Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr This year marks the 40th anniversary since the release of the original STAR WARS film on May 25th, 1977. This month, writers at ComicsVerse will be bringing you our insights on all things STAR WARS as we look at where the series has been and where it will take us next in the galaxy far, far away… Welcome to the STAR WARS Character Spotlight. To the Star Wars fans who only know the movies: you’re missing out. There are hundreds of characters, planets, and stories just waiting for you in a galaxy far, far away that you have yet to discover. From books and comics to TV shows and video games, there’s a ton of canon material ripe for the picking. These include some characters who are so important that if they hadn’t existed, STAR WARS as we know it may not have happened. This week we’re taking a look at Ahsoka Tano — a spunky Togruta female who went from Anakin Skywalker’s reckless padawan to the leader of the Rebellion spy network — and her significant role from the Clone Wars to the beginnings of the Galactic Civil War. STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS You might be asking yourself, “Anakin had a padawan? That was never mentioned in the movies! When did he have time for that and why would she not be there in EPISODE III?” Well, these are completely valid questions. Ahsoka was first conceptualized by a team led by George Lucas and Dave Filoni for the 2008 STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS cartoon series and movie. Initially, Lucas had wanted to create a bridge between the reckless Anakin we see in ATTACK OF THE CLONES to the more reserved, but more maverick Jedi we see in REVENGE OF THE SITH, as well as create a heroine for female fans of the series to look up to and identify with. READ: OBI-WAN & ANAKIN: Star Wars Heroes Coming to a Comic Store Near You! Ahsoka’s journey in THE CLONE WARS begins with the 2008 animated movie of the same name when Yoda assigns Anakin a new padawan to reel the Jedi in and help him to mature. At first, the two are at odds, mainly because Anakin did not want a padawan at all, and secondly because they are both headstrong and constantly butt heads. Anakin immediately starts off by giving her the nickname Snips. Why? She was snippy to him. Ahsoka retorts by calling him SkyGuy. And from then on out, the two become partners (though both fall under the command of Obi-Wan anyway). Courtesy of LucasFilm Animation Through Thick and Thin Anakin and Ahsoka became nearly inseparable during the Clone Wars, fighting as many battles together as they could. With their lethal legion of Clonetroopers, the 501st, the duo was highly respected in the Clone Army, the Republic, and to some extent, with a little resentment — The Separatists. There are many times we see their kinship, with Anakin usually giving Ahsoka advice on how to approach certain situations, or telling her that what she planned to do is what he would probably do, and that meant she probably shouldn’t do it. Their typical missions went by with them feeding into each other, having Ahsoka’s recklessness bring out Anakin’s recklessness and vice versa. As Anakin would question the council, Ahsoka would encourage him to keep challenging it. When Anakin blindly followed it, Ahsoka would tell him it’s not like him, that he should be challenging what they’re saying. Ahsoka found the humanity and reasoning in Anakin, seeing the same flaws in the Order that he did. A Prospering Jedi Ahsoka always placed the needs of others above her own, and never gave up on anyone. Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation When they crash-landed on a mostly uninhabited planet, and Anakin was knocked out unconscious, Ahsoka didn’t give up until she knew she could find help. After she did and only got resistance, she pushed through to make sure her master could be saved. When the Separatists came to attack the small village, the villagers did not want their help as they were pacifists. Ahsoka, and Anakin, both knowing what was right, decided to help anyway, eventually saving the townspeople and successfully turning away a Separatist occupation. Later on, Ahsoka was kidnapped by Trandoshan hunters and found herself as the prey in a planetary wide hunting game. She found other lost padawans who had virtually given up and gave them the moral support they needed to begin fighting back. When they had no hope, Ahsoka gave it to them, reassuring them that Anakin would find and save them, no matter how much they didn’t believe it. When they found more prisoners, they tried their best to save them, recruiting an enslaved Chewbacca to their cause. Eventually, Ahsoka and Chewbacca were able to summon the help of the Wookiees and Anakin to come to their rescue. In her efforts in destroying an illegal hunting organization and freeing hundreds of prisoners, Anakin gained a newfound respect for Snips and was reassured he was training