While many have loved the recent Disney+ series, Tales of the Jedi, the Star Wars series' sixth episode ended up making some controversial changes that saw the removal of a fan favorite LGBTQIA+.
Episode 6 follows Ahsoka after the events of Revenge of the Sith. In particular, it chronicles the details behind what actually gets the former Jedi back into the fight and part of the rebellion. This story involved Ahsoka isolating herself from the larger galaxy—until an accident on a farming planet reveals her secrets. The domino effect that follows leads to an Inquisitor slaughtering a town of people; it doesn't end too well for them.
Oddly enough, this story is basically an alternate re-telling of E.K. Johnson's Ahsoka book. However, there are enough direct changes that end up essentially making the novel non-canon.
Among the changes was the removal of Kaedan Larte, a character who eventually begins to fall for Ahsoka. While it's a romance that is doomed from the start, it's still a key point of diversity in the original book, the removal of which was completely unnecessary.
So, what does the actress behind the leading Jedi have to say about it?
Tales of the Jedi Removed a Key LGBTQIA+ Romance
In an interview with Gizmodo, Ahsoka voice actress Ashley Eckstein commented on The Tales of the Jedi not including Kaedan Larte, an LGBTQIA+ character who played a key role in E.K. Johnson's Ahsoka book.
"Resolve", the sixth episode of the recently released show, told a nearly identical story to what was previously given to fans in the 2016 novel. However, in that book, Larte was introduced alongside her sister, Miara, and eventually ended up admitting her feelings for Ahsoka. This storyline was from Tales of the Jedi.
When asked what Eckstein thought about the omission of the character, she noted that "[she] absolutely love[s] the character[s] of Kaedan and Miara," while also revealing that they "did not have any discussions about [the book]:"
“I will l say I absolutely love the character of Kaedan and Miara, her sister... E.K. Johnson and I actually collaborated on another book, From a Certain Point of View, where we together wrote a chapter and included those characters. But, this is purely my opinion because I did not have any discussions about it, I do hope that we eventually get to see Kaedan and Miara because I think E.K. Johnston wrote two incredible female characters that I hope we’ll see in the future.”
The actress continued, elaborating on how they didn't talk about the book; however, according to the actress, this episode of Tales "felt like an extension of the novel:"
“No, we didn’t have any conversations about the novel... but it felt like an extension of the novel... I didn’t even ask Dave [Filoni] if this was before the novel or [after], I just assumed this was kind of at the beginning of that chapter. So I definitely sense the parallels.”
She went on to share how she "always [has] so much gratitude" when given another opportunity to voice Ahsoka, especially since she doesn't know when might be the last time she'll embody the beloved character:
“Every time I step into the studio and record Ahsoka I always have so much gratitude and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity,” she said. “I never look at like, ‘Okay, well, what’s ahead?’ And, ‘Why don’t we have more?’ I don’t ever look at it that way. I’m just grateful for what I get to do. But there’s always a sadness whenever a project comes to an end. And so that episode, in particular, was, the last one, it was sad.”
An Unnecessary Change in Ahsoka's Canon
It's strange how Eckstein avoids saying how the show directly goes against E.K. Johnson's book. In fact, she tries to imply the two could coexist side-by-side—however, that's simply not true, something which is obvious to anyone who is familiar with both stories.
The episode directly goes against nearly every plot point in the original Ahsoka book, with the removal of Kaedan and Miara being one of them. There's also her meeting Bail Organa at Padme's funeral, the name of the farming planet she is on, the Inquisitor she faces, and plenty more.
If anything, the actress' answer is a diplomatic one—she doesn't want to step on anyone's toes.
What makes the matter frustrating is how the changes were completely unnecessary. Filoni could have easily found another story to tell with the character at some point after the prequel trilogy.
It's also annoying to many because there simply aren't many LGBTQIA+ characters at the forefront of Star Wars. The biggest of them would be Doctor Aphra, someone who was originally introduced in the comics.
There are others, but most aren't fully in the spotlight—however, some High Republic books try to fix that.
As for when Ashley Eckstein might voice the character again, there's a good chance that Tales is not her last time. She could always show up in The Bad Batch or another anthology show. Star Wars: Rebels has also long been rumored to get a follow-up animated series, which could see her return as well.
Tales of the Jedi is available to stream on Disney+. Fans can also look forward to the live-action Ahsoka series starring Rosario Dawson when it likely airs sometime next year.