Let’s talk about Tales of the Jedi and the Ahsoka novel

Tales of the Jedi. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Tales of the Jedi. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

I’m sure by now you might have seen a lot of discussion around the Tales of the Jedi short “Resolve” and the Ahsoka novel by E.K. Johnston. The word “retcon” is being tossed around a lot. I wanted to take a few moments to discuss what is happening and why some fans are very upset by this.

It’s about a certain character and why she’s important. This isn’t even really about retconning at all. It’s about active choices being made by the creators at Lucasfilm over and over again.

In one of the possibly biggest mistakes from Lucasfilm after the Disney acquisition (in my opinion at least), they came out and said that everything in canon was important. From the movies to the comics, it was all going to function equally together in a big Star Wars tapestry of storytelling. It’s natural for fans to think, “Okay, so everything going to be one big timeline. Got it.” That is what I personally got from it anyway.

This tripped out of the gate because of the very nature of Star Wars. With so many creators all having their hands in projects, there is simply no way that they’re not going to bump into each other. For me, I had to shift my perspective to stop looking at canon as history and more like mythology. For example, Homer and Ovid are going to have slightly different takes on the character of Odysseus in their respective works because they were two different people telling the story. Plot changes are inevitable.

Like I said though, this whole Tales of the Jedi and Ahsoka debate isn’t about plot changes even though it does tie into why people are upset.

One of the earliest novels of the new canon was Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston. In the book, Ahsoka Tano is in hiding on a rural farming planet after Order 66. But at one point she is forced to use her Jedi abilities to protect the villagers which outs her. An Inquisitor arrives to hunt her. Ahsoka defeats the Inquisitor and takes his kyber crystals which will eventually become her white lightsabers in Star Wars Rebels. She reaches out to Bail Organa to help move the survivors of the village to a new home. He asks her to join in his fight which she does to become Fulcrum.

Sound familiar? It’s the plot of the Tales of the Jedi episode “Resolve” almost beat for beat. Dave Filoni even states in an interview with the Nerdist that the story outline is the same one he gave to publishing years ago which I have to assume is the Ahsoka novel. To quote him in the article:

"“It was always the same story.”"

I cannot and will not begin to speak for other people. I can only speak to my opinions on this matter. Personally, I wasn’t upset that Tales of the Jedi had a similar story to Ahsoka. In my head, I can rationalize it as two separate adventures Ahsoka had and she has now faced two different Inquisitors while in hiding. Though, it does bare the question of why should I have to do this in the first place. Which brings me to the heart of the controversy.

I am upset at the active choice to not use Kaeden Larte in Tales of the Jedi.

Kaeden is a black queer woman in the novel who befriends Ahsoka over the course of the book. She developed romantic feelings for the Jedi in hiding, even saying she could kiss her after Ahsoka rescues her from Imperial imprisonment. This is where my headcanon that Ahsoka is asexual like me came from because Ahsoka just awkwardly shuffles on out of there. This would be my dumb Ace reaction to it too. It was one of the first times I ever felt seen in Star Wars before we got more Ace and Aromantic characters like Leox Gyasi and Vernestra Rwoh.

Ahsoka was an important novel as it featured marginalized people in the BIPOC and queer communities. I can only speak on the queer side of things here, but it is important to note over and over that Kaeden is a black woman. Here are some tweets from others who have their own perspective on the matter.


I’m upset at the choice that was made at Lucasfilm to create two new characters for “Resolve.” This is an active decision that Dave Filoni and the team made. Because remember, his words were, “It was always the same story.”

When the plot of “Resolve” was so close to the Ahsoka novel, then why not just make it an adaptation? Instead of giving us two new characters who are unnamed, light-skinned, and probably not queer, why not just use Kaeden and her sister?

The unnamed character stuff drives me crazy too. That feels so purposeful. Like they chose not to name the brother, sister, and Inquisitor so Lucasfilm can go, “See! It’s not a retcon! Totally different people.” It was especially enlightening to watch this livestream with Star Wars Explained. At the 12:42 mark, they said in the early screeners of the episode, these characters had names. Then in the episode that premiered, the characters are now nameless. Alex and Mollie wondered if this was a correction on Lucasfilm after seeing the backlash of how fans reacted to the leaks. Alex also brings up in the livestream that Filoni has spoken out about the importance of representation before. So all of this feels so weird that this happened.

When Ahsoka came out, it was at a time when we were under the understanding that apparently everything mattered. But it seems like every time Filoni touches a project that’s tied to books and comics, he changes them. Ahsoka was changed once before with the Siege of Mandalore. Kanan: The Last Padawan was changed with The Bad Batch, which is also important to note because Kanan, a person of color, has darker skin in Rebels but he’s now white in The Bad Batch. The Mandalorian changed parts of Cobb Vanth’s story.

Now with Tales of the Jedi, it feels like Filoni and his team went out of their way to not name the villagers to avoid the headache of the “retconning” argument. But don’t forget:

It was always the same story.

Again, I’m not upset that the plot changed slightly. That’s pretty much inevitable at this point. But it feels like there was an active choice to not used Kaeden and her sister in Tales of the Jedi. The question is why not use them since they’re there? What could have been a huge moment for queer and BIPOC communities to see a beloved book character on screen was instead pushed to the side. The reality is that not all Star Wars are equal as we were promised in the early days of the Disney acquisition. It’s actually a funnel as described in part 8 of this article. More people will see Tales of the Jedi instead of reading the Ahsoka novel. More people will see these two light-skinned nameless characters instead of a named queer black woman. That’s the nature of the beast. Anything on screen has more weight to it and will hit a bigger audience.

The creators at Lucasfilm could have embraced a queer black woman and put her on screen. Someone argued with me that maybe Dave didn’t feel like he could do Kaeden justice. First of all, that’s a BS argument. Daniel Jose Older isn’t queer, but he writes queer characters all the time in the High Republic because he put in the time, effort, and research to do so. Second of all, having Kaeden in Tales of the Jedi would actually open the door for her. It would have been a nice tease of, “Hey, you like this character? Go read Ahsoka to learn more about her!” It would add a synergy between the books and shows that, frankly, is getting more divided every time Filoni decides to run over them to do his own thing.

Kaeden means so much to marginalized fans in different ways. This could have been a celebration of her. Because of an active choice to not use her, it feels like a slap to the face for this queer woman. From what I’ve seen from other fans, they feel similar. It feels like Lucasfilm wants to keep people like us contained to the books and comics where the smallest parts of the fandom will see us. Thankfully, we’re getting change. Vel and Cinta are a huge step in the right direction. The Acolyte cast sounds stellar with its multiple BIPOC and queer leading actors.

For some reason though, Filoni continues to feel behind on this front. His choices do have consequences and affect fans. I hope going forward, he starts taking stuff like this to heart.

Because now apparently, Ahsoka lived on two farming planets, fought two inquisitors, and met Bail Organa two separate times about joining the Rebellion if the canon is in fact equal with books and shows. Wait, that can’t be right though.

Because it was always the same story.