her right. These are only a few times in the CLONE WARS that Ahsoka showed signs of hopefulness, ambition, and selflessness, caring more for those around her over herself. She just wanted to make the galaxy a better place, even at her own risk. A Jedi Falls When a terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple killed civilians, Clonetroopers, and Jedi, Ahsoka became implicated as it was a plot against her orchestrated by fellow Jedi and close friend Barriss Offee. When the council did not believe her innocence, Anakin did whatever he could to prove it. This was when Anakin’s attachment to Ahsoka shined, as he began embracing the darkness inside of him to find the answers he needed — a little foreshadowing to his fall in REVENGE OF THE SITH. Anakin would even go so far to interrogate people using dark side tactics like force choking just to ensure she was safe. Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation When finally proven innocent, Ahsoka decides not to return to the Jedi Order, something which destroyed Anakin — feeling that he had failed himself, the Order, and his padawan. This failure to successfully raise a padawan led to Anakin losing respect amongst the Jedi and the Council, ultimately part of their decision to not make him a Jedi Master. Perhaps, watching his padawan leave gave him further motivation to leave the Order himself. Watching her do it so easily, having so many of the same issues with the Order, could have inspired Anakin to do the same later on. Ahsoka? I Barely Know Her! For the first five seasons, fans of THE CLONE WARS were plagued, trying to figure out just what happened to Ahsoka. Why hadn’t she been mentioned in EPISODE III? She had to die before the movie, right? Regardless, would she not be worth at least a small mention from Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, or even Palpatine? Well, these are completely valid questions, reader! As it turns out, it’s quite simple — she’s not mentioned because of her leaving the Order and becoming a piece of Anakin’s life too difficult to talk about. Execute… Order… 66 One year after the execution of Order 66, we find ourselves in AHSOKA, a novel written by E. K. Johnston adapting pieces of unused STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS material to help bridge the gap between THE CLONE WARS and REBELS. This book helps to clue us in on some vital details such as what she did after leaving the Jedi Temple. Throughout the novel, we learn bits and pieces of what Ahsoka did leading up to and after Order 66, mainly living in the slums of Coruscant until she was called to action by Obi-Wan and Anakin to return to the battlefield and help them take down Darth Maul and his corrupt government on Mandalore. For those who stick with just the movies — yes, Darth Maul lived after THE PHANTOM MENACE, but that’s a whole other story. We find that during the Siege of Mandalore, Obi-Wan and Anakin are called back to Coruscant to rescue the Chancellor. For the duration of REVENGE OF THE SITH, Ahsoka and the remaining half of the 501st Legion begin to take back Mandalore from Maul and have him ready for arrest right as Palpatine calls for Order 66. Ahsoka and Clone Commander Rex, who had removed his control chip, escape, faking their own deaths to prevent the newly formed Galactic Empire from tracking them down. Rebellions Are Built On Hope After Order 66, Ahsoka found herself laying low, mourning the supposed deaths of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and the other Jedi. She tried not to cause too much noise and worked petty jobs on the slum planet Thabeska to get by. On the one year anniversary of the Empire, a galaxy-wide celebration takes place, putting Stormtroopers on her new planet. From there, she escapes, only to find herself setting up a new life on Raada, a farming planet, and becoming way too involved with the locals. When the Empire threatens her new life there, she tries her best to help the people without giving herself away as a Jedi but eventually needs to abandon them as she feels she’s placing them in more danger just being there. Courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm Press She returns to Thabeska and begins to do smuggle runs for her old employer, but after one year of not being a hero, Ahsoka finds herself unable to stop helping people. That’s what’s great about her character; she always puts others before her, something which hadn’t changed since her service in the Clone Wars. Risking her job and anonymity, Ahsoka would help people escape pirates, take back stolen goods, assist people in getting to their destinations, and dozens of other sporadic acts. This didn’t go unnoticed, popping up on the radar of one Bail Organa. READ: STAR WARS #7: A Bridge Between Trilogies A New Alliance At this point in the Rebellion, there wasn’t much to rave about, essentially comprising just a select crew from Organa’s Tantive ships