Star Wars: Ahoska Epsiode 5 - Was That Anakin Skywalker's Force Ghost or Not?

Was that really Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost that showed in 'Star Wars: Ahsoka'? Or something else entirely?

 Star Wars: Ahsoka Episode 5 picked up from the big cliffhanger of Episode 4, with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) having a reunion with her Jedi master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in the mysterious realm of the World Between Worlds. However, for all the excellent drama, intrigue, and memories that "Part Five: Shadow Warrior" offered, there was ultimately one question that was left looming over the entire episode: 

Was that Anakin Skywalker's Force Ghost in Ahsoka Episode 5? Or some different manifestation of the character? 

While there is arguably debate that could be (and will be) had from both sides, Ahsoka Episode 5 does drop some clues that tip the scales one particular way over another. 

The first clue is the nature of Anakin's presence and appearance throughout the episode: During their conversations, Anakin does a sort of Dr. Jeykll/Mr. Hyde switch between his Jedi Knight persona and his Darth Vader/Sith Lord persona. Those personality changes make it incredibly hard to argue that this version of Anakin is a Force Ghost, representing Anakin's continuing consciousness after his death in Return of the Jedi: If that were the case, his Vader side would arguably be purged, and only the good (or 'light') side of him would remain.

Was That Anakin's Force Ghost In the World Between Worlds? 

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

The continued presence of "Vader" inside of "Anakin" (plus Anakin's choice of wardrobe being the same as when Ahsoka last saw him) suggests a different take: This "Anakin" is simply a mental manifestation of the deep-seated issues Ahsoka has never truly confronted or reconciled with: namely, what her own identity is after having been shaped by a master with such a complicated and (as Huyang says) "intense" legacy of both light and darkness.

This take on what actually happens in the World Between Worlds is supported by other key details in the episode – starting with the ultimate reveal that Ahsoka's physical body has been adrift (and/or drowning) in the sea on Seatos, after being knocked off a cliff by Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson). The implication in Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Jacen Syndulla's (Evan Whitten) storyline during the episode is that while her "spirit" may have been in the Force, Ahsoka's physical body was never "gone" or had not been "transported" out of the physical world into the World Between Worlds (as she was when dueling Vader in Star Wars Rebels). Instead, it seems clear that Ahsoka's spirit was hanging in the balance between life and death – with the World Between Worlds being a purgatory stop. Confronting "Anakin" was Ahsoka's mind and spirit battling to spark the will to fight and live (or live and not fight), with all the key character development work that ultimately gives Ahsoka a deeper power and connection to the Force, going forward. 

Then again, there are other hints that Anakin's Force ghost spirit could indeed be the one Ahsoka encounters. When Ahsoka refuses to fight, Anakin makes reference to hearing that line before (from Luke Skywalker in the climax of Return of the Jedi); Anakin also follows Ahsoka into a memory he never experienced firsthand (The Seige of Mandalore at the end of Clone Wars) and expresses surprise at seeing it. 

All in all, there's just enough ambiguity to keep Star Wars fans debating...  

Why Anakin's Ahsoka Appearance Was A Little Disappointing

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni and co. will definitely be called upon to answer the question of who Anakin actually was in this Episode, as the reaction to the episode hinges on that answer, for many fans. 

Simply put: the idea that it was Anakin's Force ghost that Ahsoka met – and that there was little to no discussion about Anakin's time as Vader – would be viewed as one of the bigger missed opportunities in Star Wars. Finding out Ahsoka was speaking to a manifestation of Anakin that couldn't possibly speak to that experience would be a temporary save – but now, fans are thirsty to see Anakin Skywalker have that much-needed conversation, somehow, some way. 

Star Wars: Ahsoka is streaming new episodes Tuesday nights on Disney+.