Star Wars: The Clone Wars Finale Ending Explained
The Clone Wars finale, "Victory and Death," raises some questions that may not be answered by the end of the episode. We're here to help!
This Star Wars: The Clone Wars article contains spoilers.
The Clone Wars are over. For fans of the animated series, it’s been 12 years since Ahsoka Tano first walked onto the screen and into a long war that would engulf most of the galaxy. That’s 12 years to bond with Jedi who will inevitably lose everything they hold dear, but also more than a decade of some of the best action scenes the Star Wars franchise has ever produced.
For the galaxy far, far away, The Clone Wars finale — which covers the events of Order 66 from a different perspective than Revenge of the Sith — means the Empire is here. The Jedi Order and the remaining Separatists have been destroyed. Anakin Skywalker has turned to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. Senators who would protest Emperor Palpatine‘s rule, like Padme Amidala or Bail Organa, are either dead or forced to fall in line…for now. By the end of the series, the Emperor rules without any opposition.
Unsurprisingly, the final episode of The Clone Wars season 7 is heavy on dramatic imagery, especially in the last scene of the series: Darth Vader and the Empire arrive to inspect the crash site of the Republic cruiser, only to find Ahsoka’s lightsaber waiting in the snow. Vader takes his former apprentice’s weapon and leaves without saying a word, his reflection bouncing off the visor of a clone trooper helmet.
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While Ahsoka and Darth Vader don’t meet in The Clone Wars finale, their reunion will eventually come. Here’s what you need to know about that and much more:
What happened to Ahsoka?
There are two major sources for post-Clone Wars Ahsoka stories: the YA novel Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston and seasons 2-4 of Star Wars Rebels. In Johnston’s novel, Ahsoka is hiding out, without her lightsaber and with no one to turn to for help. This is one of the few Ahsoka stories not originally intended for the TV show or directly overseen by animation executive producer Dave Filoni.
Ahsoka fights against the Empire and meets Bail Organa, Leia’s adopted father. Through this connection, she learns about the growing Rebellion. Ahsoka joins the resistance group and becomes one of its main operatives. But more on this in a minute.
Despite a few close calls in Rebels, Ahsoka survives the Jedi Purge and the Galactic Civil War. As far as we know, she’s still out there after the events of Return of the Jedi. She’s set to appear in The Mandalorian season 2, which means that she’s still adventuring five years after the Battle of Endor and will likely cross paths with the show’s titular bounty hunter and Baby Yoda.
What happened to Rex?
Now that Rex’s control chip has been removed, he’s no longer susceptible to Order 66’s compulsion to kill Jedi. Seeing Rex and Ahsoka together at the end of The Clone Wars might come as a surprise since it seemed like they hadn’t seen each other in years when they reunited in Rebels. But they were still in touch and remained allies.
Like being a Jedi, being a rogue clone puts Rex in danger. He ends up hiding out with two other clones, Wolffe and Gregor, on a remote desert planet called Seelos until the Rebellion recruits them for the fight against the Empire. After serving alongside Ahsoka again in Rebels, Rex stayed with the freedom fighters at least until the Battle of Endor, serving with the strike team led by Han Solo in Return of the Jedi.
What happened to Maul?
The Sith lord-turned-crime lord scuttled away at the end of The Clone Wars in a stolen shuttle. The next time you’ll see him on screen is in Solo: A Star Wars Story, where he appears as the leader of the Crimson Dawn criminal organization. Although Maul couldn’t keep his foothold on Mandalore, he had already spent years intimidating other crime lords and pulling together a loose syndicate of organized criminals, including the powerful Hutt clans. Apparently, these connections proved useful. By the time of Solo, about 10 years before A New Hope, Crimson Dawn was powerful and prosperous.
But Maul’s victory wouldn’t last. Right before Star Wars Rebels season 2, he visits a Sith temple on the wasteland planet Malachor in search of a holocron he believes will show him how to destroy the Sith but instead ends up getting stuck inside until the rebels arrive on a separate mission. After clashing with the heroes of Rebels in a variety of ways throughout seasons 3 and 4, Maul finds his oldest and most bitterly hated enemy, Obi-Wan Kenobi, on Tatooine. Obi-Wan kills Maul for the last time, finally finishing what he started in The Phantom Menace.
What does the Darth Vader scene mean?
Vader appearing on screen in The Clone Wars is a big first. This is a different character model than the one used in Rebels, and he fits perfectly into the stark shots of the snow-covered ship.
Most importantly, Anakin discovering Ahsoka’s lightsaber is a major emotional moment for him. He gave those lightsabers back to her right before the Siege of Mandalore as a symbol of how the Jedi Order might accept her back, as well as of his own fondness for her. Now he’s no longer a Jedi either, hardly even the same person as when he last saw Ahsoka.
It’s unclear what he’s thinking, but these thoughts are probably lurking somewhere under his armored helmet. He might think finding the lightsaber means Ahsoka is dead, which will later be a major plot point in Rebels…
Do Ahsoka and Vader meet again?
The answer to this question can be found in the season 2 finale of Rebels, “Twilight of the Apprentice.” In the episode, Vader and Ahsoka clash inside the Sith temple on Malachor while the rebels are on a mission to learn more about the Sith. The former master and apprentice discover each other’s identities (Ahsoka operates as a spy named “Fulcrum” throughout the series) and that they both survived Order 66 and the rise of the Empire.
During their reunion, Vader says “it was foretold” they would meet again. Ahsoka suspects he’s Anakin Skywalker, but, like in The Clone Wars, she holds out hope that Anakin could not fall as far as Vader did. Only when she sees his face does she really believe it’s him.
Their duel ends on a bit of a cliffhanger at first, as Ahsoka stays on Malachor with Vader while the rest of the heroes escape. Their final scene shows Vader limping out of the temple, while Ahsoka walks deeper into it. We learn in the season 4 episode, “A World Between Worlds,” that Rebels hero Ezra Bridger used a portal to save Ahsoka’s life, but after a struggle with the Emperor himself inside “the world between worlds,” Ahsoka ends up back on Malachor until the end of the Galactic Civil War.
Is that Morai flying over Vader?
The bird circling over Vader in the final scene is a creature who is said to watch over Ahsoka throughout her life. Her name is Morai, a convor who connects back to The Clone Wars‘ Mortis arc. “She’s an old friend,” Ahsoka later says of Morai in Rebels. “I owe her my life.” Perhaps they met on the moon where the ship crashed?
She appears to act as a kind of familiar to Ahsoka. Convorees can be found throughout the galaxy as pets, but this one and Ahsoka share a special bond. It’s believed Morai is an avatar of the Daughter, a powerful Force being who Ahsoka melded with in season 3.
Whenever Morai appears, there’s a mystical feel to the scene. Showrunner Dave Filoni clearly knows more about Morai than he lets on since he told IGN in an interview in 2016, “In some ways, I could say that it’s a messenger, it’s an observer. It is definitely something. And… I would rather have fans debate—but I would suggest… that whatever that thing is an avatar of has actually appeared in the animated Star Wars universe before.”