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Geek Life: Clone Wars Ashley Eckstein Interview
1:1 with Ahsoka Tano
By Robert T. Trate
September 28, 2011
The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is happening in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week, the Geek Life talks Clone Wars with padawan Ahsoka Tano, Ashley Eckstein.
Mania: What can we expect from this season of The Clone Wars?
Ashley: This season is actually called “Battle Lines.” It takes you right into the heart of the battle. For Ahsoka, the battles become more intense. This season the battles become epic; visually they are stunning. Ahsoka has grown up a lot. We’re going to continue on from season 3 where we’re going to see tremendous growth in her character. She is less of the padawan, less of the side kick, and more one of the gang. She’ll also get to go out on her own more this season.
Mania: You’ve been with the Star Wars universe for three years now. How does it feel to be the new first lady of Star Wars?
Ashley: (humbly laughs) that’s an honor. Thanks for putting it that way. I don’t look at it as the first lady of Star Wars. I look at it as I get to be another strong female character for Star Wars. The one thing I think is so amazing about The Clone Wars is that there are so many kick-butt female characters. You have Ahsoka, but you have Ventress and she is such a strong female character. We had the Night Sisters last year: Shaak Tii and Aayla Secura. There are just so many. For Ahsoka, it is just such an honor to be the first female Jedi that has been really focused on as a lead. I’m very proud of that because I think she is such a positive character and a positive role model for young girls. I’m honored to have just a small part in introducing young girls to the franchise.
Mania: In the beginning, Ahsoka didn’t really have support of the older fan boys.
Ashley: (laughs) No, not at all.
Mania: For you, what was the moment you saw it turn around?
Ashley: I noticed it more in season 2 where Ahsoka got a couple episodes where she was on her own more and given more responsibility. You saw less of the snippy sidekick. I think what people didn’t like in the beginning was she lived up to her nickname, Snips. She was very snippy with her quips and comments. She was there on the sidelines. She didn’t really take charge on the show because she was a young padawan. In season 2, she got more responsibility. In season 3, got a ton and she just grew up. I did several interviews in the beginning and I asked fans to just be patient with her; to enjoy the arc of her character because I knew the direction she was going in. I knew she was going in the direction the fans would like. It was a progression. It’s no fun to watch a character that’s perfect all the time. You want to watch them grow and that’s what we’re seeing with Ahsoka. I want to thank the fans for being patient.
Mania: Ahsoka is on a dark path. As an actor, how do you prepare yourself and your character for something you have no control over?
Ashley: The tricky part for us is we actually don’t get the scripts until we walk into the studio. I just did an episode and hadn’t read it yet. Literally, you are off and reading it for the first time as you are performing it. The reason we can do that is because we have been doing our characters for 6 years. We can just jump right in and that’s what is expected of us. I have an attitude I go into the studio with. She [Ahsoka] is much older. I try to lower my voice and (laughs) I try and stay in a more grown up mental mind frame. I just try and keep her in this darker place.
Mania: If you could decide Ahsoka’s fate, what would it be; as a fan or as the character?
Ashley: (laughs) The thing is we have amazing writers on the show and an amazing director in Dave Filoni. They just do a phenomenal job. I think some of the writing last season and some of it coming up, like the “Mortis Trilogy”, was amazing. That is something that is definitely not my forte, the writing. So I don’t even try to begin to script my demise. I don’t think I would do what was right for the Star Wars franchise because they have built our show into the six movies and now our stories are critical to understanding the movies. Of course, I am attached to the character and the thought of anything bad happening to her makes me upset. I trust the writers, I trust Dave Filoni and I know they will do the right thing for the overall Star Wars story.
Mania: How many action figures do you have so far?
Ashley: I actually have a Star Wars closet and have about 50 in there.
Mania: What has been your favorite episode of the show so far?
Ashley: I have to go back to the “Mortis Trilogy”. I think that was unbelievable. The performances in that, not mine, James Arnold Taylor and Matt Lanter were so phenomenal in that episode. On top of that the animation was stunning and, again, the writing.
Mania: I see that you are wearing a Her Universe tank top under your blazer (see picture above). I have to ask, are you wearing the full outfit?
Ashley: (big laugh) No, I am not wearing the entire outfit. The nice thing about that set is that you can wear it separately or when you are at home when you are in your pjs. I have the outfit for both reasons, but today it is all business.
Mania: What’s your Geek confession? It can be anything from: I’ve never seen Star Wars to I hate the Lord of the Rings.
Ashley: My Geek Confession is that… (laughs) I used to read the New Kids on the Block comic book. I was so obsessed with New Kids on the Block. I’m just getting into comics now. I have to be honest I am not as well schooled in comics, but those were the only comic books I read as a kid. That’s my Geek Confession.
The Clone Wars Season 4 is on Friday nights on the Cartoon Network. Season 3 of Star Wars the Clone Wars arrives on DVD and Blu-ray October 18th. Need to catch up on Season 4? Check out the episodes on Star Wars.com.
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania. Follow the links to the DVD Shopping Bag, the Geek Life, and the Toy Maniac for further articles. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.