Student. Jedi Knight. Commander. Deserter. Rebel leader. Ahsoka Tano has been a lot of things in her life, perhaps more than anyone could have expected when she first appeared on screen as an outspoken teenager in The Clone Wars theatrical feature.
After her sad exit from The Clone Wars animated series and the show’s cancelation, fans worried that they had seen the last of this beloved character, whom many will argue is the most important creation from the TV universe. But luckily for us, exec producer Dave Filoni wasn’t to keen on letting Ahsoka go. Her reappearance in Rebels surprised and pleased many fans of The Clone Wars.
Operating under the codename “Fulcrum,” Ahsoka has already been an important influence on the show, as she helps the main characters go on daring missions against the evil Empire. Rebels expertly meshes the story of the Rebel informant with that of the exiled Jedi to bring new shades and angles to her story.
Here are five facts you might not know about Ahsoka Tano:
Her headband is very important.
Ahsoka’s headdress is a mark of great prowess. The triangular pieces are akul teeth, gained as a trophy for single-handedly defeating one of the predatory animals on the Togruta homeworld. According to the Expanded Universe, the akul is a large, four-legged orange creature that devastates the environment in which it lives, causing havoc for the native Togruta. Jedi Master Shaak Ti sports the same kind of headdress.
We don’t know when or at what age Ahsoka would have killed one of these beasts. It was almost surely after she was taken to the Jedi Order, and definitely before she met Anakin. Did she encounter the akul on a mission with other younglings or face it beside Shaak Ti in a Togruta tradition? Either way, she was younger than 14 when she did so.
Much of the material in the book from which this information comes, The New Essential Guide to Alien Species, has not been confirmed to be canon. So far, the idea that Ahsoka’s headdress comes from an akul hasn’t been denied or contradicted, either.
Her headdress is different in Rebels. Is this a rejection of her old culture, either Jedi or Togruta, or simply a style change? For now, we don’t know.
Since she doesn’t have hair, she can’t have a traditional Padawan braid. Instead, a strand of silka beads is attached to her headdress.
She fought alongside Chewbacca.
If Ahsoka ever encounters a certain Wookiee in Rebels, it won’t be the first time. She met Chewbacca during the Second Battle of Felucia in the Clone Wars, when she found him trapped by Trandoshan slavers. She, Anakin, Plo Koon, and their clone troopers were dispatched to fight Separatists on Felucia, but running afoul of the Trandoshans lead Ahsoka to the Wookiee.
Han Solo would be in his twenties during the time in which Rebels is set, but the long-lived Chewie is still an adult, and might be well able to recognize Fulcrum as the girl who helped him out of a tough spot decades ago.
Some think her species has poisonous teeth.
This is another detail about the Togruta species that is not directly stated in The Clone Wars. Instead, this comes from the Legends universe. Togruta have a taste for a rodent called thimiar, which they can bite into and kill painlessly. Because thimiar are known to spasm after death, it gave the impression that the Togruta had poisoned them with their teeth. The Togruta’s canine teeth aren’t poisonous, though – they’re just very precise, enough to paralyze their prey if they know what they’re doing.
The idea of Togruta being poisonous is basically a stereotype and might be rude to bring up around any Togruta you happen to encounter. Especially lightsaber-wielding Ahsoka.
Her species also has better balance than humans.
Ahsoka fights very acrobatically, easily crouching, jumping, and flipping around. Part of this ability comes from her Jedi training, but much of it could be her unique Togruta heritage and sense of balance.
Legends material states that Togruta have exceptional balance and sense of location because their montrals, the striped cones on top of their heads, are hollow. Air moving through them gives the Togruta almost a sixth sense with which they can feel people and things moving around them. It isn’t echolocation, since it doesn’t require the Togruta to produce a sound. However, the result seems to be the same – a keen sense of the three-dimensional shape of the world around them.
This isn’t mentioned specifically in The Clone Wars, but one can imagine Ahsoka using it to get out of tough spots.
George Lucas decided that she would be Anakin’s Padawan.
Dave Filoni originally planned The Clone Wars as a story that wasn’t about Anakin and Obi-Wan at all. He intended it to be the story of the motley crew of a space ship, including two Jedi. Ahsoka, then called Ashla, had a different Jedi Master entirely, and was not intended to be familiar with Skywalker and Kenobi. The name Ashla itself has a history – originally a term for the light side of the Force in Lucas’ very early drafts, it was also used as the name of a Togruta in Attack of the Clones.
It was George Lucas who decided to move the story of The Clone Wars right into the middle of the Star Wars saga, making Ahsoka Anakin’s apprentice and using her to tell the story of how Anakin developed as a teacher and as a Jedi between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.