Movies & TV / Columns

Ashley Eckstein on Her New Star Wars Mindful Matters Project, Potentially Appearing in a Live-Action Series, the Return of Star Wars Celebration

May 11, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Ashley Eckstein meditate Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Ashley Eckstein is best known to Star Wars fans as the original voice behind the iconic Jedi hero, Ahsoka Tano. However, she is an exceptional talent who wears many hats. She’s also the founder and creator of the Her Universe fashion line and lifestyle brand. Also, she’s recently branched into the realm of writing as the author of her own autobiography/advice book, It’s Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen. She also recently wrote a Star Wars Little Golden Book titled I Am a Padawan, which is now available.

Eckstein now has a new project with Lucasfilm that just launched called Star Wars Mindful Matters. This is a new series of shorts, written by and starring Eckstein. She created the series in collaboration with Lucasfilm and Citrone 33, with the goal of bringing mindfulness to the forefront and focusing on teaching lessons about mental health using our favorite characters of the Star Wars Universe.

Each episode of Mindful Matters will feature Eckstein leading a mindful exercise inspired by Star Wars. These episodes were created from clinically based evidence-informed educational resources provided by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s On Our Sleeves movement for children’s mental health. These episodes were designed with the goal that it only takes a moment to make a powerful difference in your day.

I recently got the chance to speak to Ashley Eckstein about her latest project with Lucasfilm, her long-awaited return to Star Wars Celebration, which is finally back this month, along with her interest in perhaps having an appearance in a live-action Star Wars series at some point, and more:

Ashley Eckstein - meditation - 1

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Jeffrey Harris: How did the Star Wars Mindful Matters project come together?

Ashley Eckstein: This is truly a passion project of mine. I’ve had this idea for about the past five years. And we were actually one week away from filming these before COVID shut the world down. And so, it took a bit of a pause, but you know, the Force works in mysterious ways and I feel like these videos are needed now more than ever, and I’m just so grateful to be able to have collaborated with Citrone 33 and Lucasfilm to make these videos possible. So they’re actually short videos. I like to call them bite-size videos, or three minutes or less. And they teach just one exercise or lesson, a mindful exercise that we learn from Star Wars. You know, Jedi Master Yoda says, “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind,” and he teaches us that training our mind is just as important as physically training our body. And we learn all sorts of mindful exercises all throughout Star Wars, not only from the Jedi but also from characters like Chewbacca and the droids. And there are lessons all throughout Star Wars, so I’m thrilled to be able to combine the Star Wars story and the Star Wars characters that we all love with clinically-based mindfulness exercises. And I worked with Matt Martin from the Lucasfilm Story Group as well as Nationwide Children’s Hospital and their On Our Sleeves movement to teach these lessons and exercises and teaching that it only takes a moment to make a powerful difference in your day because being mindful matters.

Jeffrey Harris: For the show, are you portraying yourself, Ahsoka Tano, or a new Star Wars character?

Ashley Eckstein: I’m actually just portraying myself. So, I’m just me as Ashley Eckstein. As everyone knows, I’m a huge fan of Star Wars and this really comes from a place of what Star Wars has taught me. So, you know, I’ve always been one of those people where I motivate myself to do exercises like these or learn these lessons when I connect them with characters and stories that I love. So, instead of just doing a regular old deep breathing exercise, if I think that I am connecting with the Force or training to be a Jedi, I’m so much more motivated to do it that way than I am if I’m just told, “Breathe in. Breathe out.” So, this is something that I’ve always done, but this also came from a place of connecting with fans, especially kids.

