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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Was the Mon Calamari in Ahsoka Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar?

This week's Your Nerd Side Show:

The following contains spoilers from Ahsoka, Episodes 1 & 2, "Master and Apprentice" and "Toil and Trouble," now streaming on Disney+.

There are many reasons why Star Wars fans anticipated the Ahsoka series from executive producer Dave Filoni. Obviously, seeing Rosario Dawson's take on the beloved legacy character is chief among the reasons. The live action debut of other animated-only characters ranks highly as well. However, some fans are hoping for more original trilogy-era figures to appear. In fact, the Mon Calamari officer who called Hera away from her meeting with Ahsoka led many fans to believe it was Admiral Ackbar.

In the decades since the Mon Calamari were introduced into the Star Wars galaxy in Return of the Jedi, they've become fan-favorite aliens. Admiral Ackbar is the most well-known, but the species has diversified beyond him in the animated series, Rogue One and The Mandalorian. Still, Ahsoka met Hera Syndulla on Home One, the Rebel battleship Ackbar led into the fight around Endor's forest moon against the incomplete (but fully-operational) second Death Star. Return of the Jedi showed a bridge run almost exclusively by Mon Calamari, though the crew has diversified since the Rebel Alliance became the New Republic. So it's not inconceivable the gruff-voiced alien who summoned Hera could be the beloved Admiral Ackbar. Alas, it's a trap. It wasn't him.

Admiral Ackbar Is Not the Mon Calamari In the Ahsoka Series Premiere

Ahsoka's visit to Home One in the series premiere wasn't about Admiral Ackbar or any of the New Republic leadership beyond Hera. This series is a sequel to Star Wars: Rebels, so General Syndulla was who Ahsoka came to see. Unlike her rank designation, five red pips on a gray square, the Mon Calamari officer's rank designation only bore a single pip, making him a mere Lieutenant. The late Erik Bauersfeld provided Ackbar's voice in Return of the Jedi and other Star Wars appearances until his death in 2016. The lieutenant does sound like Ackbar. This is because Bauersfeld's performance defined the sound of the Mon Calamari beyond his own character.

Another key indicator the Mon Calamari lieutenant isn't Admiral Ackbar is the uniform. Despite nearly a decade passing since the fall of the Empire, Hera retains her same unique uniform. The other uniforms work by New Republic crew are evocative of the look of Alderaanian and Rebel Alliance fighters. Admiral Ackbar wore a mostly white uniform, with an admiralty badge on his left side. It's very distinct from the other rank insigna on the Home One crew. Finally, while it's difficult to discern, the Mon Calamari lieutenant's head features a darker blue tint than Ackbar's coloration.

Admiral Ackbar did appear in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, killed in the First Order attack that almost killed Leia Organa. The sequel films redesigned the uniforms for the Resistance. Instead of his traditional uniform, Ackbar wore a gray one with a different badge, this time on the right side. Nonetheless, it didn't match the look of the Mon Calamari in the Ahsoka series premiere. As fun as it would be to see Admiral Ackbar again, this particular New Republic officer wasn't him. But that doesn't mean he won't show up.

Why Admiral Ackbar Is a Fan Favorite Character in the Star Wars Canon

Return of the Jedi was a revolutionary Star Wars movie for its aliens and creatures. From Jabba the Hutt to Nien Numb, the Lucasfilm creature shop wanted to feature aliens who didn't just like human beings with funky foreheads. Admiral Ackbar was special. He didn't just have alien dialogue like Jabba or Nien, his scenes had to carry exposition and emotion. Sure, "it's a trap," became a meme, but watching Admiral Ackbar try to keep the fleet together after it was sprung makes those scenes work. Through a mush-mouthed voice and radio-controlled mask, the actors and puppeteers had to make him feel real. They succeeded.

In fact, Admiral Ackbar is so beloved, his unceremonious death sparked outrage amongst some fans instead of the shock and sadness intended. Ahsoka, however, offers fans a chance to see Admiral Ackbar again. If Home One is still in operation during the time of the New Republic, there is no reason to think Ackbar gave up his ship. A trailer for Ahsoka revealed a scene with Mon Mothma and, presumably, other New Republic leaders appearing via hologram. Ackbar wasn't in that scene, but he's very likely present on Home One. It wouldn't make sense for him to miss a meeting with the New Republic chancellor.

The Mon Calamari lieutenant may just be a tease, signaling the character could show up later in Ahsoka. Yet, with Grand Admiral Thrawn returning and Dave Filoni directing a Star Warsfeature film, there is near-zero chance that Ackbar doesn't also return. He wasn't in the first episode of Ahsoka, but there is every chance Star Wars fans will get to see him return before the finale or in a future story, such as Filoni's film or, even, Andor Season 2.

Ahsoka debuts new episodes Tuesdays at 6pm PT/ 9pm ET on Disney+.

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