The Mandalorian: Dave Filoni Reveals the Challenges of Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Design

By Tom Drew Posted:
Ahsoka Tano from The Mandalorian, The Mandalorian logo, Rosario Dawson

"Chapter 13" of The Mandalorian was an exciting episode in the series' second season, bringing fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano into the fray.

Images have emerged from "The Jedi," showing off actress Rosario Dawson's look whilst portraying the character. Star Wars also revealed a brand new character poster , showing Ahsoka brandishing her iconic white lightsabers.

A recent feature from Vanity Fair revealed many new details about the episode whilst talking to Rosario Dawson, including George Lucas' reaction to seeing Ahsoka in live-action for the first time. The Ahsoka Tano actress also opened up about what led her to the role, which supposedly came from avid fan castings on social media. Dawson also quelled fan concerns about allegations that sparked controversy following her casting, reiterating her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

New details have also emerged about the process of crafting Ahsoka's look for live-action, which Dawson and director Dave Filoni have now spoken on...


In an interview with Vanity Fair , The Mandalorian actress Rosario Dawson and executive producer Dave Filoni spoke about the process of adapting Ahsoka Tano in live-action form. Filoni began by describing how meticulous the team had to be with converting the character from animation:

It was a pretty amazing thing as we designed the costume and worked out all the details of that. Everything got considered to an unbelievable degree—the headtails, the horns, I can’t even tell you. It’s hard. It’s so rare a person in my position from animation gets to craft and guide the character’s jump to live-action.

Ahsoka's trademark face markings also received much consideration, which Dave Filoni wanted to appear "very natural," according to Dawson:

What I love about the Togruta is that they have these facial markings, but they’re all different on all of the different women that we’ve seen. In the cartoon it almost looks like a face paint, but [Filoni] really wanted it to come off as very natural.

The two also discussed Ahsoka's orange skin tone, and how the lighting of the Volume (the large screen used to film the majority of The Mandalorian ) and Ahsoka's lightsabers affected decisions with it:

Filoni: Many tests were done, screen tests, because within the Volume, it will tend to lean magenta. You have to worry about how a character like Ahsoka would look because the temperature that we have her orange could be dramatically different in the Volume than in stage shots. So there were tiny little considerations that had to be made and adjusted.

Dawson mentioned how the makeup "shifted when she had the lightsabers closer to her face," which affected how it was applied.

Dave Filoni also spoke about ensuring that the makeup and headgear did not detract from the performance, saying they had to "play with the [saturation] values" of her look to ensure it was not too cartoonish:

Performance-wise I don’t want her to be lost in all of this headgear and makeup, but she definitely is not. I kept things subtle in some ways with the markings. I mean, the funny thing is that the white markings over the brow are always done in animation to give an eyebrow performance. I didn’t want a brightly saturated character. Again, in animation it works, but in live-action I think it works another way, and so you just have to play with the values and see.

Rosario Dawson also spoke about her headpiece, which she said "was built specifically to [her] skull and body" to stay "firmly on." She also mentioned that Ahsoka's headband "clips in the back and holds it in place," allowing her to do stunts without it moving from position.

The key to Ahsoka's look seemed to her eye color, which Dawson said changed her look from "cosplay" to the real Ahsoka once her blue contacts were put in.

Filoni: I said, “Well, Ahsoka’s eyes are blue and yours are not, but I don’t want you to worry about it. If you don’t want to go for that, we can just say that in this version they’re not.” And Rosario insisted. She’s like, “No, no, no. Let me try it.”

Dawson: I remember when I put the contacts on, that was when it really solidified—the headpiece, the tails, the shape, the coloring, everything. Doing the face marking, doing my skin, wearing the costume, all of that was absolutely incredible. But I still kind of felt like I was in cosplay. The second the contacts went in, it was Ahsoka. I felt like I disappeared.


From Rosario Dawson and Dave Filoni's conversation, a lot of consideration went into the development of Ahsoka Tano's live-action design. Ahsoka is a fan-favorite character that has come to be beloved by many, so it is reassuring that both Dawson and Filoni cared so much about getting her look right. The character is certainly deserving of the attention-to-detail, especially since the jump to live-action is a significant step for the character's impact on the galaxy. The hard work paid off though, as Ahsoka looks fantastic in The Mandalorian , seamlessly jumping from the animated series over to live-action.

It is interesting to hear that the Volume affected the design process for Ahsoka Tano, demonstrating that even technology this revolutionary come with setbacks. The team was able to work through these issues, ensuring that Ahsoka's look still appears natural on screen. This could indicate that other characters may have had similar challenges for the design. Perhaps Baby Yoda himself underwent these changes in his design too, ensuring that his green hue looks appropriate for the camera.

Ultimately, this should bode well for future adaptations between animated and live-action depictions of characters. Both Bo-Katan Kryze and Ahsoka Tano have made the jump seemingly effortlessly, but these comments demonstrate that a lot of effort does go into ensuring that the characters look just right.

Fans can find Ahsoka Tano's live-action look in "Chapter 13 - The Jedi," now streaming on Disney+.

- In This Article: Ahsoka
Release Date
August 22, 2023
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- About The Author: Tom Drew
Tom Drew is the Executive Editor at The Direct. Tom writes for The Direct's Marvel, Star Wars, and DC branches while specializing in all things movies, from blockbuster to indie darlings.