Despite never appearing in the flesh in any of the movies, former Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano is undoubtedly one of the most popular characters in Star Wars. A hero in every sense of the word, Ahsoka’s journey spans almost the entire film saga, just in animated form.
First introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice in The Clone Wars animated series, Ahsoka quickly became one of the main protagonists of the series, as we watched her grow as both a Jedi and a commander who led clone forces for the Republic. And even though her time with the Jedi came to an end before Order 66, when she chose to walk away from the Order in search of her own path, she continued to fight for others.
In Rebels, she became the spy known as “Fulcrum,” helping the fledgling Rebellion in its struggle to topple the Empire. It was during this time that she also faced Darth Vader on an ancient Sith planet called Malachor and learned the truth about the fate of her former master. But the revelation did not break her, even as her duel with Vader left her stranded on Malachor.
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Ahsoka’s live action debut in The Mandalorian, played by Rosario Dawson, marks another major step in her journey. No longer someone trying to find her place in the galaxy or with the Jedi, she now uses her powers to help those who need it. And as Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth learns in the “The Jedi,” nothing will stop Ahsoka from seeking justice.
“She is, for lack of a term, a master, because she’s largely an independent at this point,” The Clone Wars and Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni, who is also an executive producer on The Mandalorian, told Vanity Fair. “I play her much more as a knowledgeable knight. A wandering samurai character is what she really is at this point. I’ve always made comparisons to her heading toward the Gandalf stage, where she is the one that has the knowledge of the world and can help others through it. I think she’s reached that point.”
But if you followed Ahsoka’s journey from the animated series to The Mandalorian, you probably noticed that there are still some gaps in her story. How did Ahsoka escape Malachor and show up on Corvus so many years later? And how was she able to speak to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker? Most importantly, what does “The Jedi” tell us about Ahsoka’s future?
How Is Ahsoka Tano Alive in The Mandalorian?
While we know Ahsoka Tano reappeared in the very final scene of Rebels, reuniting with Mandalorian hero Sabine Wren on Lothal before setting out in search of Ezra Bridger, who went missing after being launched into hyperspace while fighting Grand Admiral Thrawn in space, we don’t really know how Ahsoka escaped Malachor in the first place.
For those of you who don’t remember (or didn’t watch Rebels, which shame on you), Ahsoka stayed behind to duel Vader inside the Sith temple on Malachor while the rest of the heroes escaped in the season 2 episode “Twilight of the Apprentice.” For almost two seasons after that, Ahsoka’s fate was unclear, with some believing that the fan-favorite character had met her end at the hands of her master.
But season 4 episode “A World Between Worlds” revealed the truth. In the episode, Ezra gains access to a mystical realm containing portals to different points in time and space. It’s through one of these portals that Ezra is able to pull Ahsoka out of Malachor, just as Vader is about to land a killing blow with his lightsaber.
For a moment, it seems as if Ahsoka has found a way off Malachor. But when Emperor Palpatine senses the world between worlds through the Force and tries to gain access to it, Ezra and Malachor are separated while trying to stop the Sith lord. In the process, Ahsoka is forced to jump back through the portal to Malachor. She then walks back into the Sith temple to an uncertain future.
That’s the last we see of her on screen until she reunites with Sabine in the epilogue of the Rebels series finale “Family Reunion – and Farewell,” which takes place a year after Return of the Jedi. “The Jedi” reveals that Ahsoka is still searching for Ezra four years later, but doesn’t shed light on the sequence of events that led her from Malachor to Lothal and then Corvus.
The best answer we have comes from an unlikely source: the Star Wars Card Trader mobile trading card game from Topps. A series of Ahsoka cards designed by Filoni himself reveals that Ahsoka found another portal within the Sith temple on Malachor that led her back into the world between worlds and “on a spiritual journey that changed the course of her life,” according to Wookieepedia. That’s a pretty vague answer to a very big gap in Ahsoka’s story, but since Filoni designed these cards, they must be canon, right?
The good news is that Ahsoka’s escape from the planet means that we’ll hopefully get to watch many more of her adventures on The Mandalorian as an older and wiser hero.
What Is Togruta Life Expectancy?
Just how old Ahsoka is when she appears in The Mandalorian? According to Wookieepedia, Ahsoka was born in 36 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). Since The Mandalorian takes place in five years after Return of the Jedi in 9 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), this means that Ahsoka is around 45 years old in “The Jedi,” leaving plenty more years of adventuring ahead of her.
Barring an illness or any of the usual hazards that come with fighting bad guys in the galaxy far, far away, just how many years does Ahsoka have left? While there’s no canon answer when it comes to Togruta life expectancy, the old Legends continuity did state that Togruta could live up to 94 years, a pretty long lifespan when you consider that real-world human life expectancy is about 72 years. Of course, this pales in comparison to the lifespan of Yoda’s species, who can live for centuries.
Regardless of whether the life expectancy of Togruta is the same in the Disney canon, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Beloved Star Wars characters rarely die of natural causes, which brings us to a big question about Ahsoka’s future: how is her journey fated to end?
How Did Ahsoka Tano Die?
