The Mandalorian may have just changed what we thought we understood about Ahsoka Tano's place in the post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars universe. Before her live-action debut in The Mandalorian's latest episode, fans last saw Ahsoka in the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. In an epilogue scene taking place after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, Ahsoka reunites with Sabine Wren to embark on a search for their missing friend, the young Jedi and Rebel agent Ezra Bridger. Fans assumed that the scene took place almost immediately after the Battle of Endor and that Ahsoka's appearance in The Mandalorian occurs five years after that. Dave Filoni, a producer of both series, says that may not be the case.
"That's not necessarily chronological," Filoni tells Vanity Fair. "I think the thing that people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion. You do [Episodes] Four, Five and Six and then One, Two, and Three. So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don't really know how much time has passed. So, it's possible that the story I'm telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I'm saying it's possible."
That's not a confirmation, but it does make sense, maybe even more sense than what we thought we knew, and it would also explain where Sabine Wren is while The Mandalorian is taking place. To make sure we're working with the same context here, let's lay out what we do know. Though Star Wars Rebels takes place mostly before A New Hope, the epilogue in the finale takes place some unspecified amount of time after Return of the Jedi. The Mandalorian begins five years after Return of the Jedi.
In the Rebels epilogue, Sabine's monologue implies that she'd been guarding Lothal for some amount of time to ensure the Empire didn't reclaim it, as a way of honoring Ezra's sacrifice. Many fans assumed that she'd stood guard over Lothal during the Galactic Civil War, and she may have. But knowing what we know now about how the Imperial Remnant remained active after the Battle of Endor, perhaps she remained on Lothal for a time after the Battle of Endor, maybe even years. That would mean that she's still on Lothal during the events of The Mandalorian, while Sabine is already out there looking for Ezra, who disappeared alongside Grand Admiral Thrawn. It's only later on, perhaps after receiving the information about Thrawn she was hoping to draw out of Magistrate Elsbeth, that Ahsoka reunites with Sabine as seen in the Rebels finale.
It's a theory for now, but Filoni's comments could even more fully solidify the idea of an Ahsoka Tano spinoff series. New The Mandalorian episodes debut on Fridays on Disney+