Ahsoka fighting with a lightsaber

‘Ahsoka’ Gave Us the Exploration We Needed of Her Relationship With Anakin

Ahsoka’s fifth episode, titled “The Shadow Warrior,” was a brilliant showcase of the power that Star Wars can wield. In this latest episode, we watched as Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) connected with the manifestation of her former Master Anakin (Hayden Christensen) to explore their past together as Master and Padawan and saw how that led Ahsoka down the path of someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in the Jedi way.

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The episode was so packed with emotion that both of us—Rachel Leishman and Kimberly Terasaki—wanted to dive into the ways exploring the past of both Anakin and Ahsoka helped to inform the journey that Ahsoka had to go on in order to accept that she wanted to live. What we saw throughout the episode was Anakin teaching her that it wasn’t just about fighting to survive. She had to want to live in order to win this fight and find Ezra.

Through that, she had to examine her past and understand her training in a new way, and that made for an exciting live-action exploration of these beloved characters.

Exploring this dynamic in live-action

Ahsoka and Ani standing together in Ahsoka

Being an Anakin Skywalker fan has often required trying to find ways of justifying what we knew he would become. After all, the entire time we knew this character in the prequels, and subsequently in Clone Wars, we knew he would eventually, inevitably turn to the dark side and kill those who stood in his path for the Empire. What we never saw in live-action was the Anakin who helped Ahsoka be the fierce warrior she grew to be. 

What was so special about “The Shadow Warrior” was getting a live-action exploration of that relationship and of Ahsoka’s journey that we saw established in Clone Wars. It’s a powerful thing to look back on The Clone Wars and Rebels and know the pain that is there for Ahsoka and Anakin, to see how that pain was a driving force in Ahsoka and look back on her padawan days. 

Watching the fighting between these two, we get to see yet again a master and an apprentice at odds. Seeing both of their fighting styles, especially in that last fight, really illustrated Ahsoka’s whole journey, showing just how much she has grown into her own after training with Anakin at the start. Anakin has always been more aggressive in his style, swinging his saber and continuing to walk toward his opponent without giving them time to move, while Ahsoka uses her two lightsabers to block, plot, and give herself time to understand what their next move is going to be. When facing off, they both know how the other one thinks and operates which made for a fascinating battle during Ahsoka’s decision to live or die.

Their journey together is so important in understanding both of these characters separately. Yes, we saw that exploration in The Clone Wars but seeing it brought into the live-action colors how many fans viewed Ahsoka and really illustrates just how much the two mattered to each other. It felt like the first four episodes of Ahsoka were all leading to us having this reunion in the World Between Worlds and giving fans that relationship we’d been longing for in the live-action world. -Rachel Leishman

Bringing that canon from The Clone Wars to life

Ahshoka and Anakin fighting in Ahsoka

As a long-time fan of Ahsoka Tano and The Clone Wars, this flashback sequence was my dream.

Normally, I’m a bit of a canon purist, but the changes this show made for the sake of adaptation were well done. The World Between Worlds now functions more like a facilitator of memories rather than a literal portal throughout time and space, implying that the space can change based on the spiritual needs of the people who pass through it.

The show also does an excellent job of reminding viewers that Ahsoka was a child during The Clone Wars. Ariana Greenblatt plays her well, highlighting the vulnerability of a character who was forced to grow up too quickly. (Also love her new outfit that feels like a more practical version of her Seasons 3–5 attire.)

It also gets a little meta with Hayden Christiansen’s portrayal, with him literally asking Ahsoka what she wants from him. At first, he starts out lighthearted and mischievous, reminiscent of early episodes of The Clone Wars. But as Ahsoka says she wants him to be more serious, he quickly turns to the Dark Side.

I do find it a little odd that they never explicitly bring up Malachor and the fact that Darth Vader would have killed Ahsoka if not for the intervention of Ezra Bridger. At the same time, their duel seems to be more focused on Ahsoka’s fears that she herself is little more than a soldier rather than a peacekeeper. In the end, it is after she disarms Vader/Anakin while unarmed (arguably what has become her signature move given she used the same move in her duel with Darth Maul) that she accepts herself and feels ready to return. -Kimberly Terasaki

(featured image: Disney+)

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Image of Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.
Image of Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.