Even if she’s not physically in the movie, Ahsoka’s presence is felt in The Rise of Skywalker when she speaks to Rey through the Force during the film’s climactic battle with Palpatine. She can be heard saying, “Rey!” when the young hero reaches out to the generations of Jedi before her to give her the strength to defeat the Sith once and for all. Although it’s just as likely that her inclusion in this scene is simply a wink at the Star Wars fans who love the character, Ahsoka’s single line in The Rise of Skywalker has led some to wonder whether this means she died prior to the events of the Sequel Trilogy.
There is some “evidence” that this might be the case, primarily the fact that the other Jedi who speak to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker — Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Luminara Unduli, Aayla Secura, Kanan Jarrus, and Adi Gallia — are all dead. But the difference is that we’ve witnessed the deaths of all of these other characters, whether it be in the films, the TV series, or in the pages of the books and comics. (While we don’t see how Master Unduli died, her death was confirmed in Rebels.)
Ahsoka’s fate, on the other hand, is not written in stone. As far as we know, Ahsoka could have lived decades beyond The Mandalorian, and Filoni even suggested after the release of the film that, just because Rey could hear her voice on Exegol, that didn’t mean Ahsoka was necessarily dead.
Was thinking of all of you this fine morning, Happy Holidays! – Dave pic.twitter.com/WpD0kKMbfk
— Dave Filoni (@dave_filoni) December 25, 2019
Filoni went as far as to tell io9 that the movie “doesn’t really have any big implications to what I’m doing with the character, to be honest. I just thought it was a really fun thing. I thought J.J. [Abrams]’s instinct to be so inclusive with all these various elements of Star Wars and characters [was great]. And I thought it would be a great thing for the actors involved to be a part of something that was just really this celebrating moment of the Star Wars saga. So I didn’t think of it in a literal story [way]. The film, to me, is like a different area.”
In other words, Ahsoka’s cameo in The Rise of Skywalker could be nothing more than just a wink at fans. Certainly, Ahsoka’s story in “The Jedi” suggests that she has plenty more to do. Next on her list is finding Grand Admiral Thrawn, who could lead him to where Ezra is.
Will Ahsoka Be in The Mandalorian Again?
In many ways, and this is pure speculation, “The Jedi” plays like a backdoor pilot, setting up what could be Ahsoka’s own standalone series on Disney+. The episode introduces just enough of Ahsoka’s own mission without giving much of it away. By the end of the episode, we know that Ahsoka’s on her way to find Thrawn, a confrontation so many years in the making that it seems too big (and distracting) to happen on The Mandalorian.
But even if Ahsoka were to get her own series, that doesn’t mean she would never cross paths with Mando and Grogu again. Since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise in 2012, the studio has been working to build a shared universe of stories on screen that communicate with each other and share characters from one property to the next — just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the same way that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision are meant to tie into the upcoming Marvel movies, The Mandalorian and a potential Ahsoka series (and the rumored Boba Fett spinoff) could be set up to interact with each other, too.
In fact, “The Jedi” has left the door open for Ahsoka to appear in future The Mandalorian episodes, even as she searches for Thrawn in her own series. She’s already played a pivotal role in Mando and Grogu’s own journey, not only helping the bounty hunter learn his little companion’s real name but also revealing Grogu’s tragic history. Unable to fully understand the child or the way of the Jedi, Mando has needed people to show him the way throughout his quest, and Ahsoka could prove to be the perfect guide and mentor for the duo when it comes to the mysteries of the Force, even if she won’t outright train Grogu as an apprentice. As Filoni said of Ahsoka’s resemblance to Gandalf: “She is the one that has the knowledge of the world and can help others through it.”
Will Ahsoka Meet Luke Skywalker?
In “The Jedi,” Ahsoka points Mando and Grogu to Tython, a mysterious planet powerful in the Force that could be the birthplace of the Jedi Order. There, Grogu must decide whether to reach out with the Force to another Jedi or stay with Mando.
“If he reaches out through the Force, there’s a chance a Jedi may sense his presence and come searching for him,” Ahsoka tells Mando. “Then again, there aren’t many Jedi left.”
Fans’ ears likely perked up at this line of dialogue since we all know of at least one other Jedi operating in the galaxy five years after Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker himself. Is the show hinting that Luke will make an appearance on the show to take Grogu in as his student? That seems unlikely since Mando and Grogu are the emotional core of the series, but Ahsoka’s acknowledgement that there are other active Jedi in the galaxy could mean that she’s aware that Luke is out there.
Could this mean that Ahsoka has already met Luke or is poised to meet him in the future? Either way, their meeting seems inevitable. In fact, an Ahsoka and Luke story would provide the rhyming poetry that Star Wars so often deploys: Anakin’s old apprentice finds Anakin’s son years after Vader’s death and helps him learn something new about the Force or the Jedi. Ahsoka could guide Luke in ways that Anakin could not, while she could learn more about her master’s ultimate sacrifice for his son.
The only issue, of course, is that Mark Hamill is much older than Luke would be five years after Return of the Jedi, which means that a potential meeting with Ahsoka would likely involve some heavy CGI to de-age Hamill or a recast of Luke. Unless Ahsoka doesn’t meet Luke until much later in his life, it might be time to ring up Sebastian Stan.
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