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How Ashley Eckstein Reacted To The Clone Wars Returning - Exclusive

After 12 years, it's over. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the first in-canon animated series in the Star Wars universe, has wrapped up its seven-season run in epic fashion by offering an alternate look at what happened during Order 66 and the events of Revenge of the Sith – revealing how characters like Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano survived to fight another day, and closing out the last Star Wars project that George Lucas ever worked on.

It's a story that, quite frankly, shouldn't have happened. As fans know, The Clone Wars' initial run was cut short. In March 2013, shortly after Disney purchased Lucasfilm for over $1 billion, The Clone Wars was canceled, despite the fact that production on the show's sixth season was already underway. That co-creator Dave Filoni and his talented crew were able to come back and wrap up the story they started in 2008 is a minor miracle, and nobody was more excited for the opportunity than actress Ashley Eckstein, who voices Anakin Skywalker's former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano.

"I'm a very hopeful person. I'm a very positive person, but Clone Wars coming back was the dream that I honestly thought would never happen," Eckstein tells Looper in an exclusive interview. "And the fact that it came true — truly, the impossible is possible."

As Eckstein tells the story, she actually learned about The Clone Wars' revival, which was publicly announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2018, three times before she actually believed it was true. The first time, she heard the news from her co-star Dee Bradley Baker, who voices all of the clones on the series.

"I first found out from a text message from Dee Bradley Baker. I knew he was with Dave Filoni at the time, and so I thought they were playing a prank on me," Eckstein admits. "Dee texted me and he said, 'Hey, Ashley, don't tell anyone, but Clone Wars is coming back for 12 episodes.' And I was just like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. If this is a test, I'm not going to fall for it.'"

Eckstein still didn't believe it when her agent called to deliver the good news about The Clone Wars, although she admits her interest was piqued and ultimately decided to go straight to the source to clear up the confusion. "After I got the call from my agent, I called Dave Filoni and I was like, 'Hey, Skyguy, do you have something you need to tell me?' I said it just like that. It's totally something Ahsoka would say," she recalls. "And he goes, 'Why?' And I said, 'No, seriously, you have something that you need to tell me.'"

Only then did Filoni catch on, and he wasn't thrilled that Eckstein had heard the news early. "He's like, 'I wanted you to hear it from me. I didn't want you to hear it from somebody else.' So, he was kind of bummed that I had found out through my agent," Eckstein says.

Eckstein herself, though? "I was elated. I just couldn't believe it."

Don't hold your breath waiting for any long-lost Ahsoka stories

Ahsoka ended up appearing on eight of the final 12 Clone Wars episodes, which comprise two separate arcs on the show. In the first, the former Padawan ventures to Coruscant's seedier side and teams up with Trae and Rafa Martez, two sisters who end up embroiled in a gangland dispute. In the second, Ahsoka heads to the planet Mandalore to take on the villainous Maul, only to get caught off-guard when the clones turn on the Jedi.

While you may think that other Ahsoka stories were left in limbo thanks to The Clone Wars' original cancelation, Eckstein says that isn't the case. "When Ahsoka walked away [from the Jedi Order] at the end of season five, what fans didn't realize is that we weren't going to see Ahsoka for a while," she explains. "She'd actually walked away from the series for a little bit."

In fact, when The Clone Wars was canceled, Eckstein had recorded only one more storyline for Ahsoka, and fans have basically seen it already. As she tells Looper, "They were a little different, how we originally did them — there were some different characters — but the Trace and Rafa arc, with the Martez sisters, that was a kind of revamped iteration of the episodes that I did for Ahsoka back in season six."

"Now, I will say, we were meant to do several more episodes that never even got off the ground," Eckstein admits, but those didn't get past the planning stage. "So, for me, I did actually get to finish everything that I had started. Thanks to the final season, we get to finish The Clone Wars for Ahsoka, and that I'm forever grateful for."

And who does Eckstein have to thank? More than anyone else, the fans. "Every single day, from the moment The Clone Wars was canceled until it was announced that it was coming back, I would go on Twitter or on one of the social platforms and I would see a tweet from a fan saying, 'Please bring back The Clone Wars, #CloneWars or #SaveTheCloneWars,'" she says. "Even when we gave up on the show, because I honestly thought it would never come back, the fans never gave up. They kept fighting for it."

Eckstein credits that dedication for The Clone Wars' revival, which allowed Filoni to wrap up the series as he'd always planned. There's a lesson in that, Eckstein says: "I think that's a good reminder for anything in our life — that if something is that important, it's worth fighting for. [...] It might not happen overnight, but if you keep fighting for it and you never lose hope and you never give up, anything is possible."

The seventh and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars can be streamed on Disney+.