Rosario Dawson Says She Insisted on Training 7 Days a Week for ‘Ahsoka’

“They wanted me to take weekends off. And I was like ‘absolutely not!'” the actress says of her training regimen

Rosario Dawson Ahsoka
Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) duel in "Ahsoka" (Credit: Lucasfilm)

Disney’s + latest Star Wars series “Ahsoka” puts the action in live action.

The title character, played by Rosario Dawson, has found herself in lightsaber battles in nearly every episode, facing off against assassin droids, the inquisitor Marrok, Baylan Skoll and even her former Jedi master Anakin Skywalker.

In an interview with TheWrap conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Dawson talked about the physicality of the role and the intense training that she underwent to play a former Jedi.

“This character is so physical,” Dawson explained. “And so the training was really important to me. I wanted to train seven days a week. They weren’t trying to get me to train seven days a week, they wanted me to take the weekends off. And I was like, ‘Absolutely not!’ Two hours every single day. And I started months before we were supposed to start training because I just knew that that’s such a dynamic part of this character.”

“Being able to physicalize that… you can’t pretend,” she added. “Obviously, there’s a lot that I’m pretending because I’m not an amazing martial artist or Force-wielding Jedi Master. There were a couple of headshots that got through. But to be able to [get] into the space and not just feel like a costume, to feel like I was embodying this character and being in her world was really, really special.”

Dawson revealed there was a threshold when all the training “clicked” for her, but it was a comment from her stunt coordinator and trainer, legendary stuntwoman Ming Qiu, that really validated it all for her.

“I joke about it, but Ming literally did say, ‘This one did not make my eyes hurt,’” referencing Qiu’s honest assessment of a successfully executed stunt. “I’m getting there!” Dawson said proudly.

(Center): Rosario Dawson on the set of Lucasfilm’s AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Showrunner Dave Filoni also praised Dawson’s emotional, mental and physical commitment to Ahsoka, a character that he created.

“At the end of the day, she has to be Ahsoka live onscreen right there in the moment,” Filoni explained. “I think that she really grabbed the hold of that now; she’s comfortable in that skin. She respects the fans and their love of the character. That’s a lot of pressure on someone. And to wield lightsabers not just with one but two hands — sometimes I look back and I think, ‘Oh my gosh. What I wrote and put her through, all the training, all the fights, was that even reasonable?’ But she did it. And I’ve got to tell you, Ro just from morning to night is the most positive, happy, uplifting person on set. I’m so proud that she’s the person that is playing this character. It’s significant to me, and we couldn’t have done better.”

“Ahsoka” is currently streaming on Disney+.