When The Clone Wars animated series first arrived, it brought with it a brand new and initially controversial character: Ahsoka Tano – the padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Many fans initially rejected this addition to Star Wars canon, complaining that she messed up the continuity of the prequels, or just outright complaining about her characterization, but that negativity would be short-lived.
Over time, Ahsoka wouldn’t only silence most of those complaints, but her story added shades of nuance to the rest of the prequels – making Anakin’s descent to the dark side more tragic and in the process she became one of the most popular characters in all of Star Wars. As the series continued, the question of “what happens to Ahsoka” only became more pressing the closer it got to the events of Revenge of the Sith. Unfortunately, before that question could be answered, Disney bought Lucasfilm and The Clone Wars was canceled, leaving the fate of Ahsoka and many other planned stories untold.
To the surprise and delight of many fans, Ahsoka popped up again at the end of the first season of Rebels, and played a major part in the second season, including a cliffhanger that may or may not be the final resolution to her character (Ahsoka lives?). But the questions remained: what happened to the former padawan in the years between the rise of the Empire and the events of Rebels? The new book, Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston partially answers that and more. Here are 15 Secrets Revealed in the Ahsoka Novel.
15. Ahsoka vs. Maul at The Battle of Mandalore
Of all the stories that didn’t get told due to the cancellation of The Clone Wars, the Siege of Mandalore seems to be the biggest that was commonly referenced in other material. Maul and his Shadow Collective – a criminal conglomerate including the Mandalorian extremists of Death Watch – had returned to Mandalore and established an occupation. This act finally gets the Republic to take action, sending a group – including Anakin, Obi-Wan, the 501st clone battalion, and Ahsoka Tano (who still hadn’t rejoined the Jedi Order) to rid the planet of Maul’s rule.
Before the siege, however, General Grievous abducts Chancellor Palpatine, forcing Anakin and Obi-Wan to quickly return to Coruscant to mount a rescue operation – which we see in the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. What we don’t see in Revenge of the Sith or in The Clone Wars is Ahsoka leading the clones of the 501st in battle against Maul’s forces. They are even able to lure Maul into a trap, where he crosses blades with Ahsoka, but she ends up choosing to let him escape in order to save the life of Captain Rex.
Ultimately, they were able to liberate Mandalore, but it’s said that “Mandalore burned” anyway in the aftermath of the battle. If Death Watch and Mandalore’s population and infrastructure were decimated, then it makes a lot of sense why the planet and civilization don’t appear to be prominent later in the timeline.
14. She Helped Captain Rex Fake His Death
Captain Rex developed a close relationship with Anakin and Ahsoka over the course of The Clone Wars, but his story isn’t picked back up until he appears in season 2 of Rebels. While Rex isn’t featured directly in Ahsoka, the book does cast some light on the events that transpired to lead to him fleeing the newly found Empire.
As revealed in The Lost Mission (AKA season 6 of The Clone Wars), clone trooper Fives uncovered a conspiracy to have the clones turn on the Jedi, a conspiracy made possible by a chip implanted in the head of every clone. Rex didn’t believe him at the time, but it’s apparent that Rex eventually came to see the truth. He was able to remove his chip before the command to execute Order 66, making him a fugitive after all the clones but him (and Gregor and Wolffe) followed orders like good soldiers.
The book reveals that Ahsoka and Rex put the clone captain’s armor on another of his fallen brothers (who obviously looks exactly like Rex), and buried him so the Empire would think Rex was dead. Believing it was too dangerous to stay together, Rex and Ahsoka parted ways, with the clone heading toward the Outer Rim to start his own life in hiding.
13. Anakin Gave Ahsoka Her Lightsabers Back For The Battle of Mandalore
Ahsoka gave up her title of Padawan and her lightsabers at the end of season 5 of The Clone Wars, but it turns out that Anakin actually returned those lightsabers at the beginning of the Siege of Mandalore. They wouldn’t be hers again for long, though. Like Rex, Ahsoka needed to convince the Empire that she too was dead, so the green and yellow lightsabers were left in the grave marked as Rex’s to suggest that she also fell during the Jedi Purge.
