“I’m here to finish your training.”

Ahsoka‘s fifth episode gave Anakin Skywalker a chance to mentor Ahsoka Tano one last time. His final lesson for her was anything but conventional, though. It involved reliving the past, multiple lightsaber duels, Darth Vader, and a dimension outside of space and time. What exactly happened between Anakin and his Padawan inside the World Between Worlds? The lesson Anakin taught Ahsoka there not only saved her soul, it might saved the galaxy far, far away.

Jump to: How Did Ahsoka Enter the World Between Worlds // Anakin Skywalker’s Ahsoka Cameo, Explained // What Happened Between Ahsoka and Anakin // Did Ahsoka Time Travel in the Series // What Was Anakin’s Lesson for Ahsoka

How Did Ahsoka End Up in the World Between Worlds?

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The Henge on Seatos, where Ahsoka fell fighting Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka‘s fourth episode, also serves as a portal to the World Between Worlds. We don’t yet know how the Henge does so, but “ an ancient people from a distant place” built that mystical temple which also has a strong connection to the Force. It’s a special enough place that it transported Ahsoka to the mystical World Between Worlds when she fell to its waters in the series’ previous episode. (It’s also possible that Ahsoka entered the World Between Worlds because she has a unique connection with both the Force and that ethereal dimension.)

When Ahsoka left the World Between Worlds and returned to Seatos, she came the same way she’d entered, finding herself beneath the waves under the Henge.

What Exactly Was Anakin Skywalker in World Between Worlds Ahsoka Cameo?

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The young, Clone Wars-era, apparition-like Anakin that Ahsoka met inside the World Between Worlds turned out to really be Anakin Skywalker.

The World Between Worlds, which sits outside of space and time, also serves as a conduit between the living and the dead. Ahsoka‘s Anakin wasn’t a mirage, a trap, or someone else. He was really there even though he’s dead. Anakin was more than a Force Ghost, but less than alive in Ahsoka. But the specifics of how he exists within the World between Worlds doesn’t matter. (It’s probably not even quantifiable.) What does matter is that everything Ahsoka experienced there, including her interactions with Anakin, really happened.

What Happened Between Anakin and Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds?

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Anakin realized Ahsoka was not dead like him when she remembered her fight with Baylan Skoll. That indicated he did not summon her to that realm. It also meant there was still hope for her to live, which ended up being the focus of Anakin’s “final lesson” for his old apprentice. He told Ahsoka she needed to learn to “live or die.” After Ahsoka easily handled him in a lightsaber duel, Anakin cut away the path they stood on. That sent her careening into her own past.

Ahsoka initially returned to one of their first Clone Wars skirmishes together, the Battle of Ryloth. ( Hera’s home world.) That was when Ahsoka first took command of soldiers in war. Her failures during the fight left her guilt-ridden, a feeling she fully relived as her younger self. But it wasn’t Anakin who sent Ahsoka to experience that horrible moment again. When she asked why they were there, Anakin said, “You tell me.”

Ahsoka subconsciously chose that event to revisit in the World Between Worlds. Same as when she then returned to the Siege of Mandalore, a battle Anakin was not present for and one that ultimately led to the planet’s destruction and the death of Sabine’s family many years later.

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Ahsoka and Anakin had separated long before the Siege of Mandalore happened. While it was taking place, Anakin was on the verge of becoming Darth Vader. Their joint legacy of war, fighting, and death led Ahsoka to remember what Anakin became. When Ahsoka then reminded her Master of his destiny—an evil she’d seen flashes of during this journey—Anakin grew angry.

He said she clearly “learned nothing” from this trip through the past and sent her back to the beginning of the lesson as they resumed their lightsaber duel, which quickly moved back to the World Between Worlds. Only this time Anakin used Vader’s red lightsaber against Ahsoka as he embraced the dark side. When Ahsoka still managed to beat him, she put Vader’s lightsaber to the defeated Anakin’s neck, but rather than strike him down, she told him she chose “to live.”

Anakin backed away and smiled as the darkness in him receded. “There’s hope for you yet,” he said before vanishing. The World Between Worlds then began to fade away around Ahsoka Tano as she returned to the world of the living.

Did Ahsoka Literally Time Travel in the World Between Worlds?

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The very nature of the World Between Worlds makes it hard to clearly define or totally understand anything that happens inside it. When Ahsoka herself first visited it many years earlier, she said as much. However, her travels into the past as her younger self didn’t resemble time travel in a traditional or literal sense. She wasn’t there to change anything. Bringing Anakin to the Siege of Mandalore didn’t mean he was really there, either. Instead, the two seemed to be inside important living memories of hers. She also seemed to be both the older Ahsoka and the younger Padawan at the same time, as though she herself transcended time even while inhabiting her younger body.

Whatever happened to Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker in the World Between Worlds wasn’t literal time travel. It was something much more spiritual that existed outside of time and space, just like the World Between Worlds.

What Was Anakin’s Final Lesson for Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds?

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Young Ahsoka showed audiences who the Jedi was long ago. Padawan Ahsoka was emotional, it was one of her greatest strengths and what made her unlike other Jedi. That’s not who she became later in life. Until her encounter with Anakin in the World Between Worlds Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka had been far more emotionless, like the stoic Jedi of the past rather than the vibrant Padawan she’d been. Life led her down a path where she shut people out and become a loner. It was a response to the mistakes both she and the Jedi made during the Clone Wars, the mistakes that resulted in so much death and pain. They haunted her.

To avoid embracing the dark side like Anakin—who gave into his emotions—Ahsoka shut off her heart. To avoid letting darkness in, she kept the light out. Anakin’s final lesson forced her to confront the person she’d become and why. He forced her to choose who she wanted to be in an episode fittingly called “Shadow Warrior.” She could continue living in the shadows as someone she’s not, killing her own soul rather than feel anything. But that path that led to a different kind of darkness anyway, one which robbed her of her strength. Or she could live.

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To do that, she had to accept her legacy, both good and bad, so she could find herself and move forward. That’s what she chose to do, and when she returned to Seatos she was more like the old Ahsoka again. She lifted the shadow on her heart and opened it back up. That let her connect with the Force-sensitive purrgil, which means she might still be able to stop Thrawn.

The hope Anakin has for is old Padawan is also a hope for the galaxy far, far away. It needs the best version of Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano, and that’s who she’s chosen to be once again.

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