Ahsoka Tano’s Star Wars Story (So Far)

So many adventures. (Image: Lucasfilm)
So many adventures. (Image: Lucasfilm)

First, there was Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Then there was Star Wars Rebels. Then, miraculously, there was Clone Wars again. The story of Ahsoka Tano has been closed and reopened many times over her growth into one of Star Wars most beloved heroes. Her story is one that’s far from over, whether that’s in the upcoming season of The Mandalorian or beyond. But what do we know about the gaps between those openings and endings?

Ahsoka has now lived through the conclusions of two television shows and even her own self-named novel. Those stories have set her up to appear even further in Star Wars’ timeline than we’d already placed her, not just into the time of the original movies but past them and into the period between them and the sequels (and who knows, if Dave Filoni has his way, perhaps further than that?). There’s still so much we don’t know about her life beyond the immediate events of Clone Wars and Rebels. But we know some.

Clone Wars’ end at least tells us that in the immediate aftermath of the Siege of Mandalore, Ahsoka and Rex escape the execution of Order 66 and the conclusion of the war after their cruiser is crashed (thanks to a little help from that wily rascal Darth Maul) on an unknown moon. The event killed the vast majority of the 332nd Clone Battalion that had accompanied them to the Mandalorian homeworld. We don’t know how long Ahsoka and Rex actually spend together in the wake of the Clone War’s end, however.

Although its own interpretation of the events of the Siege of Mandalore diverge from what we know was presented in Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ final arc, E.K. Johnson’s 2016 novel Ahsoka tells us that its titular heroine and her clone friend parted ways relatively quickly. In the novel, after fleeing the events of Order 66, Ahsoka fakes both her and Rex’s death, leaving her old lightsabers on his grave before the two parted ways and went into hiding. This event could still align with what we see in Clone Wars’ final moments with Ahsoka, when she erects a grave for the fallen Clones of the 332nd and discarding one of her lightsabers among the bodies.

We know that after splitting up, Rex went on to help liberate at least two of his fellow clones from the brainwashing chip that forced the Grand Army of the Republic’s compliance with Order 66: former Clone Commando CC-5576-39, Gregor, and Plo Koon’s second in command, CC-3636, Wolffe. The trio eventually found themselves living in the desert world of Seelos to live their reclaimed lives in peace — until, decades later and at Ahsoka’s behest, they were called back into action by the burgeoning Rebellion — but Ahsoka herself went on a different path.

Much of Ahsoka’s story takes place in the very first years of the Empire’s establishment, roughly a decade and a half before we would meet her again in Star Wars Rebels. After briefly spending time as a courier on the planet Thabseka and operating under the name Ashla, Ahsoka moves on to an argicultural moon in the Outer Rim, Raada, posing as a mechanic to ingratiate herself with the farmers that work and live there. What Ahsoka learns on Raada is that the Empire’s rise touches even the farthest-flung reaches of the galaxy, and also that she is Ahsoka Tano, and therefore physically incapable of not helping people who need it.

When the Empire eventually comes to Raada, it’s not to hunt Ahsoka down as she initially believes, but because the Imperials want to exploit its communities to farm crops to sustain its war machine. Although initially she and the farmers comply with Imperial rule and increased production quotas, the execution of one of the farmers in a cantina disagreement sparks the fires of rebellion within Ahsoka. Gathering supplies and encouraging the farmers to self-sabotage production to defy the Empire, the former Jedi establishes a fledgling resistance cell — but it quickly leads to tragedy when an impromptu assault on the local Imperial Governor’s outpost leads to the death of several of her friends and her exposure as Force-sensitive, leading to the Imperial Inquisitorius attempting to track her down as a high-priority target.

After fleeing the world to keep the surviving Raadans safe — briefly returning to Thebaska before being forced to leave there, too — Ahsoka is eventually put on the path of Senator Bail Organa, who’s been having his own ideas about fomenting Rebellion. The two agree to work together, but on several conditions from Ahsoka: namely, that Organa and his nascent rebel networks help her protect Force-sensitive children from the Empire’s grasp. But first, she returns to unfinished business on Raada. After the Inquistorius dispatches an agent to lure her out of hiding, Ahsoka duels and defeats the Sixth Brother — taking the corrupted Kyber Crystals of his dual-bladed lightsaber to purify them and turn them into the white gems that will power her own new pair of weapons.