One of the number one questions that kids ask me is they ask how they can be a Jedi too. And so, I always try to relate to them by using examples of Star Wars. So, for example, if you know, I asked a kid, I say, like, “Well, how’s school going?” And oftentimes a kid will say, “Well, it’s just going okay.” I’ll say, “Well, you know what?: Ahsoka had to go to school just like you. She had to train and learn her studies in the Jedi Temple. So before she could fight in the Clone Wars, she had to go to school. And so next time when you’re in school and maybe you’re having a hard time or you’re bored, maybe you can think of school like the Jedi Temple.” And you’d be shocked by how big their eyes get, and how excited they get that they look at school in a different way. So, I try to do that with kids and so You know, taking these exercises that are so important. I mean, we learn in Star Wars that training your mind is like Luke Skywalker says, “Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi.” Well, these lessons of confronting fear and patience and meditation are all in Star Wars. We learn these lessons anyway, so if I can teach these very important mental health and mindfulness exercises to kids, but through their favorite characters and stories, I’m just very excited to bring them to the kids in a different way. So yeah, I feel very fortunate. And they’re very short. They’re one-minute exercises that will truly make a powerful difference in your day.

Jeffrey Harris: Considering that you mentioned these are exercises you like to do as well, could you see value in adults enjoying these types of exercises as well, and also maybe adults learning them with their kids?

Ashley Eckstein: Absolutely. And thank you for asking because that’s one thing that’s very, very important to me with these videos. These videos are not just for kids. These videos are for everyone, and I will be posting these to my personal social media page, on my personal Instagram page, for everyone. So, these videos are a free resource. And I’m very fortunate that we collaborated with Citrone 33 to help make these videos happen as well as Lucasfilm. And our goal is to provide this free resource to as many fans of all ages as possible. They’re relatable to kids. I wanted to make sure that these were based in a place where kids could understand them, and that they could do them, but there’s no age limit. I think these videos are going to be important for fans of all ages. So thank you for asking that because these are not just for kids.

Jeffrey Harris: Since you started working on this project or started thinking about it since before the pandemic did this tie into, when you wrote The Little Golden Book, I Am Padawan, at all, or did these projects happen independently?

Ashley Eckstein: So I’ve had this idea for these videos before I wrote the Little Golden book. So, the Little Golden Book actually uses lessons that I’ve always wanted to teach through these videos. So like I said, these videos have been a passion project of just finding the right way to do them and through the right medium of wanting to make sure they reach as many people as possible. And the Force works in mysterious ways. Had it not been for COVID, these videos would be out already. But I feel like they’re coming to fans at the perfect time when we need them most. We’re coming out of COVID, we’re all getting back to our new normal, and we’re getting back to our everyday lives in a way that looks different for everyone. Mental health affects everyone. And we’re all in a different place after really the past two years and being able to connect with the present moment, overcome fear, ground yourself in times when you may be worried, scared, or anxious. These are all lessons that we need in our everyday lives, and I feel like these videos are needed now more than ever. And I’m just so grateful for the time that we’re able to release it, especially during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, and May the Fourth be With You, and Star Wars Celebration. I’m just so excited. I feel like the timing is perfect.

Jeffrey Harris: I know that education and those connections with children are very important to you. Was there ever a moment of realization when you understood how important that was in terms of those connections and being a role model for kids?

Ashley Eckstein: I’ve seen through Star Wars that the stories and the characters of Star Wars, it’s changed so many lives, including mine. And I feel so fortunate that as the voice of Ahsoka Tano, I’m a reflection of her, and I have been able to be a role model to so many fans, especially children, and I take that role very seriously, you know, knowing that I can directly impact someone’s life. It changes you, and I ask myself on a daily basis, “What would Ahsoka do?” And I try so hard day in and day out to be a real-life version of Ahsoka Tano because she means so much to fans and especially kids knowing that exercises like this or moments like these can literally change their life. That’s why it’s just so important to me, and it’s what Ahsoka would do. Ahsoka says in the final season of Clone Wars, “In my life, when you find people who need your help, you help them, no matter what. I guess is just who I am.” And so that’s become my own motto. My daily motto is to help others no matter what, and kids need it right now. When it comes to mindfulness and mental health, kids don’t automatically know how to handle their emotions. They don’t automatically know how to overcome their fears. They don’t automatically know how to ground themselves in their current situation and calm themselves down.

