Ahsoka Tano is possibly the most popular Star Wars character on the series who never appears in live action. At least until now.
On The Mandalorian Season 2 episode 5, the former Jedi finally made her first warm-blooded appearance in canon. Played by Rosario Dawson, the moment was a thrill for people who’ve been following their story for years – and maybe a bit confusing for those who haven’t.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 episode 5.]
Ahsoka plays a crucial role in Baby Yoda’s future as she guides Mando into the child’s homeworld. But of course it could only be that simple. Instead, the meeting between Ahsoka and Mando is broken off by Moff Gideon, with whom both characters have a certain story.
While we’ve seen Mando’s dealings with the Imperial Officer last season, Ahsoka also explains that she dated him partly because of her friendship with Mandalorians. As we may have guessed from what we’ve seen of him so far, Ahsoka says that Gideon is possessed by the galaxy’s most famous warrior race, which is why he attacked Mandalore in the first place.
On The Clone Wars and RebelsWhere she was voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the Togruta Jedi was Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice. The two fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars and completed many important missions alongside several clone troops, including Captain Rex. After being falsely accused of bombing the Jedi Temple, Tano decided to leave the Jedi Order after her name was clarified. From there, she spent several years exploring the galaxy and eventually in Rebels met Darth Vader face to face, whom she couldn’t kill after realizing it was her old master Anakin.
Over the years, Ahsoka has become a significant part of the canon because, as Eckstein put it in a 2016 interview StarWars.comthe character was instantly revolutionary. She was a 14-year-old padawan of the world’s most famous Jedi and the first true female Jedi in the universe.
“She started this revolution,” said Eckstein. “She honestly said it, and what I think was so beautiful was that she didn’t just make a statement for girls that was groundbreaking. She put a lightsaber in the hands of little girls. So when they play Clone wars There was a girl in the playground now who could hold a lightsaber that she could be. So that literally started a movement. It’s almost as commonplace now, but at the time it was mind-boggling … [The animators and writers] They forgot the fact that she was a girl and they never pointed it out. You just created a strong character and suddenly also boys who were related to her. They no longer saw her as a girl figure. They saw her as Anawin Skywalker’s Padawan and she then became, as I said, the eyes of the audience where children who grew up with her could learn those lessons from her. “
For long-time Ahsoka fans, the most interesting part of this episode will likely be the few stray details it gives about where she has been since we last saw her. For those who don’t remember, Ahsoka’s last real appearance was at the end of Star Wars: Rebels
One particularly fun fact: this episode of The Mandalorian was written and directed by Dave Filoni. Filoni was the executive producer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels, and had pointed to a future for the character when The Clone Wars finally completed in April.
“I’ve done far more Ahsoka stories than I ever thought,” he said Vanity Fair. “At this point it seems like an unstoppable force. I think we just have to be careful and make sure the bar is high and always tell good stories that add to the depth and dimension of the character. “
In the same interview, Eckstein expressed his understanding that she could possibly hand the lightsaber over to a new version of the Jedi.
“I always knew that Ahsoka was bigger than just me. I think my hope for anyone who joins Team Tano is that they will realize how much Ahsoka means to people and that she is more than just a character. It’s more than just a role. It’s more than just another story. Ahsoka changes life. I hope that everyone who joins the team will realize this and continue to breathe life into it so that their legacy continues. “