The newest episode of The Mandalorian brought a key Star Wars character to live-action. A whole bunch of people just met Ahsoka Tano for the first time. First introduced in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, Ahsoka has appeared in multiple animated series, in a novel, and as one of the voices Rey heard in The Rise of Skywalker. We have seen the former Jedi as a somewhat bratty Padawan learner, a commander in the Clone Wars, a fighter, a secret agent, and a wise mentor. And though we don’t know if she will play a continuing role in The Mandalorian, she certainly could. Let’s look back at Ahsoka’s history.
The Clone Wars
Like other Force-sensitive youths, Ahsoka Tano joined the Jedi Order at a young age. Jedi Plo Koon discovered Ahsoka when she was three years old. Eleven years later, Yoda assigned Ahsoka as a Padawan to Anakin Skywalker—shortly after the beginning of the Clone Wars. Ahsoka learned how to be a Jedi, a guardian of peace, in a time of war. And with Anakin as her teacher, her training was unconventional to say the least. During her time fighting alongside clones and leading them in battle and strategizing, Ahsoka traveled the galaxy.
The young Togruta Padawan grew as a Force user and as a warrior. She learned from her mistakes and demonstrated great resilience. And she also learned the war between the Republic and the Separatists was not as black and white as she may have once thought. Ahsoka witnessed suffering across the galaxy because of the war firsthand. She experienced the cost of fighting. Deep down, she began to question the Jedi’s role in everything.
Leaving the Jedi Order
After being framed for a bombing at the Jedi Temple, Ahsoka confronted her own beliefs. At first, she stayed on the run and out of the grasp of the Jedi and Republic soldiers trying to arrest her for a crime she didn’t commit. No one believed in her innocence except Anakin but even he still insisted she should turn herself in so they could clear things up. The Republic caught Ahsoka eventually and the Jedi expelled her from the Order. That is until Anakin found the actual perpetrator of the crimes (another Jedi Padawan). The Republic let Ahsoka go.
And the Jedi Order? The Jedi Council apologized and invited Ahsoka to come back, noting that what she’d been through was her “great trial.” But all she’d been through and learned about as she talked to witnesses of the bombing made Ahsoka uncertain. She decided to leave the Jedi Order, the only life she’d ever known, despite a personal request from Anakin asking her to reconsider.
Siege of Mandalore
Outside of the haven of the Jedi Temple Ahsoka spent time among everyday citizens; they gave her a new perspective on the Jedi Order. They didn’t hold the Jedi on any kind of pedestal. In fact, two sisters she met had a negative experience with the Jedi. But as Ahsoka explored all that meant, an old friend showed up and asked for help: Bo-Katan Kryze. She needed assistance getting Darth Maul off Mandalore. Ahsoka acquiesced and got in touch with Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi to ask for the Republic’s help and numbers.
Ahsoka picked up lightsabers once again to help Bo-Katan and the people of Mandalore. She led a squadron of clone troopers in a siege and helped them capture Maul; it should have been a new beginning for Mandalore. However, as Ahsoka left the planet, Emperor Palpatine enacted Order 66. Though no longer a Jedi, Ahsoka was a Force user and her connection to the Order proved enough to trigger the clone troopers’ programming. She fought for her life to escape.
Joining the Rebellion
After Order 66, Ahsoka tried to stay under the radar. She didn’t want anyone to know she could use the Force; it would have just put a target on her back. The Empire was constantly searching for survivors of the purge. But Ahsoka isn’t the sort to stay in the shadows when others need her help. Plus she’s resilient AF. She built herself new lightsabers, using the Force to heal two kyber crystals that had bled red. Through her acts of helping others on various planets, Ahsoka came on Bail Organa’s radar—this at the time he, Queen Breha Organa, and Mon Mothma were building the foundation of what would become the Rebel Alliance.
She didn’t want to be a commander again after the Clone Wars, but Ahsoka did agree to joining the Rebellion. She became a Rebel spy known as Fulcrum—the first spy to carry this code name (we’ve heard Cassian Andor use it too). It was in this role that an older Ahsoka encountered the crew of the Ghost, a rebel cell led by Hera Syndulla. This group also included a former Jedi Padawan who escaped Order 66, Kanan Jarrus, and a Force-sensitive youth, Ezra Bridger. Ahsoka was a little like an Obi-Wan to the crew, or Gandalf if you don’t mind a reference from another franchise.
Confronting Darth Vader
While on a mission with the Ghost crew Ahsoka came across Darth Vader. Something about Vader brushed against her mind, and when she went searching for answers, she learned the truth. Her one-time friend and master Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader. Their paths led them to a heartbreaking confrontation on Malachor, home to a Sith Temple, where Ahsoka had to reckon with Anakin’s transformation and whether she could have changed things if she’d stayed with the Jedi Order.
Their duel was charged with emotion. Ahsoka held her ground, and just as Vader was about to deliver a killing blow, Ezra pulled Ahsoka through a portal. An Ezra that was two years older than the Ezra that had been on Malachor with Ahsoka. A future version of the young Jedi in training accessed the World Between Worlds, a dimension in the Force that connects everything across all time and space, and saved Ahsoka (note: it is most emphatically not an instance of time travel in Star Wars).
The Search for Ezra Bridger
The last we saw of Ahsoka before The Mandalorian was at the end of the Galactic Civil War. Dressed in a very Gandalf the White inspired ensemble, Ahsoka met up with Sabine Wren on Lothal. Sabine Wren is another badass Mandalorian warrior and notably is the one who retrieved the Darksaber from Darth Maul and put it back in Bo-Katan’s hands. Ahsoka and Sabine left on a mission to the Unknown Regions to search for Ezra, who went missing during a battle with Thrawn.
With her connections to Mandalore and maybe even other Force users, Ahsoka could play a recurring role in The Mandalorian. Maybe we’ll see her team up with Bo-Katan once again to wrest the Darksaber from Moff Gideon and bring permanent peace to Mandalore. Perhaps she’ll be an occasional teacher for the Child. We’re excited to see whatever she does.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm