This post contains spoilers for The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars, and Rebels.
The Mandalorian has introduced a host of new heroes, villains, and characters that fall somewhere in between to the Star Wars cannon, but it’s also provided a way to reintroduce one of the franchise’s standout stars. Ahsoka Tano, former student of the Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker, was introduced in the 2008 computer-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and quickly became a fan favorite. She appeared again as a regular guest star in the 2014 animated series Star Wars Rebels and helped pave the way for a female Jedi to become the series lead in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Originally voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the character received her live-action debut in season two of The Mandalorian. Her appearance in the episode “The Jedi” also served as the backdoor pilot for her own show, Ahsoka, which was announced last month at Disney Investor Day. There’s no timeline for when the new series will premiere, but there’s plenty of room for speculation about what it will be about.
First let’s talk a bit about who Ahsoka is since you’d certainly be forgiven for not having seen the animated shows — though they are well worth watching if you’re eager for more Star Wars content. The Clone Wars covered the span between the prequel films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and provided significant development for Anakin by putting the brash young Jedi master in charge of an eager, talented teenage Ahsoka. Fighting alongside him against Sith Lords and droid armies, she grew in strength and confidence throughout the show, earning the respect of both other Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda and the Clone Troopers serving under her.
Ahsoka avoided being killed alongside most of the Jedi at the end of Revenge of the Sith because she’d already been pushed out of the Jedi Order after being framed for murder. While she proved her innocence after fleeing custody, she lost her faith in the Jedi and went her own way. While she still came under attack as part of Order 66, when all the Clone Troopers attempted to kill their Jedi generals, she survived and went on to work with the fledgling Rebellion, as seen in Rebels.
That series, which spanned the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope ended with Ahsoka trying to find her young Jedi ally Ezra Bridger, who had disappeared into hyperspace on the ship of the Imperial mastermind Grand Admiral Thrawn. A key villain in Rebels and the Expanded Universe novels, Thrawn also is being positioned as an enemy for the new show, with Ahsoka mentioning that she’s hunting for him on The Mandalorian.
Ahsoka will be set during the same period as another newly announced show, Rangers of the New Republic, and the shows will be crossing over with each other, and presumably with The Mandalorian as well. That means it will be taking place well after the events of Rebels and provide the opportunity to bring in some of that show’s cast of characters and resolve plots that Rebels co-creator and regular The Mandalorian writer Dave Filioni left open. There’s already a lot of speculation that Ahsoka will include appearances by Ezra along with his crewmate Sabine, a Mandalorian with a penchant for graffiti and explosives who was seen teaming up with Ahsoka at the end of Rebels.
Along with tracking down an old enemy, Ahsoka could give the former Jedi a chance to reconcile with the fate of her former master. Ahsoka’s hesitance to train Grogu because he’s so attached to Din Djarin stems directly from watching Anakin fall to the Dark Side at least in part because he couldn’t put aside his feelings for either his mother or secret wife Padme Amidala. Ahsoka confronted Darth Vader and expressed some of the pain and guilt she felt over his path in the season two finale of Rebels, a particularly dramatic scene showing the depth of their relationship that felt like a direct homage to the emotional battle between Luke and Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.
The Mandalorian creator and writer Jon Favreau has demonstrated that he’s not opposed to de-aging actors with the surprise appearance of Luke Skywalker in that show’s season two finale. Mark Hamill thanked Favreau and Filioni on Twitter for giving him another chance to play the character that made him famous, showing he’d likely be open to making more appearances in their projects. While some fans didn’t like keeping Luke in the spotlight or found the special effects used to make him look younger distracting, it could be extremely touching to see Ahsoka interacting with Anakin’s son.
Ahsoka also provides the chance to bring on-screen resolution to another fan favorite character from The Clone Wars, Asajj Ventress. Ventress was the apprentice of Count Dooku, the Sith Lord working under Chancellor Palpatine. While the Sith like to talk a lot about the Rule of Two, where there can only be one master and one apprentice at a time, a major plot point of The Clone Wars was that the apprentices were constantly plotting against their masters by training their own apprentices.
Ventress was a dark mirror for Ahsoka, right down to both characters having a combat style that used two lightsabers. She was eventually betrayed by Dooku and found her own apprentice, the ludicrously named Savage Opress, who would go on to abandon Ventress and team up with his brother Darth Maul. By the end of The Clone Wars, Ventress was less of a clear villain, abandoning the Sith way in favor of becoming a bounty hunter. She even helped Ahsoka avoid capture while she was trying to clear her name.
An arc was written for The Clone Wars that would have continued Ventress’ path to redemption, ending with her death at the hands of Dooku. However, the show was cancelled before those episodes were made, with the story instead being published in the Star Wars novel Dark Disciple. When The Clone Wars came back for a seventh season last year, Ventress was conspicuously absent. That could mean that Filioni is holding her in reserve and considering how to continue her story. Because of the parallels between Ahsoka and Ventress drawn throughout The Clone Wars, there is a huge amount of potential to have them work together in Ahsoka as powerful, independent Force users with their own agendas trying to avoid being pulled back into their respective factions.
Aksoka’s ultimate fate has never been stated, but her voice is among the many dead Jedi offering Rey assurances in The Rise of Skywalker, indicating she may have died by then. Filioni and Favreau have repeatedly proven their skill at producing extremely compelling Star Wars stories, so whatever they have in store for Ahsoka and her show is sure to build on the powerful foundations they’ve laid with their previous works and bring the character the attention she deserves.
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