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Ahsoka Tano

SW: The Clone Wars
by yo go re

In the '80s and early '90s, it was widely known that Star Wars was meant to be a series of three trilogies: Episodes 4-6, followed by Episodes 1-3 and then 7-9. We all knew it, though I have no idea where that knowledge originated. It wasn't until the late '90s, when the prequels were coming out, that George changed his story - these prequels were a "new" idea, certainly not something that had been planned for years, wink wink.

When the CGI Clone Wars movie was first announced, there were two main complaints: that it was ignoring the existing Clone Wars cartoon, and that it starred an annoying new character, Ahsoka Tano; while the show ignoring Genndy Tartakovsky's work was never really addressed, by the time The Clone Wars wrapped on Cartoon Network, Ahsoka had matured into a fan-favorite and everyone was sad to see her go.

Uh, that's "go" as in "the show ended," not "go" as in "died." Although we all know that a Padawan introduced just prior to Anakin going cuckoo bananas is pretty much destined to meet a bad end, it's not a spoiler to tell you that a children's cartoon that aired on Saturday mornings did not actually feature the brutal on-screen slaughter of its POV character before the finale. So spoiler alert: as of right now, like Frodo, Ahsoka lives.

We've had several Ahsoka toys before, but they were all "animated" style - this release is our first ever untooned Ahsoka. Since the cartoon's facial structure was based on her voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, the toy follows suit; there have been live-action SW toys that looked less like the people they were supposed to be than this one looks like Eckstein. She's just orange. With white, Princess Mononoke-inspired markings on her face.

This figure represents a more adult Ahsoka, wearing the costume she got for the Season 3 redesign. She's no longer a 14-year-old, so she's traded in her magenta tube top for a real shirt. A backless shirt with a boob-window, but a shirt nonetheless. Or maybe it's a dress, if the softgoods part that looks like a skirt is actually attached to the rest of it. She's still wearing leggings, though they're darker now and have diamond cutouts running up the sides. She's wearing elbow-length fingerless gloves, and has strips of cloth around her upper arms. The new costume looks mature yet feminine, as it should.

Ahsoka comes with her lightsabers. Yes, plural. She started out only wielding one, using an unconventional reverse grip, but eventually added a second, shorter blade in her off hand. The blade on the shorter 'saber is more of a yellow hue than the green of the full-length blade - that may seem like a mistake in production, but that's exactly the way it was in the cartoon. The set also includes two unignited hilts that can plug into her crossed belts.

Since this is a "Vintage" release, the articulation is good. Snips has swivel/hinge ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders; swivel hips, waist and forearms; and a balljointed head. It's a shame that we're getting back into a phase where this level of articulation is considered "special," rather than "usual."

One weird thing about this release, however? The packaging has a painting of Ahsoka on the front, but it (unlike the toy) is not based on Ms. Eckstein. She's said she would be up for playing Ahsoka in the live-action tv show (when the live-action tv show was still a thing that was going to happen, back before the Disney buyout), and has even donned the makeup for a photoshoot once, so why does the card art look nothing like her? It's like the artist was told "Togruta" but misunderstood and went for "Topanga."

So, like we said, The Clone Wars ended with Ahsoka kind of walking off into the sunset (metaphorically). Well, it just so happens that back in the day, when we all knew Episode 7, 8 and 9 were on their way, the rumored plot apparently revolved around a female ex-Jedi wandering the galaxy. Of course, who knows what it will be now that an entirely different creative team is in charge? Still, if they wanted to stick with that idea, Ahsoka would be a great choice for a main character.

-- 05/04/13

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