When it comes time for Ahsoka to need lightsabers once again, she briefly considers returning to Mandalore to look for them, but ultimately determines that it’s doubtful they remained where she left them. The reason they were left on Mandalore was to convince anyone looking for her that she was dead, and going back could compromise that effort. Instead of retrieving her old Jedi weapons, she determines new blades will need to be constructed.
12. She Uses a Familiar Alias While in Hiding
If there’s one thing Star Wars is good at – especially recently – it’s the incorporation of unused ideas from old script drafts and concept art. The most recent examples of this are Starkiller Base, named after Luke Starkiller from an early draft of A New Hope; the Bendu, an early name used for the Jedi, now incorporated into the character Bendu in Rebels; and Ashla, a term for light side of the Force, also recycled in Rebels as a part of the Force used by the Lasat.
Of these, Ashla is of special significance because it was originally almost reused as Ahsoka’s name, but George Lucas changed his mind at the last minute. Yet again, the word finds its way back, though, as “Ashla” is the name Ahsoka gives as an alias when she’s undercover.
This may be little more than an easter egg for fans (although there could be a deeper meaning, considering elements of Ahsoka’s character arc), but it’s still really neat to see these ideas coming back and making an appearance in different Star Wars stories.
11. A False Jedi Tried to Abduct Her As a Child
Very little of Ahsoka Tano’s story before becoming Anakin’s Padawan has been told, but we do know she was discovered as a Force-sensitive youngling by Jedi Master Plo Koon, who took her from her home planet of Shili to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant for training. While it’s not covered in exquisite detail, Ahsoka sheds some additional light on Ahsoka’s life before meeting Master Plo.
It turns out that Plo wasn’t the first person to try to take Ahsoka away. Before she was ever identified by the Jedi as Force-sensitive, a man posing as a Jedi came to her village to attempt to abduct her. Force-sensitive younglings frequently experience an intense connection to the Force in very narrow capacities prior to their Jedi training. These abilities can manifest as vivid dreams, detecting danger, or mind reading, and because of this Ahsoka was able to identify the visitor as a fraud, even when her village elders didn’t.
10. Out With the Clones, in With the Stormtroopers
It’s long been known that the Empire phased out the production of clone troops and began conscripting Imperial citizens as stormtroopers in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope – by which time clone troopers were a rarity. Ahsoka establishes a more specific timeline to this transition. Even though it takes place only a year after Order 66 and Revenge of the Sith, most stormtroopers ranks are already comprised of – notably inferior – conscripts.
Ironically, while the clone army was comprised of soldiers that shared the same face, the newly conscripted stormtrooper was more faceless. Clones were born with numbers, but they gave each other names. They custom painted their armor and got unique tattoos and haircuts to establish their individuality. Under the Empire, individuality was discouraged among troops. They all had names, but had to refer to each other as numbers and they weren’t allowed to make and aesthetic changes to their armor, showing a drastic change in the treatment of soldiers in the new Empire.
9. Kashyyyk Was Immediately Oppressed
It’s been known for decades that the Empire occupied the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk and enslaved the natives, but Ahsoka shows that this is yet another initiative the Empire implemented almost immediately. In fact, it’s likely that the Empire never left Kashyyyk after the battle seen in Revenge of the Sith. After fighting off the Separatist forces, the clones must have immediately turned their guns on the Wookiees.
It still has to be established just when Han Solo rescued Chewbacca from the Empire, but this reveal means it could happen any time after the ending of Revenge of the Sith. That also opens up the timeline for the standalone Han Solo movie, meaning it could realistically take place any time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, not just in the later years. Kashyyyk would then stay under Imperial occupation for around 25 years until it’s liberated in the events of Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig.
