If you’ve paid much attention to the Star Wars franchise over the past decade, you might recognize the name Ahsoka Tano. Though Ahsoka never appears in the Skywalker Saga movies, she’s played a key role in both the Clone Wars and the early years of the Rebel Alliance. It’s no exaggeration to say the Empire never would have been defeated without Ahsoka’s help.With Ahsoka returning to the spotlight in the upcoming seventh and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we figured now is the perfect time for a primer on the character and her connection to characters like Anakin Skywalker. The topics covered in this article include:
- Who Is Ahsoka Tano?
- Ahsoka Tano’s Species and Force Powers
- Ahsoka in the Clone Wars
- Ahsoka’s Role in the Rebellion
- Is Ahsoka Dead?
- Ahsoka’s Future – Will She Appear in a Movie?
Who Is Ahsoka Tano?
Did you know Anakin Skywalker once had a Padawan of his own before becoming Darth Vader? If you’ve only watched the movies, you might not know Ahsoka Tano, but she’s come to play a huge role in the Star Wars franchise. Ahsoka is one of the main characters (arguably the main character) in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She came of age in a time when the Republic was torn apart by civil war. Only after leaving the Jedi Order and watching the Empire rise from the ashes of the Republic did Ahsoka find her true destiny. She may no longer be a Jedi, but she’s one of the greatest forces for good in a galaxy ruled by darkness.
Ahsoka is arguably the main character in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Ahsoka Tano’s Species and Force Powers
Ahsoka is a member of an alien race known as the Togruta. Like Jedi Master Shaak Ti, Ahsoka’s appearance is marked by bright orange skin, white facial pigment and three large head tails known as Lekku. These Lekku grow larger with age, which can be clearly seen as Ahsoka grows up over the course of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and resurfaces years later in Star Wars Rebels.
Ahsoka showed strong Force potential at an early age and was recruited into the Jedi Order as a young child. Like her master Anakin, Ahsoka is especially gifted in combat-oriented Force abilities, particularly piloting ships and wielding lightsabers. In fact, as an adult Ahsoka’s sword-fighting prowess rivals the best in the galaxy, including the legendary Darth Vader himself. Ahsoka has mastered a particularly difficult form of lightsaber combat known as Jar’Kai, where she pairs a traditional lightsaber with a second, shorter saber.
Ahsoka has also shown a unique ability to purify the kyber crystals that power lightsabers. After claiming a red, dual-bladed saber from one of the Empire’s Sith Inquisitors, Ahsoka was able to remove the aura of the Dark Side and use the crystals to construct a pair of white-bladed sabers.
Ahsoka the Gray Jedi
This lightsaber purification ability may stem from Ahsoka’s unusual relationship with the Force. She considers herself neither Jedi nor Sith, but is one of the few to have achieved a balance between the two sides.Ahsoka is what many Star Wars fans refer to as a “Gray Jedi.” Though not an official term in the Star Wars universe, it’s useful for describing neutral characters like Ahsoka, the Nightsisters of Dathomir and Knights of the Old Republic’s Revan.
Ahsoka in the Clone Wars
Though she played a vital role in the Clone Wars, Ahsoka never appeared in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She didn’t actually debut until 2008, several years after the release of Episode III. Ahsoka was introduced in the 2008 animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which spawned the TV series of the same name.
The Clone Wars movie picks up shortly after the events of Episode II, as newly minted Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is assigned to mentor Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Though the two predictably butt heads at first, Anakin eventually finds a kindred spirit in Ahsoka. Like her Master, Ahsoka is headstrong, fond of flying and always ready to bend or break the rules in the interest of helping those she cares about.
Ahsoka’s growth – both in terms of her Force abilities and her moral code – is one of the main focal points of the animated series. That journey culminates at the end of Season 5, when Ahsoka is framed for a bombing at the Jedi Temple and tried before a military tribunal. Though she’s eventually exonerated and allowed to return to the Order, Ahsoka’s growing disillusionment with the Jedi and their role in the war causes her to turn her back on the Order. And for Anakin, a Jedi doomed to fall to the Dark Side because of his inability to let go of his personal attachments, losing Ahsoka is another heavy blow.
Ahsoka’s Role in the Rebellion
One of the most common themes of Disney’s new Star Wars projects has been that the Rebellion was composed of many more heroes than just Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Numerous other freedom fighters played their part in ending the scourge of the Empire, including Ahsoka Tano. That’s where Star Wars Rebels comes in.
