Former Padawan, exiled Jedi, Rebel agent: Ahsoka Tano has been many things since her debut in 2008's animated Clone Wars feature film. Now poised to star in her own self-titled streaming series debuting on Disney+ in late 2023, let's take a look at what we know about this fan favorite character.
Ahsoka Tano, Jedi apprentice
A member of the Togruta species which gives her distinctive orange skin and a pair of white horns and head tails, the animated Ahsoka is voiced by Ashley Eckstein. Introduced as Anakin Skywalker's previously unmentioned plucky apprentice, she became a fixture of the animated Clone Wars series, serving as an audience surrogate/POV character whose presence also pushed both Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi in interesting new directions. Clone Wars is a show with a large cast that shifts its focus from character to character, but if anyone has a claim to being the 'main character' of the series, it's Ahsoka, who receives a clear character arc over the course of the show, an arc whose conclusion leaves Ahsoka as a very different character than she was at the start.
Though created prior to the acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney (and the subsequent de-canonization of many characters from outside the two main trilogies), Ahsoka was grandfathered into the Disney Star Wars universe along with the rest of the animated series. Fans came to embrace the plucky young Jedi -— especially young women, who finally had a notable, action-oriented female character who ticked a box other than 'warrior politician' to call their own.
Ahsoka Tano lightsaber style
As a Jedi, Ahsoka stood out thanks to her eventual adoption of a two-handed fighting style (know as Jar'Kai), in which she wielded a second lightsaber with a shorter blade (known as a shoto lightsaber) in her 'off' hand, in addition to her 'main' lightsaber. Additionally, her style evolved such that she often wielded the weapons backhanded (with the blades pointing behind her rather than towards her opponents). In addition to her coloration and spunky nature, this variation in fighting style and the use of two lightsabers helped the character stand out, and further capture the hearts of fans.
Jedi No MoreOf course, from the moment of Ahsoka's introduction, fans wondered what her fate would be, given she was, of course, nowhere to be found in Revenge of the Sith. Would the earnest young women who called Anakin "Skyguy" suffer an ignoble death at the hands of the stalwart Clone Commander Rex, who accompanied her and Anakin on so many adventures, as a result of Order 66? Would she somehow factor into Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, a (retroactive) loss that would serve as further motivation for his turn in Episode III? Would a twisted Anakin himself somehow be responsible for Ahsoka's death.
It would take until the Clone Wars' fifth season (billed at the time as the final season, though the series would return for two additional seasons for various reasons) for Ahsoka's fate to be revealed when, over the course of a multi-part story arc, Ahsoka is framed for bombing the Jedi Temple. Though she ultimately fights to uncover the true culprit and clear her name, the speed and ease with which the Jedi Council accepted the accusations leveled against her led Ahsoka to leave the Jedi Order, turning her back not on the Force or a desire to help others, but on the institutional bureaucracy of an organization which, unknownst to everyone but the viewers, was on the precipice of destruction.
Having Ahsoka leave the Jedi (and the series, for a time) as a way to explain her absence from the climax of the Prequel Trilogy is an elegant way to keep the character around for future stories, while ensuring that she remains the center of her own narrative. Rather than die to further Anakin's story or to serve as another reminder of Palpatine's cruelty and twisted machinations, she's allowed to maintain control over her own life, and in doing so, avoid a worse fate.
After her departure from the series, the first iteration of Clone Wars ended its run, but when the series was briefly revitalized for a new final season on Disney+, its breakout character returned with it, serving as the central protagonist for its final two story arcs. In the first, Ahsoka learns how to continue helping people without the support (or strictures) of the Jedi, while in the series' closing arc, she is reunited with Anakin and Rex shortly before his fall to the Dark Side, helps Bo-Katan Kryze liberate Mandalore from Darth Maul, and gets caught in the middle of Order 66 alongside Rex, helping him overcome the clones' programming that led them to massacre the Jedi, with the two ultimately faking their deaths.
