Dawson is no stranger to the geek gaze. She has starred in an adaptation of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”; played a part in Netflix’s now-defunct Marvel live-action universe, and has voiced Wonder Woman for DC animation.
Tano, as voiced by Ashley Eckstein, debuted in the theatrical release of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” a 2008 animated film that eventually turned into a five-season series on Cartoon Network and later moved to Netflix for one season. The seventh and final season of “Clone Wars” is streaming on Disney Plus weekly and will come to an end in May.
Tano’s growing popularity and rise in Star Wars lore came in part because of whom she was so deeply connected to. At the onset of “The Clone Wars” — which takes place between “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” in the prequel trilogy — she was the Padawan apprentice to Anakin Skywalker. Skywalker, of course, the greatest Jedi Knight of all time, who eventually fell to the Dark Side of the mystical Force and became the powerful villain Darth Vader.
The two eventually go their separate ways when Tano quits the Jedi Order; she loses trust in them when they accuse her of a crime for which she was framed. Darth Vader eventually crosses paths with his former Padawan in the animated “Star Wars Rebels” series and warns her that seeking revenge on her former master is not the Jedi way.
That moment leads to Tano uttering four words almost as impactful as “I am your father,” when she looks vengefully at her former partner in war and says, “I am no Jedi.”
So when will Dawson, as the fan-favorite character, actually appear on “The Mandalorian?”
The series takes place after the fall of the Empire, which means Darth Vader is a not-so-distant memory and Tano will probably be a survivor of the chaos. Will she bump into Pedro Pascal’s Mando while he is searching for more answers on the Child/Baby Yoda? Will they be friendly? Will they even meet at all?
And of the utmost geek importance, will Tano still have her two white-bladed lightsabers? (Given that “Mandalorian” antagonist Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) wielded a Darksaber in the Season 1 finale, there’s certainly someone who could give her a reason to spark up her sabers again.) What about Darth Vader flashbacks? Mando frequently fought memories of his past. Could Tano do the same and give us incredible Jedi cameos?
Gina Carano, who plays Mando ally Cara Dune, recently posted on Instagram that filming of Season 2 was complete. Does that mean we could be getting an image reveal of Dawson as Tano as we inch closer to the hit series’s fall debut? Or will all the hoopla just be about a quick appearance?
Given the companywide levels of collaboration between Disney, Lucasfilm and product manufacturers that took place to keep the creation of Baby Yoda a secret, it’s possible we won’t see Dawson until her specific episode airs. That seems unlikely, though, since the casting has been confirmed — but it would be a way to ensure Disney Plus subscribers are hanging on the edge of their seats.
Tano’s arrival in live-action is an opportunity to strengthen the streaming service’s Star Wars storytelling appeal, and not just with “The Mandalorian.” Despite delays, we know there will be an Obi-Wan Kenobi series (starring Ewan McGregor), and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from “Rogue One” will also be getting a prequel series. Dawson as Tano will have just as much appeal and potential. There’s no reason to think she couldn’t lead in her own series eventually.
Maybe Dawson’s Tano could even make it to the big screen if someone at Lucasfilm finally green-lights a Darth Vader stand-alone film. Ahsoka vs. Vader at the movies would surely drown out any lasting regrets over “The Rise of Skywalker.”