8. Inquisitors Weren’t Primarily Created to Hunt Jedi
Star Wars Rebels introduced Inquisitors to Star Wars lore, establishing that they were dark side Force users that served as agents of the Empire to track down and eliminate any Jedi that may have survived Order 66. The Grand Inquisitor, the Fifth Brother, the Seventh Sister, and the Eighth Brother are all introduced in this capacity, but Ahsoka brings in a new Inquisitor, the Sixth Brother, showing that their fundamental purpose is something else entirely.
The Inquisitors’ primary function is to hunt down and abduct Force-sensitive younglings to prevent a new Jedi Order from rising up. That’s the very mission the Sixth Brother is on when he catches wind of Ahsoka’s existence. He abandons his task to hunt down the former Padawan, but his inexperience with Jedi shows just how abnormal it was for surviving Jedi to pop up.
It’s not clear if the Emperor is having these younglings killed, or if he has other nefarious purposes. In The Clone Wars, the Emperor was abducting Force-sensitive children to turn into dark side agents – possibly precursors to the Inquisitors – but it’s not clear if that initiative is still in place by the time of Rebels.
7. Bail Organa is the Real MVP
From early on in A New Hope it was clear that Bail Organa was the guy calling the shots – even though he’s never seen on screen. He’s the one that sent Leia with the Death Star plans to summon Obi-Wan, when Obi-Wan gets his summons he goes without a moment’s hesitation, and the Empire considers him enough of a threat that they destroy his entire planet. Oddly enough, very little Star Wars storytelling has ever expanded on Bail’s backstory.
In the pages of Ahsoka, it becomes clear that Bail is pulling all the strings and keeping all the secrets. He’s a senator, but he’s secretly trying to build a rebellion, he’s hiding his attempts to locate Jedi from the other Rebels, and he is even keeping the secrets of the Skywalker family and the fate of Yoda and Obi-Wan from Ahsoka once he finds her.
The most impressive part is that he avoided making contact with Kenobi for 18 years, even though a seasoned Jedi like him could have given the Rebellion a much-needed boost in the dark days before the tide started turning with the destruction of the first Death Star. He may not have lived to see it, but his patience and secrecy eventually saved the galaxy.
6. Ahsoka Almost Ended Up at Maz Kanata’s Palace
Ever since the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans have been trying to draw threads between the new events and characters of the film through to earlier stories in the timeline, and one of those characters almost showed up in Ahsoka a big way. As she was seeking a system to hide out in, Ahsoka briefly considered going to Takodana, the home of Maz Kanata – the 1,000-year-old pirate queen.
Ultimately, Ahsoka wasn’t familiar enough with Takodana and sought out a different system, leading her down a different path, but many Star Wars fans can only dream of how the young former padawan of Anakin Skywalker and the ancient, goggled cantina owner could have changed the course of the galaxy had their paths crossed. If an alternate timeline comic book miniseries called “The Adventures of Maz and Ahsoka” were to hit shelves tomorrow, comic shops would be hard pressed to keep it in stock. With nearly a decade and a half of storytelling remaining between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, who knows. They still might cross paths.
5. The Planet Ilum Was Strip Mined by the Empire
The Clone Wars went in-depth into the process a Jedi goes through to build a lightsaber, starting with The Gathering on Ilum, an ancient ceremony where Jedi younglings go into the ice caves on Ilum to collect the kyber crystal for their first lightsaber. The crystals resonate with the Force and only reveal themselves to chosen Force users.
Ahsoka went to Ilum once for each of the crystals in her two lightsabers, and intends to return to the sacred Jedi planet to get the crystals for her replacement blades, only to find that the Empire has also taken an interest in Ilum. Imperial Star Destroyers patrol the system as mining equipment ravages the planet, changing its landscape from one of pure ice and snow to rock and lava. The Death Star functioned off a kyber crystal, it’s highly possible the Empire was also using them for other things as well and their quest to harvest the mystical crystals had brought Ilum to ruin.
