In the second season episode of The Mandalorian entitled “The Jedi”, the titular Mandalorian, Din Djarin, takes the Child—still called “Baby Yoda” then by those in the audience who felt “The Child” didn’t go far enough—to the planet of Tython. He is in search of someone who can help him reunite the Child with his own kind. But it's not just any someone. The person he seeks is none other than Ahsoka Tano.
For the part of the audience that had watched the animated Star Wars series The Clone Wars and Rebels, the revelation was one packed with significance as one of the central figures in the Star Wars saga crossed over from animation to live-action. For the other part of the audience, whose viewing history was made up only of live-action Star Wars there was just one question: who is Ahsoka Tano?
Her appearance on The Mandalorian and subsequent return in Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett hasn’t done much to illustrate to the general audience who exactly she is. Part of this may come down to the writing, with Dave Filoni (who created the character) assuming a certain baseline knowledge of the character. But other than vague references to Anakin Skywalker and Yoda, Ahsoka remains an enigma.
So who exactly is this mysterious Force user?
Experience Outranks Everything
When Ahsoka Tano first made her debut it wasn’t without her fair share of confusion. After all, Star Wars: The Clone Wars — the 2008 movie that preceded the 7 season series The Clone Wars — came out a full three years after Revenge of the Sith. And there certainly hadn’t been any mention of Ahsoka in that film. A glaring choice in retrospect, because Ahsoka wasn’t just any old character: she was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan.
She arrives on the planet Christophsis in the middle of a standoff with the Separatists and introduces herself to Anakin and Obi-Wan as the former’s new apprentice. Something the newly-knighted Anakin decidedly does not want.
Because Ahsoka was so young at the time of her introduction, it took many adults in the audience a while to get used to her, including those who probably forgot what it was like to actually be 14 years old. Over time, as she grew more into her role on the show, she also grew on many watching her — both in-universe and out of it.
Because Anakin Skywalker could protest all he wanted. He was stuck with his “Snips” just as much as she was stuck with her “Skyguy.”
Not to say that Anakin was the only meaningful relationship Ahsoka formed while serving out her unusual wartime Jedi apprenticeship. An empathetic and personable soul, she quickly formed a friendship with the 501st, the legion of Clone troopers that served under Anakin, and particularly with their leader Captain Rex.
As her skill grew, and the demands of the war grew greater and greater, Ahsoka began to take on solo missions. Sometimes these fell within the purview of the Jedi Order, such as when she accompanied a group of younglings to Ilum to get their kyber crystals from the crystal cave. Other times, her missions were more political in nature, throwing the young Padawan into the thick of the war and out from the protective bubble her role as Jedi Commander provided her, such as when she helps a young Saw Gerrera retake his homeworld of Onderon.
Her forays into the political investigation side of things also lead her to Mandalore, and to involvement with radical Mandalorian sect Death Watch, events which would come full circle for her in a big way.
Walking Away From the Jedi
Ahsoka’s path to Jedi knighthood was never meant to be. As the end of the war approached, disillusionment grew among those who had been fighting the war for too long, and from too young an age. After rescuing Anakin from some business on Cato Nemoidia, the two of them return to Coruscant following news that the Jedi Temple has been bombed.
Determined to get to the bottom of things leads them to split up during their investigation, meaning those responsible could bend events to their favor. When Ahsoka tries to interrogate the lead suspect, the woman is killed by an invisible hand, with security footage making it appear that Ahsoka herself is responsible.
She is put on trial by the council, the closest thing to a family she has, and expelled from the Jedi Order for her part in the Temple bombing, despite Padmé’s attempts to prove her innocence. Anakin is unwilling to accept this version of events, and goes on the hunt for the real perpetrator, who he finds out is Barriss Offee, one of Ahsoka’s peers.
If Barriss’s disillusionment grew gradually from watching how the Jedi Order became more and more embroiled in conflict, then Ahsoka’s grew from how willing the Order was to throw her under the bus in the name of a quick solution. Once the true perpetrator was revealed, the Jedi extended an invitation for Ahsoka to rejoin their ranks, an offer she declined breaking both her heart and that of her former master Anakin Skywalker.
The Seige of Mandalore
Without a place in the galaxy for the first time in her life, Ahsoka was left seeking direction. After crashing her speeder bike on the lower levels of Coruscant, she fell in with the Martez sisters, Trace and Rafa, who have no love for the Jedi. She agreed to help them with a quick, high-paying job. However, the job in question involved running spice for the Pyke syndicate. When Ahsoka’s morals come into conflict with Rafa’s pragmatism, the three find themselves stuck up the creek with no paddle — and no promised spice shipment. Their attempt to escape Pyke custody brings them to the attention of three Mandalorians, led by Bo-Katan Kryze (who also appears in The Mandalorian, played by her voice actress Katee Sackhoff).
