Having been a fan of Rebels for a very long time, I for one am very much enjoying Ahsoka. The fanservice moments have been wonderful, but also are subtle enough that you don’t have to have watched Rebels to follow the general plot, IMO. It reminds me of when Moff Gideon showed up with the Dark Saber in the first season of The Mandalorian; I remember I was watching that episode with my sister and her family and I did blurt out “He has the DARK SABER?!?!”, which prompted a round of questions from my family about what I was talking about, but if I hadn’t been there to say that I’m fairly positive that my family would have continued watching the show without realizing the history behind certain things and would have been perfectly fine. I think the reason some people are complaining about the fanservice moments in the show is because a lot of people who ARE long-time fans of Rebels are constantly talking about them in the context of Rebels and it leaves the people who have not watched Rebels very confused as a result. If that could be avoided, I think Ahsoka would be an incredibly good show to watch on its own for those people.
I for one was ecstatic to see Thrawn in live action and then to see Ezra with Sabine, a moment that’s been a long time coming since the end of Rebels. Truthfully I don’t think we’re going to see a resolution to everything happening this season; I think Filoni intends to set up a second season at least in order to smooth out more of those gaping plot holes the sequel trilogy left in the overall storyline. I’ve noticed in the majority of his live-action stuff that’s what he’s tried to do with Jon Favreau’s help. But as I said, overall this episode and the series overall have been fascinating, and I am truly sad we will not see more of Baylan Skoll after this season is over, since Ray Stevenson is no longer with us. However, the possibility of seeing more of Shin does make up for it somewhat.
It’s kind of sad to see Thrawn barely introduced as just some soft-spoken Imperial leader of few words. (Imperial leaders are always just bureaucratic bumblers, right?) And also that slight paunch (!?!!). … (sigh).
FWIW: Thrawn ranked #10 in IGN’s Top 100 Star Wars Characters “that left the biggest mark on the franchise” (or more likely, on the fans of it). Note that this list is from 2010, before the animated Rebels series, the third movies trilogy, and much of the Clone Wars animated series seasons.
IGN’s top 20, FYI:
Darth Vader / Anakin
Thrawn (as of 2010, only original books canon)
Darth Revan (2003 computer game: Knights of the Old Republic. – FYI: to google Revan = major game spoilers)