TV Discussion

What To Watch Before Ahsoka

The upcoming Ahsoka series is a show that’s been a long time coming for some fans, with many seeing it not only as the next chapter in the story of Jedi Ahsoka Tano, but also a new live-action season of Star Wars Rebels. For those who’ve indulged in everything that the franchise has to offer, you’ll be in good stead to jump into this new show, but casual fans might need something of a catch-up first. Whilst the absolute best thing to do would be to watch the entirety of both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels (some of the best things Star Wars has ever made), we know that’s simply not possible for everyone. So, we thought we’d put together a key info list of the stories and episodes from those shows which should get you up to speed on Ahsoka‘s cast.

© 2012 Lucasfilm.

The Gathering, A Test of Strength, Bound For Rescue & A Necessary Bond (The Clone Wars S5E06-09)

There were a number of times before this that showed Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) proving herself to be a competent and capable hero, but she was often playing second fiddle to characters such as Anakin (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor). Here, Ahsoka got to take centre stage as the most mature and experienced Jedi accompanying a group of younglings to the planet of Ilum, where they try to find the Kyber crystal that they need to make lightsabers. These episodes see Ahsoka and the children getting into danger and having to work together to survive, with Ahsoka leading the way.

Not only do these episodes go into the lore around how Jedi make their sabers and how the force works, but it also introduces the character of Professor Huyang (David Tennant), an ancient droid who has helped Jedi create their sabers for generations. Huyang has been shown in a few of the trailers for Ahsoka, so these episodes are a great introduction to his character.

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© 2011 Lucasfilm.

Overlords, Altar of Mortis & Ghosts of Mortis (The Clone Wars S3E15-17)

Star Wars deals in magic and mysticism a lot. The Force is a mystical thing, and the Jedi are a religious order; as such, whenever the shows explored the Force across the galaxy, it would often be unexplained by science and more fantastical. The Mortis trilogy is a prime example of that, and an important piece of Star Wars lore. The episodes see Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka being drawn to a spot in space by the The Force, entering a mysterious plane called Mortis where they meet the living embodiments of the Force: The Son, The Daughter, and The Father, who embody the Dark Side, Light Side, and balance respectively.

Whilst Ahsoka is somewhat secondary here, she does play a very important role in the episode regarding Anakin Skywalker and his fate of becoming Darth Vader. With the next animated show, Star Wars Rebels, further adding more mystical elements to the Star Wars galaxy, it feels like the Mortis arc is going to have a lasting effect on Ahsoka’s story. It’s also worth noting that the owl-like bird which appears around Ahsoka a lot, named Morai, is connected to The Daughter, and shows that Ahsoka has a strong connecting to the Light Side of The Force, as well as the beings who shape it.

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© 2013 Lucasfilm.

Sabotage, The Jedi Who Knew Too Much, To Catch A Jedi & The Wrong Jedi (The Clone Wars S5E17-20)

The final arc of the fifth season of Clone Wars put Ahsoka squarely at the heart of things, testing her in ways she’d never been before. When a bombing happens at the Jedi Temple, an investigation is launched, one where all of the evidence points to the culprit being Ahsoka Tano. Knowing that she didn’t do it, but having little proof in being acquitted, Ahsoka goes on the run across Coruscant, before being captured and put on trial. Thrown out of the Jedi Order, it’s only the intervention of Anakin, who goes against the Council’s wishes, that she’s proven not-guilty, and avoids the death sentence.

This is the story that sees Ahsoka leave the Jedi Order, refusing to go back after her trial. Having felt betrayed by the only people and home she’s ever known, Ahsoka quite literally walks off into the sunset to find her place in the galaxy. With Ahsoka not appearing in Revenge of the Sith, this was the episode which filled in that gap and it very quickly became a firm favourite with fans.

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Old Friends Not Forgotten, The Phantom Apprentice, Shattered & Victory and Death (The Clone Wars S7E09-12)

The end of The Clone Wars conflict. After leaving the Jedi, Ahsoka joins up with Mandalorian warrior Bo Katan (Katee Sackhoff) to try and free Mandalore from the rule of former Sith assassin Maul (Sam Witwer). Having convinced the Republic to help, Ahsoka is briefly reunited with her former master, who gives her new lightsabers and leaves part of the 501st Legion with her to help in the battle. Whilst Ahsoka leads the Republic forces to victory and captures Maul, new orders come in on their journey home, Order 66.

Originally announced as the end point of the series, this story was initially shelved when The Clone Wars was cancelled, and it only was years later when the show was resurrected for a final season that we finally got it. Here, Ahsoka is the star, alongside Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) as they fight to free Mandalore then to survive Order 66. This is the story that sets Ahsoka on her new path under the rise of the Empire, and helps to forge the person she’s going to be going forward.

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The Ahsoka Novel / Resolve (Tales of the Jedi S1E06)

The Ahsoka novel and the final episode of the first season of Tales of the Jedi tell very similar stories, one that kind of conflict at times. Which of the two are actually canon is kind of up in the air, especially with Disney having said that all of the new books and comics are as much canon as the films and shows. Either way, both tell the story of Ahsoka following the events of Order 66 and see her living on a quiet farming world where she works as a farm hand. When she uses the Force to help save someone, it results in an Inquisitor being sent to hunt her down.

