Star Wars rhymes and so does Ahsoka

Ahsoka season 1. Image courtesy
Ahsoka season 1. Image courtesy /

George Lucas famously said that Star Wars rhymes. “It’s like poetry… Every stanza kind of rhymes with the last one.” It’s less about building and more about circling back. How does what came before breathe new insight into what comes now—and next? For our characters, but also us, the viewers?

It’s a statement that’s been hashed out time and again—some find it helpful, some find it less so. But for me, Lucas’ reflection holds an important key to how we might approach the Star Wars saga. These rhymes aren’t about Easter eggs or foreshadowing or character development, though they certainly can contain all of those things.

For me, these so-called rhymes are about emotions, about remembering how we felt—how characters felt—in other moments on the timeline, moments that mirror the present, even if darkly. After all, Star Wars is a story that is meant to make us feel.

That’s what poetry does, too.

Ahsoka certainly had plenty of rhyming moments. Let’s look at five of them—the rhymes, the emotions, and what we might be invited to consider for ourselves.

1. They’re no Jedi.

That much is clear to viewers and New Republic crewmen alike. All the same, as the series begins, these false Jedi, Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, are allowed to board the New Republic cruiser. We quickly see that Captain Hayle’s bravado is poorly placed, as he earns himself a lightsaber through the gut and the deaths of his entire crew.

The Phantom Menace also begins with two Jedi—real ones, in fact—boarding a Trade Federation Battleship. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi also arrive, cloaked and hooded, on a mission. The visual parallels are intentional.

But I was more struck by Baylan’s slow and steady slaughter of New Republic officers as he moved down the pristine hallways of the cruiser. This very deliberate, confident movement evoked in me the same dread I felt watching Darth Vader board the Tantive IV in the opening moments of A New Hope. Vader, too, was no Jedi—not anymore—and unlike Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, he took what he wanted by force.

But where Lord Vader failed, Lord Baylan succeeded in successfully extricating the captive, Morgan Elsbeth. And not unlike those Death Star plans secreted away in R2-D2, Elsbeth had within her coveted knowledge needed to secure the fate of the Empire.

These echoes of The Phantom Menace and A New Hope give Baylan and Shin’s entrance that much more gravitas. What begins with curiosity quickly shifts to dread at the lengths these characters will go to secure information.

2. I’m counting on you to be my only hope.

Those plans hidden within R2-D2 come with an iconic message: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” That blue-tinted holographic message is the catalyst for Luke Skywalker’s own adventure, his own steps into a wider world.

Luke doesn’t know Leia; he doesn’t know the stakes. But old Ben does. He has a past with Leia Organa; he’s witnessed firsthand the evil of the Empire. And seeing that little holographic message is enough to get him out of his sandy hovel and bring another young Skywalker along for the ride.

How could we not view Ezra Bridger’s own holographic message in Ahsoka’s first episode against this backdrop? It’s clear that Sabine Wren has watched this tape before. Like Obi-Wan, she has a history with this blueish figure giving the message. She knows, too, what the stakes are, having participated in them herself.

But like Luke, she’s antsy to break out of her quiet, boring life. And like Leia, Ezra’s holographic form gives us viewers a sense of the stakes at play. We want to help Leia. We want to help Ezra. Why? Because they’re counting on us. We’re their only hope.

3. The Force is my ally.

Ezra says these words with a grin as he refuses to take back his old lightsaber. He doesn’t need that weapon—at least, not in the seventh episode of Ahsoka—to defeat the attacking Stormtroopers.

The swamp-bound Jedi Muppet Yoda speaks these same words in The Empire Strikes Back. “For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is.” Yoda says these words to Luke as the younger Skywalker struggles to lift his X-Wing from the muck. But more importantly, he says these words to remind Luke that the Force is more than a magic trick, a swashbuckling tool for adventure seekers. It binds all living things—and it necessarily demands patience and trust.

Ezra demonstrates what that looks like in battle, but so does Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One. “I’m one with the Force. The Force is with me.” He doesn’t need a lightsaber. He doesn’t even need to see. The Force is clearly his ally—and how powerful, yet humble, he is as a result.

Ezra’s refusal to take his lightsaber was disappointing to some fans. But the humility and determination, the trust in himself and in the Force demonstrated by this decision, echoes the actions of Yoda, Chirrut, and others. We’re reminded that the Force is more than a weapon.

It is everything.

4. Rain hellfire.

In the final episode of Star Wars Rebels, Grand Admiral Thrawn forces Ezra’s surrender by the threat of an orbital bombardment of his home on Lothal. As a result, Ezra boards Thrawn’s ship, the Chimaera. While Thrawn gets what he wants—Ezra’s surrender—he also gets what he doesn’t expect: a whole host of space whales, aka the purrgil, wrapped around his bridge. His supposed checkmate sends him and Ezra to a galaxy far, far away.

We glimpse echoes of that again in the season one finale of Ahsoka. Thrawn opens fire on our heroes and ultimately on the temple that had served as his base. The gambit only partially succeeds. Ahsoka and Sabine are stranded, but again, Ezra finds his way onto the Chimaera and back to his own galaxy, where he will inevitably play a role in Thrawn’s downfall.

Is it wise to blast your enemies without discretion? Thrawn is usually so calculated. We see in The Last Jedi what such a bombardment got Kylo Ren. He wasted his time trying to kill a Jedi who wasn’t even there while his real prey escaped.

Blind fury leads to poor choices.

5. The space between.

Ahsoka season one ends with the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker watching Ahsoka and Sabine start their new life on Peridea. He smiles sadly. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin watched in sorrow as Ahsoka walked away from the Jedi Order. We saw Darth Vader, too, in the final moments of the last episode of that series, travel to a planet of ice and snow to try and find his lost apprentice. Instead, he finds only her lightsaber—which he ignites and then pockets.

There’s a longing in the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka—a longing for what was and what never could be. There’s ongoing mourning for the loss of that friendship. We see it in The Clone Wars, in their duel in Rebels, and even now in Ahsoka. Would that things had gone differently!

And yet, Anakin is clearly proud of his apprentice. Ahsoka still speaks highly of him. And so this final scene reminds me of the final moments of Obi-Wan Kenobi, where Kenobi’s own lost master appears once more as a Force ghost. And with that appearance, hope: hope for that relationship, for all broken relationships between masters and apprentices, between friends.

What Star Wars rhymes did you see in Ahsoka?