SEATTLE – It was 10 years ago that Ashley Eckstein stepped into the voice booth to record her very first lines as Ahsoka Tano for Star Wars: Clone Wars. When Eckstein auditioned for the role, it was top secret. In fact, Eckstein actually thought she was auditioning to be Padme, which she didn’t think she was a voice match for Natalie Portman, who played the role in the prequels. At the time of her Star Wars: Clone Wars audition, it was her fifth one that day and they were an hour behind. But Eckstein did do the audition and executive producer Dave Filoni thought her voice was too young to be Padme and suggested the role of Ahsoka Tano, who as to be Anakin’s Padawan as George Lucas requested he have one. Filoni suggested that Eckstein do Ahsoka with an Icelandic accent. So Eckstein practiced really hard to nail the Icelandic accent for her callback. When she did Ahsoka with what she thought was a perfect Icelandic accent, Filoni asked if she could do the voice in an Icelandic accent. Frustrated, Eckstein talked back to Filoni to say she thought she was doing an Icelandic accent. By talking back, Filoni knew that Eckstein was the right person for Ahsoka and then said she can do the voice in her regular voice.
One of the biggest things about playing Ahsoka is the fact that she is the first female Jedi lead and it is a lot to live up to.
“Being part of the the Star Wars universe is an honour, something I don’t take for granted,” said Eckstein during her Emerald City Comic Con 2016 panel. Eckstein has always been a Star Wars fans and wanted to be R2D2 as a kid. She added that Ahsoka’s season 3 arc with Chewbecca is when she knew that she was part of the Star Wars saga.
However, Eckstein says she wasn’t prepared for the backlash when Ahsoka was initially introduced. Eckstein quoted one article calling Ahsoka the next Jar Jar Bink. “It was tough. I was insanely naive but I knew how Ahsoka progressed over the first season.”
Eckstein also told the audience that fans assumed that Ahsoka would die because her character isn’t in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but the idea came that she would walk away from the Jedi Order in season 5 hence why she escaped Order 66.
When Ahsoka left in season 5, Eckstein didn’t know if fans would get more of her story. Luckily Ahsoka returned in Star Wars: Rebels and smart fans figured out that Fulcrum was Ahsoka. As for the season 2 finale when Ahsoka and Darth Vader squared off in a duel, Filoni kept her in the dark over Ahsoka’s fate. Eckstein only knew what happened to Ahsoka when she viewed the season finale at a screening. Eckstein believes the scene at the end of season 2 shows Ahsoka entering the temple. Eckstein also said it was a nice surprise having Matt Lanter return to voice that one bit of dialogue as Anakin and have it mixed in with James Earl Jones. A fan asked if Ahsoka could defeat Vader. Ecktein replied that she doesn’t think Ahsoka wants to defeat him but rather save him as she feel guilty for leaving him and letting him become Darth Vader.
There will be a book coming out to say what happened to Ahsoka between Clone Wars and Rebels. In fact this book may reveal why Ahsoka has different light sabers between the two shows. Eckstein even called Filoni during her panel to ask that very question posed by a fan.
A fan asked Eckstein about Her Universe, a clothing company that she started.
“I wanted Star Wars clothes made for women. I couldn’t find anything at Star Wars events and knew it wasn’t right. I went to Lucasfilm and said to them that half of their fan base is female and they aren’t catering to them,” said Eckstein.
She pointed out that Ahsoka is the first female Jedi lead and said that Lucasfilm was first to be supportive and cater to female fans. “Her Universe is only possible because of all of you. Star Wars is for everyone.”
Eckstein told the crowd to expect some Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Her Universe merchandise coming soon. As for the film itself, she is excited for it. Fans also hoped that Eckstein would play Ahsoka in the flesh for either a standalone film or be in Episode VIII or Episode IX, a suggestions that she wouldn’t turn down.