In a post-Andor world, the bar for what’s an acceptable addition to the Star Wars universe has been raised exponentially. One need only cast an eye over the sea of middling reviews for The Mandalorian‘s third outing for proof that even projecting the image of phoning it in just isn’t going to cut it with today’s fan of a galaxy far, far away.
Whether Mando season 3 suffered as a result of Dave Filoni’s attention being diverted to Ahsoka remains to be seen, but it’s absolutely true that the latter has clearly benefitted from being infused with the same level of passion as Din Djarin’s earlier adventures were.
Ms. Tano’s self-titled live-action show is quite rightly being showered with praise for that exact reason, but is it perfect? Not by a long shot, not least because, five episodes in, the show is still missing a key character. Even more puzzling is that the missing Ghost crew member has already appeared in live-action, so why has Filoni declined to have everyone’s favorite Lasat along for the ride?
Why hasn’t Zeb appeared in Ahsoka?
Short answer? Nobody knows. Until Filoni or Disney deigns to address any questions surrounding Zeb (and that’s not going to happen until he either shows his grape-colored mug or the season comes and goes without it), there’s no official answer, but the lack of official discourse in itself raises worthwhile questions.
With three episodes still to air until Ahsoka wraps up its initial run, there’s still every chance for Zeb to make an appearance but even if he does, would it even feel organic at this point? Bearing in mind that the entire crux of the show is to find and rescue Ezra Bridger — a dear friend of Zeb’s — the Lasat would immediately be by Hera and Sabine’s side to help rescue the Jedi if this was Rebels.
The AWOL status could fly if Zeb has found himself captured or otherwise indisposed, but we already know, thanks to his appearance in The Mandalorian, that the Friendly Purple Giant is living his best life as a part of the New Republic forces, so what gives?
Considering the sheer amount of money required to convincingly render, rig, and animate a character in live-action, one conclusion is that Disney, even with its near-bottomless pockets, didn’t want to throw more money than it needed at Ahsoka, inflating its budget even further for the sake of one character. Remember, this is a TV series, not a movie on the scale of Avengers: Endgame, so while the Mouse House had no qualms about investing in Thanos, the same can’t be said for our poor Lasat friend.
All conjecture, obviously, but regardless of what happens in the remainder of Ahsoka, there’s always going to be the lingering question: Would Zeb have been present from the series’ start if he wasn’t so expensive? Then again, that’s a much better query to be left unanswered than him just never showing up at all. Time will tell.
Ahsoka airs every Wednesday on Disney Plus.