One of the most sought-after Star Wars collectibles ironically belongs to a character not every fan of the live-action films has heard of: Ahsoka Tano. Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the snarky and stubborn young Jedi first appeared in 2008's Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie before going on to star in five seasons of the series it led into. Ahsoka was introduced as a Padawan assigned to Anakin Skywalker for training, as the show took place between the events of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Almost as soon as she debuted, Ahsoka became a fan favorite character, and every toy or accessory that included her began selling out quickly. Whether it's partially due to her being the first important female Jedi in the world of Star Wars or because her arc throughout the animated series turned into a true hero's journey, the fascination with the Togruta female has led to a rise in collectibles both in stores and at conventions.
Some of the reasons for her popularity were further explored when CNBC interviewed Dev Gilmore, the director of design and development at Diamond Select Toys. "[Screenwriter and director Dave Filoni’s] scripts are really good and he really embraced the Ahsoka character,” he explained. “When you talk about all the people he placed her with — Yoda and Anakin and later with Darth Vader — that’s a pretty incredible journey. And Star Wars is so much about a journey. She’s a character that we can all grow up with and that’s exactly why fans have responded so well to her.”
Not only did she learn a great deal from all the iconic characters she interacted with, such as Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but her story was in a sense a reverse mirror image of Anakin's. Instead of letting her headstrong nature consume her and send her to the dark side, she matured and learned to be more level-headed. Even if she ultimately chose a path that diverged from the Jedi Order, it was a peaceful decision. Ahsoka also outlasted the series that created her, later continuing her adventures in Star Wars Rebels and the Star Wars Forces of Destiny web series. This longevity helped Diamond Select immediately sell out of the limited edition busts they created for Ahsoka, which cost $120 apiece. “We put it up on our website not really expecting an incredible response,” Gilmore said. "We sold out of 750 pieces within one hour, and we had no idea that was going to happen.”
Ashley Eckstein, the voice actress who brings Ahsoka to life, also contributes to her character's popularity by providing not only quality content for fans but quality products as well. She founded a clothing company called Her Universe in 2010, which incorporates various fandoms into fashionable designs that don't require full cosplay. Hot Topic purchased it in 2016, but Eckstein still runs the fashion and lifestyle business. “Anything we make for Ahsoka continues to be a top seller for us,” Eckstein told CNBC, citing a unisex Ahsoka Tano T-shirt that was the top seller at last month's Star Wars Celebration as well as a sold-out Ahsoka-style windbreaker from Her Universe's website. “Ahsoka has become equally as popular with both men and women and it’s incredible to see how her story has resonated with all Star Wars fans.”
Those fans have reason to rejoice, because Eckstein is set to reprise her role in the newly resurrected seventh season of Clone Wars, which will be coming to the Disney+ streaming service sometime in 2020. Since this new season takes place right after the original show ended, it's expected that viewers will finally learn what happened to Ahsoka before Rebels began several years later. And in the meantime, there are plenty of toys, accessories and costumes available for those who wish to celebrate one of the Star Wars galaxy's most powerful and complex warriors.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019