What happened to Ahsoka the White?

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

For fans of Star Wars animation, seeing the final scene of Star Wars Rebels come to life in the second episode of Ahsoka was significant. For me, at least, the epilogue to Rebels had always been memorable: something more than the story at hand, a scene rife with promise and potential and the power to stir the imagination to action.

But what comes next…? That’s what that epilogue always did for me. The adventure isn’t done yet. Our characters have more to say.

So, to see it in live action, in context—Sabine’s reflective stance before the image of her friends, her reunion with a stern, older Ahsoka, that Mandalorian helmet clutched at her hip and her hair trimmed short—it gave me chills. Because now we know that Sabine has real hope of finding Ezra, she had a real and challenging relationship with Ahsoka, and her Mandalorian identity—what had been so important to her throughout Rebels—had quite literally been put on a shelf.

But the live-action scene wasn’t a perfect translation from animation. Animated Ahsoka wore dazzling white robes and carried a tall, elegant staff in her hand. Live-action Ahsoka still wears her drab gray.

For Star Wars books and comics fans, tweaking character stories as they enter new mediums is nothing new. The final arc of The Clone Wars and “Resolve” in Tales of the Jedi altered Ahsoka’s previously canonized storyline from the young adult novel, Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston, putting her in different places with different people at different times.

So, why be bothered by a change in wardrobe?

To be honest, I’m not. Canon or not, conflicting plot points or not, the way I see it, adjustments and alterations to previously set characters can add layers and depth. Like differing accounts of the same fairy tale, our imaginations expand, ask new questions, and are challenged to hold even conflicting information about our beloved heroes all at once. We are invited to wonder aloud: What if…?

I know I’m making a big deal about a slight wardrobe change. But here’s why.

Ahsoka’s reappearance at the end of Rebels parallels Gandalf’s reappearance in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. We see a spiritual master cut down, left for dead, cast into a proverbial underworld, and then reemerge with new powers and perspective. As Gandalf the Gray plummeted into the depths of Moria engaged in battle with the Balrog, so too did Ahsoka journey ever deeper into the rubble of Malachor after battling with her former master, Darth Vader.

Hobbits and rebels alike assumed the worst.

We don’t yet know how Ahoska escaped Malachor or what she did between her escape and her encounter with Din Djarin on Calodan. But it’s safe to assume the journey was arduous: she had to make peace with knowing her once friend was now a Sith Lord and that her powers were not enough to save him. That’s certainly a spiritual journey as much as a physical and emotional one.

So, the white robes made sense. Ahsoka had overcome a demon or two and now stood before Sabine transformed, wiser and ready to reengage the galaxy. That worked well for the end of Rebels when the Ahsoka we saw was little more than a caricature of power and insight.

But none of us live our lives as caricatures. We don’t simply appear in a doorway for a few seconds of impressive glaring. Even the greatest spiritual masters must continue to do the work, muddle through life, and live in the literal and metaphorical gray of our world. And Ahsoka—the one we meet in live-action—embodies that constant struggle.

Is she still powerful and wise? Of course, she is—check out those lightsaber duels and her ability to unearth long-lost treasure. But she’s clearly still wounded—as we all are—and struggles to trust others, struggles to repair her past, and chart a new future with friends old and new.

Her gray robes make a lot of sense.

But still, I think we can hold Ahsoka the White next to Ahsoka the Gray, in our minds at least. Because what Ahsoka the White tells us about her character is that the spiritual awakening she seeks is already within her. The goodness, the wholeness, the love—she’s undergone her transformation, inevitably so, but continues to change and grow.

That’s just life—and it’s true of us as much as it’s true of Ahsoka, Sabine, Hera, or even Chopper. Our “final form” is already within us, glimmering, glistening, and shining through. Each day, each adventure is a chance to glimpse it from a new perspective.

And so, I’d like to think that we, the viewers, saw Ahsoka the Gray in live action. But Sabine—her apprentice, her friend, and certainly a source of growth and challenge—I’d like to believe that Sabine saw Ahsoka the White standing there in Lothal.

Because we all deserve someone who can already see us for who we are now—and the dazzling being we will ultimately become.