Disappointing ‘Ahsoka’ Viewership Spells Trouble for Disney+

in Entertainment, Star Wars

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in the Disney+ 'Ahsoka' show

Credit: Inside the Magic

UPDATE: New information has been released since the time of publishing. Lucasfilm has shared a statement revealing that Ahsoka Episode 1 received 14 million views as of Tuesday, August 19. Read our updated coverage here.

Despite faring generally well with fans and critics, it looks like Disney+ is gearing up to take a hit with their latest Star Wars spinoff, Ahsoka, after a new report supposedly revealed its staggeringly low viewership numbers.

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

Related:‘Ahsoka’ Leak Quietly Promises to Change ‘Star Wars’ Forever

What is ‘Ahsoka’ About?

Dave Filoni’s highly-anticipated Ahsoka show is off to a rocky start following its two-episode premiere on Disney+ last Tuesday, which could spell trouble for the franchise amid a string of less-than-impressive projects like The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 and the Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries.

The show, which stars Rosario Dawson in the titular role, follows Ahsoka Tano as she sets out on a dangerous new mission: tracking down former Imperial warlord Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) after he reappears in the Unknown Regions following his showdown with Jedi Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi).

Lars Mikkelsen as Thrawn in Ahsoka
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Say Goodbye to Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy as ‘Ahsoka’ Changes Canon Forever

Along the way, Ahsoka will enlist the help of old friends from the animated Star Wars Rebels series, including General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mandalorian Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), as they attempt to save the fragile New Republic from impending doom, all while unraveling the mysteries of a far-off universe that could change the galaxy forever.

Filoni, who serves as Ahsoka‘s writer, co-director, and showrunner, has described the series as a pseudo Season 5 of Rebels, with Thrawn and its ensemble of characters being the most obvious connections to the beloved animated show. 

But even though Rebels is widely regarded as one of Lucasfilm’s best-animated works following Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka‘s many Rebels callbacks might be doing the live-action show more harm than good, according to new viewership statistics.

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

‘Ahsoka’ Viewership is Lower Than ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ and ‘The Book of Boba Fett’

Third-party data collector Samba TV, which allows viewers to peek behind the curtain regarding viewership figures, is reporting that after six days, the first episode of Ahsoka was watched by 1.2 million US households on Disney+. Additionally, according to a report from Deadline, the second episode of Ahsoka, which premiered at the same time as the first, allegedly clocked in with 956 thousand viewers, a glaring decline from the series opener.

While this might seem impressive on the surface, considering Ahsoka Tano has scarcely featured in live-action Star Wars until now, this number is notably smaller than its “Mando-Verse” counterparts such as The Book of Boba Fett, which brought in 1.7 million unique viewers after five days, and The Mandalorian Season 3, which brought in 1.6 million unique viewers for after five days.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in The Mandalorian Season 2
Credit: Lucasfilm

Ahsoka‘s numbers are also down significantly from the streaming platform’s biggest performer, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which debuted with 2.4 million unique viewers in five days. This puts Ahsoka more or less at the same point as Season 1 of the Diego Luna-led Andor, which remains the lowest-performing live-action Star Wars series despite being met with critical acclaim.

Low ‘Ahsoka’ Viewership Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

So, what does this mean for Ahsoka? Well, if Andor is anything to go by, low viewership figures aren’t necessarily the end of the world. Although the Rogue One (2016) prequel failed to gain much traction with casual Star Wars viewers, fans have generally regarded it as the franchise’s best Disney+ series to date, with the show even winning Lucasfilm its first prestigious Peabody Award in May.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

In contrast, Obi-Wan Kenobi might’ve been Disney+’s most-watched Star Wars TV show, but it’s also one of the worst-rated. Although Ewan McGregor’s much-awaited return to the galaxy far, far away hooked people initially, the series’ forgettable story, sluggish pacing, lackluster villains, and distracting visual effects caused it to steadily lose viewership numbers until its premiere. Even then, it failed to make much of a recovery in terms of ratings, with many fans putting Obi-Wan Kenobi on par with the highly divisive Book of Boba Fett.

If Ahsoka can pick up the steam moving forward, it might steadily win over audiences, similar to how Andor and its slow burn, high-stakes approach to storytelling just needed time to develop its stellar debut season. Plus, given that Ahsoka has only aired two of its eight episodes, it’s hard to judge its overall quality based on its premiere alone.

Sabine Wren wielding a lightsaber in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

It’s also important to note that the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike prohibits its members from promoting upcoming movies and TV shows in solidarity with the movement, meaning Ahsoka‘s lead actors are barred from advertising the new series. Because of this, some fans might be unaware that Episodes 1 and 2 have already premiered, given it’s not receiving the same publicity a Star Wars project would normally receive. 

Ultimately, Disney typically doesn’t release numbers for their series or films on Disney+ unless the project in question is doing exceptionally well, so take this information with a grain of salt, as only Disney knows how well Ahsoka is actually performing.

There’s also a good chance the streamer will spin a positive for Ahsoka by using unique viewers or turning to minutes watched, similar to how they touted Obi-Wan Kenobi as Disney+’s most-watched premiere based on the number of minutes watched for its two-episode premiere, repeat viewings included.

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

What ‘Ahsoka’ Has to Do to Save Itself and the “Mando-Verse”

Ahsoka has had some heavy expectations since long before Episode 1 arrived on Disney+. The series, in addition to The Mandalorian, will more than likely be pivotal to setting up Dave Filoni’s upcoming “Mando-Verse” crossover movie, which promises to bring characters from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and Skeleton Crew together onscreen.

If Ahsoka “flops” with audiences, it would not only be a major blow to Disney and Lucasfilm but also to the future of Filoni’s “Mando-Verse.” With this crossover event on the horizon, Ahsoka has to be a knockout with fans to build up anticipation for what could be one of Star Wars’ most important stories.

There’s also the question of a Season 2 Ahsoka renewal, which, according to Rosario Dawson, will only happen if “the fans love it.” With such hefty expectations, these low viewership statistics aren’t exactly putting Ahsoka off to a promising start, meaning a second season sadly might not be in the cards, regardless of how much fans praise it.

As the future of Star Wars continues to redefine itself, it’s impossible to pinpoint what exactly is putting audiences off from watching Ahsoka on Disney+. The allure is certainly there for those who watched all four seasons of Rebels, but there’s the very likely possibility that Ahsoka is falling into a similar trap as the MCU, leaving casual watchers confused by its many connections to numerous other Star Wars projects.

The Rebels mural in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Only time will tell if Ahsoka can gain momentum with viewers before it’s too late. But with plenty of surprises in store, audiences will hopefully find themselves clicking “play” on Ahsoka in the coming weeks as the story continues to unfold.

The next episode of Ahsoka drops tonight at 6 p.m. PST, exclusively on Disney+.

What do you think of Ahsoka reportedly suffering from low viewership? 

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