It’s here that she returns to Bail Organa, formally joining the Rebellion to act not as a Jedi hero for him, but as an intelligence and communications expert, providing the basis for a network the various small cells of Organa’s would-be-operatives to communicate through. Abandoning her identity as Ashla, she takes on another pseudonym to reflect her position within the Rebellion: Fulcrum.

Ahsoka Tano closes one chapter. (Image: Lucasfilm)

What follows for us, at least, is a huge gap in Ahsoka’s narrative. We next meet her in 4BBY — four years before the events of A New Hope, for those not up on their Star Wars chronology — when Ahsoka makes herself known to the cell of Lothal rebels lead by Hera Syndulla after it’s revealed there are two Force-sensitives among their number: former Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume (operating under the pseudonym Kanan Jarrus) and his would-be apprentice, Lothalian orphan Ezra Bridger.

We don’t really know what Ahsoka did in those roughly 14 years since signing up as Fulcrum other than be Fulcrum, however. In Rebels’ first season, we’re re-introduced to her as a vocoder-masked voice in Hera’s ear, a secretive operative keeping a distance and helping from afar until it becomes absolutely necessary in the season’s climax for Hera and her team to be introduced to both Ahsoka and the wider Rebel network. And even when she is made known to Rebels’ heroes, she still mostly sticks to herself, going off on her own missions until fate and the lingering specter of Darth Vader pushes her, Kanan, and Ezra together again on the planet Malachor.

It’s here that she’s reunited with someone else, too: her former master, Anakin Skywalker, now transformed into Darth Vader, who himself has spent the decades since bidding his Padawan farewell and exterminating what was left of the Jedi Order. Although Ahsoka is nearly felled by Anakin in their duel on the planet, she’s saved by Ezra…but not the Ezra she ventured to Malachor with. Sort of. Kind of. This is where even this part of Ahsoka’s tale we know gets weird.

Although Ahsoka chooses to hold Vader off at seemingly the cost of her own life to ensure Ezra and Kanan can flee Malachor, Ezra returns to save her from being dealt a fatal blow by Vader…two years after he fled the world in the first place. That doesn’t mean Ahsoka’s battle with Vader was exhaustingly long; Ezra actually saves Ahsoka by wrenching her through time and space. He’d discovered a limbo-bound nexus of the Force on his homeworld in a secret Jedi temple, known only as the World Between Worlds. Transcending time and space as we know it, Ezra inadvertently uses its myriad gateways to pull Ahsoka from her battle with Vader years prior and into his “present.”

After helping Ezra prevent the Emperor from gaining access to the World Between Worlds, Ahsoka returns to Malachor via one of its portals, although it’s left distinctly unclear whether or not she’s transported there just physically through space, or through time to catch up on the two years she’d just missed out on. What is known — thanks to, of all things, a series of digital trading cards sketched by Rebels co-creator Dave Filoni for the Star Wars Card Trader app — is that on Malachor she ventures further into the Sith Temple she had fought Vader at the top of, only to uncover more pathways into the World Between Worlds…seemingly re-entering it for some undisclosed period of time.

Just some of the cards exploring what happened to Ahsoka after first leaving the World Between Worlds.

Just some of the cards exploring what happened to Ahsoka after first leaving the World Between Worlds.

Just some of the cards exploring what happened to Ahsoka after first leaving the World Between Worlds.

Whatever Ahsoka did, and for however long, we know that by another 13 years later, she’s back in the “normal” galaxy — appearing at the very end of Star Wars Rebels’ epilogue, set shortly after the end of Return of the Jedi, to recruit Sabine Wren on a mission to find their former friend Ezra, after he seemingly sacrificed himself to help liberate his homeworld from clutches of Grand Admiral Thrawn. What she did in the meantime, and how much of it connnected to the even deeper mysteries of the World Between Worlds, remains unknown for now. Much like Ahsoka herself.

Even now, it’s clear there’s much more to Ahsoka’s tale. In The Mandalorian, we’ll get a tantalising update on a character who, at that point, we’ve not seen anything from for nearly a decade of Star Wars events — arguably the most important decade of all, the galactic civil war. Further still, there are the stories that will be told beyond that, with Rebels’ epilogue painting a future for Ahsoka (and Sabine, too).

If there is one thing that isn’t a mystery to us, however, it’s this: try as it might, the galaxy far, far away can’t get rid of Ahsoka Tano. She’s here, she’s enduring, and she’ll be here for a good while yet.