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Actress Ashley Eckstein currently voices the beloved character Ashoka Tano on the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and has played the role in several other projects as well. Ashoka is supposedly set to be making the leap from her animated incarnation to live-action for The Mandalorian Season 2, but it'll be former Marvel star Rosario Dawson has been cast to bring Ashoka Tano to life, rather than Eckstein.
Fan art has already imagined what Rosario Dawson could look like in-character as the fan-favorite, and we're pumped for it. But how does the actress who has voiced Ashoka Tano for so many years feel about Dawson getting cast to play the Torgruta warriro in The Mandalorian? Before weighing in, Ashley Eckstein expressed her gratitude to Star Wars fans for their support. Reacting to Dawson’s reported casting, Eckstein posted on Instagram:
The truth is, I am not involved in The Mandalorian. I can’t answer questions for something I have not been a part of. I am an actress and I have performed in all types of mediums; live action film/television, theater, voice-over, hosting and it has been my dream for 14 years to continue to play Ahsoka Tano in all forms.
Ashley Eckstein began by expressing her own desire to have played Ashoka Tano in “all forms,” which would seem to include live-action. Eckstein also confirmed that she is not involved with The Mandalorian, so she isn't the right person for fans to come to for questions about Dawson's casting, or how the character will be handled. Even though she's spent 14 years voicing the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels character, things changed up for The Mandalorian.
Ashley Eckstein had previously revealed how she had to “unlearn” her portrayal of Ashoka Tano for the seventh and final season, considering she ended up taking the character to far different places further along in the timeline for other projects. Star Wars: The Clones Wars' seventh season hit Disney+ years after the show's original ending, and after Ahsoka showed up on Star Wars Rebels and Forces of Destiny.
Despite not getting to realize her dream of playing Ashoka in live-action form, Ashley Eckstein said:
I will continue to be grateful for opportunities to help create stories for Ahsoka Tano and I am always happy to see her legacy continue. I am only one member of a tremendously talented team of people that it takes to bring Ahsoka Tano to life. The final decisions for Ahsoka are not mine to make and I cannot comment on something that I truly know nothing about.
Reports of Rosario Dawson’s casting came as fans are waiting for the finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The last episode is said to shake-up fans’ perspectives on individual characters, with Ahsoka possibly being one of them.
Ashley Eckstein referenced the reported casting in her Instagram post without mentioning Rosario Dawson by name, possibly in an effort to not promote any further negativity within her fanbase. She also addressed it as a rumor, so it's always technically possible that something could fall through, making Dawson unavailable to portray Ahsoka. Based on what she said, though, Eckstein cannot confirm the reports because she has not been part of those conversations for The Mandalorian.
For Rosario Dawson, taking on this role is the culmination of something over three years in the making. Back in February 2017, Dawson had tweeted “yes please?!” as a response to hypothetically playing Ashoka Tano in a live-action iteration. That was before The Mandalorian even got started filming.
Rosario Dawson's campaign continued during an appearance on Good Morning America, in which she expressed interest in playing Ashoka in a film. (Ashley Eckstein actually voiced Ahsoka's cameo in Rise of Skywalker, too.) This past January, Rosario Dawson doubled down on her investment with another tweet. Fast forward to March, and reports are indicating that she will get to play Ashoka in The Mandalorian.
As for Ashley Eckstein, she seems grateful for the journey she has had as Ashoka Tano. Her post has received over 14,500 likes, so the feeling is apparently mutual with fans.
You can now stream The Mandalorian’s first season on Disney+. Season 2 is currently set to arrive this October, so quite a bit after this spring’s premieres. And don't forget to check out The Clone Wars' season (or series) finale on April 3.