Diana Lee Inosanto spoke at length about her role in Ahsoka, as well as the one specific plot point she requested while filming the series.
Disney+’s Ahsoka brought the fan-favorite Dave Filoni-created hero into the spotlight with her very own series. Rosario Dawson gave life to the title role as the iconic Jedi fought to stop Grand Admiral Thrawn’s reemergence.
Working for Thrawn was Morgan Elsbeth, a descendent of the Nightsisters of Dathomir. In the Ahsoka finale episode, the Nightsisters living on Peridea bestowed Elsbeth with the mysterious and powerful Blade of Talzin, which she then used in pitched combat against Ahsoka Tano.
Diana Lee Inosanto Had One Big Ask for Morgan Elsbeth
As Thrawn’s Star Destroyer, the Chimaera, prepared for the jump to hyperspace that would take the Grand Admiral and his crew to their home galaxy, Ahsoka and Morgan Elsbeth were still planetside, battling in a blur of illuminated blades.
Eventually, Tano gained the upper hand and sliced across Eslbeth’s abdomen, killing her with not only her own lightsaber but Elsebth’s weapon, the Sword of Talzin. As it turned out, this was a specific request on the part of Inosanto:
“Ming came up with the idea of taking the spine of the Talzin blade and using it, redirecting the [Nightsisters] magik. I wanted so much to have a powerful ending. I requested that [Elsbeth] would die by her own weapon.”
Inosanto made reference to the series’ stunt coordinator Ming Qiu when discussing Elsbeth’s “powerful ending.”
On where she drew her inspiration for jumping into the character, Inosanto looked at the exploits of some famous figures in real-world history, such as “Julius Caesar and Catherine the Great,” before beginning to dive into the work that beloved author Timothy Zahn has done within the Star Wars franchise:
“I tapped into Julius Caesar and Catherine the Great. By the time I found out that I was going to be in 'The Mandalorian,' I switched gears and started looking at books written by Timothy Zahn. Heir to the Empire was really important to me… And of course, Dave was always amazing about answering my questions. He was always there to explain Morgan's process and what her goals were.”
Digging a bit deeper, the actress touched on the distinction between Ahsoka Tano and Morgan Elsbeth and their response to the trauma of their pasts, noting that the latter was “willing to take risks” that were “harmful and hurtful:”
“Ahsoka, one way or another, was able to find her way through the darkness and into the light, so to speak. Morgan, to me, is [a different] example of what happens when people have been traumatized. They are willing to take risks in a way that can be harmful and hurtful.”
Inosanto and Elsbeth - A Match Made in Heaven
It certainly seems as though Diana Lee Inosanto has great reverence for her Star Wars character and was able to live inside Morgan Elsbeth’s head for a while as she developed the villain’s sensibilities and motivation.
As with any cool Star Wars character, it’s a shame that Elsbeth had to meet her demise by the close of the season, but she did appear in almost every episode. And one definitely can’t forget about her introduction in The Mandalorian.
Plus, Inosanto definitely got her licks in during fight scenes as well, which should come as no surprise.
The actress is not only the goddaughter of the legendary Bruce Lee but the daughter of martial arts icon Dan Inosanto who worked with everyone from Lee to Chuck Norris over the course of his career.
As such, Diana Lee Inosanto is an expert martial artist in her own right, having studied a vast array of combat forms. She’s also an accomplished stunt performer in addition to her Star Wars work.
So, while Morgan Elsbeth’s time in a Galaxy Far, Far Away has come to a close, Ahsoka was just a small, but memorable segment of Inosanto’s many achievements.
All eight episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka can be streamed exclusively on Disney+.