As Jedi Master and Padawan, the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano is central to STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS â€“ and it faces a difficult test in â€œJedi Crash,â€ an all-new episode that premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT Friday on Cartoon Network.
With Anakin suffering from life-threatening injuries, Ahsoka needs to find medical aid for him on an unfamiliar planet. The task leads her to a village populated by friendly but devoutly pacifistic creatures.Â As she implores them for help, Ahsoka finds she needs to practice the Jedi philosophy that prohibits personal attachments.
The episode not only introduces a brand-new race of characters to the Star Wars galaxy â€“ the Lurmen â€“ but also brings a new dimension to the bond between Anakin and Ahsoka. Their relationship is one that Ashley Eckstein, who voices the young Padawan, says she understands.
â€œI wanted to be just like my big brother when I was growing up, and I really was just like Ahsoka â€“ I was such a tomboy,â€ Eckstein recalls.Â She says she recalls remembers â€œplaying Star Warsâ€ with her brother in their living room.Â Back then, she took the role of R2-D2 to her brotherâ€™s C-3PO, and Eckstein says their relationship helped her define Ahsokaâ€™s interactions with her Jedi master.
â€œI was the only girl on the baseball team and proud of it,â€ she says. â€œI may not have been the best hitter or the best fielder, but I was the fastest runner, and I would outrun any boy on the field. I was close in age with my brother, and we played in the same league, but my mom insisted that we not be on the same team because she wanted that sense of competitiveness, and she wanted me to be able to flourish in my own light and not be in my brotherâ€™s shadow.â€
Itâ€™s a challenge similar to the one Ahsoka faces, particularly since Anakin accepted her only begrudgingly. â€œBeing a girl, and a younger sister, made me strive that much harder because I wanted to prove to my brother that I could hang with him and his friends. I really loved having an older brother, learning from him and kind of being his Padawan, in a sense.â€
While STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS is packed with thrills and action, Eckstein is most enthusiastic about the seriesâ€™ exploration of her characterâ€™s emotions and humanity. She says Anakin and Ahsokaâ€™s relationship helps form the emotional core of the series.
â€œThere are some really touching moments in the series between Anakin and Ahsoka, and you definitely see their relationship grow and mature,â€ Eckstein says. â€œIn the beginning of the series, theyâ€™re still learning about each other. But as the battles go on and they go through all these trials and tribulations, their relationship just grows and blossoms.Â They learn a lot from each other.â€