Ever since the rumors surfaced in March that Rosario Dawson would play a live-action version of a certain popular Star Wars animated character, fans have been dying to know when to take on the Clone Wars hero would. Mandalorian viewers had new reason to hope a few weeks ago when Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) told Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to find a Force user named Ahsoka Tano to help him with his very special babysitting appearance could. This beloved character may be new to fans of live-action Star Wars, but fans of animated series like The Clone Wars and Rebels know her well. Now is the perfect time to brush up on your Ahsoka Tano lore and ponder what its recurrence could mean for the future of The Mandalorian and the possible return of Admiral Thrawn, Ezra Bridger, and others.
Before arriving on Mandalorian Thursday, Ahsoka Tano had never performed live-action at a Star Wars mansion. But the cartoon character voiced by Ashley Eckstein made his debut twelve years ago and is hugely important to a generation of Star Wars fans who grew up on her cartoon adventures. Her story is cleverly tucked between the rooms of the big movie franchise, and while moviegoers may not even know her name, she is an integral part of the rise and fall of the Skywalker clan. She may also be a key to the future of Star Wars along with Ezra Bridger and Admiral Thrawn, but let’s do a quick rundown of the basics first before we get into future speculation.
Who is she? Fans of the animated series The Clone Wars will be familiar with it, but we will get there quickly. Ahsoka Tano a. k. one. Ashla a. k. one. Snips a. k. one. Sohka a. k. one. Smaller a. k. one. Fulcrum is a Togruta responsible for its orange complexion, white facial features, and distinctive blue and white hair tails. Jedi Master Plo Koon discovered her talent with power when she was very young, and like many young, power conscious children before her, she was taken to the Jedi Temple for training. When it came time to match the young padawan Ahsoka with a master, Yoda himself chose the Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker. This is after the second prequel, Attack of the Clones, and before Revenge of the Sith. In other words, Ahsoka’s master was only a little older than this one.
Why would Yoda Anakin, a talented but unpredictable young Jedi whom he believes pose a threat to the Order, give a student to train with? It’s actually a pretty thoughtful move that almost works. Yoda hopes Anakin will see some of his own negligent behavior in Ahsoka that would teach him to be more careful. Yoda also hopes that Anakin, forever marked by the loss of his mother and plagued by the fear of losing his secret wife, Amidala, will learn through his relationship with Ahsoka not to hold onto the things and people he loves so tightly. Because, as you may recall, fear leads to anger . . . Anger leads to hatred . . . They understand what it’s about.
Why is it important? Filoni, who was a mastermind behind the animated shows before co-creating The Mandalorian with Jon Favreau, told Vanity Fair that Ahsoka Tano was one of the first characters he ever drew. He always speaks of her affectionately, almost as if she were a fictional daughter. As a young character at the beginning of their journey in The Clone Wars, the teenage Ahsoka was conceived to provide children with an entry point for adventure. But she became much more and was instrumental in shaping the understanding of fandom for Anakin Skywalker. If Anakin’s descent to the Dark Side in the prequel trilogy didn’t go quite the way George Lucas wanted it, Skywalker’s paternal relationship with Ahsoka and brave actions as a general in The Clone Wars did a lot of work to popularize him with fans.
But of course we should look at Ahsoka outside of her relationship with the man who trained her. In this way, it is also crucial for the advancement of fandom. Some Star Wars fans may have been shocked to see Daisy Ridley’s Rey brandishing a lightsaber in The Force Awakens. Until then, all of the main characters with lightsabers had been men. But for the generation that grew up in The Clone Wars, a girl with a lightsaber was old hat. A lightsaber? Try two. It also exists in a very complicated, unregulated space outside the constraints of the Jedi Order.