and a few ragtag attack ships. But Organa was hopeful. He never gave up, and finding out there was one more Jedi that survived ignited more hope. Ahsoka, to him, represented a new hope, someone who could bring peace to the galaxy. He couldn’t bear to tell her what truly happened to her master, how the dark side consumed him, and he couldn’t risk telling her the truth about Obi-Wan and Yoda. With Bail Organa’s support, Ahsoka was able to return to Raada and help her friends, freeing them from Imperial occupation. After defeating an Imperial Inquisitor there, she recovered his kyber crystals and formed her own pair of lightsabers — both glowing a bright white. This signifies Ahsoka’s transition from Jedi to something more, transcending that of the Order. The white lights are more neutral than the blues and green of the Jedi and the reds of the Sith. She decides to continue her heroics, officially joining Bail Organa’s blossoming Rebellion. The two arrange that Ahsoka will begin to recruit Rebels and build from the ground up a Rebellion spy network. It’s from here that decides she will go by Fulcrum, guiding different groups in the Rebellion with information and recon. This leads us to the latest cartoon in the series, STAR WARS: REBELS. STAR WARS: REBELS Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation In the first season of REBELS, we follow the crew of the Ghost as they venture throughout the galaxy assisting the Rebellion based on recon from Fulcrum. By the end of the season, Fulcrum’s identity is finally revealed as Ahsoka Tano, and we see as she helps to train Kanan and Ezra in the ways of the Force. READ: STAR WARS: KANAN #6: Old Ghosts and New Friends The single most important moment for Ahsoka though is her finally meeting and realizing the fate of her old master, Anakin Skywalker. At the end of one episode, as the crew and Ahsoka are on the run from Darth Vader’s ship, Ahsoka senses her master’s presence, unsure of what it meant. Several episodes later, the two finally came face to face and fought as she bought time for Ezra and Kanan. We Meet Again This battle is pivotal in showing a concrete transition from the Anakin of the prequels to the Anakin, Darth Vader, of the original trilogy. Before they fight, Vader offers his former padawan mercy, hoping she will join him as he assures her the Emperor would take her in as he was. In this lead-up, there are a lot of parallels to dialogue from the original trilogy, with Ahsoka first telling him she believed Vader could be Anakin, but the found it “impossible,” echoing the same thoughts Luke would have several years later. Vader even remarks that “Anakin Skywalker was weak,” and that he destroyed him, much like Obi-Wan and Vader would eventually tell Luke. Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation Fueled with anger and heartbreak, Ahsoka vows to avenge her master, with Vader giving one last piece of advice to his padawan, “revenge is not the Jedi way.” Ahsoka assures the Dark Lord that “I’m no Jedi,” signaling her growth from the simple padawan and member of the Jedi Order. These remarks were emotional as both participants battled with their pasts, seeing how each other have grown. Both had left the Jedi Order but descended into deeply different paths. Ahsoka had chosen to become neutral, a force for good, while Anakin had abandoned all the good he had in him, devolving to a Dark Lord of the Sith. “I won’t leave you… This time.” Finally gaining the upper hand, Ahsoka manages to damage Vader’s faceplate, revealing the scarred, Sith-yellow eye of Anakin Skywalker. For the first time in well over a decade, Anakin breaks through the Vader persona, gently calling out. As the temple around them crumbles and her suspicions confirmed, she vows not to leave him. She will not abandon him again, hoping to bring her former master back to the light. Just like all those times in the Clone Wars, Ahsoka didn’t give up. She had hope. She had finally found her master. And she would not let Anakin die a second time.Courtesy of Lucasfilm Animation With a moment of hesitation and contemplation, Anakin resolves back to the dark side. He goes back to Darth Vader, keeping her there to die with him. He would have rather he died, and she escaped, but he knew Snips would never let that happen. Even when total adversaries, the two still cared for each other, still wanted what was best for the other. The Apprentice is Now the Master This final meeting between Ahsoka and Vader (as far as we know so far) cements the relationship between the two. In the end, we see how Vader finally cuts his last tether to his old life before the beginning of A NEW HOPE. We see an actual piece of Anakin for the first time in however long, through the comics, ROGUE ONE, and novels. This is all before he begins to open up with Luke later on in the original trilogy. And that to me, makes Ahsoka one of the most important characters in the STAR WARS galaxy.