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The Mandalorian: Why Ahsoka Tano’s Return Matters So Much

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Ever since the rumors kicked off in March that Rosario Dawson would be playing a live-action version of certain beloved animated Star Wars character, fans have been dying to know when they’d see her take on The Clone Wars hero. The Mandalorian viewers had new reason to hope a few weeks back when Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) told Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) that he should seek out a Force user named Ahsoka Tano who might help him with his very special babysitting gig. This beloved character may be new to fans of live-action Star Wars, but lovers of the animated series like The Clone Wars and Rebels know her well. Now is the perfect time to brush up on your Ahsoka Tano lore and consider what her re-appearance might mean for the future of The Mandalorian and the possible return of Admiral Thrawn, Ezra Bridger, and more. 

Before her arrival on The Mandalorian Thursday, Ahsoka Tano had never appeared in a live-action Star Wars property. But the animated character voiced by Ashley Eckstein debuted twelve years ago and is massively important to a generation of Star Wars fans who grew up on her animated adventures. Her story is cleverly tucked in between the spaces of the major film franchise and even though moviegoers may not even know her name, she is integral to the rise and fall of the Skywalker clan. She along with Ezra Bridger and Admiral Thrawn may also be a key to the future of Star Wars, but let’s start with a quick review of the basics before we get to future speculation. 

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Who Is She? This will be familiar stuff to fans of The Clone Wars animated series, but we’ll get through it quickly. Ahsoka Tano a.k.a. Ashla a.k.a. Snips a.k.a. Sohka a.k.a. Little One a.k.a. Fulcrum is a Togruta which accounts for her orange-ish complexion, white face markings, and distinctive blue and white hair tails. Jedi Master Plo Koon discovered her talent with the Force when she was very young and like many young Force sensitive kids before her, she was taken to the Jedi Temple to train.  When it came time to match young Padawan Ahsoka with a master, Yoda himself picked Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. This is after the second prequel film, Attack of the Clones, and before Revenge of the Sith. In other words, Ahsoka’s master was just a little older than this. 

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Why would Yoda give Anakin, a talented yet unpredictable young Jedi whom he thinks poses a danger to the Order, a student to train? It’s actually a pretty thoughtful move that nearly works. Yoda is hoping that Anakin will see some of his own careless behavior in Ahsoka which would teach him to be more cautious. Yoda is also hoping that Anakin, who is forever scarred by the loss of his mother and plagued with fear that he will lose his secret wife Amidala, will learn through his relationship with Ahsoka to not hold so tightly to the things and people he loves. Because, as you might recall, fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…you get the point. 

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