Since her first appearance in 2008, Ahsoka Tano has grown on Star Wars fans around the world. Now, thanks to author E. K. Johnston, she’s doing so in a new form. Released this past Tuesday, Star Wars: Ahsoka is a young adult novel that serves as the bridge between Ahsoka’s pivotal roles in the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
Previously, only a few characters from Star Wars television have entered into other mediums. Cham Syndulla received a supporting role in the novel Lords of the Sith, and Saw Gerrera joined the cast of the upcoming film Rogue One. By bringing Ahsoka to written literature, Johnston ensures that Ahsoka is the first TV character to become the protagonist of a novel. Let’s explore the main revelations from Star Wars: Ahsoka.
(If you haven’t read the novel yet, then you should bookmark this article for when you’re done!)
The Clone Wars: Gone, But Never Forgotten
Since Ahsoka Tano belongs to Star Wars television, it’s not surprising that Star Wars: Ahsoka draws upon her extensive history from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The novel makes frequent references to the most pivotal moments in her life from The Clone Wars. Chief among those moments is Ahsoka’s memory of her onetime friend, Barriss Offee. Those references serve as a nice touch for loyal fans of the beloved series.
All Star Wars authors have faced the challenge of how much canon material to integrate into their novels. James Luceno‘s Darth Plagueis is probably the most exhaustively researched Star Wars novel of all time. Luceno drew extensively from other Expanded Universe stories to the point that Darth Plagueis felt like a scholarly treatise on Star Wars literature. Ahsoka, on the other hand, integrates enough external material without being too overpowering.
Still, it’s interesting that Ahsoka doesn’t refer to a relevant portion of the character’s life. In an unfinished story arc of The Clone Wars entitled “Ahsoka’s Walkabout,” Ahsoka transitions into a new life after leaving the Jedi Order. She even becomes a vigilante of sorts in the underlevels of Coruscant. Yet, the novel doesn’t refer to that chapter of her life, even though the novel’s primary theme is Ahsoka’s calling to help others. It’s a reminder that there are still some things we don’t know about Ahsoka.
Nevertheless, Ahsoka proves that The Clone Wars still holds a place in the hearts of many fans. We can only hope that the series’ untold stories will continue to find new homes.
The Fable of Shili
While writing Ahsoka, E. K. Johnston received input from Dave Filoni, who worked on both The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Filoni created Ahsoka for The Clone Wars alongside executive producer George Lucas and writer Henry Gilroy. During development on The Clone Wars, Filoni wrote a fable-type story about how Ahsoka joined the Jedi Order. Back in July, Filoni discussed the fable at the “Ahsoka’s Untold Tales” Panel at Celebration Europe. And surprisingly, Johnston weaved that fable into Ahsoka.
Throughout the novel, Ahsoka refers to her early life on her homeworld of Shili. When she was three, her village discovered her Force-sensitivity and contacted the Jedi so they could train her. However, a slaver — whom Filoni named “Latrans” — intercepted her village’s signal and tried to abduct her. That was what brought Jedi Master Plo Koon to Shili, and he brought Ahsoka into the Jedi Order. Filoni’s sketch of Latrans later influenced the design of the Zygerrians for The Clone Wars.
When it comes to Star Wars, nothing is truly forgotten. Filoni has been a huge influence on Ahsoka’s story, and hopefully, he will continue to do so.
Before it prematurely ended, The Clone Wars was unable to tell several key chapters of Ahsoka Tano’s life. One such story was the series’ finale, which tied into Revenge of the Sith. You can read more about the siege of Mandalore on Wookieepedia, but it essentially pitted Ahsoka against Darth Maul. The Rebels season two finale “Twilight of the Apprentice” reflected the fact that Ahsoka first met Maul on Mandalore.
One of the meaningful things about Ahsoka was that it honored Ahsoka’s friendship with Captain Rex. The novel mentions that Ahsoka and Rex chose to part ways as they went into hiding after Order 66. It appears they remained separated for the next 15 years, until their touching reunion in the Rebels episode “Relics of the Old Republic.”
Ahsoka’s story often intertwines with that of Rex, particularly since he was the first clone trooper with whom she really connected. The novel only briefly refers to their decision to part ways, but it’s still a compelling moment. Full disclosure: If I’d actually seen that scene on-screen during The Clone Wars, I’d have probably cried.
A Jedi With Two Fathers
While hiding from the Empire, Ahsoka Tano assumes the pseudonym “Ashla.” Part of her cover story as Ashla is that she was orphaned at a young age, and was thereafter adopted. Remarkably, that isn’t far from the truth, since Ahsoka left her biological parents after the Jedi Order took her in. In the novel, she befriends Kaeden Larte, who, at one point, asks if Ahsoka’s adoptive parents ever bickered. Ahsoka evidently thinks of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, for she smiles and replies, “All the time.”
