I missed Ahsoka Tano's return on Clone Wars while travelling to Japan so I had two episodes to catch up on. "Gone with a Trace" and "Deal No Deal" find the famous padawan on her own after leaving the Jedi order, teaming up with two sisters from 1313, one of the low levels on Coruscant, in more ways than one. These two episodes have been delightful and I've enjoyed the dynamic of the three characters.
Obviously, this was meant to tie in to the projects George Lucas had planned just before he sold Star Wars to Disney--a video game and a live action series, both of which involved Coruscant's underworld. We get a sense of the place in "Gone with a Trace" in which Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) falls in with a mechanic named Trace (Brigette Kali Canales). Trace is a bit of a hot head while her sister, Rafa (Elizabeth Rodriguez), is more of a laid back scoundrel.
I love Rafa. Whoever's in charge of animating her is doing a great job and Rodriguez's slightly raspy voice pairs perfectly with the look and gestures. I love that the first episode ends with Rafa selling the dangerous droids Ahsoka warned her against selling--as Rafa points out, she and Trace need that money to survive. The second episode digs further into the moral argument triangle between the three girls when they end up running spice in Trace's new ship.
Rafa, Ahsoka, and Trace are like Ego, Superego, and Id, respectively. Rafa wants to trade the spice to make money and honour her agreement with gangsters, Ahsoka wants to find some way of using it as medicine, and Trace just doesn't want anyone touching her ship so she dumps the spice without considering the consequences. Despite the irritating presence of Lothcats indicating a greater creative role for Dave Filoni, these two episodes are a lot better than Rebels and I find myself genuinely caught up in the dialogue. Also, it's bloody gorgeous.
In somewhat related news, Ahsoka's voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, has responded to the casting of Rosario Dawson as the live action Ahsoka:
“It has been my dream for 14 years to continue to play Ahsoka Tano in all forms. 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.”
Clearly, she's not happy about it. I guess I feel bad for her, but, while I think she does a good job as Ahsoka's voice, Rosario Dawson is a much better actress and she looks a lot more like Ahsoka than Eckstein does. Sometimes artists and casting directors have to make tough decisions and I think this was the right one.