Who Is Ahsoka Tano, And How Did She End Up In The Mandalorian?
A group of Star Wars fans, specifically those who enjoy the animated series, collectively celebrated “Life Day” early a few weeks ago. In The Mandalorian Chapter 10: The Heiress, Bo-Katan, played by Katee Sackhoff, namedrops Ahsoka Tano. However, for Star Wars fans who’ve not dipped their toes into the animated expanded universe or the novel Ahsoka may not understand why we’re all so excited. So, in advance of Ahsoka Tano finally appearing in The Mandalorian, we thought we’d give you a quick guide to understanding the most important Jedi in Star Wars not named “Skywalker.”
Originally called “Ashla,” George Lucas and screenwriter Henry Gilroy ultimately settled on a name inspired by the ancient emperor Ashoka. Lucas developed Ahsoka, with the help of Dave Filoni, for The Clone Wars series. He modeled the character after his two daughters and hoped she would show how Anakin went from being a brash padawan to a capable and confident Jedi Knight. The bond between Anakin and his padawan was very strong, and she even (eventually) figured out his relationship with Padmé. She left the Jedi Order before Order 66, though she was with clones when it all went down.
When her series came to a sudden end with the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, Ahsoka got a second act in Star Wars: Rebels. She allowed those characters to go head-to-head with Darth Vader and not be destroyed. Though she almost lost her life, she appeared at the end of that series with a new mission in mind. In fact, it may be this mission she’s carrying out when we meet her on Friday.
Spoilers for everything Ahsoka-related below.
Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan Learner That You Never Knew About
Before Appearing in The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano was a regular-old Jedi padawan. In 2008’s The Clone Wars movie, she and Anakin Skywalker paired up. The two faced off against Count Dooku and his assassin, Asaaj Ventress. Throughout the seven seasons of The Clone Wars, Ahsoka became as much of a hero as Anakin or Obi-Wan. Brought into the order by Master Plo Koon, Ahsoka grew into a capable warrior and kind, compassionate peacemaker. She carried two lightsabers, a normal one and a shoto, based on the small secondary samurai blade of the same name. Because of this, she developed a unique fighting style.
She crossed paths with Bo-Katan a few times. First, she helped a group of Mandalorian teens uncover a plot on their homeworld. At the time, Mandalore was a pacifist society, led by Duchess Satine. Yet, with the war raging, people opposed her. Ahsoka helped uncover corruption and rescued the Duchess and her students from the villain. Later, she and friend, Lux Bonteri, ran afoul of Death Watch. This group was a militant offshoot of Mandalorian culture, presumably the group Din Djarin belongs to now. A group, by the way, Bo-Katan was a member of.
When a terrorist attack on Coruscant led to Ahsoka being wrongfully accused of murder, she fled Fugitive-style. She ended up joining with Ventress, herself no longer with the Sith, to clear her name. Despite doing so, and despite Anakin never giving up on her, Ahsoka decided to leave the Jedi Order. In the series finale of The Clone Wars, Ahsoka is given lightsabers and put in charge of the Siege of Mandalore. She wrests control of the planet from a resurrected Darth Maul, then survives Order 66 with the help of her friend, a clone Commander named Rex.
In the ‘Dark Times’ Ahsoka Hid and Sowed the Seeds of Rebellion
In the novel Ahsoka, written by E.K. Johnston, Ahsoka goes into hiding using the name Ashla. She lives with the Fardi family, working as a mechanic and sometimes pilot. When she uses the Force to save one of the children, she decides to make a run for it. She ends up on another planet that has been taken over by the Empire. While trying to stay under the stormtroopers radar, she ends up fomenting a rebellion amongst the citizens. Dark Side of the Force soldiers, known as Inquisitors, show up because they are able to sense that a Jedi is at work.
Ahsoka again flees the planet, and she runs into none other than Senator Bail Organa and her old friend R2-D2. Organa tells her that he uses his position as a Senator to discover where “acts of kindness” happen in the face of the Empire. When he detects a pattern of such rebellious acts, he finds that person to help them fight the Empire. Ahsoka refuses to join with him, instead choosing to continue hiding. Yet, she ends up going back to the places she was and liberating them as best as she can. She defeats the Inquisitors and takes their lightsaber crystals. She heals them in the Force, turning their color from red to pure white. She uses these crystals to build herself two new laser swords.
Eventually, she finds Organa again and agrees to help him. She adopts the codename “Fulcrum,” and starts a spy network that links together rebel cells. Working from the shadows, Ahsoka discovered intelligence about the Empire’s plans and directed willing rebels to help those in need.
What Ahsoka Tano Did From Star Wars: Rebels to the Time of The Mandalorian
At the end of the first season of Rebels, Ahsoka revealed herself to the crew of the Ghost. She bonded with her fellow former Jedi Padawan Kanan Jarrus and his unlikely apprentice Ezra Bridger. She helped them rescue Force-sensitive children from the Empire and its Inquisitors. She, Kanan, and Ezra also visited a Jedi Temple on the planet of Lothal, before heading to the planet Malachor. There they found the remnants of huge battle between the Jedi and forces of the Sith thousands of years ago. Ahsoka encountered Maul for the first time since the end of the Clone Wars. She also faced Vader in battle, learning his identity and seemed ready to battle him to the death.
However, in one of the most interesting changes to Force lore in the series, Ezra was able to rescue her from “the World Between Worlds.” A void that seemed to exist outside of space and time, Ahsoka helped Ezra move on from a devastating loss. She also faced down the Emperor with him as he tried to unlock the secret of the World Between Worlds. Eventually, she returned to Malachor, disappearing beneath the depths of a Sith temple. Yet, she survived. By the time she made her way back to Lothal, Ezra had gone missing. She and Sabine Wren, another Mandalorian decked out in beskar armor, set off to find him. And that’s where her story ended, save for her voice joining the chorus of Jedi at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
So, how did Bo-Katan and Ahsoka reunite after the events of Return of the Jedi? And what’s taken her to the planet Corvus where the Mandalorian is supposed to find her? These are the questions that will be answered when we finally meet up with a live-action Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian.
What do you think? Did I miss any part of the Ahsoka Tano story from The Clone Wars to The Mandalorian? Share it in the comments below!
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.