A followup to Clone Wars set during the years leading up to Episode IV, Rebels focuses on the crew of the Ghost and their guerrilla missions against the Empire in the Lothal system. Throughout Season 1, the main characters are assisted by a mysterious Rebel intelligence officer codenamed Fulcrum. Season 1 ends with the reveal that Fulcrum is none other than Ahsoka, older and more powerful but still dedicated to the goal of restoring peace to the galaxy.
Ahsoka plays a heavy role in Season 2 as she joins the Ghost crew and even forms a fleeting alliance with
Darth Maul. Over the course of the season, Ahsoka battles members of the Sith Inquisitorius, culminating in a showdown with her former master, Darth Vader, on the Sith world of Malachor.
Vader only narrowly survives that encounter, and Ahsoka is feared lost in the rubble of the Sith temple. However, her ally and fellow Jedi Ezra Bridger is able to reach through time and rescue Ahsoka from certain death. When she resurfaces at the end of the series, Ahsoka has seemingly achieved her full strength in the Force. She enlists her friends’ aid in finding Ezra after he’s stranded on the far end of the galaxy following a confrontation with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Ahsoka’s Missing Years
If you’re wondering what happened to Ahsoka in between the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, there’s a book for that. Author E.K. Johnston’s novel Star Wars: Ahsoka bridges the gap between the two shows.
The novel begins a year after the events of Episode III and shows Ahsoka dealing with the same struggles as so many other survivors of Order 66 – evading detection and figuring out how to restore the lost Jedi Order. The novel reveals, among other things, how Ahsoka came to work with Rebel leader Senator Bail Organa and how she constructed her twin white-bladed lightsabers.
Is Ahsoka Dead?
Ahsoka’s fate following the events of Star Wars Rebels is unclear. While we now know she didn’t die fighting Vader on Malachor – and in fact returns to her friends around the time the Empire is defeated in Return of the Jedi – Disney has yet to explore her journey after that point.
Unfortunately, many Ahsoka fans fear her story may have already come to an end. Ahsoka “appeared” in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker via a vocal cameo – one of many Jedi who encourage Rey during her final confrontation with Emperor Palpatine. That cameo led to the obvious assumption that Ahsoka is dead by the time of the Star Wars sequels. Because we hear the voices of many other dead Jedi alongside Ahsoka – Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, etc. – this suggests Ahsoka has joined her fellow Jedi in becoming one with the Force.
However, Lucasfilm Animation head Dave Filoni downplayed those fears by tweeting out a cartoon sketch of Ahsoka hanging out with famously hard to kill wizard Gandalf. If not exactly indisputable proof Ahsoka is still alive, this at least gives fans reasons to hope. And even if Ahsoka is dead by the time of Episode IX, that still leaves more than 30 years of history in between the two trilogies to explore. One way or another, we probably haven’t seen the last of Ahsoka.
Ahsoka’s Future – Will She Appear in a Movie?
Given the open-ended way in which Star Wars Rebels wraps, there’s plenty of potential for Ahsoka to play a key role in future Star Wars projects. In the past we’ve speculated the series finale of Rebels may be setting up the next Star Wars animated series, one that follows Ahsoka, Hera and Sabine as they travel to the far end of the galaxy in search of Ezra. Given that this series would be set after the events of Return of the Jedi, it could help flesh out this murky part of the series’ timeline. We might even see Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and learn what role Ahsoka played in helping to restore (if only temporarily) the Jedi Order. The series could also tie into The Mandalorian, particularly with that live-action series making its own Clone Wars connections.
There’s also plenty of potential for an Ahsoka movie or live-action series on Disney+. The latter seems more likely given Disney’s decision to pump the brakes on Star Wars movies for a few years. In fact, we think it’s a good idea for Star Wars to pivot from movies to TV.
Whether Ahsoka is alive or dead by the time of the sequel trilogy, there’s certainly plenty of room left to explore her journey. We’ll likely get some idea of what the future holds for Ahsoka in The Clone Wars: Season 7. Ahsoka will return to the spotlight in a season that takes place at least partly during the events of Episode III. Fans will finally see the fabled Siege of Mandalore firsthand and see how Ahsoka survived a run-in with Darth Maul and the carnage of Order 66. Once that story is told, hopefully the next major phase of Ahsoka’s journey can begin.