One of the things I love about Star Wars is the passionate (but respectful) debates. The world that George Lucas built left room for so many unanswered questions and varying interpretations that geek debates have become one of the hallmarks of Star Wars fandom. As we enter into the (next?) golden age of Star Wars, there are sure to be many more hot topics to debate. Thus, we’re starting a new feature here on MakingStarWars where Mark Seyb and I will tackle some interesting questions and geek matters. We’re calling this feature the Duel of the Fates.
To maintain the debate structure of this column, Mark and I randomly pick who goes first, there are two rounds of back and forth, and then each of us get a conclusion. These thoughts were written turn-by-turn and no substantive editing was done retroactively. Once you’re done reading, vote which of us you agree with. Feel free to leave us comments or tweet us (@Griddlemarks and @CPThrio) with your own thoughts and we’re open to suggestions for future topics!
Our first topic today, #TanoTuesday, is also perfectly timed with the premiere of Star Wars Rebels Season 2 tomorrow:
ISSUE – Does Ahsoka Tano have to die before A New Hope?
Mark: I love Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I love Star Wars Rebels. I love Ahsoka Tano; however, she needs to die! I know a lot of people want her to survive and it’s a shock that she even made it past Order 66, but she cannot live into the A New Hope era. It would greatly diminish the story of the Skywalker Saga.
Ron: Don’t try to win over support by declaring your love for all things Star Wars! Stay on target! Ahsoka has become my second favorite “good character” in the entire saga (tied with Leia… Luke is my favorite). Her arc is fantastic. The question is where she goes in Rebels and whether her arc needs to culminate in her death before A New Hope. I say no. Everyone thought she needed to die in The Clone Wars because we didn’t see her in Episode III. She didn’t. We all know that Dave Filoni fought to keep her alive. I don’t think he did that only to have her die now. Ahsoka should live. She has become a cross-generational fan favorite and in many ways the proxy of the fans. She will be our bridge from the PT era to the OT era. I also don’t think Ahsoka’s survival affects the Skywalker Saga. The galaxy is a large place and many things can happen in the 5 years between where we are in Rebels and the start of A New Hope that doesn’t involve her dying.
Mark: The problem with the idea that the galaxy is large and many things can happen in those five years is that Ahsoka’s character is now established. She cannot run away. She must do what is right, and for her, that’s being in the Rebellion. Staying a part of the Rebellion is true to her character, her running away is not. She’s not going to go in hiding like Yoda or Obi-Wan; this is her fight and her destiny. If Ahsoka is still alive by the time of A New Hope, it creates some logical problems for her character. That is why she needs to sacrifice herself against Vader.
Ron: If anything, we’ve seen that Ahsoka will walk away if she feels that the organization she’s involved with is losing its way. We don’t know how Ahsoka came to be part of the Rebellion; we know that, according to Dave Filoni, she isn’t a part of its leadership. I don’t think Ahsoka’s as tied to the Rebellion as many of us assume. If the Rebel leaders start making decisions she doesn’t agree with, she could start having the same misgivings that Kanan already has. Also the realization that her former master is alive may change everything for her. Filoni said that each member of the Ghost crew will be affected by their interaction with the Dark Lord of the Sith from “Siege of Lothal.” Ahsoka may realize her path is different than that of the broader Rebellion because her focus could be Vader exclusively. Ahsoka doesn’t have to die–she just can’t be part of the Rebellion in any major way by the time A New Hope comes around.
Mark: So she just walks away. Again? Ahsoka had every right to walk away from the Jedi Order, but walking away from the Rebellion makes no sense as far as what we know the Rebellion to be. So if she disappears from the Rebellion so be it. But that will destroy the character. If she stays, and is alive for A New Hope, there is no way she won’t put two and two together. This Luke Skywalker kid (she knows the name), traveling with Obi-Wan Kenobi (she knows the man) blew up the Death Star. She will hear about it. The Rebellion does not hide it. They gave him a medal in a huge ceremony. Learning more about Luke, it won’t be long before she learns about his lightsaber, Anakin’s lightsaber. So you see, if she’s alive and involved in the Rebellion come A New Hope, she’ll have to meet Luke Skywalker and that kills his arc. If she leaves the Rebellion to wander around the galaxy again, then it doesn’t feel like a hero in search of a quest. There was a quest right in front of her. The best and most logical option is she has to die. Sacrifice herself at the hands of Darth Vader, her former Master. It is poetic, and it is what needs to happen.
Ron: The great thing about The Clone Wars, which Ahsoka basically embodies, is that we’ve learned things aren’t binary. There’s not necessarily a clear “good” and a clear “bad.” It’s way too early to know how involved Ahsoka even is in the Rebellion to say that she “walks away again.” She might just be associated with this small fraction at this time for various reasons. Filoni has made clear that she is not a Jedi. Given what she’s gone through it makes all the sense in the world if she no longer accepts being labeled as one thing or that one side is necessarily “good” regardless of what their mission is. After A New Hope it became clear based on exactly what you wrote above that the “Jedi” became the Rebellion’s best hope (no pun intended). Would it really be a shock to think that Ahsoka wouldn’t want to touch that? She may, at some point, decide to do her work against the Empire as a Rebel ally rather than an actual Rebel. She may not see Luke being trained by Obi-Wan to revitalize the Jedi as a good thing. You mentioned she knows the names Skywalker and Kenobi. But those aren’t positive memories. By A New Hope, I don’t think Ahsoka is part of the Rebel Alliance. I definitely don’t think she’s at all interested in rebuilding the Jedi Order. She’s seen the ugliness that the Jedi had become. Ahsoka will fight the Empire and the Dark Side her own way. Not with the Jedi. Just as in the end of the Clone Wars, hers is a different path.