This Star Wars article contains spoilers.
Just hours after Ahsoka Tano returned to the small screen in the final season of The Clone Wars, Variety confirmed one of the biggest Star Wars rumors circulating the internet. Rosario Dawson will play Ahsoka in the live-action series The Mandalorian, bringing the Jedi out of the realm of animation for the first time.
Ahsoka, Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice who left the Jedi Order just in time to escape the Jedi Purge, was herself a much-discussed addition to the story of the Prequels. Introduced in 2008 as the break-out star of the animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars, fans watched her grow up in The Clone Wars series and later watched her come face to face with her former master in Rebels.
Where Has Ahsoka Been Since Rebels?
Ahsoka’s story stretches through most of the Star Wars saga. She debuted in the Prequel era as a young Jedi padawan and re-emerged as a friend to the Rebel Alliance in the years before A New Hope. In Rebels season 2, she confronted her old mentor and discovered Darth Vader’s true identity was Anakin Skywalker.
In The Clone Wars and the novel Ahsoka, she tries to find her place as an ex-Jedi at a time when most Force users are being hunted down. We don’t get to see her adventures in the years between the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Rebellion, but by her debut on Rebels, she’s become a confident and powerful Jedi Master in every way except in title.
At the end of Rebels, after the Battle of Endor, Ahsoka sets out on a new journey to look for Jedi apprentice Ezra Bridger, who jumped to hyperspace to parts unknown before A New Hope. It’s unclear where Ahsoka was during the Galactic Civil War. Perhaps she’d been looking for Ezra even before joining Sabine’s search for him?
The Mandalorian, which takes place approximately five years after Return of the Jedi, could show Ahsoka at the end of her quest to find Ezra or still searching. Whatever the case, it’s very likely that she’ll take an interest in Baby Yoda and could even help Din Djarin (aka Mando) find the Child’s homeworld.
How Old Is Ahsoka Tano?
The Mandalorian will give us the oldest version of Ahsoka that we’ve seen on screen. Wookieepedia says she was born in 36 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), making her about 45 at the time of The Mandalorian. Dawson herself turns 41 in May.
Ahsoka’s Connection to the Rebellion and Mandalore
Ahsoka was a major operative for the Rebellion in its infancy. In fact, Ahsoka was the first “Fulcrum,” the spy codename Cassian Andor would later use in Rogue One. This means that she could have a connection to at least one of the ex-Rebel characters on The Mandalorian.
The character most closely connected to the Rebellion on The Mandalorian is Cara Dune, who left her years of service as a Rebel shock trooper behind after she became disillusioned with the New Republic, the government formed out of the Rebellion after the Emperor’s defeat. The Star Wars saga has long been a story of connections and coincidences, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Cara and Ahsoka knew each other from their days fighting the Empire.
Ahsoka also has a major connection to the Mandalorians themselves. At the Siege of Mandalore, she helped liberate the planet from Maul and that opened up a power vacuum the Republic filled. But since the Republic became the Empire almost immediately after that, Mandalore was promptly subjugated by a different tyrant. Ahsoka’s victory on Mandalore inadvertently handed Palpatine the planet and the Empire committed a “Great Purge” against the Mandalorians, who were forced to go into hiding across the galaxy after that. The Jedi’s participation in the Siege of Mandalore that led to the deaths of so many could put Mando at odds with Ahsoka.
Mando doesn’t seem to know about, not to mention trust, the Jedi. No Jedi saved his family during the Clone Wars and the Mandalorian Armorer refers to the Jedi as ancient enemies of the Mandalorians. Even though Djarin cares deeply for the Child, he’s still likely to think of adult Jedi as inconvenient at best and actively hostile by default at worst. It might be difficult for Ahsoka to even get a word in around the Mandalorian.
The Jedi and Baby Yoda
Ahsoka would be highly motivated to help the Mandalorian, though. Din Djarin has a bond with a baby of Yoda’s species, a powerful Force user at the tender age of 50.
It’s not necessarily a fact that Ahsoka would want to take the baby under her wing; she’s also disillusioned with the Jedi. But she’s fond of the individuals she knew in the Jedi Order and willing to help Ezra in Rebels. It’s possible she could want to raise Baby Yoda as part of a new generation of Force users, unfettered by the traditions of the Old Republic.
Djarin’s friend Kuill speculates Baby Yoda is a “strand-cast,” a clone modified slightly from the original. In the Sequel Trilogy, we learn Emperor Palpatine used strand-casts to make new bodies for himself after his “death” at the Battle of Endor. Could Ahsoka know something about strand-casts and the Emperor’s plans? The show wouldn’t even necessarily have to explain how she knew about them.
Introducing a powerful Force user would change the tone a lot since The Mandalorian has mostly focused on the common folk of the galaxy. Her appearance would also open up a lot of questions that come from a franchise increasingly crowded with cameos and heroes. Has Ahsoka ever encountered Luke Skywalker personally?
The Clone Wars guru Dave Filoni is a pro at including Ahsoka in Star Wars stories without breaking the timeline. In Rebels, he even used actual time travel to snatch Ahsoka from imminent death. There’s no doubt he and the rest of the Lucasfilm could find a way to give Ahsoka a coherent story in The Mandalorian. The question now is whether they will.
The Mandalorian season 2 premieres in October on Disney+.