The Mandalorians, all former members of Death Watch, ask for Ahsoka’s help in liberating their homeworld, which has fallen under the leadership of Darth Maul.
Maul’s motives in taking over Mandalore were not in some blind quest for power, but rather because he had hoped to draw out the Jedi, specifically Anakin and Obi-Wan. He is doomed to be Star Wars’s own personal Cassandra — gifted with knowledge of the future, and doomed to not be believed. With only Ahsoka there, Maul appeals to her and asks for her to help him, telling her that Sidious, the Sith behind all of their troubles, is looking to make Anakin Skywalker his new apprentice and that they must kill Anakin before it’s too late.
Ahsoka refuses to believe what Maul is telling her. She is not so enamored of her old life as to deny there might be corruption in the Jedi’s ranks. But she draws the line when it comes to Anakin. She wins her duel with Maul and departs Mandalore to return to Coruscant.
Since things can never be quite that simple, as Ahsoka and Rex are on their return trip home, Emperor Palpatine initiates Order 66 — the command which orders Clone troopers to kill the Jedi they serve with, overriding their personalities via inhibitor chip. Retaining just enough of his sense, Rex gives Ahsoka a clue as to what is happening before he tries to kill her himself.
Once she figures it out, via an old document from Clone Trooper Fives who got too close to the truth and was killed for it, she helps Rex deactivate his chip, and together the two of them escape their falling spacecraft, with Maul escaping in the process. Though they walk away with their lives, the incident is emotionally devastating as many of Rex’s brothers-in-arms, all of whom had served alongside Ahsoka, become casualties of their involuntary conditioning.
With nothing left for either of them, she and Rex go their separate ways, and Ahsoka goes on the run.
A year fleeing from place to place, never settling for long, is enough to show Ahsoka that though she may run from her problems, she can never truly hide from them. A member of the Inquisitorius — Darth Vader’s personal Jedi hunters — tracks her to her new home and threatens to destroy everything she has built for herself.
After killing the inquisitor, Ahsoka takes their corrupted red kyber crystals and heals them until they glow a pure white, fashioning herself a new set of lightsabers in the process. Her continued drive to help those who need her draws the attention of Bail Organa, a senator and one of the founders of the Rebellion. He engages her as a spy in his service with the codename Fulcrum.
Sometime later, while working for the Rebellion, Ahsoka crosses paths with the crew of the Ghost (the main characters of Rebels) and occasionally joins them in their own missions for the Rebellion. It is with their help that she is finally able to reconnect with her old friend Rex, bringing him back from his self-imposed exile along with fellow troopers Wolffe and Gregor.
It was on one mission with former Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his new, teenage apprentice Ezra Bridger where things took another huge turn for Ahsoka. The three of them journey to the Sith world of Malachor looking for knowledge about the Inquisitors, who are still proving to be a problem. There, another encounter with Darth Maul proves to be the least of their worries. Darth Vader has learned of their location and arrives to deal with them personally.
For the first time since he fell to the dark, Ahsoka is face to face with her former master but doesn’t recognize him for who he is right away. Once she does, her guilt at leaving him behind overtakes her, and Ahsoka remains in the Sith Temple with him, fighting even as the structure collapses on top of them.
She is presumed dead until a couple of years later when Ezra accesses the World Between Worlds — a dimension beyond all space and time. It is there he can perceive any moment that has been or will be, and chooses then to save Ahsoka from her fate.
Where is She Now?
What Ahsoka did after leaving the World Between Worlds remains a mystery to this day. The Rebels series finale showed that at some point she returned to the world of Lothal to fetch Sabine Wren, a former member of the Ghost crew so that the two could go in search of Ezra, who disappeared with Grand Admiral Thrawn sometime before the Battle of Yavin (aka the time the Rebels blew up the Death Star).
Whether this occurred before or after her appearances on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett is still unconfirmed, but given that she is still seeking information, I’d make an educated guess and say that her mission with Sabine will likely be central to the plot of the Ahsoka spin-off, set to premiere on Disney+ down the line.
The Clone Wars and Rebels are streaming now on Disney+.
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Maggie Lovitt/Lucasfilm.
Arezou Amin is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of Star Wars, romance, fantasy, and all things pop culture. She is the host of Space Waffles, a Star Wars-focused podcast on the Geeky Waffle network, where she also co-hosts the flagship show and writes reviews and recaps for the site.