Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Mandalorian season 3.
Between the epilogue in the Star Wars Rebels series finale and The Mandalorian season 2 episode “The Jedi,” it has been clear for a while now that there is a story to tell about Ahsoka Tano after the fall of the Empire.
That story will continue with the Ahsoka television series. Ahsoka seems like it is much more heavily connected to Rebels than it is to The Mandalorian, yet The Mandalorian season 3 did feature several important developments that help to set up Ahsoka.
When Din Djarin and Grogu were traveling through hyperspace in “Chapter 17: The Apostate,” Grogu saw the outline of giant creatures flying alongside them. These creatures are called purrgil and were first introduced in Star Wars Rebels.
They are essentially giant space whales who have the rare ability to travel through hyperspace. Jedi Ezra Bridger formed a unique connection with them. The purrgil later played an integral role in helping liberate Lothal from Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Empire.
The purrgil were summoned to the planet Lothal by a signal from the Ghost. The purrgil followed this signal and proceeded to destroy Thrawn’s fleet and the Imperial blockade around Lothal. The Imperial threat on Lothal ended when the purrgil jumped into hyperspace, their tentacles wrapped around Thrawn’s flagship, and with Thrawn and Ezra onboard.
Seeing the purrgil in The Mandalorian hints that they will appear in Ahsoka. Thrawn and Ezra are confirmed to be returning, so Ahsoka will need to explain where the purrgil took Thrawn and Ezra after Rebels, and where Thrawn and Ezra have been since. The purrgil may even be the key to finding Ezra.
“Chapter 21: The Pirate” featured a shocking Star Wars Rebels cameo when Garazeb Orrelios appeared at the New Republic outpost on Adelphi. Zeb was revealed to be a member of the Adelphi Rangers alongside Carson Teva.
The other surviving members of the Ghost crew in Rebels (Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla, Chopper, and Ezra) appeared in the Ahsoka trailer and are confirmed to be playing an important role in the series. It remains to be seen if Zeb will be in Ahsoka helping his old friends, but The Mandalorian does set up that Zeb is a ranger of the New Republic.
His New Republic connections might prove useful in the search for Ezra or in the fight against Thrawn. If Zeb isn’t in Ahsoka, then The Mandalorian explains his absence and that he is busy with the Adelphi Rangers.
The state of the New Republic
The Mandalorian season 3 took time to explore the current state of the New Republic, particularly during “Chapter 19: The Convert” and “Chapter 21: The Pirate.” These episodes showed that the New Republic is trying their best to move the galaxy forward from years of Imperial tyranny and oppression.
Unfortunately, their eagerness to move forward means that the threat of Imperial remnants are being ignored and excessive bureaucracy is stopping the New Republic from helping planets who are under attack.
These factors are making it easier for Thrawn to rise again without the New Republic noticing or doing anything about it. This is part of the reason why Ahsoka has to be the one to lead the fight against Thrawn as the New Republic is too distracted and overwhelmed to see what is really happening.
The Imperial Shadow Council
“Chapter 23: The Spies” answered several Moff Gideon questions, including that he was working with a group known as the Imperial Shadow Council, who were first established in the Aftermath novels by Chuck Wending. One of the members of the Shadow Council is Captain Gilad Pellaeon. He confidently heralded the return of Thrawn and that Thrawn would be the key to revitalizing the Empire.
This is clearly setup for Thrawn’s return in Ahsoka and will change the dynamics of the Shadow Council. Moff Gideon and the other warlords were all vying for power and did not have a clear leader. Thrawn will undoubtedly become the undisputed leader of the Shadow Council, especially now that Moff Gideon is dead and cannot challenge Thrawn.
Even if the Shadow Council is not shown meeting in Ahsoka, there is a good chance that Pellaeon will appear given his close association with Thrawn and since he has already made his live-action debut in The Mandalorian.
Pellaeon told the Shadow Council to not reveal their true strength until Thrawn returned. He probably knows at least some of what Thrawn has planned (some of which will likely be seen in Ahsoka) and does not want the rest of the Shadow Council to get in the way of this.
Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian are streaming on Disney+. Ahsoka will debut on Disney+ this August.