Ahsoka‘s fourth episode delivered a moment Star Wars fans have longed to see. “Fallen Jedi” featured the first-ever live-action meeting of Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker. Their emotional reunion took place inside the mystical realm known as the World Between Worlds, a place of great importance to Ahsoka. But that encounter quickly took a turn towards the dark side when the Ahsoka episode ended with Darth Vader’s theme song. That “Imperial March” musical cue is a big clue that it’s not actually Anakin Skywalker who has come to visit Ahsoka in Ahsoka‘s episode four. He might be a trap laid by his own former Master.

Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker Returns on the Ahsoka Series

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Hayden Christensen returned to the galaxy far, far away for a second time on a Disney+ Star Wars series. Just as we thought, Christensen followed his starring role on Obi-Wan Kenobi with an appearance on Ahsoka as Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was waiting for Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds, looking young and full-of-life rather than like the Sith Lord he became. His former Padawan had magically arrived in that realm—which exists outside of space and time—after falling from the ancient henge on Seatos.

Ahsoka knew her former Master was there when Christensen’s Anakin said, “Hey, Snips.” That was Anakin’s nickname for his “snippy” apprentice on The Clone Wars, where Ahsoka served as his Padawan until she quit the Jedi Order. Her decision to walk away from him is why Baylan Skoll blamed Ahsoka for what Anakin became.

It’s likely Ahsoka ended up in the World Between Worlds because of where she fell to what otherwise would have been her death. The Seatos henge is a mysterious temple built by an ancient people from far away. Its mystical nature points to it serving as portal to that Force-connected dimension. Anakin Skywalker’s appearance in that realm doesn’t mean Ahsoka is dead, either, even if he most certainly is.

Could Anakin Skywalker Be Alive Again in the Star Wars Universe?

The World Between Worlds is one of the most important locales in all of Star Wars. It’s also one of the least explored. ( Check out our extensive deep dive on it.) That realm previously only appeared on one episode of Star Wars Rebels, and many of the specifics of how it works, how it can alter history, and how someone can use it remain a mystery.

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What we do know about the World Between Worlds is still fascinating and full of untold possibility. It sits outside of space and time at the nexus of both. It’s possible to enter and exit it via magical doorways that can bring people to places and times throughout the galaxy (if not the whole universe). It’s a pathway to the past, present, and future. Palpatine also said it’s a pathway between life and death.

In Marc Sumerak’s 2021 book Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith, Darth Sidious says the World Between Worlds is “a conduit between the living and the dead.”

Not only does that suggest Anakin Skywalker is not alive, but it makes way more sense if the legendary Jedi we saw on Ahsoka is dead. Anakin never knew about the World Between Worlds while a Jedi Knight. The only time he would have known of its existence was after becoming Darth Vader. He then died shortly after finding his way back to the light side of the Force, ultimately becoming a Force Ghost. Even with doorways to the past, there was no point in Anakin Skywalker’s life (especially during the Clone Wars when his hair looked that way), when he would have visited the World Between Worlds. If he had, it would fundamentally change his entire story and all of Star Wars. But there’s nothing preventing a Force Ghost from being there.

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Since the Special Editions changed his Force Ghost from old man Anakin to young Hayden Christensen Anakin, it also makes sense he’d appear that way to Ahsoka inside the World Between Worlds. That would also explain why Anakin told Ahsoka, “I didn’t expect to see you so soon.” He’s dead and part of the Cosmic Force. He did not think his old Padawan would join him there for many more years because he knows when she actually will.

That’s what made that moment between Ahsoka and Anakin so heartwarming. Yoda, Obi-Wan, Luke Skywalker, and Qui-Gon Jinn have all appeared their former apprentices as Force Ghosts. It’s a Star Wars tradition to have dead Jedi return with another lesson when their student needs them. Only, this time the reunion with Anakin happened in a magical dimension of great importance to Ahsoka Tano, who almost certainly isn’t dead. It all made for a beautiful, powerful moment.

Those good feelings took a dark turn, though, when the end credits began to roll. That’s when an infamous music cue changed everything.

Ahsoka’s Anakin Skywalker May Not Be the Same One We Know

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The Clone Wars animated series frequently used John Williams’ iconic “Imperial March” as an ominous musical motif. It played during moments when Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side. Anytime the Jedi gave in to his anger or fear and violated his Jedi teaching, part of the song colloquially known as Darth Vader’s theme would play. It was a sign of the terrible person we all knew he’d become one day. But since Vader is long dead at this point, ending his live-action reunion with Ahsoka on that note is a terrifying sign this figure is not actually the Anakin she knew and loved. It’s not the only sign, either.

When Ezra Bridger and Ahsoka Tano first visited the World Between Worlds they saw an open portal to the moment when his Master, Kanan Jarrus, sacrificed his life to save his friends. Ezra wanted to pull Kanan out of harm’s way just as he had with Ahsoka moments before. Darth Vader would have killed Ahsoka years earlier had Ezra not pulled her into the World Between Worlds before the fatal blow.

Ahsoka convinced Ezra not to save Kanan because the Jedi Knight died saving Ezra’s life. If the Padawan interfered with that moment, he might have actually killed all of them. At minimum, intervening with that moment would have done untold damage to the past, present, and future.

Only, it seems like Ezra never could have saved Kanan. Once he opted not to rescue his master, the portal closed before quickly reopening to show Palpatine. He could not find his way into the World Between Worlds and was hoping to use Ezra to gain access. (He might have even shown Ezra Kanan’s death as a trap, meaning it was possibly nothing but a mirage.)

While the Emperor couldn’t enter the dimension himself, he did still attack Ezra and Ahsoka inside of it. He sent dark Force energy into the World Between Worlds and grabbed them. The two barely managed to escape and went back to their original portals and spots in the timeline.

Palpatine’s treachery showed the World Between World is like the Force itself. It’s not inherently good or bad and can be used for both. Loth-wolves and Jedi can use it to save lives, but Sith Lords can use it to attack enemies from across space and time. Palpatine was also desperate to get inside because he believed anyone who controlled the World Between Worlds would control everything, everywhere, forever.

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So was that really Anakin Skywalker in Ahsoka or not? If it was, why play Vader’s music? Why did Obi-Wan Kenobi opt not to digitally de-age Hayden Christensen in his Anakin flashback, but Ahsoka did? (Whether or not Anakin was carrying his actual lightsaber during his meeting with Ahsoka is also up for debate. It’s impossible to tell just yet if he was.)

The evidence points towards his appearance being a dark lie. That raises yet other questions. If that wasn’t Anakin, who or what appeared before Ahsoka? A mirage? An impostor? A dark side trap? If so, who is behind it? There’s one prime candidate, the monster who is always behind everything. Darth Sidious—currently dead in Ahsoka‘s timeline—will return to the galaxy far, far away one day. He once tried to use the World Between Worlds for his own sinister purposes, why would he have given up trying to unlock the secrets to the one place that would make him all powerful forever? And just like before, he might have found a potential way in by preying on a Jedi Knight’s painful past. Ezra wanted to save Kanan just as Ahsoka wishes she could have Anakin.

Palpatine called it a conduit between the living and the dead, and the dead Emperor’s ultimate plan was to always cheat death.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter and  Bluesky at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.