My next installment of Women of Star Wars: Animated Edition is Ahsoka Tano.
Ahsoka Tano is Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan in Clone Wars. She’s a young togruta with big blue eyes, and presumably was going to be Obi-Wan’s new Padawan since Anakin had achieved Jedi Knighthood. The particulars of how she became Anakin’s apprentice rather than Obi-Wan’s is detailed in the Clone Wars movie; turns out that Ahsoka has a slight rebellious streak. Despite his initial resistance to taking on a padawan, Anakin himself says to her: “You may not have done well as Obi-Wan’s padawan. But you might do okay as mine.”
The pair make a good team, despite being a bit too similar and getting on each other’s nerves at first. Ahsoka calls him “Sky Guy” and Anakin calls her “Snips”, referring to her initial snippiness.
I’m going to say right up front that I much preferred Clone Wars Anakin over movie Anakin (they almost seem like different characters to me), and I think Ahsoka has a lot to do with that. The fact that he has someone to feel responsible for makes him grow up a little bit; he also comes to care for her and risks his life many times for her. I just find it kind of funny when he dispenses sage Jedi wisdom, like stressing patience, when he can’t even take his own advice!
Ahsoka had some great arcs in Clone Wars; she grew from an impetuous, eager youngster who wanted to prove herself into a thoughtful, cunning, and brave Jedi warrior. But I feel she really came into her own when she actually walked away from the Jedi Order. Accused of murder, expelled from the Order, and put on trial, she’s eventually exonerated (with help from Anakin). But when the Jedi Order welcomes her back in, she refuses to rejoin them. Her hurt and betrayal at their lack of loyalty opens her eyes to other options; she decides to find out who she’s supposed to be and what she’s supposed to do on her own.
Ahsoka’s decision to leave the Order devastates Anakin. He understands, but Anakin himself values loyalty to a fault. Ahsoka knows this, and her guilt at leaving him comes back to haunt her in Rebels.
While Ahsoka is absent from Clone Wars during Season 6, she returns in the seventh and final season. After a much-too-long arc with the Martez sisters, she meets up with Bo-Katan, who enlists her help to liberate Mandalore from Maul. Her confrontation with Maul is thrilling and satisfying. It’s during the trip back to Coruscant with the imprisoned Maul that Order 66 takes place. It’s Ahsoka that liberates Captain Rex from the inhibitor chip in his brain that forces him to attack her, and together they escape the other clones who want them both dead. (Maul, unfortunately, escapes).
The final few scenes of Season 7 Clone wars is haunting and heartbreaking, with Ahsoka contemplating the death of clones she’d fought with, and the devastation of the Jedi Order. She drops her lightsaber into the snow. Later, Darth Vader picks it up, wondering, perhaps reminiscing, watching a lone bird circle above, Anakin’s eye just visible through the red lens of his mask. This whole sequence gives me the shivers.
We don’t see Ahsoka again until Rebels, after 15 years have passed. It wasn’t until the book Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston, came out that we knew what she’d been up to in the meantime. After Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex parted ways, agreeing it would be safer for them both to do so. She wandered from place to place, hiding her identity and Jedi abilities, calling herself Ashla and repairing droids and mechanicals for a living. It’s in this book that she ends up facing an Inquisitor and defeating him. She takes his double-bladed lightsaber and makes them her own, “healing” the red, bleeding kyber crystals and turning them white. She also meets up with Bail Organa, and decides to join the Rebellion in a specific capacity: running his intelligence networks as Fulcrum. It’s a good book, and I recommend it.
It’s in Rebels that we see the fully adult Ahsoka Tano, when Fulcrum’s mysterious identity is finally revealed. She comes to know the whole Ghost crew, and is reunited with Captain Rex. These are some of my favorite scenes of Rebels. When they learn of the existence of a Dark Lord of the Sith, Ahsoka feels something familiar about him, and has her suspicions. She’s believed Anakin dead all these years, but her confrontation with Darth Vader in a Sith Temple on Malachor proves to her that Vader is, indeed, her former Master. “I’m not leaving you,” she says. “Not this time.” At these words, we see Vader pause, as if she’s gotten through to Anakin somehow. But only for a moment. “Then you will die,” Vader replies. She only survives the duel because Ezra, in a later timeline, pulls her through to the World Between Worlds.
We don’t see Ahsoka again until the final episode in Season 4, when she appears at the very end to meet with Sabine. They’re going to search the galaxy for Ezra, who disappeared with Thrawn in the last battle on Lothal. When they were in the World Between Worlds fleeing the Emperor, Ezra says, “When you get back, come and find me.” “I will,” Ahsoka replies. “I promise.” Ahsoka Tano keeps her promises.
What do you think of Ahsoka Tano? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!
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