Although she’s never appeared in the flesh, capturing the hearts of hardcore Star Wars fans through animated means only, Ahsoka Tano has a deep connection to many of the franchise’s iconic characters and events. She trained as a Jedi under the tutelage of Anakin Skywalker (the man who eventually goes dark-sided and becomes Darth Vader), and was instrumental in organizing a rebellion against the Empire during the Clone Wars era of the Star Wars timeline. After the rise of the Empire, she joined a Rebel group led by Bail Organa, the adoptive father of Princess Leia Organa. This eventually saw Ahsoka pitted against her old Jedi master Anakin, who by then had become the corrupted Darth Vader. Ahsoka even appeared in a quick Easter egg moment as a voice that comes to Daisy Ridley’s toward the end of Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker. (The scene included overlapping voices of Jedi who had come before Rey, emboldening her to do the right thing and resist temptation to join the dark side.)
At the moment, there’s no official word on what role Ahsoka will be playing on The Mandalorian, or how important she’ll be in the grand scheme, but given her deep connections to the Star Wars franchise, it’s likely that her inclusion will add another rich layer to the show’s story.
For some, the news of Dawson’s casting as Ahsoka Tano won’t come as a total surprise. She’s been a popular pick for the role among fans, who have often engaged in fantasy casting discussions on social media. In a now-deleted 2017 tweet, a fan suggested the casting, to which Dawson replied, “Ummmm… yes please?! #AhsokaLives #AhsokaTano.” Later, when appearing on Good Morning America in April 2017, Dawson brought up the fan chatter about wanting her cast as Ahsoka, and made a plea: “Internet, help me out!”
With the latest casting news, it looks like someone at Disney must have been taking notes.