Back in 2008, Star Wars fans were finally going to be told the story of the legendary Clone Wars. A subject oft-foretold, but never fully explored in either film or prose. A 90 minute feature length animated film kicked things off. To say it didn’t go well would be putting it mildly. One of the biggest reasons for that in my opinion was Ahsoka Tano, the heretofore unknown Padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Surprising to see that 12 years, and 131 episodes later she’s become one of Star Wars’ best characters.
FROM NOT SO HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Anakin, who’d just become a Jedi Knight himself, was suddenly given a Padawan. The news of this didn’t go over very well with a lot of fans, and her first appearance didn’t help. Ahsoka was to put it bluntly, annoying. She was reckless, hardheaded and quite honestly disrespectful to her new master. She was the annoying little sister that no big brother wanted to be bothered with. Looking back on it, she was the Anakin we all despised in Attack of The Clones in Togrutan girl form. Yet she displayed immense spunk, and she was fearless in the face of danger. So in essence, she an Anakin were perfect for one another.
Many of the best parts of The Clone Wars series involved Ahsoka’s adventures. Her growing into a Commander of her own company. Forming bonds with Anakin and Clone Trooper Rex. Her many battles with Grievous and Asajj Ventress. Overcoming being framed as a traitor to the Republic by her supposed best friend. All of these things are just in Clone Wars and the final season saved the best for last. While some might have found some of the early episodes of the final season rough, the final arc might have been the best Star Wars’ anything, i’ve ever seen.
Ahsoka Stands Above
The Clone Wars itself suffered through some rough growing pains. Early episodes were not sequential, and the animation style took a lot of getting used to. As time went on however, the story streamlined and characters became more dynamic. The appeal of The Clone Wars as a series might be limited to some, but for others it gave great value. Characters were given depth not found within the confines of a feature-length film. This focus served to benefit lesser known characters as well such as Kit Fisto, Luminara Undulli and Adi Gallia.
Ahsoka Tano evolved over the course of the series and became the primary reason I tuned in. Her relationship with Anakin became an allegory for Anakin’s own relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anakin and Obi-Wan were implied to have a very close relationship as Padawan and Master. With Anakin and Ahsoka we were able to see this relationship play out over the course of years. Storylines such as Ahsoka’s corruption by the Dark Side and her being framed for murder illuminated how much they meant to one another. While Ahsoka’s mere presence complicated the movie plot in many ways, series creator Dave Filoni did a masterful job trying to address the black hole sized plot holes. By the end of the series, many things we wondered made sense in the end of it.
Ahsoka Lives On
The Clone Wars was not able to wrap neatly before Cartoon Network cancelled it, and the very short lived ‘Lost Episodes’ season on Netflix didn’t help. Most assumed that Ahsoka’s story would go unresolved until she was revealed to be Fulcrum at the end of Star Wars: Rebels Season One. This reveal injected some juice into a series that had seen a few struggles of its own. It also meant that Ahsoka had unrevealed layers that needed to be peeled back. How would she react to seeing Anakin as Vader? How’d she survive Order 66? What had she been doing all these years in-between? Many of these answers came over the course of Rebels, but even more questions came at the end of the series! Now she will also be in the upcoming season of The Mandalorian on Disney+ in live action.
Ahsoka has clearly cemented her place as a Star Wars staple. She has more material than badass Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu, and her story still hasn’t fully been told. With her appearance in The Mandalorian, will this be the last we see of Ahsoka? Even money says probably not. Given the amount of material she’s been a part of, and the potential for growth in other properties, it is hard to argue that Ahsoka isn’t Star Wars’ most dynamic character. Dave Filoni clearly knows what he’s doing, and I believe as long as he’s in the fold, Ahsoka will live on for a while.