Hey everyone and welcome back to the Sarlacc Pit! I want to start this post off by thanking everyone who has been reading for your support. I hope you have enjoyed reading my discussions on Star Wars as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. If you have anything to add to the discussion, please feel free to drop a comment at the bottom, I would love to hear from you all!
Anyways, in case you did not read last week’s post, I listed my top 10 favorite Star Wars characters not seen in any live-action movie (so far). At the top of this list I placed Ahsoka Tano, a Togruta who served the Jedi Order as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan during the Clone Wars and went on to help for the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the reign of the Empire. Well, I decided that in light of the season 2 finale of “Star Wars: Rebels,” one short paragraph was not enough to capture the character of Ahsoka Tano. So today I will discuss Ahsoka’s story, from Jedi padawan to Rebel leader. This will focus mostly on material from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels,” and there will be major spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Joining the Order and the Battle of Christophsis
“You’re reckless, little one. You never would have made it as Obi-Wan’s padawan…but you might make it as mine.” – Anakin Skywalker, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Ahsoka was discovered on her homeworld of Shili by Jedi Master Plo Koon at the age of three. As was custom during that time, Ahsoka was then brought to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and trained as a youngling until around the time the Clone Wars broke out.
During the Battle of Christophsis, Master Yoda sent Ahsoka Tano, then 14 years old, to join Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newly-knighted Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka was assigned as Skywalker’s padawan, which Anakin immediately balked at. However, on Christophsis, Ahsoka proved to have a decent sense for battle. Anakin realized that Ahsoka was the perfect kind of reckless for him to work with and accepted the fact that Ahsoka would be his padawan, even giving her the nickname “Snips” for her snarky attitude. She tried to stick Anakin with the nickname “Skyguy” but thank the Force that did not stick for too long.
Ahsoka during the Clone Wars
Ahsoka was recognized as a skilled lightsaber combatant. She was notable for holding her lightsabers in a reverse grip (read: like a dumb-dumb) which increased her unpredictability during duels. She was able to hold her own against highly-trained duelists such as Asajj Ventress, General Grievous, and even Anakin Skywalker. Eventually, she picked up the use of Jar’Kai, a method of using two lightsabers in battle (adding a yellow shoto to her green lightsaber). However, she proved to become too reliant on this method, eventually losing strength when dueling with only one blade.
Besides her abilities with a lightsaber, Tano proved to be a capable hand-to-hand combatant, pilot, strategist, and, under the tutelage of her master, mechanic. Tano went against some of the most dangerous villains in the galaxy, and even assisted in halting one of Darth Sidious’ plots. She saved Skywalker’s life, along with countless others, numerous times, and even facilitated rebellion in Separatist-controlled systems.
Throughout the Clone Wars, Ahsoka formed bonds with many Jedi, politicians, and warriors of various species. However none were quite as strong as the bond formed between her and Anakin Skywalker. While one of the main tenants of the Jedi belief is non-connectivity, Anakin was never quite able to avoid strong emotional bonds. Throughout the Clone Wars, Anakin and Ahsoka both had trouble allowing each other to enter situations where they would be put in danger, which both of them were lectured about by numerous other Jedi. I believe this strong connection played a major role in Anakin’s turn to the dark side.
Leaving the Order
When Ahsoka was 16, Bariss Offee, a friend and fellow padawan, secretly orchestrated a bombing of the Jedi Temple. Barriss then killed the bomber and several clone troopers, framing Ahsoka for these crimes. Ahsoka, in an attempt to escape Republic authorities and clear her name, had to team up with Sith assassin-turned bounty hunter Asajj Ventress. Their investigation led Tano into a trap where she was captured by the authorities. The Jedi Council expelled her from the Order and handed her to the Republic for trial, the prosecution of which was led by the cunning Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin. She was almost convicted and given the death sentence for treason, until Anakin forced a confession from the captured Offee, who believed that during the course of the Clone Wars the Jedi had turned evil.
After the trial, Yoda, Anakin, and Plo Koon attempted to bring Ahsoka back to the Order. They confessed that they were wrong to accuse her and considered her ordeal her Trial, stating that if she came back she would be given the rank of Jedi Knight. Ahsoka, her faith in the Order shaken, refused, leaving the Order for good.
I believe that Tano’s mistreatment at the hands of the Republic, as well as the Order failing to believe in her when she needed it most facilitated Anakin Skywalker’s betrayal of the Jedi as when he left the Order he did so believing the Order did not believe in him and did not trust him.