Ahsoka Tano, rebel risingAhsoka's journey towards 'unallied doer of good' continues in a 2016 novel by E.K Johnston, in which she helps a small farming community resist encroachment by the Empire and does battle with Sixth Brother, one of the Dark Jedi Inquisitors who serve her former master, Darth Vader. These experiences make her realize she can't just hide away in the post-Republic, post-Jedi galaxy, but has a responsibility to help people however she can, a realization which leads to an alliance with Senator Bail Organa and his fledgling rebel efforts.
This sets the stage for her next chronological appearance, as the secret identity of Fulcrum, an agent of the nascent Rebel Alliance that helped funnel missions and information to the rebel cell comprised of the main characters of the animated series Rebels (The Fulcrum identity would go on to be used by other rebels in the course of the series and elsewhere, including Cassian Andor for a time). An older Ahsoka would continue to be a supporting player in that series for a time, teaming up with secret Jedi Kanan Jarrus and the budding Force sensitive Ezra Bridger, even coming face-to-face with Vader at one point and learning the terrible truth of his identity in the process.
Ahsoka Tano and her move to live action Star Wars stories
Given her continued presence in Star Wars storytelling across two eras, it was easy to speculate that a live-action Ahsoka would appear in The Mandalorian, set in the years after Return of the Jedi. This came true in the show's second season episode 'The Jedi', in which Ahsoka, now played by Rosario Dawson, and the titular Mandalorian team-up to take down a local warlord (a plot with shades of her earlier novel adventure) while Ahsoka helps the Mandarlorian learn a little more about his Yoda-like charge (it is from Ahsoka that fans first learn Baby Yoda's given name is 'Grogu').
The live-action Ahsoka made a reprise appearance in The Book of Boba Fett, during the episodes in which that series briefly became a two-episode season of The Mandalorian. Here, we got to see her interact with Luke Skywalker while the pair oversaw the training of Grogu. While her past relationship with Luke's father wasn't directly discussed on-screen, seeing the character giving guidance to a second generation of Skywalker was nevertheless a charged moment, and one that speaks to the unique position Ahsoka holds in current Star Wars storytelling.
What does the future hold for Ahsoka Tano?
Since her role as the breakout character of Clone Wars, Ahsoka has become something of a notable character in the Star Wars universe, someone who spans eras and settings, from Jedi Padawan to Rebel agent to a seasoned guide. As we see with the scenes in Book of Boba Fett between her and Luke, her ability to make connections between the different eras of storytelling allows her to generate some narrative juice whenever she appears on screen. That role as a cross-generational figure will likely heavily inform the narrative of her upcoming Disney Plus streaming series.
Based on casting announcements, it also seems poised to pick up on some narrative threads left dangling in the conclusion of the earlier Rebels animated series (live-action versions of Ezra, Mandalorian Rebel Sabine Wren, and pilot-turned-Rebel general Hera Syndulla have all been announced or heavily rumored). In doing so, it's entirely possible that Ahsoka's series will help usher into the live-action universe another fan-favorite character from the pre-Disney era made canon via appearances in animation: Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was introduced early in the old Expanded Universe days via a novel trilogy by Timothy Zahn and was canonized when he became a recurring antagonist on Rebels; the plot of Ahsoka the streaming series is theorized to involve Ahsoka's search for the missing Ezra, who disappeared battling Thrawn in the Rebels finale. It was also revealed that Ahsoka was in pursuit of Thrawn during her live-action debut on The Mandalorian.
Whatever twists and turns the plots of her series may take, what's clear is that Ahsoka has become one of the most popular and important characters to debut outside of a Star Wars feature film, a character who can fit into multiple storytelling eras and roles, someone who can help connect any story she appears in with the narrative history of the Star Wars galaxy while also exciting and captivating audiences.
Learn how it all fits together with our Star Wars watch order.