In the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano finally made her long-awaited leap from animation to live-action. Fans have been following her story throughout her Jedi training in The Clone Wars and her later disillusionment with the Order in Rebels, and the general consensus is that Dave Filoni and star Rosario Dawson hit a home run, with the live-action Ahsoka fitting perfectly with her animated self (and being a complete badass to boot).
But there was a segment of the fanbase that had some reservations about the actress taking on the role. Last year, a lawsuit was filed against her and her family by Dedrek Finley, a long-time friend who the Dawsons offered rent-free accommodation to and a job as a handyman. But things soured, as according to his lawsuit, they subjected him to a litany of transphobic abuse and Rosario specifically participated in a violent attack during which she stole his phone and left him hospitalized.
Sounds pretty bad, right? Well, Dawson responded to the accusations in a new interview with Vanity Fair, saying:
“Well, firstly, I just want to say I understand that, and why people were concerned, and are concerned. I would be too if I heard some of those claims. But I mean, as we’re seeing right now in these past months, and just recently, actually, the truth is coming out. Every single claim of discrimination has been dismissed by the person who made them, and as you’ve said, the fact that this is coming from someone I’ve known since I was a teenager, the better part of my life, and who my family was trying to help as we have many times in the past, it really just makes me sad. But I still have a great empathy for him.”
It’s true that Finley has indeed dropped all but two of his twenty claims without settlement, and the ones remaining are alleging a physical altercation between him and Dawson’s mother. In addition, his lawyer quit the case, which generally isn’t a great omen for a legal victory. A judge is set to decide whether things can proceed next month, and Dawson went on to defend herself further, explaining:
“The reason that all of the discrimination claims were dropped is because they didn’t happen. I was raised in a very inclusive and loving way, and that’s how I’ve lived my entire life. I’ve always used my voice to fight for, lift up, and empower the LGBTQA community, and use my platform to channel trans voices, in fiction and nonfiction work that I’ve produced and directed. So I feel the record is really clear.”
So, perhaps these genuinely were malicious claims intended to sour the actress’ reputation. Only the Dawson family and Dedrek Finley know for certain what really went down between them, but for my part, I feel comfortable believing Rosario on this and that she’s not transphobic.
In any case, after her bombshell live-action debut, many are predicting big things for Dawson’s Ahsoka. Could we see a spinoff show about her hunting down Grand Admiral Thrawn? Personally, I’d be happy with her simply becoming a recurring character on The Mandalorian, just as long as we get more of her, and soon!