It’s a very touching moment since Ahsoka admits that Anakin and Obi-Wan essentially became her adoptive parents. Anakin was her master, and Obi-Wan was his master, so both of them influenced her growth as a Padawan and as a person. As a result, Ahsoka might be the first Jedi to (unofficially) have two fathers.
Even though Ahsoka became disillusioned with the Jedi Order and decided to leave, she still valued her close bonds with Anakin and Obi-Wan. Sadly, it also makes Ahsoka’s showdown with Anakin/Darth Vader in “Twilight of the Apprentice” that much more heartbreaking.
Reunion With R2-D2
Since Star Wars Rebels showed Ahsoka Tano’s reunion with Captain Rex, it’s only fair that Star Wars: Ahsoka featured a reunion of its own. In the novel, R2-D2 serves Senator Bail Organa and still hasn’t received a memory wipe. Hence, he remembers Ahsoka very well when Organa sends him to reach out to her, as part of Organa’s ongoing efforts to form a rebellion.
It’s a heartwarming moment when Ahsoka reunites with her former master’s loyal astromech droid. It’s unclear whether Ahsoka continues to work with R2-D2 after she agrees to help Organa build the rebellion. Still, it’s nice to know that Ahsoka didn’t suffer from the same continuity hiccup as Obi-Wan, who didn’t visibly recognize R2-D2 in A New Hope.
The Fate of Ilum
The Clone Wars episode “The Gathering” brought the planet Ilum into Star Wars canon. Ilum was sacred to the Jedi as it was the source of their lightsabers’ kyber crystals. Yet, everything changed when the Empire massacred the Jedi. In the novel, Ahsoka Tano visits Ilum, only to find that the Empire has literally fractured the planet. Imperial forces burrow deep into Ilum’s surface in an attempt to harvest kyber crystals.
Ilum’s terrible fate exemplifies the vacuum that the Empire caused when it eradicated the Jedi Order. Without the Jedi, there is no one left to protect the galaxy from injustice. Ahsoka even notices that Force-sensitive children, such as a young girl named Hedala Fardi, face uncertain futures. The Jedi Order is no longer around to train younglings and protect them from perils like the Empire. It’s a critical issue that Ahsoka periodically ponders, all the way until the Rebels episode “The Future of the Force.”
A New Inquisitor
Star Wars: Ahsoka reveals that only a year into the Empire’s reign, the Inquisitorius has already taken shape. The Sixth Brother enters the novel in its second half and becomes Ahsoka Tano’s main nemesis. Initially, it seems like the Sixth Brother might be the Grand Inquisitor from Rebels before he ascended to that title. However, the Sixth Brother’s species is not identified, and the Grand Inquisitor actually appears at the end of Ahsoka. As a result, the two Inquisitors are separate characters.
Besides the Grand Inquisitor and the Sixth Brother, other Inquisitors include the Fifth Brother and the Eighth Brother, as well as the Seventh Sister. So far, each Inquisitor belongs to a different species, but their mutual devotion to the dark side unites them all. Where did the Inquisitors come from, and what ties do they have to the Jedi Order? All we know is that the Grand Inquisitor was a Jedi Temple Guard during the Clone Wars. It certainly seems like Darth Sidious and Darth Vader held some sort of recruitment drive for dark Jedi.
Ahsoka’s White Lightsabers
Ever since Ahsoka Tano debuted in Rebels, fans have wondered how —and why — she obtained her unique white lightsabers. Star Wars: Ahsoka finally provided an answer, albeit a surprising one. Ahsoka gave up her green lightsabers before she and Rex went into hiding from the Empire, so she now needs new kyber crystals. Yet, after discovering that the Empire is pillaging Ilum, Ahsoka turns to a different source.
While meditating, Ahsoka uses the Force in an odd fashion, as Ezra Bridger did in the Rebels episode “Legacy.” Ahsoka uses the Force to manipulate a holomap, and she feels called to return to the farming moon Raada. There, the Sixth Brother is subjecting Ahsoka’s friends to a brutal Imperial occupation. On Raada, Ahsoka uses the Force to shatter the Sixth Brother’s double-bladed lightsaber, and it explodes. Even though Ahsoka didn’t mean to kill the Sixth Brother, he dies.
Kyber crystals have several uses, but Star Wars: Ahsoka reveals that their colors can actually change. Ahsoka uses the fallen Inquisitor’s two red kyber crystals to forge new lightsabers of her own. When she activates her new lightsabers, the crystals have turned from red to white. It’s a powerful moment, for it speaks to Ahsoka’s inner spirit and the restorative effect that she has on others, as well as her environment.
Ahsoka may be absent from season three of Rebels, but I hope that both she and E. K. Johnston will continue to be part of the Star Wars Saga.