‘Ahsoka’ Continues a Frustrating Disney ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber Trend

in Entertainment, Star Wars

Sabine Wren wielding a lightsaber in 'Ahsoka'

Credit: Lucasfilm

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Episodes 1 and 2 of Star Wars: Ahsoka.

The latest Star Wars spinoff, Ahsoka, has finally arrived on Disney+, sending audiences straight into the action during its two-episode premiere earlier this week. But with the series’ long-awaited debut has perhaps come more questions than answers, particularly regarding its use of lightsabers and their not-so-deadly consequences.

Ahsoka Tano wielding her two white lightsabers on Corellia
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Does the Unthinkable, Creates Massive Plot Hole in ‘Ahsoka’

Years after first being announced at Disney Investor Day 2020, the Rosario Dawson-led Ahsoka show has at last landed on the streaming service. Directed by longtime Lucasfilm creative Dave Filoni, its two-part premiere was met with generally positive reviews from fans, particularly those who enjoyed the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels series. 

Picking up roughly around the same time as The Mandalorian, Ahsoka sees Dawson reprising her role as the titular former Jedi, this time to take down a familiar adversary: Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and his mysterious Force-wielding henchmen.

Baylan Skoll and his apprentice Shin Hati looking at a star map in episode of 'Ahsoka' on Disney+
Credit: Disney+

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Finally Answers Long-Contested Mystery in ‘Ahsoka’

Joining her on the mission are General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mandalorian Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who made their live-action debuts in Ahsoka after serving alongside the Ghost crew in all four seasons of Rebels.

So far, reception to the new show has been cautiously optimistic, with many praising the performance of the late Ray Stevenson, who plays Baylan Skoll, and its many callbacks to the Prequel Trilogy.

Ahsoka Tano and Hera Syndulla aboard a Rebel Starcruiser
Credit: Disney / Lucasfilm

But even though fans were kinder to Ahsoka compared to other recent Star Wars Disney+ projects like Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, some viewers still took up issue with Ahsoka‘s sluggish pacing, cardboard performances from the eponymous hero herself, and of course, Sabine’s near-death experience at the hands of Shin Hati’s (Ivanna Sakhno) orange blade.

Fans are up in arms over the latest Star Wars retcon, which continues the frustrating trend of characters surviving what should be fatal lightsaber wounds. Under Disney’s management, it seems like the Jedi Order’s deadly weapon of choice isn’t quite as effective as it was in the Original and Prequel Trilogies, with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Third Sister/Reva (Moses Ingram) somehow surviving a direct stab to the chest from Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen)—a wound that killed seasoned Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) on the spot in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).

Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) Darth Maul (Ray Park) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in the Duel of the Fates in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Credit: Lucasfilm

Rupert Friend’s Grand Inquisitor survived a similar blow in Obi-Wan Kenobi, leading many longtime fans to wonder how these, frankly, less experienced characters stayed alive while a fully-trained Jedi Master succumbed to his injuries despite having the Force on his side.

Now, Ahsoka is the latest Star Wars project to continue this controversial trend, with Sabine Wren’s fight against Shin Hati ending with a direct jab through her abdomen with her lightsaber in a shocking plot twist. However, the suspense was short-lived, as Sabine was confirmed to have survived and, miraculously, healed seemingly overnight in Episode 2.

Shin dueling Sabine Wren
Credit: Lucasfilm

Many fans have already expressed their disappointment about the showrunners’ decision to show Sabine suffering such a significant wound, only for her to recover fairly easily. With Qui-Gon being in tune with the Force and Sabine being generally Force-inept, this also led many to wonder why these characters experienced such different fates.

So why include Sabine’s “death” in Ahsoka at all? Clearly, Sabine is poised to play a substantial role in the show, with trailers showing her rematch against Shin Hati and her not-yet-seen adventures with Ahsoka and Hera as they go off together to find the map to Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

However, Sabine’s “death” was never meant to be a long-standing plot point in Ahsoka and was likely included in the final product to efficiently explain two things: one, that Sabine is rusty with her lightsaber skills, thus inspiring her to finish out her training with Ahsoka, and two, that Shin and Baylan pose a perilous threat to the main trio of heroes thanks to their fighting prowess. Filoni didn’t leave audiences on much of a cliffhanger in regards to Sabine’s wounds, meaning he probably expected that fans wouldn’t exactly be sold on her “death.”

While it’s fair game to say that Sabine’s lightsaber blow should’ve been fatal and that her survival is just another eye-rolling example of “plot armor,” her recovering from her injuries does make sense. While Qui-Gon was clearly stabbed through his spine, Sabine was attacked more through her side than the middle of her abdomen, meaning it makes sense that she could recover so quickly. Plus, she was immediately rescued by Ahsoka, taken straight to a medical facility, and given proper treatment.

Sabine Wren fighting Shin with Ezra's lightsaber.
Credit: Lucasfilm

It’s also important to note The Phantom Menace and Ahsoka‘s very different places on the Star Wars timeline, with the new Disney+ series taking place 43 years after the events of Episode 1. It’s entirely possible that new advancements in medical technology could have been made since Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s fight against Darth Maul on Naboo, as we’ve seen in shows like The Book of Boba Fett.

Whether Reva survived purely because of her Dark Side abilities, her Order 66 experience, or something else entirely remains unknown, but it’s safe to say that Sabine’s not-so-death at least makes slightly more sense—despite still being somewhat of a disappointment to viewers.

sabine wren live-action
Credit: Lucasfilm

It’ll be interesting to see if future Lucasfilm productions take note of fans’ many complaints about the effectiveness of lightsabers in recent Disney+ projects and if Star Wars won’t shy away from killing off characters following these new Ahsoka criticisms. For now, we can only wait and see who comes out on top when Shin Hati and Sabine Wren have their inevitable rematch and if their lightsabers might actually have fatal consequences in upcoming battles.

New episodes of Ahsoka arrive on Disney+ every Tuesday.

Were you frustrated to see Sabine Wren surviving her lightsaber wounds in Ahsoka? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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