For eight years, Star Wars fans have grown to love Ahsoka Tano. She was first introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie as the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker. While everyone wanted to know what her ultimate fate would be, another question came to mind: could Ahsoka ever fight Darth Vader someday?
We got the answer to that question this week in “Twilight of the Apprentice,” the epic and emotional finale to the second season of Star Wars Rebels. Heeding the advice of Master Yoda, Ezra travels with Kanan and Ahsoka to the forbidden Sith world of Malachor to learn the ancient secrets of the Sith in the hopes of stopping Darth Vader and his Inquisitors. Along the way, Ezra meets Darth Maul, who also wants to destroy the Sith for all they had done to wrong him so many years ago. In the end, Ahsoka comes face to face with Darth Vader and the two engage in the fateful duel we’ve all waited the better part of a decade to see.
With everything that happened to the heroes and villains in this episode, we have a few questions we’re itching to get answers to next season.
What’s next for Darth Maul?
The last time we saw Darth Maul on-screen, he was being tortured by Darth Sidious on Mandalore and told that Sidious still had plans for him. Those plans were revealed in the comic series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, adapted from unfinished episodes from The Clone Wars. To make a long story short, Sidious knew that Maul, after escaping from Sith imprisonment, would seek the guidance of the leader of the Nightsisters: Mother Talzin, who the comic reveals is Darth Maul’s actual mother. As it turns out, Sidious and Talzin were once allies, before Sidious tossed her aside and took her son as his own apprentice. Sidious still considered Talzin a potential threat to his plans for galactic domination, so he used Maul to get to her and ultimately destroy her. The comic ended with Maul in retreat, and that was the last time we saw him.
“Twilight of the Apprentice” is set over fifteen years later, but Maul still holds a grudge against the Sith. After all, he was cast aside after the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and his attempt at building his own base of power was thwarted by Sidious himself. Maul views Darth Vader as the person he should have been, and he wants to destroy the Sith and their Empire out of revenge. After living on Malachor alone for many years, fate delivered him help through Ezra’s arrival. Although Maul pretended to be his friend, he was secretly using Ezra to get into Malachor’s Sith temple and gain its power for himself. Like the Rule of Two itself, two must work together to unlock the secrets of the temple. No more, no less.
Maul revealed his true motives after admitting that the Sith temple was a superweapon capable of destroying life. He even said he wanted to take Ezra as his apprentice. He blinded Kanan, but the Jedi used his other senses to knock the former Sith Lord out of the fight. The last we see of Maul in the finale is him flying away in a stolen TIE fighter, living to fight another day.
But what comes next? It’s hard to even come up with a theory or the beginnings of an idea for this one. Darth Maul is a character who we all assumed was dead in The Phantom Menace, so it was a big surprise when he returned for The Clone Wars. Some fans have speculated that he might be involved in the founding of the Knights of Ren. Whatever the case, there’s a good chance that his days are numbered.
How does Kanan deal with being a blind Jedi?
Kanan never trusted Maul. From the moment he saw the old Sith Lord with Ezra, he knew that Maul was up to no good and could not be trusted. No amount of shared enemies between them could convince him otherwise, but Kanan chose to trust that his apprentice knew what he was doing. Ultimately, Kanan’s fears came true when Maul revealed he was manipulating Ezra and wanted to take him as an apprentice. Maul attacked Kanan and slashed him across the face, blinding the Jedi with his lightsaber.
Of course, one of the first Jedi ideas we ever learned about was from Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope. Obi-Wan told Luke Skywalker that a person’s eyes could deceive them and they should rely on other senses and the Force to help them. Kanan put that lesson to the test. He grabbed a battle mask from the remains of the Great Scourge of Malachor and relied on his senses to fight Maul in a lightsaber duel. Even without the use of his eyes, Kanan was able to throw Maul off the temple and knock him out of the fight.
The idea of a blind Jedi is based on the character of Zatoichi, a blind samurai popularized in Japanese film and television. Zatoichi also inspired the blind Jedi Master Rahm Kota in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. As the show moves forward, Kanan will likely take more inspiration from the character as he learns to be a blind Jedi and deal with his new reality. It will not be easy for him, but Kanan was taught from a young age to master his senses. How he deals with that, though, is something I want to find out and am looking forward to.