4. Red Lightsabers Have “Bleeding” Kyber Crystals
Star Wars has always made the affiliations of its Force users very clear: the dark side has red sabers and the light side has all the others. This is useful from a visual perspective, it helps the audience know who’s who, but is there a functional reason? Why doesn’t a Sith ever choose to use a blue or green lightsaber? Ahsoka provides a very clear answer to this question: because they can’t.
Kyber crystals choose Force users and present themselves to their desired owner, but dark siders don’t experience this same connection to the cystals. The only way the Sith and other dark side Force users can collect kyber crystals is by stealing them or plundering them off the bodies of their fallen foes. Even if a dark sider were to acquire a kyber crystal from a green or blue saber, the act of bending the crystal to their will in a new lightsaber will cause the crystal to “bleed,” turning it red.
3. A Glimpse Into Obi-Wan’s Exile
With persistent rumors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off movie starring Ewan McGregor, there have been a lot of questions about just what the plot of a Kenobi focused movie would be. He was on Tatooine for 18 years, is there really an opportunity for more story there? Some of his time on the desert planet has been chronicled in the main Star Wars comic series, but Ahsoka gives an additional peak into the early days of his exile.
At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda tells Obi-Wan that he’s learned the means to communicate with Qui-Gon Jinn from beyond the grave, and passes this knowledge on to Obi-Wan – telling him to use his isolation to master this connection. A brief excerpt in the book shows Obi-Wan briefly making contact with his former master through the Force and paints a sad picture of the exiled Jedi visiting the grave of Shmi Skywalker to apologize for his failure to save her son from the dark side.
2. Ahsoka’s New Lightsabers Are Special
After Ahsoka discovers that Ilum is under Imperial guard and all but destroyed, she needs to find a new way to acquire the kyber crystals for her new lightsabers. She sets out to find an alternative source and is led to the Sixth Brother. During their duel, she rips the two crystals from his double bladed saber, causing the weapon to explode and kill the Inquisitor.
Once she acquires the new crystals, the red color leaves them and they become white. Since this is the first example of red crystals getting purified, it’s not clear if the purification would result in the same white blades if she was still a member of the Jedi order (vs becoming green or blue), or if the white blades are indicative of her non-affiliation. It isn’t even clear if this has happened before in the history of the Star Wars universe, but with more stories focusing on the nuances of non-Jedi/Sith Force users, it possible this type of scenario will be expounded on in future storytelling.
1. The Force Has Gone Silent in the Wake of the Jedi Purge
As soon as the title for Episode VII was announced as The Force Awakens, many fans started to joke: “what, was the Force asleep?” Well, maybe. Ahsoka casts a little more light on the state of the Force following the end of Revenge of the Sith with the Jedi purge in Order 66. While Ahsoka used to be able to meditate and feel the presence of other Jedi throughout the galaxy, after Order 66 she felt nothing during her meditation.
This change makes sense, considering almost all the Jedi are dead, but she’s unable to feel the presence of even those she was the most familiar with – Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin. The fire of the Jedi has clearly gone out of the universe, but this passage suggests that the balance of the Force has been fundamentally altered to the point that it affects Ahsoka’s ability to make a connection.
Some of this can also be attributed to the fact that Palpatine is no longer suppressing his presence to keep his existence as a Sith Lord a secret, so his power could also be providing a suppressive effect on the Force. Regardless of the exact reason for her experiencing this dampening effect, the contrast between the Force powers exhibited in the prequels compared to the original trilogy and The Force Awakens definitely gives more meaning to the “awakening” Supreme Leader Snoke mentions to Kylo Ren – and that might be exactly what Ahsoka is getting at with this pasage.
Did you read Ahsoka? What did you think? What was your favorite reveal? Let us hear about it in the comments!