As Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ Flounder on Disney+, ‘Ahsoka’ Finale Suffers Record-Low Viewership

in Entertainment, Star Wars

Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) lifting her hood

Credit: Lucasfilm

With Disney+ opening the doors to a whole new world of content in terms of streaming, two of Disney’s biggest franchises, Star Wars and Marvel, are struggling to maintain consistent viewership figures for their recent TV endeavors. Now, things are coming to a head, with Disney planning a complete overhaul of their TV release strategy — and the Ahsoka finale’s abysmal viewership could prove exactly why things need to change. 

Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) fighting in 'Ahsoka' 1.07
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Struggling ‘Star Wars’ Franchise Moves Away From Disney+

It’s no secret that things are a disaster at the House of Mouse behind the scenes, particularly regarding its TV department. Recent releases such as Marvel Studios’ ill-fated Secret Invasion and Ms. Marvel failed to bring in much viewership, leading Disney to temporarily make them available for streaming on Hulu, a historic move for the company.

Even well-rated shows like Lucasfilm’s Diego Luna-led Rogue One (2016) prequel series, Andor, were simultaneously aired on ABC and Freeform, as well as placed on Hulu, in a last-ditch effort to get more eyes on the project ahead of its upcoming Season 2 debut.

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

Related: Brand-New ‘Star Wars’ Installments Release on Disney+

However, within their many misses are a few hits, including Ewan McGregor’s long-awaited Star Wars return in the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries, which garnered 6.2 million total viewers in its first day on the streaming platform. Meanwhile, Season 1 of Marvel’s Loki attracted more than 14 million Disney+ accounts to its first episode in 2021, making it one of the streamer’s biggest premieres of all time.

More recently, the latest Star Wars spinoff to arrive on Disney+, Ahsoka, had an awe-inspiring debut according to numbers released by Disney, with over 14 million households reportedly tuning in for its two-part premiere in August.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Starring Rosario Dawson as the eponymous ex-Jedi, the series, created by Dave Filoni, sees Ahsoka Tano teaming up with allies from Star Wars Rebels, including New Republic General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Mandalorian Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), to track down a dangerous intergalactic threat, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).

 Eman Esfanfi (Ezra Bridger), Ray Stevenson (Baylan Skoll), David Tennant (Huyang), Ivanna Sakhno (Shin Hati), Diana Lee Inosanto (Morgan Elsbeth), Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Carson Teva), Evan Whitten (Jacen Syndulla), and Genevieve O’Reilly (Mon Mothma) round out the cast.

Morgan Elsbeth, Baylan Skoll, and Shin Hati in 'Ahsoka' Episode 6
Credit: Lucasfilm

While Ahsoka might have kicked off to a strong start on Disney+, a troubling new report from third-party data collector Samba TV seems to contradict Star Wars’ previous statements about Ahsoka‘s success, confirming that the finale was one of the least-watched in franchise history with just 863 thousand US households tuning in.

These numbers pale in comparison to its fellow Star Wars Disney+ counterparts, specifically, Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s finale, which was viewed by 1.8 million US households in its first five days:

The finale of #Ahsoka landed on #DisneyPlus last week to 863k US households watching. Older millennials tuned in at the highest rate to watch whether #Thrawn made it off Peridea. 

It’s worth noting that Samba TV statistics have been wrong in the past, as it’s impossible to know exact viewership data unless the streamer chooses to release it.

The outlet revealed that just 1.2 million households watched Ahsoka over its first six days on Disney+ back in August, only for Disney and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to release a statement shortly thereafter, saying “Part One: Master and Apprentice” actually scored 14 million views globally, making it number one on the streaming platform.

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

So, if these new viewership figures from Samba TV are accurate, why did audiences stop tuning in for weekly episodes of Ahsoka?

Well, it’s hard to say, but considering the series’ many connections to animated projects like Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it’s safe to say that more casual fans became confused by Ahsoka‘s many references and Easter Eggs to this corner of the Star Wars galaxy.

Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Other viewers took issue with the main cast’s performances, particularly Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka, who many slammed for her “cardboard acting.” Still, there were some universally agreed-upon highlights, including the late Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of conflicted Darksider Baylan Skoll and the Prequel Trilogy’s Hayden Christensen, who reprised his role as Anakin Skywalker for “Part Five: Shadow Warrior.”

There’s also the matter of Ahsoka‘s bloated finale, which, to put it lightly, had way too many pieces on the chessboard, making for an unsatisfying, anti-climactic conclusion that felt more like set-up for Filoni’s “Mando-Verse” crossover event rather than payoff for its six-episode story arc.

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) Force Ghost in 'Ahsoka' 1.08
Credit: Lucasfilm

Now, Ahsoka‘s Season 2 prospects have grown a bit grimmer following its poorly-rated finale and its equally lackluster viewership, though it’s far from the last time we’ll see the character in Star Wars. 

There are plenty of chances for Filoni, Jon Favreau, and the higher-ups at Lucasfilm to turn things around before the next live-action Star Wars project arrives on screens, and only time will tell if they will be successful in reestablishing disillusioned fans’ trust in the Disney era of Star Wars, or if viewership will only get increasingly lower for upcoming Disney+ TV shows like The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew.

All episodes of Ahsoka are now streaming on Disney+.

What did you think of Ahsoka Season 1? Should it get renewed for a Season 2? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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