With ongoing rumors that former Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee could return in a future Star Wars project, it’s impossible not to look back on her story and lament at how tragic it really is.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5, Episode 20: “The Wrong Jedi,” it was revealed that Barriss, angry with the Jedi and desperate for revenge, framed Ahsoka Tano for crimes against the Galactic Republic. This revelation in turn caused Ahsoka to leave the Jedi Order, showing that two people raised in a similar environment sometimes react to the same negative feelings very differently.
Barriss was painted as the villain of this story arc and was ultimately and rightfully punished for her crimes against the Jedi Order and the Republic. But there’s a reason she and Ahsoka were so closely linked in early Clone Wars episodes, and why the two found themselves on opposite sides of the disastrous conflict at the end of Season 5.
At the start of Clone Wars, Ahsoka and Barriss were heading down the same path — both in training to become Jedi, both thrust into a war they were far too young to have to endure. The Jedi’s regimen was remotely the same across the board despite each master and learner having unique relationships, lessons, and trials. Ahsoka and Barriss were both taught the Jedi way was the only way. Over time, both came to realize this wasn’t actually true.
Both became disillusioned by the Jedi Order. However, one resorted to the darkest of paths, while the other, despite no longer feeling she could follow the path forced upon her, walked away without sacrificing her attachment to the light.
These two very similar Jedi, discouraged by the same downfall of the institution in which they were raised, took opposite paths away from everything they’d previously known. Barriss turned to evil deeds. Ahsoka remained as good as they come.
And that is the most tragic part of all this — that Barriss, dissatisfied with those who’d raised her, could have simply walked away. Instead, she turned to anger, violence, destruction — the very things Jedi were supposed to refute.
Ahsoka is the hope to counter this, however. She, too, could have gone the way her master Anakin Skywalker eventually did. But she didn’t; she held onto her beliefs that the Jedi’s true purpose was to help heal the galaxy, even as she walked away from the Order itself. She proved that one could still be a beacon of light even without an organization of power behind her.
Ahsoka Tano is, as she has always been and will continue to be, an example of what it truly means to be a Jedi. Even if she doesn’t identify as one any longer.
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