Photo credit: Lucasfilm/The Clone Wars
Did Ahsoka’s departure lead Anakin to the dark side?
Because of the uncanny friendship Anakin and Ahsoka had and the role her departure played in triggering his frustrations towards the Jedi, there’s one question that needs answering. Did Ahsoka’s departure lead Anakin towards the dark side?
Given the evidence, the possibility is perhaps it did, though only on a minor scale. Scenarios such as Shmi’s death, the slaughtering of the Tusken Raiders and Padmé’s death all served as contributors.
The Jedi council expelled Ahsoka from the order without a second thought. They didn’t think about the evidence and just assumed her guilt. Anakin’s pleas to them were ignored as council believed he was only trying to protect her.
In addition, look at the way Ahsoka abandoned Anakin when she left the order. To the audience, she didn’t abandon Anakin. She felt she couldn’t stay in an organization where her reputation would forever become tainted. Also, she felt Anakin’s plan, but she had to do what was right for herself and not for him.
Anakin had always struggled with abandonment even though he had left his mother willingly. Seeing Ahsoka leave was like a blow to the heart and his fear of loss is what Yoda and Obi-Wan feared would get the better of him. Years later, his spectre appears to Ahsoka and blames her for his turn to the dark side.
Years after leaving the Jedi Order and having survived Order 66, Ahsoka was left asking herself “What happened to Anakin after the Jedi Purge?” Was he dead? In hiding? She searched the Force for him but couldn’t find him, leaving her to assume he had died during the Purge.
When she teamed up with the Ghost crew, she felt something familiar in the Force. As she reached out, she felt the presence much stronger than before. She realized the presence was Anakin and she fainted into Kanan’s arms.
Still dealing with the shock of what she learned, she lied to Kanan and Ezra about whether she knew whose Force signature she and Kanan felt before she passed out. After the shock passed she looked for answers, leaving Ezra and Kanan with a task. She has them go looking for her friend and gives them the head of an old Clone Wars-era tactical droid. She tells the Force-sensitive duo, Zeb and Sabine to trust her friend.
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
For a few episodes, she disappeared before returning to journey with Ezra and Kanan to Malachor. There, she faced the truth she tried hard to believe wasn’t true: her beloved master became what he vowed to destroy.
She tried not to dwell on it as she faced him in combat. She tried to bring him back to the light. When he refused, she engaged him in combat, much to the devastation of Ezra. She sliced open part of Vader’s helmet and sees what she feared. She sees part of Anakin’s face and knows every piece of information she had was, in fact, true and her master had fallen to the dark side.
Vowing to avenge him, she fought him and her fate is left ambiguous until Season 4 where it was revealed she was alive. Long story short, not wanting to fail Ezra as she felt she failed Anakin, she and Sabine go in search of Ezra who had gone missing during a confrontation with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Ahsoka and Anakin shared a unique bond that should have lasted for years after the war. Instead, it was thrown into chaos and ruined in Palpatine’s bid to rule the galaxy. Ahsoka was left to pick up the pieces of a friendship that could have been saved had Palpatine not come up with a plan to get what he wanted.