The End of the Clone Wars
We do not know much about Ahsoka’s journey after leaving the Order (we will have to wait until the novel Ahsoka is released October 11, 2016), but we do know her journey did not end there. Ahsoka clearly continued to follow the call of the Force, constructing two new lightsabers and growing stronger in her abilities. We also know that she survived Order 66, and eventually helped create the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
In the early years of the Galactic Civil War, Ahsoka worked under the codename Fulcrum. As Fulcrum, Ahsoka coordinated Rebel efforts throughout the galaxy, providing several Rebel cells with information about Imperial activities. Eventually, she began to bring in promising cells into the larger Rebel Alliance, such as the crew of the Ghost. Also as Fulcrum, she assisted in recruiting promising Rebel leaders such as Hera Syndulla, Captain Rex, and Wedge Antilles.
Ahsoka Tano played a major role in missions with Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, who were attempting to bring back the Jedi Order. While she assisted them with their missions and helped fight the Inquisitorius, she continued to insist that she was no longer a Jedi. Her strength in the Force had grown much since her time in the Jedi Order, and she always proved to be a game changer when she entered a battle.
The Master and the Padawan
“Ahsoka, why did you leave? Where were you when I needed you?” –Force Vision of Anakin Skywalker, “Star Wars: Rebels”
“I won’t leave you! Not this time.” “Then you will die.” –Ahsoka and Darth Vader, “Star Wars: Rebels”
While she insisted that she was no longer a Jedi, Ahsoka still practiced many Jedi customs, especially meditation. In many of these meditation sessions, her thoughts went back to her old master, whose presence she began to sense whenever she was near Darth Vader. Eventually, she was forced to accept that her old master and close friend, Anakin Skywalker, had fallen to the dark side.
Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra were eventually led by Master Yoda through a vision to the ancient Sith planet of Malachor. On Malachor, they found a Sith Temple, an ancient battle ground, and the former Sith lord Maul (Maul’s still alive after being cut in half? Yes, yes he is.). Maul teamed up with the trio, insisting that he wanted to bring down the Empire. Eventually, the Inquisitorius found them, and after they were defeated by the combined strength of the Jedi, Sith, and “part-timer,” Darth Vader was called in.
Vader attempted to bring Ahsoka to the dark side, but she denied him, engaging Vader in battle. On the top of the Sith Temple, which was actually a large weapon preparing to destroy everything around it, Ahsoka and Vader fought. Eventually, Ahsoka broke part of Vader’s mask, revealing Anakin’s scarred face. Responding in sadness and horror, Ahsoka engaged Vader again, allowing Kanan and Ezra to escape Malachor. The Temple locked down and exploded around Ahsoka and Vader.
After the explosion of the Temple, Vader was seen leaving, suit damaged and respirator struggling. Inside the Temple, however, a figure that distinctly resembles Ahsoka was seen going deeper, though her fate was left somewhat ambiguous. I have a few theories, maybe the blast separated Ahsoka and Vader, and Vader’s suit was too damaged for him to give chase. Maybe, Vader had a last-minute change of heart and allowed his former padawan to escape. Maybe Ahsoka is dead and that final image is a Force ghost. Either way, it will be a while before we get any answers, as showrunner Dave Filoni says he has left the ending purposefully “nebulous.” Curse you Dave, I want my answers!
How does this affect the movies? Why should casual movie viewers care about Ahsoka Tano? My major opinion is that while the movies are great and complete on their own, the extended canon adds depth to the characters and events of the movie. No mention of Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka is found in the movies, but she clearly affects Anakin’s decision to leave the order. She is never seen in the original trilogy, but without her the Rebel Alliance would either be nonexistent or composed of a completely different group of people. While she may not directly affect the story of Luke, without her Anakin would probably have died before impregnating Amidala. Ahsoka’s story in relation to the movies is completely behind the scenes, but with major repercussions throughout the series.
Ahsoka Tano is just one of the many awesome characters seen exclusively in the extended Star Wars canon. While she is a child in the Clone Wars, her story only becomes more interesting and emotionally complex as it continues, allowing adults to fully enjoy her story, as well as children. While we are currently left with a nebulous cliffhanger, hopefully we will see her again soon. Once again, more information about her lost years between the events of “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” will be released in the young adult novel Ahsoka, which will be released this October.
Next week I plan on discussing Force abilities, including both light side and dark side exclusive powers. Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!