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The Rise of Skywalker all but confirms the fate of The Clone Wars’ Ahsoka Tano

Whatever happened to Anakin’s padawan, and how she might return to Star Wars

Ahsoka tano holds out a green lightsaber in star wars: the clone wars Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is awash with fan service and references to Star Wars canon. That includes callbacks to fan-favorite characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka first entered the Star Wars canon as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan in the Clone Wars animated series. She later battled Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels.

While her friends initially believed she died during her confrontation with her former master, the final few episodes of Rebels revealed that Ahsoka was alive and well. The last time fans saw her, she was beginning her search for Force user Ezra Bridger in the Rebels epilogue.

With the ending of Star Wars Rebels taking place just after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star in the Battle of Endor, fans have long wondered what Ahsoka’s been up to since her adventure to find Bridger. The Rise of Skywalker reveals Ahsoka’s ultimate fate.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.]

Rey looking forward with intent, holding her lightsaber and with the word “spoilers” and a purple tint superimposed on top of her Image: Lucasfilm/Disney via Polygon

In the final hour of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey faces off against Emperor Palpatine. The two battle, and Palpatine proclaims that all the Sith are “with him.” Rey reflects the statement back, saying all the Jedi are with her.

For a brief moment, the movie delves into Rey’s head, and we hear the encouraging words of long-dead Jedi heroes. Rey hears the voices of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin, Qui-Gon Jinn, Ahsoka Tano, and more. With all the others being voices of the dead, this scene confirms that Ahsoka Tano has passed on before the final confrontation in The Rise of Skywalker.

Could Ahsoka still be alive?

Ahsoka and Darth Vader
Ahsoka faces off against her old master, now Darth Vader.
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Based on the scene in The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars can safely assume Ahsoka is dead. We’ve seen Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Qui-Gon, and more die on screen. If Ahsoka were still alive during The Rise of Skywalker, she’d be the only living Jedi on the conference call in Rey’s head, which seems unlikely.

Barring violent means — the usual end for Jedi — it’s not inconceivable that Ahsoka would still be alive during The Rise of Skywalker. She was born 36 years before the destruction of the first Death Star, and The Rise of Skywalker takes place 35 years after that event. This means Ahsoka would be in her early 70s.

Depending on where you search, Ahsoka’s species, the Togruta, have an average life span of 82 to 94 years. And some sites claim powerful Force-using Togruta can live for up to 200 years. Even if Ahsoka is old by Togruta standards during The Rise of Skywalker, she isn’t even close to the end of her life span as a Force user.

Dave Filoni, supervising director of The Clone Wars and Executive Producer of Rebels, also have fans new hope for the character. A few days after The Rose of Skywalker’s release, Filoni tweeted out an Ahsoka focused illustration.

The drawing features Ahsoka in her cloak, standing next to Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings. Gandalf tells Ahsoka “People thought I was dead, too. Look how that turned out ...” Gandalf the Grey dies in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and later returns as Gandalf the White in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Filoni’s comic suggests that Ahsoka, like Gandalf before her, could still be alive, waiting to reappear in the Star Wars universe.

This isn’t conformation that Ahsoka is alive — it could simply suggest that Ahsoka’s story isn’t finished. Which raises the question...

Is Ahsoka a Jedi?

Ahsoka walks away from Anakin in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Ahsoka walks away from the Jedi order, and from her former master.
Image: Lucasfilm

At the end of The Clone Wars season 5, Ahsoka leaves the Jedi order. She wanders the galaxy, and becomes a huge asset in building the Rebel Alliance. But she’s out of the loop in terms of Jedi business. She isn’t even aware of Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader until the end of Rebels season 2.

Ahsoka is still a Force user in Rebels, and wields two white lightsabers — but that doesn’t mean she’s a traditional Jedi. Some fans would say she’s a Gray Jedi, meaning a Jedi who either walks the line of Light and Dark or operates outside of the Jedi order.

Based on Ahsoka’s own language in Star Wars Rebels’ “Shroud of Darkness” episode, she doesn’t even consider herself a Jedi, despite her years of training in the order. So why is she in Rey’s head at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, when Rey says all the Jedi are with her? And more importantly, what happened to Ahsoka over the past six movies?

Ahsoka could return to Star Wars

Ahsoka Tano in a white robe, holding a white staff, in Star Wars Rebels
The last time we see Ahsoka in Rebels, as she leaves to search for Ezra.
Image: Lucasfilm

After Ahsoka goes to save Ezra — just after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — there are no canon stories that chronicle her actions. The next time we hear about her is as a Force ghost in Rey’s head. That’s a long period of time to just lose a character — roughly 30 years.

A lot can happen in that time. The Empire or First Order could have hunted her down. A wampa could have ambushed her while she was talking to a tauntaun; it’s happened to great Force users before. The galaxy is a dangerous place, even for powerful Force users like Ahsoka. But after watching her overcome so many challenges, learning that her death took place off-screen is more than a little disappointing for fans.

The good news is, there are plenty of places for Ahsoka to pop back into Star Wars ahead of The Rise of Skywalker.

During the time of The Mandalorian, we know Ahsoka and Sabine Wren — a Mandalorian herself — are out looking for Ezra Bridger. If the two parties ever meet in the show, we could finally learn what becomes of the Rebels crew of Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra. Ahsoka would surely have a lot of knowledge to pass on to Baby Yoda, too.

It’s also possible Ahsoka could show up in Disney Plus’ upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show, though it would be between The Clone Wars and Rebels. But if Ahsoka meets with her former master’s former master, it wouldn’t reveal anything about how she winds up dead by the time of The Rise of Skywalker.

Even if Ahsoka doesn’t appear in Lucasfilm’s current live-action slate or any upcoming animated series, she could still show up again in another Star Wars adventure. There remains a lot of story to tell between the original films and the sequel trilogy. And Ahsoka would certainly offer a unique perspective on the Star Wars universe as it transitions from one evil rule to another.