Is Ezra going to fall to the dark side?
Ever since the first season, Ezra’s been flirting with the dark side of the Force. He first tapped into its power in “Gathering Forces” during a fight against the Grand Inquisitor, an encounter that left him shaken. This season, he’s skirted ever-closer to that line, dealing with issues of anger and betrayal. It’s no wonder, then, that Darth Maul could exploit that weakness and trick Ezra into activating the superweapon in the Sith temple. At the end of the episode, Ezra opens the Sith holocron that powered the temple – a feat that can only be performed by someone who thinks like a Sith – and his eyes look very angry.
What happens next? It would seem like a waste of potential if Ezra’s flirtation with the dark side was quickly resolved, so I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time with a darker, though not necessarily evil Ezra next season. After all, no one can leave a place like Malachor unchanged. Ezra’s story is just beginning.
Personally, I have a theory (an outlandish and probably not true one) that Ezra founded the Knights of Ren, perhaps with the help of Darth Maul, and that Benicio del Toro is playing an older Ezra in Star Wars: Episode VIII. We know from the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Supreme Leader Snoke intends to complete Kylo Ren’s training, and I think del Toro’s character could be his trainer. To have Kylo learn from Ezra would be a huge way of tying different eras of the Star Wars saga together.
What happened to Ahsoka?
This is going to be the question that has fans buzzing for a long time to come. At the end of the episode, a door literally closes between Ezra and Ahsoka, as Ahsoka is locked in a tense lightsaber duel with her former master. The next thing we see is the Sith temple exploding, and Ezra and Kanan believing that Ahsoka is dead. But is she? One of the final shots of the episode shows what appears to be Ahsoka walking back into the Sith temple. StarWars.com mysteriously described this as an “image of Ahsoka,” and the show’s producers said they were deliberately ambiguous about Ahsoka’s fate. What fans expected to be a decisive answer about whether Ahsoka lives or dies has only led to more questions. And that’s a good thing!
Personally, I hope she’s alive. JP Jupiter, a Fan Contributor here at Fandom, told me last year that he thought it would be cool if Ahsoka trained Luke Skywalker between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I agreed with that idea completely, and I thought a lot about what that could mean for the original trilogy. We know that Luke showed up in Return of the Jedi with an obvious refinement of his Jedi abilities, which allowed him to prevail over Darth Vader, as well as a newfound belief that there was still good in his father. In the context of the films themselves, we don’t actually know how Luke enhanced his abilities after The Empire Strikes Back and why he believes there is good inside of Vader. Perhaps it’s because he learned from Ahsoka, his father’s old apprentice?
In addition to what’s next for Ahsoka, we’ll also be able to take a look back this October in the novel Star Wars: Ahsoka. The story is set between Ahsoka’s departure from the Jedi Order and the events of Star Wars Rebels, and it promises to show how she dealt with the aftermath of Order 66 and how she came to work with Bail Organa and the burgeoning Rebel Alliance. I for one am looking forward to seeing the journey that Ahsoka went on to become one of the leaders of the rebellion.
Who are the owls?
Okay, so technically they’re not owls, but they certainly look like them. In “The Mystery of Chopper Base,” we saw one of these birds, known as convoree, silently watching Ezra at the rebel base on Atollon. We saw another convor at the very end of “Twilight of the Apprentice,” watching Darth Vader as the injured Sith Lord limped across the surface of Malachor. But what they are? They’re clearly in these scenes for a reason, so will season three explore the meaning behind these birds?
In an interview with IGN, Dave Filoni shed a little bit of light on what these convors might represent. He said that they definitely have meaning to the story and are a way of deepening the Star Wars lore, to show that there are bigger things at work. They are also avatars that represent something, but Filoni would not say what. All he would say is “that whatever that thing is an avatar of has actually appeared in the animated Star Wars universe before.”
Naturally, those comments have been the genesis of fan theories. In thinking back to The Clone Wars, the most obvious beings that these convoree could be avatars of are the Force wielders from the Mortis trilogy and spirits like the Force Priestesses in the final arc of the show’s sixth season. One fan even took to Twitter to show the color similarities between the Daughter (one of the Force wielders) and the convor from Atollon.
— Melissa Thomas (@MeltyArtz) April 1, 2016