The first two episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka have dropped and it’s fair to say, Star Wars is back in its best form yet. Fans of the animated Rebels and Clone Wars series have been waiting for this for a long time, but even those who have not had an interest in the animated canon for Star Wars will still find plenty to enjoy with Ahsoka. The general critic and fan reviews have been very positive, ranking among some of the highest for all recent Star Wars live-action series. So let’s dive into the mission.
Okay, so it should go without saying that spoilers ahead, but let’s take a little trip down memory lane for those who perhaps never watched Rebels.
The Mission and Who is Ezra? (and why you should care)
The Ahsoka series has been nicknamed by Rebels fans as Rebels season 5 for good reason. The series kicks off in the time gap between the final episode of the Rebels Season 4 series and ends its second episode with the epilogue scene from Rebels. If you watched the first two episodes and you have seen Rebels, you know the mission, but let’s assume you haven’t seen Rebels. It’s pretty easy to gather that the gist of the mission is the remnants of the Empire are looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Ahsoka, Sabine and Hera made mention of also finding Ezra. But just who is Ezra?
A short and dirty recap of Rebels is Ezra Bridger is a native of Lothal, a planet in the outer rim in which the Ghost (piloted by Hera) operated out of during the early days of the Rebellion prior to the battle of Yavin (BBY). The crew of that ship consisted of Hera, Zeb (whom we met in Mandolorian season 3 – the purple guy at the bar), Chopper (the war criminal droid), Sabine Wren, and Kanan Jarrus (a Jedi who survived order 66).
They run into Ezra during a mission and learn he is force-sensitive. Kanan brings him on to train him as his padawan. Over the course of 4 seasons, Ezra’s ability and connection with the force, and nature itself (including the lothwolfs and cats of Lothal) proves to be almost too much for Kanan to teach. Ultimately the crew becomes a family as they fight to liberate Lothal while supporting the rebellion through “fulcrum”. And if you hadn’t figured it out yet, Fulcrum is Ahsoka.
At one point Ezra uses his force abilities to open the world between worlds and ultimately saves Ahsoka’s life during a battle with Darth Vader in the past. Yes, the world between worlds has gateways to fixed points in time that allowed a future Ezra to go back to events that occurred in season 2, and save Ahsoka who we assumed had otherwise not survived that fight. Of course she insisted she go back to that past time to continue her mission and protect the timelines, and vowed she would find Ezra again, but she never did make it back to see him before the events of the final battle on Lothal.
So all of our crew has a history together, and at the end of Rebels, in order to win the battle against Thrawn, Ezra uses his powers along with the purrgil to wisk himself, Thrawn, and the ship far away from Lothal. Of course, his friends were shocked and saddened at losing Ezra in order to win this battle, but his message left behind asked them, Sabine specifically to come and find him. What we didn’t know was exactly where he went (I doubt he knew either at the time).
The story connections between Mandolorian, Ahsoka, Rebels and Clone Wars are tightly bound but it by no means is required viewing to enjoy Ahsoka. However, the context does provide reasons for Sabine and Ahsoka’s motivation to find Ezra and stop Thrawn’s return.
While we already mentioned a few of them above, let’s talk through some of the more obvious easter eggs related to Rebels that non-watchers might have missed.
The purrgil are space whales for lack of a better description who have the natural ability to travel in hyperspace. You may recall in a recent Mandolorian episode (S3E1) seeing the whale/octopus type creature shadow in the background during a hyperspace trip with Grogu, and those were purrgil.
Ezra’s connection to nature allowed him to use these creatures to travel. This is something we have not heard about other Jedi’s being able to do, and in that respect, it makes Ezra rank among some of the strongest force users of his time. But as we get deeper into the lore of Star Wars, these creatures and where they traveled to might have darker implications for everyone then we think.
“We Are No Jedi”
Off hand it may seem like a simple turn of phrase, but the structure and wording are rooted in the story arc’s of the past for Ahsoka as a character. Having left Anakin’s side during her training, she often referred to herself as “I am no Jedi”. Hearing Baylan say this similar line (but in the plural form) at the start of the series is a nice call back to the early years of Ahsoka’s story.
There is an arc in Rebels that covers the Nightsisters, and their relationship with Maul and the Dark Saber, amongst other things, and finding out that Morgan Elsbeth is a descendant of those Nightsisters, and her appearance in Mandolorian and now Ahsoka grounds the series timeline and intertwines the story further with that of the Mandalorian. A loyal follower of Thrawn, she may prove to be one of the most dangerous villains in Star Wars history, second only to Thrawn’s nearly unmatchable strategic brilliance in battle.
There are many theories out there on what is to come, and now that episode two has ended right where Rebels ended, we are now in the same boat as you (watches and non-watchers alike) wondering exactly where things will go.
The armor-clad, mute inquisitor has made fans go wild on theories about who they are. The most prevalent of those theories is that they are in fact Ezra Bridger brainwashed. If you remember in my recap above on the mission, Ezra disappeared with Thrawn, seemingly traveling to the far-off distance galaxy along with the purrgil. If this theory is to be believed, then somehow Ezra found his way back, but not with Thrawn, and that just seems to be a little too much to explain in 6 more episodes, let alone without it feeling too forced. Dave Filoni’s Rebels went to great lengths to show Ezra’s growth as a Jedi and a person and how he overcame temptation from the Dark Side. I don’t think they would corrupt him for a shock reveal as it simply wouldn’t fit his nature. And the idea of brainwashing first must explain how he managed to make it back but Thrawn did not. It remains to be seen who Marrok is, but with only 6 episodes in this season, We will either find out quickly, or it will be a season 1 cliffhanger going into season 2 (assuming the series is renewed).
The World Between Worlds
As Morgan turns on the map and displays it to Baylan, the symbols, and lines are very reminiscent of the World Between Worlds that we saw Ezra in during Rebels. It even includes icons of the purrgil around the far-off galaxy indicated in the directions on the map. It seems likely that this place where time and space stop will likely play a role in the Ahsoka series and will be critical to getting Thrawn back, and perhaps Ezra too. Baylan spoke of the legends that younglings learned about Peridea but thought they were just rumors. However, the Nightsisters seem to know a lot more about the universe than even the Jedi.
Thrawn Isn’t The Enemy, The Vong Are
Another theory that dives deeper into the extended universe is that Thrawn’s return ushers is a bigger villain that both the New Republic and the Empire would need to fight together to survive, The Vong. Tens of thousands of years before the Battle of Yavin, the Yuuzhan Vong were a Force-sensitive species dwelling on the sentient, living world of Yuuzhan’tar in a distant galaxy. At some point, they were caught up in the war between the Silentium and the Abominor droid species. Is it possible the galaxy that Ezra took Thrawn and himself to is one where The Vong are, and by bringing either of them back, The Vong would invade their galaxy? It could explain why Ezra never tried to come back but The Vong have not been confirmed to be canon material.