The Mandalorian’s sophomore season has continued to find ways to excite and surprise all kinds of Star Wars watchers, but the one thing diehard fans of the series have waited for is the appearance of Ahsoka Tano. Rumors around the character’s live-action debut started back in March of this year, with the news that Rosario Dawson would portray the Clone Wars protagonist. And, after much waiting, the speculation proved true as Ahsoka came to life in the latest episode of The Mandalorian called “The Jedi.”
Along with seeing Ahsoka interact alongside our beloved Mando (Pedro Pascal), audiences were given some monumental information—whether they knew it or not. If you’re an avid watcher of the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series, these juicy tidbits are a continuation of a long-promised story. But no worries if you haven’t seen a single episode of those two shows, as we’re here to breakdown what these big reveals might mean for the future of The Mandalorian.
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Portrayed by: Rosario Dawson
Fans of the Clone Wars saw 12 years' worth of dreams realized as the fantastic Ahsoka Tano finally came to live-action. For those unaware of her history, here’s a brief breakdown. Conceptualized by The Mandalorian co-creator Dave Filoni and voiced by Ashley Eckstein, Ahsoka is essentially the series lead of Clone Wars and the Jedi Padawan of none other than Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka is a young teenager at the beginning of Clone Wars, where her brashness, sheer talent, and unpredictability makes her a perfect match for Anakin and his similar tendencies.
As the titular Clone Wars rage, Ahsoka becomes increasingly frustrated with the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order, eventually leaving after being framed for a crime she didn’t do. From this point forward, Ahsoka operates as a sort of force-powered Ronin, helping the innocent on her own terms. She’s eventually drawn back into the orbit of Anakin and the Jedi Order as offers to help Bo-Katan take back Mandalore from Darth Maul. While she’s ultimately victorious, that triumph doesn’t come without tragedy, as the Clone army she’s with turns on her thanks to Order 66.
After escaping, Ahsoka appears in Star Wars Rebels, where she’s working as a Rebel spy operating under the alias of Fulcrum. She helps the Rebels crew through a few adventures, including an encounter with Darth Vader. The crushing reunion between master and apprentice (something “The Jedi” subtly makes a note of) ends with Ahsoka’s fate unknown—until the end of Rebels. There, audiences discover she was saved by the lead of Star Wars Rebels: Jedi Ezra Bridger. Ezra pulled Ahsoka out of her battle with Anakin thanks to the World Between Worlds, which is essentially the Star Wars version of time-travel. Crazy, right?
Ahsoka remains in the World Between Worlds for the duration of the original trilogy of films until she finally emerges. In the coda of Rebels (set around the same time as The Mandalorian) Ahsoka enlists the help of another Rebels character, Mandalorian Sabine Wren, to look for Ezra. While Sabine isn’t present when Ahsoka runs into Mando in “The Jedi,” it’s clear she’s still on the hunt for Ezra, which is why she’s so interested in the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
First appearance: Star Wars Legends: "Heir to the Empire" (1991)
Among dedicated fans of Star Wars, Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the series’ most respected villains. Thrawn was initially part of the expanded Star Wars Legends canon that was discarded when Disney acquired LucasFilm in 2012. However, Thrawn was too good of a character to leave on the scrapheap and eventually found his way back into the Disney-approved stories through Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Thrawn novel and Star Wars Rebels.
Grand Admiral is the highest-rank an official in the Imperial army can receive, and Thrawn was presented his title directly from Emperor Palpatine in a special ceremony. Thrawn possessed a brilliant strategic mind and ruthlessness in combat that made him a particularly dangerous foe. To gain advantages over his enemies, Thrawn devoted himself to studying his opponents’ culture—including in-depth knowledge of the Mandalorian’s homeworld of Mandalore.
Towards the end of Star Wars Rebels, Thrawn has the show’s heroes with their backs against the wall until Ezra Bridger pulls a risky move that sends both himself and the Grand Admiral into an unknown part of the galaxy. Ezra’s sacrifice seemingly marked the end of Thrawn—or did until Ahsoka mentions him in “The Jedi.” It appears that somehow the Grand Admiral has returned and garnered enough power to amass new followers, including the Magistrate played by Diana Lee Inosanto.
A New Jedi
In the final moments of “The Jedi,” Ahsoka tells Mando to take
Baby YodaGrogu to the remains of a Jedi temple on the planet Tython, where the child can reach out through the force to hopefully connect with another Jedi. Tython is a critically important planet to Star Wars lore, as it’s believed to be where the Jedi Order began. While Luke Skywalker does end up starting a new Jedi Temple in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, I’d like to think the show won’t lean into this kind of fan service. Instead, there are some other candidates that might likely train Grogu instead.
The videogame Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order introduced the character of Cal Kestis to the Star Wars universe. The game takes place in the early days of the Rebellion against the Empire, long before the events of The Mandalorian. While we don’t know the fate of Cal quite yet, he’s one likely candidate to come calling for the child. Plus, Cal’s appearance is modeled on Shameless actor Cameron Monaghan. Age him up a bit, and you’d be all set for a live-action debut.
We could also see some brand new, previously unheard of Jedi. One of the strengths of The Mandalorian is how the show has introduced all sorts of new lore to the Star Wars universe, and it’d be fascinating to see their version of a new Jedi.
The more likely outcome, however, is the return of Ezra Bridger. After saving her from Vader and pulling her into the World Between Worlds, Ezra makes Ahsoka promise to come and find him when she returns to the galaxy. However, before this reunion, Ezra executes his plan to take care of Thrawn. With the Jedi still missing, Ahsoka is hoping the (seemingly back!?) Thrawn will lead her to Ezra. But could Mando and Grogu find the missing Jedi instead?
Duel of the Fates
In a clever move, the trailers for Season 2 of The Mandalorian only featured footage from the season’s first four episodes. Disney is known to play coy with its audience—Grogu never appeared in the trailers for Season 1, for example. As we head into the final three episodes, however, this mystery is especially welcome. Much of the information leaked out around this season we’ve seen already, leaving us without much of a roadmap for what’s ahead.
Outside of the possible return of Thrawn and Ezra, we do know there's going to be an epic showdown between Mando and Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Ahead of Season 2, Esposito mentioned he broke “three” prop versions of the Darksaber during filming. Initially, I thought Gideon would be facing off against Ahsoka, but now that Mando has a pure Beskar staff, he’s ready to fight the series’ big bad properly. Oh, and Pedro Pascal will get the chance to right a past wrong.
— Not Another Movie Pod 🍿 (@notamoviepod) November 28, 2020
Could this face-off come in the Robert Rodiguez-helmed episode? A fight sequence certainly feels within the director’s action-based wheelhouse. Regardless, this season looks poised to conclude with a decidedly meaningful duel over the fate of Grogu. Consider us hyped no matter what the future may hold.