April 9 (UPI) -- Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, is flying even deeper into a galaxy far, far away with her first children's book that features Ahsoka and is titled I Am a Padawan. It's available now.
"At first, it was incredibly intimidating because I had never written for Ahsoka before and I was overwhelmed," Eckstein, 38, told UPI about penning the book under Penguin Random House's Little Golden Book imprint.
Eckstein said that she locked herself in her room and binge-watched all of her favorite Ahsoka episodes to gain inspiration for the book. After that, the writing came easily to her.
"I felt such a connection to Ahsoka," Eckstein said. "What started out as something I was incredibly intimidated by ended up being such a wonderful experience, and I had such a great time writing the book."
I Am a Padawan follows Ahsoka as she learns the ways of the Force from her master Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Shane Clester provided the illustrations.
Eckstein said the book contains lessons for children and families about being brave and always having hope -- lessons that have a special meaning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A Padawan is a student, so even though these stories happen in a galaxy far, far away, they're very relatable to kids today. They're lessons of bravery, helping others, trusting in yourself and trusting in others," Eckstein said.
"They're lessons of failure, of hope. They're lessons that are important at any time and at any age but especially they're good reminders for times like now," she said.
Eckstein started voicing Ahsoka in 2008 starting with Star Wars: The Clone Wars and later in Star Wars Rebels. The seventh and final season of The Clone Wars is airing on Disney+, with new episodes arriving every Friday.
Eckstein promises that the final four episodes of the series, which will cover The Siege of Mandalore, include some of the best Star Wars content ever produced. The Siege of Mandalore is one of the final battles to take place during the Clone Wars, and Eckstein said everything will be turned upside down.
"Everyone who worked on these final episodes just brought their best, and the storytelling is incredible," Eckstein said. She also praised the animation, acting and music from The Siege of Mandalore.
"It's like everyone came together, and it's some of the best Star Wars that I've ever seen," she said.
Ahsoka has become a fixture in the Star Wars universe, with Eckstein also making appearances as Ahsoka in Star Wars audiobooks and video games, along with a brief voice cameo as the Force user in December's The Rise of Skywalker.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime role. I feel like I've won the lottery," she said. "She's such an incredible character, such a positive character and such a hero. It's not an understatement to say she's literally changed lives and she's saved lives."
Rosario Dawson will portray Ahsoka in the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian, another series available on Disney+. This will mark Ahsoka's first live-action appearance.
Eckstein is not involved with The Mandalorian and can't speak about what is happening with Ahsoka, but is happy to see the character appear throughout the Star Wars universe.
"Ahsoka is truly a part of my heart and soul, in many ways we're one now," Eckstein said. "After voicing her for so long and originating this character, of course it's my hope and dream to be involved with Ahsoka as much as I can and for the rest of my life. But Ahsoka is bigger than just me.
"She represents all that is good to so many people, and I would never want to stand in the way of more Ahsoka," she said.
Eckstein founded Her Universe in 2010, a fashion and lifestyle brand for fangirls. The multimillion-dollar fashion empire recently was acquired by Hot Topic Inc., and sells licensed products from Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Studio Ghibli and more.
Her Universe was created after Eckstein, a lifelong Star Wars fan, was unable to find Star Wars T-shirts made for women. Eckstein said that she was told that women wouldn't buy Star Wars clothes made for them, but she knew that wasn't the case.
"I found story after story of women and girls being bullied for just saying that they were a Star Wars fan or a sci-fi and fantasy fan," Eckstein said. "I wanted to break that stigma because these stories that we love so much are not just for men and boys. They're not just women and girls. They're for everyone.
"To me, personally, Star Wars is a story of hope -- a story of good overcoming evil, and you can't put a gender on that."