If she’s so important then why isn’t she in the movies? Good question. Ahsoka, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Mace Windu, and others had many adventures during the Clone Wars, and you can and should see them all at the Clone Wars! But here’s something that makes Ahsoka’s journey even more interesting than your average Skywalker. Her adventures in the galaxy teach her to doubt some of the decisions of the Order and, in particular, her involvement in an endless war that she finds increasingly corrupt. (She is right. )
At some point in The Clone Wars, she is blamed for a crime she didn’t commit, and the Order, which makes the best decisions forever, turns it back on her. All but Anakin and Amidala. By the time Ahsoka’s name is cleared up, it will be too late. Anakin’s padawan rejects the order and turns to a ronin-like existence as an unaffiliated Force user. Your decision to leave was instrumental in Anakin’s fall. Without it, he is more susceptible than ever to Palpatine’s manipulation. Her departure is why she doesn’t appear in the third installment of the prequel trilogy Revenge of the Sith, and this could explain her reluctance to train Din Djarin’s little green baby.
During the action of the Sith’s revenge, Ahsoka is still in the galaxy doing good, even if she is not affiliated with the Jedi Order. But her rejection of the title doesn’t exactly save her when things go sideways for the Jedi. You may remember something called Order 66, when Palpatine systematically exterminated all Jedi (yes, including the boys!). The clones the Jedi had fought side by side suddenly turned the Jedi on in one of the more disturbing sequences in Revenge of the Sith. Ahsoka fans had to wait until the long-delayed seventh season of The Clone Wars to find out how she survived.
For one thing, if we haven’t mentioned it already, she’s a bad guy with those sabers. Ahsoka was also assisted by a certain clone, her old war buddy Rex, who was able to get past the programming that ordered him to kill her. Instead, he helped her escape and kept her survival a secret. Understandably, she took the alleged death of her master Anakin very seriously and hid under the pseudonym Ashla. As we learn in the Rebels, Ahsoka acted under the code name Fulcrum as the espionage master of the Rebel Alliance. Despite her significant role in the Rebellion, she is not in the original trilogy that helped Luke Skywalker take on Palpatine because Ahsoka was in a mystical place called « World Between Worlds ». More on that in a moment.
Before she slipped into the world between worlds, Ahsoka had one last chance to see her old master Anakin. If you think that scenes between Luke Skywalker and the father he never knew were emotional, imagine how devastated Ahsoka and Anakin have long been fans when they saw her realize what had become of her old master. Absolutely devastating stuff, to be honest. Her heartbreak over Anakin informs about the passionate speech she gives to Din Djarin about training the anxious Baby Grogu. This final encounter between Vader and Tano before the original film trilogy begins when Luke Skywalker is still a humble moisture builder.
Which almost brings us up to date. Ahsoka didn’t leave Anakin / Vader willingly when she finally saw him again. For a while fans thought she might have died fighting him. But thanks to a little trick with Portal / Timeline / World Between Worlds (don’t you love Sci-Fi?) Ahsoka was forcibly ripped from the height of her battle with Vader by a young Jedi Padawan named Ezra Bridger, and here are things may for The Mandalorian fans will be very interesting. Bridger was last seen with Admiral Thrawn, and that’s exactly what Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano is looking for.
Just as Ahsoka Tano was the young, energy-using padawan of the Clone Wars, Ezra Bridger was the young, energy-using padawan of the Rebels series, which took place just before the events of A New Hope. Like many powerful Force users before him, Ezra caught the attention of the Sith. Ezra and friends have only existed in the world of animation, despite the fact that the droid Chopper made an appearance in Rogue One and their ship (possibly with the crew) made a brief appearance in The Rise of Skywalker. Anyway, Ezra and Ahsoka share a lovely bond in the back half of the rebels. The experienced Force user may see something of herself.
After going back through time in the future to drag Ahsoka out of her battle with Vader into the world between worlds, Bridger extracts a promise from her.
