Ahsoka Stuntwoman Reveals the 1 Challenge With Training Rosario Dawson

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka, blue screen stunts

Rosario Dawson faced one particular challenge when training for Ahsoka's lightsaber duels. 

Lucasfilm's latest Disney+ Star Wars series is packed with stunts and lightsaber action, most notably in Episode 5 where Ahsoka Tano battled Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker.

Prior to the Star Wars show's release, Dawson talked about her "seven days a week" training schedule; but now, Ahsoka's stunt coordinator is sharing her perspective on training Rosario.

The Challenge of Training Ahsoka's Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson behind-the-scenes of Ahsoka
Star Wars

In a recent issue of Total Film, Ahsoka stuntwoman Ming Qiu revealed Rosario Dawson "works very, very hard" but her challenge is that she's "also very busy:"

"Rosario Dawson’s very coordinated. She’s very flexible. And she works very, very hard. But her challenge is, she’s also very busy. She never has any break. But we’re very lucky: she works very hard. And I know she always mentions that I’m very tough on her, but she takes the pain!"

In addition to on-screen roles like Ahsoka, Disney's The Haunted Mansion, and DMZ, Dawson's voice acting career also keeps her "busy" with credits ranging from Love, Death & Robots to Space Jam: A New Legacy.

As for Ming Qiu, the Star Wars stuntwoman has also worked Mulan, The Matrix Resurrections, and The Book of Boba Fett; and according to her, Ahsoka showrunner, Dave Filoni, "knows what he wants" and that's "realistic" fights with "a reason:"

"Dave knows what he wants. He’s very organised. We go read a script, understand the fight, and we choreograph it first. Dave will give an opinion, and will give us notes. Dave wants everything to be realistic. Everything has a reason."

The problem with realism, however, is that fights would be too short for a television show. 

Therefore, in addition to preparing a busy Rosario Dawson, Ming Qiu explained her job is to make fights "realistic but interesting" and determine "how to make each fight different:"

"Dave told me at the very beginning, ‘I want you to look at Seven Samurai.’ But the tricky part is that the old samurai style – it’s very realistic. It’s like: one strike, one kill. Or two strikes, you’re dead. For a fight scene, you cannot just do one strike, you’re dead. You have to continue. So that’s the part we needed to figure out how to make it realistic but interesting. My job is to figure out how to make each fight different. If you watch a lightsaber fight every episode, with the same kind of fighting, that won’t be interesting."

But not only does every fight need to be different, but so does each fighter. 

Ming Qiu described Ahsoka's specific style - and what Dawson has learned - as being "between Japanese and Chinese," which is largely due to what you can and can't do with a lightsaber:

"Not everybody is good with the left hand if you’re right-handed. Ahsoka’s style is between Japanese and Chinese. A lightsaber is different than a regular sword. A Japanese sword is a one-sided blade, which means you can use the other side to block. But with a lightsaber, you cannot block, which means a lot of twirling and a lot of movements will be different than a regular samurai style. That’s a Chinese style. So I combine two styles together for her. Every single character has a different style and a different story."

The Master Behind Rosario Dawson's Jedi Training

Since The Mandalorian debuted on Disney+, Star Wars stunt performers and coordinators have received more attention, and rightly so. 

For instance, while Pedro Pascal is the voice and the occasional face of Din Djarin, stunt doubles Lateef Crowder and Brendan Wayne are credited for Mando's swagger and skills in a fight. 

In addition, speculation about Ahsoka's Marrok led to new fan focus on stuntman Paul Darnell's extensive career. Plus, Diana Lee Inosanto, who plays Ahsoka's Morgan Elsbeth is, herself, a stuntwoman and martial artist as well as a character actress. 

Hearing Ming Qiu's experience is important for Star Wars fans as she helped Rosario Dawson bring Ahsoka Tano to life in more ways than one. 

Hopefully, an Ahsoka Disney+ docuseries will dive deeper into Rosario Dawson's training, her own challenges, and the stunt workers responsible for Ahsoka Tano's integral fighting style. 

New episodes of Ahsoka drop on Tuesdays on Disney+.

- In This Article: Ahsoka
Release Date
August 22, 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.