Ashley Eckstein: Of course! I said in an interview somewhere, that theory, and then someone wrote a whole article about it, like, “Ashley Eckstein says…” [laughs] I’m like, oh sorry, Dave. I’m like, this is what happens when you don’t tell me the truth! I speculate!
Legion of Leia: I know we’ve talked about this before, but he’s the master of talking continually but not revealing anything.
Ashley Eckstein: Isn’t it brilliant? I mean, he hasn’t told us anything, despite many minutes of conversation, hours at this point, really, but I do know that he’s dropped hints. In his mind he’s dropped hints in conversation, but I still haven’t figured it out.
Legion of Leia: The Ahsoka panel you did at Star Wars Celebration in London, what was that like? I know you got really emotional on stage.
Ashley Eckstein: Yeah, you know, that was such a beautiful panel that Dave and Pablo [Hidalgo] put on. I felt like I was a fan up there on stage, because half the information they were unveiling, I had never heard. Dave had given me bits and pieces, but to hear it, and then actually see it–Dave had drawn a lot of these images. He had storyboarded a lot of these moments. It was truly emotional. I joke and say I’m usually not that emotional a person, but when it comes to Ahsoka, I am. It was the moment he revealed where Ahsloka had gone back to Anakin, and they were working together on another mission right before Order 66. And Anakin had basically assigned Captain Rex to Ahsoka. She had her own troops. And all of their helmets were designed with her face tattoos. I lost it. I lost it at that moment because Dave had told me Ahsoka and Captain Rex had gotten together at some point. [laughs] Not gotten together like that! But they work together! That’s what I meant! They’d worked together at some point, but he had not elaborated. And he didn’t give me the backstory. And that made the Season 2 finale, or the end of Season 2 so much more–I mean, it just hits you in the gut. When you realize the backstory between Ahsoka and Rex and how much they mean to each other. I just lost it on stage. I could have cried the rest of the panel. They were true tears. I had to cover my face because it was totally an ugly cry. Because they released such beautiful information about her. And a lot of backstory. If you’re an Ahsoka fan, you should definitely watch that panel, because I was shocked at the amount of information that they revealed. And also, they revealed that, at some point, we’re going to see Ahsoka on Rebels. They didn’t say whether she’d be alive or dead, but she will be back.
Legion of Leia: Ooh! And the whole Nyx Okami thing. Where would you have liked to see that go?
Ashley Eckstein: You know, it’s so funny. I appreciated that arc, but I would not have been on team Nyx and Ahsoka. It was an important moment for Ahsoka because it was very real, and I think sometimes with Jedi, we forget that they have real emotions. And so I think it was a really good character-building arc for her and to show that it is natural for Jedi to have these feelings. And that she was no longer a Jedi so she could have these feelings openly. But they weren’t really a fit at the end of the day. Their small romance would have been short-lived and I was okay with that.
Legion of Leia: It’s really interesting talking about Jedi and what relationships you can have and can’t have. It is interesting to see her struggle with what she can have and what she can’t.
Ashley Eckstein: Yeah, and I think it’s something she does struggle with. Ahoka is a mix of Anakin and Obi-Wan. She’s never been exactly like Anakin, but she has bits and pieces of Obi-Wan. She’s not exactly like Obi-Wan either. I think she’s a bit more by-the-book than Anakin at times. So to have a relationship, like when Anakin ran off and got married, she wouldn’t have done that because she really does try to live the Jedi way and by the rules. But when she’s no longer a Jedi, she can absolutely have more of that. And you know, I have to give Dave and the writing staff credit, because sometimes with girl characters, they give a girl a boyfriend because that’s the “natural storyline.” We’ve talked about this before. They wrote the story in the best way possible. It is something that should be addressed because it’s a natural feeling that she had, but they handled it in the best way possible. It wasn’t a kind of proto-girlfriend/boyfriend story. It was very real. It was very empowering. It was very organic to the characters. It was a good building moment for Ahsoka, while she’s building her personality and her character outside of the Jedi temple.
Legion of Leia: So, have you read the new Ahsoka book? [Editor’s note: “Star Wars Ahsoka” by E.K. Johnston will be released on October 11.]
Ashley Eckstein: I am a couple chapters in. I am so excited! I can’t really speak too much about it because I’m not very far in, but I can tell you it starts off with a bang, and you just jump right in, and you’re immediately invested. And already–I’m only four chapters in, so I’m not very far along, but already I’ve gotten information that as a fan, I want to know. Where she is, how she’s feeling, thoughts, regrets–I can tell it’s going to be a really great story and I’m in for a fun ride.
Legion of Leia: If you had control of the story, and I know you’ve said in interviews that you don’t want that, but what would you like her ultimate outcome to be?
Ashley Eckstein: You know, first of all, ultimate outcome; I do hope that she’s alive. In my opinion, she’s alive. I don’t know if that’s the truth, but that’s just my hope, that she’s alive. I think the thing a lot of fans, especially with her walking into this temple–you know, they’re so quick to say, oh my gosh, she’s going to the Dark side–for me, I just don’t ever see that for her. I think she is good through and through. That’s another reason I think there is something there with the Daughter. She represents the Light side. I really do believe Ahsoka is pure and she is good. So I guess, I don’t know what I want her ultimate story to be, but I do know that I want her to stay good because that’s what I see. I see her far, far from the Dark side. I hope she lives because she has a lot more life yet to live.
Are you guys excited for Star Wars Rebels Season 3? Make sure to pick up the Blu-ray today and check out the show when it returns to Disney XD on September 24!