Both stories show Ahsoka defeating the Inquisitor, but the book expands upon this in a very important way: showing her take the crystals from his lightsaber and purifying them of the Dark Side, removing the bleeding done to turn the crystals red. Using them to construct her own sabers, this is where Ahsoka gets her white-bladed lightsabers that she will use going forward.

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Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Disney XD – © 2015 Lucasfilm.

Blood Sisters (Star Wars Rebels S2E8)

This season two episode of Star Wars Rebels offers some insight into the history of Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), one of the major players in Ahsoka. In “Blood Sisters,” we meet a bounty hunter who Sabine used to work with. Not only that, but audiences discover that Sabine used to be part of the Imperial Accademy and get details about her escape. Whilst these topics will be gone into in more depth later, this is the real beginning to the fleshing out for Sabine, her connections to the Empire, and what that means for her as a Mandalorian.

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© 2016 Disney XD and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Twilight of the Apprentice (Star Wars Rebels S2E21-22)

The episodes that much of season two were building towards. Ahsoka joins Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) as they travel to a world where an ancient battle took place between the Jedi and the Sith. Whilst there, they encounter a number of Inquisitors and even ally themselves with Maul, who has been trying to get the holocron hidden on the planet. This is the story where Ahsoka finally comes face to face with Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and learns that he was once Anakin Skywalker.

The emotional battle at the end of this story is the main draw for Ahsoka fans, and leads to a brilliant moment, one that sees her refusing to leave her former master. The two of them duel as the facility is destroyed around them, and fans are teased with a small glimpse of her apparently surviving – though had to wait a few years to have this confirmed.

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The Antilles Extraction (Star Wars Rebels S3E4)

This episode of Rebels sees Sabine going undercover at the Imperial Academy in order to find and extract a pair of young Imperials who want to defect to the Rebel Alliance. As a byproduct, this is our first showcase of what Sabine was like as an Imperial, seeing her listening to the rules, wearing a uniform, and with dull black hair. What makes Sabine who she is gets stripped away under the Empire. It also showcases her bravery and willingness to put herself in danger to do the right thing, two qualities that become important parts of her personality. For wider franchise fans, the origin of one of the notable Rebel Alliance members from the Original Trilogy is additionally depicted.

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Hera’s Heroes (Star Wars Rebels S3E5)

Another important character that will be playing a large part in the Ahsoka show is Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), who leads the Ghost crew in Star Wars Rebels. This semi-titular episode sees her returning to her home world, exploring her past and her reasons for having grown up to be a freedom fighter. It’s a brilliant look at her personality, showcasing why she’s one of the best leaders in the Rebellion. Conversely, it also works as a showcase for another major player in the new show, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), whose methodical approach, study of art and cultures, and cold detached attitude make him a deadly opponent.

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Trials of the Darksaber & Legacy of Mandalore (Star Wars Rebels S3E15-16)

In this two-parter, the focus lands on Sabine who has found herself in possession of the legendary Darksaber. Knowing that it is a symbol for her people, one which can help to bring them into the fight against the Empire, she goes into training with Kanan in how to use the weapon, before travelling home to face her family who have begun to serve the Empire. The first part contains a lot of important information, both in how a person uses a lightsaber but also the pain and trauma that Sabine has been carrying with her over the years, whilst the second explores all of the relationships she has with her different family members and has Sabine questioning her place in both the fight against the Empire and the larger universe. With Sabine having been shown using Ezra’s saber in the Ahsoka trailers, the lessons she learns in these episodes play a key part in her progress.

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Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney XD – © 2018 Lucasfilm.

A World Between Worlds (Star Wars Rebels S4E13)

There are a lot of ancient cultures and mysteries in the Star Wars universe, and the World Between Worlds is a major one. A nexus of time which exists outside of regular space, this place allows those within it to observe various times and places, even the ability to affect them. Having been discovered by Ezra, he uses the World Between Worlds to take Ahsoka out of time, saving her from the events of ‘Twilight of the Apprentice.’ The entrance to this space is destroyed in that same episode but, with multiple doorways on the other side, it’s likely that there are places where it could still be accessed.

Eagle-eyed fans have been poring over every frame of the show released so far and have found a number of things that could hint to a connection with the World Between Worlds. Whilst this could merely be over-excited fan speculation, it is possible that this more unusual part of the Star Wars galaxy may be revisited and, much like Mortis, play a large, if unexpected, role in things to come.

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Family Reunion – and Farewell (Star Wars Rebels S4E15-16)

The final episodes of Rebels sees Ezra Bridger bringing together all of his allies to help free his home world of Lothal from the grip of the Empire. Having suffered several losses, the group plans one last desperate bid for victory. This final battle against Thrawn and his fleet will result in the Empire losing, but also the loss of both Ezra and Thrawn as they’re transported somewhere else in the galaxy. This is perhaps one of the most important episodes to watch as the search for Ezra and the threat of Thrawn is the entire premise of the new show.

Several moments from this finale are shown in live action in the advertisement for Ahsoka. The recording Ezra leaves his friends and family, the mural that Sabine paints, even the final scene of Rebels has been recreated. If there’s only one set of episodes from this list that you can find the time to watch, make sure it’s this one.

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