Ahsoka Showrunner Dave Filoni Shares Thoughts On Whether The Disney+ Show Is Just Star Wars Rebels Season 5

Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano holding white lightsaber
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Although The Mandalorian Season 1 was a relatively standalone offering within the franchise, Season 2 started establishing ties with the wider Star Wars mythology. This included bringing in Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, who’d previously been voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the animated TV shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Now we’re just a few months away from seeing Dawson lead the Ahsoka spinoff series, which, among other things, will feature a number of other Rebels characters in live-action; so much so that showrunner Dave Filoni has shared his thoughts on whether this entry in the 2023 TV schedule is simply Rebels Season 5.

Filoni created Ahsoka Tano for The Clone Wars more than 15 years ago, and following her brief appearances in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, he wrote all of the episodes for the character’s own show, which he executive produced alongside Jon Favreau. When EW asked Filoni if he sees Ahsoka as just Star Wars Rebels Season 5, he first admitted that this is “one way of looking at it” because of the epilogue at the end of the animated series, and that “[d]efinitely all signs are indicating that there's a continuation.” However, he then said this:

For me, when I'm telling those stories, I don't limit things like, 'Oh, well, I did it an animation, so I would do it distinctly different in live action.' There's just the story that it is, and I was telling it in one medium. Rebels is a different style than Clone Wars. Even visually, that changed the way I could execute certain things in Rebels. The story kind of evolved since I worked on Rebels. Working with [Jon Favreau] and setting things down in The Mandalorian created an opportunity to see: How does Ahsoka work as a character in live action?

As seen in the trailer for Ahsoka that premiered last month, there are plenty of Rebels characters who are set to be key characters in the Star Wars series’ cast, including Nastahsa Liu Bordizzo’s Sabine Wren, Man Esfandi’s Ezra Bridger, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Hera Syndulla, Chopper and Lars Mikkelsen reprising Grand Admiral Thrawn. But as Dave Filoni sees it, the distinction between animation and live-action doesn’t matter as much the act of storytelling itself. So yes, Ahsoka is Rebels Season 5 in the sense that it’s continuing a story that was previously told in an animated format, but it’s also looking to be its own thing and chart out a new path for the woman who was once Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice.

Make no mistake though, if you want to be able to follow along with what’s going on in Ahsoka this summer, you should stream all four seasons of Star Wars Rebels with your Disney+ subscription beforehand. While specific Ahsoka plot details are being kept a tightly-guarded secret, along with Thrawn resurfacing after disappearing to parts unknown with Ezra, we’ll also see Rosario Dawson’s character tangle with Ray Stevenson’s Baylan Skoll and Ivanna Sakhno’s Shin Hati, both of whom are also Force-wielders. Other familiar Star Wars characters who will be back for Ahsoka include Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Mothma, who was saw just last year in Andor Season 1; Diana Lee Inosanto as Morgan Elsbeth, who was first seen in The Mandalorian; and David Tennant vocally reprising the droid Huyang from The Clone Wars.

Ahsoka will consist of eight episodes and premiere on Disney+ sometime in August. You can watch the Star Wars movies in order and other original shows on that platform, and keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend for more news on other upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.