The Mandalorian season 2 just hit a major pivotal point, as we finally got Star Wars' live-action debut of Ahsoka Tano, the iconic character who rose to fame in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Actress Rosario Dawson definitely thrilled fans with her debut on The Mandalorian, but like so many things with the show, it's worth exploring the deeper Star Wars lore behind this character mainstream fans are just now discovering. So if you just watched The Mandalorian Chapter 13 and are wondering "Who is Ahsoka Tano?" and "How does she fit into Star Wars?" Allow us to explain.
The Lost Padawan
Ahsoka Tano made her debut in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, which is set in the span of years between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. At that time, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were leading generals in the Clone Wars, helping the Republic battle the Separatists and Droid Army. The Jedi Council felt that the increasingly powerful (and reckless) "General Skywalker" needed the balance of a young Padawan learner to train - that Padawan was Ahsoka.
During the Clone Wars, Ahsoka and Anakin went from a reluctant student-teacher relationship to a deep almost familial bond. However, things fell apart when Ahsoka was caught in a dark side plot to frame her for sabotage and murder. Ahsoka was put on military trial by Admiral Tarkin and expelled from the Jedi Order; even though she was ultimately cleared of the charges, the Jedi Order's lack of faith in her shook Ahsoka emotionally, and she could not see fit to return to the order - or her master. Even though she was one of the greatest heroes of the Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano faded into obscurity as the larger Skywalker Saga unfolded.
A Warrior's Path
Even though Ahsoka left the Jedi, she did not stop serving the light side of The Force. By the time the Clone Wars ended, and Revenge of the Sith was unfolding, Ahsoka was wandering the galaxy, trying to find her own new path. She helped Bo-Katan Kryze liberate Mandalore from Darth Maul's rule, in the great Siege of Mandalore. Thanks to a warning and assistance from Maul, Ahsoka was able to survive Darth Sidious' Order 66 plot, which killed her fellow Jedi off. With her brigade of clone soldiers corrupted or dead, Ahsoka followed Captain Rex to go into hiding during the years of The Empire's rule. This all took place during the recent 6th and final season of Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Twilight of the Apprentice
Ahsoka hid in the Outer Rim, on the planet Thabeska, and the moon of Raada. She continued being drawn into conflicts against the Empire and other evil forces, eventually being recruited into the Rebellion by Bail Organa. By the time of Star Wars Rebels she became the Rebel operative "Fulcrum," Ahsoka was drawn to helping Jedi Kanan Jarrus guide Ezra Bridger, a powerful Force-sensitive kid, and rebel operative. That path led to Ahsoka having to face both Maul and Darth Vader in an epic duel at a Sith Temple, as Ahsoka had to accept the truth of what Anakin had become.
After surviving her duel with Vader, Ahsoka continued to fight with Rebels crew. She helped Sabine Wren and Bo-Katan gather forces to retake Mandalore; she also helped Kanan, Ezra, and co. face Grand Admiral Thrawn, who had been called in by the Emperor to thwart their growing rebellion. Ahsoka and the Rebels crew couldn't defeat Thrawn, so Ezra sacrificed himself to warp Thrawn's ship into deep space, where the Imperial mastermind would be lost.
Star Wars Rebels ended Ahsoka's story on the note that she would search deep space to find and recover Ezra.
After the Empire: Hunting Thrawn
In The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi, we learn that Ahsoka is on a distant forest planet, trying to defeat an authoritarian magistrate who is terrorizing the people. She teams up with Mandalorian Din Djarin and defeats the magistrate, and Ahsoka gets one step closer to her true mission: tracking down Thrawn. It seems the Imperial Grand Admiral is back from deep space - and Ahsoka has a major grudge with him to settle.
The Rise of Rey1comments
The Mandalorian is set decades before the events of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, but by the time of The Rise of Skywalker, we know that Ahsoka is still alive and active. When Rey and Ben Solo face the resurrected Emperor Palpatine on Exegol, Ahsoka is one of the Jedi who reaches out to Rey through the Force and gives her the power needed to beat the Emperor.
Thanks to The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano is now much more than a cult-hero of the Star Wars Saga.