Star Wars: Ahsoka is scheduled to debut on Disney+ on August 23, 2023, and there’s a legitimate concern that some folks aren’t going to have a clue what’s going on. While I’d certainly recommend watching Star Wars: Rebels to prepare and binging as much of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as you have time for, there’s probably a LOT of other stuff you may be watching right now. I totally get it! And that’s why I’m doing this series of short “prep notes” articles for you! Think of them as the CliffsNotes for all the Star Wars people and things you may want to know before watching Ahsoka. Let’s start with Ahsoka herself and her long-time friend Captain Rex.
Ahsoka Tano is a central character in the Clone Wars series, introduced as an adolescent Jedi Padawan assigned to Anakin Skywalker. She grows a lot throughout the series, becoming a respected warrior, leader, and battle strategist. During Clone Wars, Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order after being acquitted of a crime that she had been framed for by one of her Padawan peers. Because of that ordeal, she lost faith in the Order.
In spite of leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka carries the best of the Jedi principles with her when it comes to helping others. We see this in the final season of Clone Wars when she leads a battalion of Clones to aid the Mandalorians during the Siege of Mandalore. The Galactic Republic had chosen not to send forces to that conflict because of Mandalore’s neutrality during the Clone Wars. Ahsoka was no longer bound by the Republic, though, and she is delighted when her former master, Anakin, hooks her up with clone troops and equipment to help her defend Mandalore.
Later, Ashoka aids the growing resistance against the Empire in the years leading up to the story told in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. We see this in the Rebels series, set in the years during which rebel cells across the galaxy united to become the Rebel Alliance. Ahsoka operated under the codename Fulcrum, hiding her voice and appearance to provide intel and missions to rebel cells. When the crew of the rebel ship the Ghost ran into some trouble, their droid sent a message to Fulcrum asking for help. Ahsoka comes in person to help, after which she hands off her Fulcrum responsibilities and works more directly with the Ghost crew.
During Rebels, Ahsoka confronts Darth Vader on Malachor. During that encounter, she confirms what she had feared: that Darth Vader was her former master, Anakin Skywalker. Ahsoka nearly dies during that encounter, choosing to sacrifice herself so that others can get away safely. But a couple of years later, Ezra Bridger of the Ghost crew is able to save her in a bizarre deus ex machina kind of way through a mysterious realm in the Force called the World Between Worlds. Ahsoka then returns to Malachor in her timeline, but we don’t yet have the story of where Ahsoka goes after that or what she does up until a few years after the Rebellion. That’s when we see her next during the Rebels epilogue, and it’s where the Ahsoka series kicks off.
We’ve now seen Ahsoka in several places beyond Clone Wars and Rebels. Her canon has been extended through Tales of the Jedi, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, and some children’s stories. More of her adventures after Order 66 were captured in the novel Star Wars Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston. (Fun fact: Ashley Eckstein, the actor behind the animated Ahsoka in Clone Wars and Rebels, also narrates the audiobook for that novel!) We even heard Eckstein voice Ahsoka in Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, as one of the Force users calling out to Rey.
If you’ve watched Star Wars: The Mandalorian, you know Ahsoka has already made the leap into live action, portrayed by Rosario Dawson. In The Mandalorian, Ahsoka is pursuing Grand Admiral Thrawn, formerly of the Galactic Empire. That’s the basic setup going into the Ahsoka series. In a later prep notes installment, I’ll give you some notes on Thrawn and why Ahsoka may be searching for him.
You may have heard the buzz speculating whether we’ll see Rex in the Ahsoka series. In the Clone Wars series, Captain Rex is one of the Advanced Recon Commando (ARC) troopers, an elite group of clone soldiers that serve the Galactic Republic. Specifically, Rex is captain of the 501st Legion (which shares a name with the 501st Legion fan organization known for its screen-accurate costumes and charitable work). Anakin Skywalker commands the 501st with Ahsoka serving as second in command.
Over their years serving together, Ahsoka and Rex form a strong bond, one that is key to her being able to save him (and herself) from Order 66. Ahsoka goes on to leverage that bond with Rex when calling upon him to help the Ghost crew with a mission during Rebels. After that, Rex is persuaded to join the rebellion against the Empire. It is now canon that the rebel with the white beard that appears on Endor during Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is actually Rex.
That’s your prep notes for Ahsoka and Rex, but keep an eye out for another article coming soon from our Senior Editor Brandy Brown that goes more into Ahsoka’s journey and what makes her such a compelling character. Next week, keep an eye out here at Couch Soup for my prep notes for Star Wars: Rebels characters Hera Syndulla, Chopper, and the Ghost.