Where Was Ahsoka During the Original Star Wars Trilogy?

Ahsoka survives the events of the Original Trilogy, but her whereabouts during that time are still a bit of a mystery. Time to enter the World Between Worlds...

Rosario Dawson in Star Wars: Ahsoka
Photo: Lucasfilm

Ahsoka Tano was first introduced in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which served as a precursor to the animated series of the same name. While Ahsoka isn’t necessarily the main character, The Clone Wars follows her journey as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan, including why she ultimately left the Jedi Order and how she escaped Order 66. She returned in Rebels, which takes place in the five years leading up to A New Hope, and we know she survived the Galactic Civil War given her return in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and her own series Ahsoka, all of which take place five years after Return of the Jedi — between 9 and 10 years ABY (after the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope). But since Ahsoka clearly survived the war with the Empire, where was she during the Original Trilogy? Why wasn’t she around to help the Rebellion take down the Emperor, Darth Vader, and both of their Death Stars?

Well, the very simple real-world answer is that she hadn’t yet been created when A New Hope and the Original Trilogy were filmed in the 1970s and 80s. While George Lucas did co-create the character with Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni for The Clone Wars, she didn’t make her debut until after Revenge of the Sith (which is also why Ahsoka isn’t in any of the Prequel Trilogy films).

But the in-universe explanation for why Ahsoka wasn’t around during the Original Trilogy era is a bit more complicated…

In the season 2 finale of Rebels, Ahsoka joins Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger on a mission to an ancient Sith Temple on the planet Malachor. What they don’t know is that Darth Vader has been lured to the planet by Maul, which means Ahsoka finally has the chance to face her former master and witness what he’s become. They face off in a duel with no clear winner, and at the end of the episode, as the temple falls around them, Ahsoka stays behind to keep Vader from following Kanan and Ezra. Ahsoka is presumed dead.

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In season 4, however, Ezra discovers a pathway to the World Between Worlds, a mystical plane between space and time that allows him to travel back in time and save Ahsoka from being struck down by Vader. Even though Ahsoka ultimately returns through the portal to Malachor after a run-in with the Emperor instead of joining Ezra and the Ghost crew in 1 BBY (a year before A New Hope), her fate is changed and she survives the encounter with Vader.

After she goes back to Malachor, it’s unclear how long she was stranded on the planet before finally finding her way back to her friends. Thanks to some info on a series of Star Wars trading cards (of all places), we know Ahsoka eventually found a way back into the World Between Worlds and went on a “spiritual journey” that ended with her return to the known galaxy. Which is how she turns up on Lothal in the epilogue of the Rebels series finale dressed in white robes, ready to head off into space with Sabine Wren to find Ezra after he went missing with Thrawn during the animated series’ final battle.

This epilogue takes place around 5 ABY, which is approximately 6-7 years after Ezra saves Ahsoka from Vader on Malachor. That’s a lot of time in Ahsoka’s history that’s unaccounted for. Perhaps we’ll learn more about her travels on Malachor and the World Between Worlds on Ahsoka?

Star Wars: Ahsoka is streaming now on Disney+.