These are lessons that need to be taught, and just like the Jedi have to learn them, just like Ahsoka Tano had to learn them, kids have to learn them. If I can be a real-life version of Ahsoka and pass on what I’ve learned, that’s my goal. That’s my new daily mission in my life is to help in any way I can.

Jeffrey Harris: Later this month will be the return of Star Wars Celebration. There’s been a bit of a hiatus due to the pandemic. How excited are you for the return of Celebration this year, and how will fans be able to see you at the convention?

Ashley Eckstein: Oh my gosh. I am so excited for Star Wars Celebration. I’m going to be doing many things throughout the weekend, many panels, meeting fans, and I think the thing I’m most excited about is that I get to do these exercises with fans on the Kids Stage. So, going back to your earlier question, these are not just for kids, so I encourage fans of all ages to come. I’m going to be doing them on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday on the Star Wars Kids Stage. We’re going to do these exercises together, and I’m just thrilled to connect with fans again. And I feel like we need it, we need connection. That’s part of one of the videos: to feel the force and part of that is not only connecting with your environment around you but connecting with the energy around you, which does include people. And the energy of connection with fans is needed now more than ever and I can’t wait.

Jeffrey Harris: Will you be appearing at a masquerade show, or perhaps judging a fan masquerade?

Ashley Eckstein: I’m not judging a fan masquerade for Star Wars Celebration. I am judging the Mousequerade for the D23 Expo, but I am hosting a very exciting panel. So more news on that and debuting my book cover. I actually got to write a Star Wars book, that will be out later this year, and I will be just meeting fans, signing autographs, taking photos, and doing these mindful exercises. And also releasing a brand-new Her Universe collection, which I’m very excited about. It’s inspired by the Lucasfilm Archives, so I cannot wait.

Jeffrey Harris: Now that Matt Lanter has had a live-action role in Star Wars in The Mandalorian, and so has Dave Filoni, I think it’s only fair that you get one at some point as well. Wouldn’t you agree?

Ashley Eckstein: Oh, thank you! Thank you! Well, I absolutely would agree! I talk about throwing your dreams out into the universe because that’s the first step in making your dream come true is to throw it out there. So I will. I have to practice what I preach, right? So, I’ll throw my dream out into the universe and say that it would be a dream come true to play a part in the Star Wars live-action Universe and you know, to do some sort of cameo or play a role in some way. I haven’t been involved in a live-action [Star Wars] series in any way up to this point. But, you know, throw your dreams out to the universe, right? So maybe one day. That would be a dream come true, and I would love to do it.

Jeffrey Harris: You have a fashion line, you’re writing, you’re acting. Do you want to write and or produce any animated or live-action projects now that you’ve done Star Wars Mindful Matters?

Ashley Eckstein: Here’s what I will say. I am so grateful for the past 14 years, being the voice of Ahsoka and being a part of the Star Wars Universe. It’s opened up so many doors for me where I’ve been able to write books and now, Star Wars Mindful Matters, and create this concept, this idea that was in my head and actually bring it to fruition. So, I’ve had to overcome a lot of my own fears. I once said I’d never be able to write these episodes [of] Star Wars Mindful Matters, and writing these episodes was kind of like my own exercise.

I had to overcome my own fear, and so, the fact that I can say that I did it and I wrote them myself, I’m just so proud of that. It’s taught me not to let fear hold me back. And I feel so grateful that Star Wars has opened so many doors, including Her Universe. I mean, I have to admit, I don’t even have a college degree. I was able to start my own company and create a fashion line, and a lifestyle brand, and do so many things and make so many dreams come true. So I guess my new mantra is “Never say never.” I’m just going to continue to say yes to exciting opportunities that come my way. And I’m not going to allow fear to hold me back.

Thank you to Ashley Eckstein for once again taking the time to speak with us. You can check out her new series of shorts, Star Wars Mindful Matters at As we discussed, she will also be participating in Star Wars Celebration during Memorial Day weekend, later this month, in Anaheim, California. You can also check out her work as Ahsoka Tano in multiple Star Wars shows including The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Forces of Destiny on Disney+.