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Ahsoka's Marrok Reveal Was A 'Rip-Off' Says Star Wars Director

"Ahsoka" Episode 4 comes at just the halfway mark of the overall miniseries, but it nevertheless provides a resolution to a certain intriguing plot thread — that being the chase between Ahsoka's team and the mysterious mercenary Marrok. Hired by Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) to hunt for Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), Marrok faces off against Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and her party several times and generally serves as a thorn in their side. Episode 4 sees Ahsoka and Marrok face off once more in a climactic battle that sees the former emerge victorious, and the sequence actually draws inspiration from a certain classic Japanese film.

In the episode, Ahsoka cuts Marrok down with a single definitive slash to his body. As he shrieks in pain, green smoke billows out of the wound. As director Peter Ramsey confirmed in an interview with IGN, this scene is a direct reference to Akira Kurosawa's 1962 samurai film "Sanjuro." In that movie, lead character Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) faces repeated attempts from another samurai to duel him. When the pair finally do battle, a single slash from Sanjuro is all it takes to fell the challenger, with blood bursting from his wound. Sound familiar? "I mean, yeah, basically I completely ripped it off," Ramsey joked.

Star Wars and Kurosawa go way back

"Ahsoka" being inspired by an Akira Kurosawa movie is far from the first time the "Star Wars" franchise has made reference to the Japanese filmmaker's filmography. In the same IGN interview, Peter Ramsey noted that Dave Filoni, who has created various "Star Wars" projects dating all the way back to "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," draws heavy inspiration from Kurosawa. "Kurosawa's a huge touchstone for both of us, and the whole samurai mystic and a lot of that, which obviously, it's right there in the episode," Ramsey said of Filoni. "It's in his episodes too. It's in his stuff. He had a feeling in mind for it all along."

Even George Lucas, the original creator of "Star Wars" himself, is a major fan of Kurosawa's works, including one in particular. In an interview with The Criterion Collection, Lucas revealed that the characters of C3PO and R2D2 were partially inspired by the premise of Kurosawa's 1958 film "The Hidden Fortress." "I decided that would be a nice way to tell the 'Star Wars' story which is to take the lowliest characters, as Kurosawa did, and tell the story from their point of view," the creative explained. "In 'Star Wars” case, it is the two droids and that was the strongest influence, actually."