But Ahsoka takes the time to keep that promise . She slips into the world between the worlds for the duration of the original trilogy, which is why it was up to Luke and not Ahsoka to save / redeem Anakin Skywalker and defeat Palpatine (sigh temporarily). While Ahsoka was gone, Ezra Bridger went missing. He sacrificed himself and disappeared with the vicious blue-skinned Admiral Thrawn into an unknown part of the galaxy.
Like Ahsoka, Ezra missed the entire original trilogy. But after the Empire fell and the Battle of Endor was won, Ahsoka herself stepped out of the world between worlds to keep her promise. She has a whole Gandalf the White moment in Rebels and it’s pretty awesome. It’s safe to say that she has improved a lot since her death.
So it is believed that Ahsoka and possibly Ezra’s closest friend, a Mandalorian named Sabine Wren, are looking for Thrawn and Bridger. This hunt would bring them to the outer edge of the galaxy and on a collision course with Din Djarin and Baby Grogu.
Bonus Content: These are really the main beats Mandalorian fans need to know about Ahsoka, but a little extra info never hurt, right?
What does Mandalore have to do with it? Ahsoka Tano is brought into Din Djarin’s path by the Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan, who like Tano plays a role in both The Clone Wars and Rebels. Tano first met Bo-Katan on Mandalore during one of her earliest covert missions. Bo-katan was rather on the wrong side of history at the time. In the final season of The Clone Wars, a reformed Bo-Katan returns and asks Ahsoka to help her find Darth Maul. Ahsoka also spent time with the Mandalorian Sabine Wren, who, like Bo Katan, once owned the Darksaber that everyone in The Mandalorian looks forward to so much.
Speaking of weapons … you probably know by now how important Jedi weapons are in Star Wars. When Ahsoka started, she had the classic green blade preferred by many Jedi. Finally, she makes herself a short « Shoto » lightsaber and trains in a fighting style known as Jar’Kai. As a result, their two-headed approach to fighting looks very different than in Star Wars with live action.
After Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order, Anakin tinkers, when her weapons and when she comes back briefly to work with the Order (if not for him) Anakin greets her with her double blades, now glowing blue, to match his.
These matching weapons represent Anakin’s hope that Ahsoka will rejoin the Order and follow in his footsteps. She takes the guns and they are definitely useful if the clones attack her during Order 66, but she gives them up again when she learns that Anakin is considered dead and the Jedi Order has fallen to the dark side.
Ahsoka has finally built himself a new pair of lightsabers, which Rosario Dawson uses with flair in the episode of The Mandalorian this week. Tano retrieved the crystals from a Darksider by calling the Force into her hands and pushing back his red blades. Then she washed its rotten red crystals until they glowed white.
I’m sorry she did what? Okay, yes, we should mention that Ahsoka may have better access to the light side of the Force than anyone else in the galaxy. We’re almost at the end of this Ahsoka article, but we wouldn’t be sure if we didn’t even mention this in The Clone Wars, when Ahsoka was dying and brought back to life by absorbing the remains of the physical embodiment of light Side of power known as the daughter.
Like Ahsoka, the daughter’s father, who represents the ideal balance of the armed forces, can handle lightsaber blades. In that little extra daughter juice, Ahsoka probably got some of her more advanced tricks.
If you sit there scratching your head over fathers and daughters and physical embodiments of power, don’t worry too much about that. All you really need to know is that Ahsoka has some extra Lightside juice in her, and that could be why she was able to slip into the world between worlds long enough to have all of the original trilogy fun with Yoda Missing Luke, Leia, Han. her buddy Chewbacca and the rest.
And why she’s such a brilliant fighter in The Mandalorian. Will Ahsoka Thrawn and Ezra find Bridger with Sabine Wren? Will you join Bo-Katan’s campaign to retake Mandalore? Will Ahsoka Tano get her own show? Who can say that. But after Ahsoka Tano returned from his death for the third time, I stopped underestimating how much Dave Filoni wanted to see one of his favorite creations live in the Star Wars universe.
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