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Unlike other Star Wars series, there's actually a good reason for Ahsoka to exist

The Disney Plus show is set to answer one of the biggest mysteries in Star Wars lore: What happened to Ezra Bridger?

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Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka
Photo: Lucasfilm

Star Wars doesn’t like loose ends. The franchise actually has something of an over-explanation problem: In the first Star Wars film, Obi-Wan tells Luke that Darth Vader killed his father. In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader tells Luke that he is his father. It was, at the time, a jaw-dropping twist. In retrospect, it was an omen.

Since then, various parts of the Star Wars universe have doubled back on themselves, retconning events that were seemingly set in stone—Rey’s parents were nobodies, oh no wait she’s a Palpatine—and creating elaborate backstories for characters that didn’t need them. As Patton Oswalt said when talking about the prequel movies exploring Boba Fett’s childhood, “[I] do not give a shit at all about that. Could not care less.”


This obsessive need to revisit well-known characters has led the franchise to tread the same ground for years. Disney+ dipped back into the Boba Fett well with disastrous results; even Obi-Wan Kenobi was met with a shrug. And from the outside, the streamer’s upcoming Ahsoka series, which debuts August 22, ticks a lot of the same boxes as The Book Of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s a self-titled series about a fan-favorite character, the details of which were nebulous when it was first announced, and it’s got a lot of cameos from other well-known Star Wars characters. But as we’ve gotten closer to its release, and as Disney has revealed more about the series, it’s become clear that there is something more going on with Ahsoka. Unlike The Book Of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, this is not just a fuck-around vanity project for Ahsoka Tano.

Ahsoka’s not-so-secret weapon

The thing about Ahsoka is that it’s not really about Ahsoka. She’s the main character, sure, but the series is about discovering what happened to Ezra Bridger, a Jedi that went missing at the end of Star Wars: Rebels. It’s an actual mystery that deserves an explanation. Rather than starting from the character and trying to create a story around them, Ahsoka is using the character as a vehicle to tell a story about something fans have been curious about since Rebels ended in 2018.


The Rebels ending was an anomaly in Star Wars lore; big questions like that never get left unanswered for long. Between the films, TV series, and tie-in novels, there’s always somewhere to tell a Star Wars story. And even when we do get big cliffhanger moments like at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s always clear when the story will be resolved. In the case of Empire, it was resolved three years later with Return Of The Jedi. But with Rebels, there was no clear succession plan, no follow-up series announced. And that left the franchise in a place it had rarely been before: with an interesting story to tell and seemingly no plan to actually tell it.

Ezra Bridger’s disappearance

Rebels takes place just before the original film trilogy, at the height of the Galactic Empire’s power. It centers on a small, scrappy group of resistance fighters on a ship called the Ghost pushing back against the Empire. The group includes former con artist Ezra Bridger, who spent most of his childhood on his own after Imperial forces imprisoned his parents, and Jedi Kanan Jarrus, who realizes Ezra is Force sensitive and begins mentoring him. As Ezra grows and learns to control his powers, he also develops a close friendship with Sabine Wren, another Ghost crewmember. Ahsoka Tano flits in and out of the series, mostly doing her own thing, but occasionally showing up to help the Ghost crew.

By the end of the series, Ezra has risen in the ranks and taken command of the ship, and he’s the one ostensibly in charge as the crew faces off against the series’ big bad, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Ezra ultimately traps himself in an air pocket with Thrawn and disappears, saving the rest of the crew, but leaving a big question as to what actually happened. It left a massive impact on Sabine, who was determined to find Ezra.

Ahsoka | Official Trailer | Disney+

What makes Ahsoka different

Ahsoka is still relying heavily on Star Wars nostalgia; it’s still, in many ways, following the playbook that led The Mandalorian, The Book Of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi astray. Andor succeeded because it found a new story to tell, largely eschewing cameos and focusing instead on its own characters. Ahsoka may not explore a new corner of the galaxy, but its goal is fundamentally different than The Book Of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi.


With Boba Fett, the impetus for the series seemed to be, “What happened to Boba Fett after he escaped from the Sarlacc pit?” And the answer, for a lot of people, was, “I don’t care, because he should’ve died in there.” With Obi-Wan, the goal seems to have been to explore part of Obi-Wan’s life between the prequels and the original trilogy. The problem was that there just wasn’t a very interesting story to tell there, and it didn’t add to our understanding of the Star Wars canon.

Ahsoka, though, has a chance to expand Star Wars lore in an important way. What happened to Ezra and, by extension, Thrawn, matters. Sabine, who also appears in Ahsoka, deserves closure about what happened to her friend. And Ezra Bridger, whom fans grew to love over the course of Rebels, deserves a more definitive ending. Whether or not it’s a happy one doesn’t really matter; it’s just that leaving things open-ended isn’t what Star Wars does. We’ve come to expect answers in this franchise, and Ahsoka might actually give us what we want.