Well before Ahsoka Tano made her live-action debut on last week's episode of The Mandalorian, her character was well known from Star Wars Rebels and even earlier than that in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During the Clone Wars, Tano played a pivotal character as Anakin Skywalker's apprentice. Then, as Clone Wars fans know, she ultimately left the Jedi Order after being falsely accused of a crime, and for all intents and purposes, moved past Skywalker. This explains to fans why she didn't appear in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, starring Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
After 12 years of Ashley Eckstein voicing Tano in Rebels and Clone Wars, Rosario Dawson has taken over the reins of the beloved Star Wars character. While it doesn't appear there was a 20-year master plan since Christensen was cast as Skywalker back in 2000, a connection between Dawson and Christensen is making the relationship between Tano and Skywalker even more special.
During an in-depth interview with Vanity Fair, Rosario Dawson spoke about the process of being cast as such a beloved Star Wars character, including her early fascination with Star Wars and history with Hayden Christensen:
Ahsoka stands out as the first lead female Jedi in Star Wars storytelling. What did you connect with personally?
Dawson: I found it so fascinating that there was this whole other world that existed in the animated series, and this young girl was the heart of that space. I had a particular kind of interest in her and in that character because when I first started acting at 15, I did this movie, Kids, and I got paid like $1,000 to work on it. When the movie came out, I decided at 16 that I wanted to continue pursuing acting. My dad’s mom said, “Well, if you’re going to do that, and you’re 16 years old, then you need to study acting,” and put me in Strasberg. And it happened to be that summer when Hayden Christensen was in—we had the same class.
Dawson then mentioned that “the Force was at play” regarding her eventual casting as Ahsoka:
And you later worked together, right?
Dawson: We ended up doing this movie together years later called Shattered Glass, and I always just thought it was really cool that I knew someone who was not just in Star Wars but played Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka was his Padawan, so when the fan-casting came out, I just thought it was pretty wild that I visually connected to this character from being this teenager who met this actor who ended up being this great character. I don’t know, it just felt like the Force was at play.
"When I was first exploring the possibility of directing live-action, I asked [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy about casting and when you knew someone was right for a part. She thought about it and said, “You just know.” And she was right. When I met Rosario, I just knew she was right for Ahsoka. Yes, there was the tweet and her interest in the part; yes, she has been in action movies and is a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy stories; yes, she knew Hayden Christensen and pictures of them together look like Anakin and Ahsoka. But in the end, when I met her and we talked, I just knew."
WHAT THIS MEANS
It is surprising to hear that all these years after Dawson and Christensen were in the same class, it has become a major connection in a galaxy far, far away. This is such a heart-warming story, but I couldn't call myself a Star Wars fan if I didn't pose this question: could we see Ahsoka Tano (Dawson) and Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) appear together on screen? At least now there's a possibility.
The most obvious way we could see these who appear together would be in the form of a flashback scene, which we've seen often used throughout the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy and The Mandalorian. With a lot of speculation around the future of Tano on Disney+ or even the big screen, we would be naive to think we have any idea what is in store for this character. What fans should point to with The Mandalorian bringing back fan-favorites Boba Fett, Bo Katan, and the aforementioned Ahsoka Tano, is hope for the return of Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, especially considering Christensen's costar, Ewan McGregor, is getting his own Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series.
The possibilities for a live-action Anakin Skywalker to return are growing by the day.