At the end of season 5 of The Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano walked away from the Jedi Order and never looked back again.
In the aftermath of being framed for bombing the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and being abandoned by the Jedi, excluding her own master, Ahsoka grew increasingly disillusioned with the Jedi Order. Coincidentally, the person to frame her, her friend Bariss Offee, did it because she too had grown disillusioned with the Jedi Order too. Bariss thought the Jedi were becoming political pawns and were no longer the peace keepers they were supposed to be.
Not only was Ahsoka blamed for the bombing at the Jedi Temple, but she was also accused of murder. Ahsoka was put on trial by the Jedi Council and sentenced to death. In the aftermath of these events, Anakin openly supported his Padawan and carried out the investigation to prove her innocence, exposing the real culprit to be Bariss Offee. Although a few prominent members of the council, including Obi Wan Kenobi, Plo Koon and Yoda did believe in her innocence, it was of no use. The abandonment by her own kind left Ahsoka emotionally scarred. Everything she loved and stood for quickly crumbled and she realized that the Jedi were fickle and untrustworthy.
Anakin proved Ahsoka’s innocence and saved her from execution. The Jedi Council asked her to return, and offered her the rank of Jedi Knight, but only a few of them properly apologized to her. Mace Windu seemed completely unapologetic for the treatment Ahsoka received, and instead claimed that it was all the will of the force. However, Ahsoka refused to return and walked away. This was just the beginning of her journey as a force wielder, but no longer as a Jedi, rather, as a citizen. She never let go of the force, and in many ways, behaved more like a Jedi on different occasions than many Jedi did themselves. She had the clarity most of them had lost by the end of Episode 3.
Ahsoka fought for the Republic again in Season 7 of The Clone Wars and played a huge role during the “Siege of Mandalore”. She faced many powerful opponents including Darth Maul and Darth Vader, as well as many inquisitors along the way. Ahsoka also fought tooth and nail to rid the galaxy of the Empire, and played the role of “Fulcrum” during the Rebellion, working secretly to help aid the scattered group of Rebels that eventually grew to defeat the Empire. Along the way, Ahsoka’s wisdom and her powers as a force wielder have clearly grown more powerful. But none of it would have been possible if she hadn’t left the Jedi Order. Not only could Ahsoka have died during Order 66, but had she stayed with the Jedi, it’s possible that seeing Anakin’s fall up close and the deterioration of the Jedi as a whole would have pushed her closer to the dark side as well.
Leaving allowed Ahsoka to listen to her own heart and figure out what the force meant to her. The Jedi were blinded by the dark side during events of Revenge of the Sith, something Yoda later admitted as well. Perhaps her greatest act of mercy as a Jedi was during Order 66. She refused to kill any clones, and saw each of them as good soldiers of the Republic, despite the fact that they had tried to kill her. It showed that the light in her was brightest at a time when the galaxy was enveloped in darkness.
While her time alone was often lonely, she survived and did more good for the galaxy as a citizen. Leaving the Jedi Order was just one step in her journey. Perhaps staying would have pushed her away from the force. Instead, she forgave everyone and carried on gracefully. The person she is today is the kind Anakin would have always wanted her to become. She is now, as much, or even more so the legacy of Anakin Skywalker than Luke was and is. She’s knew him closely, and every good deed she does in some ways reflects on her master’s teachings. Ahsoka being alive and continuing to defend life is a symbol of the good in Anakin Skywalker. Even Vader couldn’t take that away. In Ahsoka, Anakin left behind a living embodiment of the good in him, the good that eventually overcame the dark side.
Ahsoka’s journey continues in Ahsoka, premiering later this year. Fans can be sure that Dave Filoni has big plans for the character he so carefully crafted over the years.