Visual awe and spectacle, more than the greater expansion of Star Wars mythology, was largely the star of tonight’s series finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. However, the show’s multi-hyphenate Dave Filoni certainly left us scratching for more in regard to the further adventures of former Anakin Skywalker Padawan apprentice Ahsoka Tano.
And technically, no, Anakin did not make one last appearance tonight to speak with Ahsoka, nor was she transported to the events of Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith. However, Anakin’s dark alter-ego, Darth Vader, did put in an appearance during the final moments of “Victory and Death.” The empire’s reign is in full effect.
During the final season, some fans wondered whether Clone Wars would end just as Revenge of the Sith was beginning. But Filoni answered those questions well before tonight, taking us all the way into Episode III, past Count Dooku and General Grievous’ deaths (which are spoken about), up to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine giving Order 66 to purge the Jedi.
If anything, Clone Wars leaves us off heading into the 2014 animated series Star Wars Rebels, created by Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Carrie Beck. That series is set 14 years after the fall of the Republic in Revenge of the Sith and five years before A New Hope begins. Many continue to wonder whether Disney+ will bring back that series back for Season 5.
The final shots tonight see Ahsoka facing her crashed star destroyer on a moon. She is wearing her black cloak, and drops her lightsaber in the ground, a sign that she’s truly done with this Jedi nonsense even though she’s already left the order. Cut to sometime in the future where we see a bunch of snow-troopers and Stormtroopers scouring the area with Darth Vader. There is snow around the crashed Star Destroyer, and he finds the lightsaber of his former Padawan.
If you’ve followed Rebels, which takes place after Clones and before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope, you know that Ahsoka is the architect of the Fulcrum spies in that animated series, and she ultimately meets Darth Vader again and battles him during a pursuit for a holocron in the Sith Temple of Malchor in Rebels’ Season 2 finale “The Twilight of the Apprentice.”
In that episode, Vader tells her that Anakin Skywalker was weak and that he destroyed him. Ahsoka then tells him she’s going to avenge Anakin’s death. She slashes part of his helmet, and sees for a moment her former master. She is left for dead in that cliffhanger, but she ultimately survives as we see her again in Rebels, Season 4, Episode 13, “A World Between Worlds.”
Those last three minutes of Ahsoka looking at Clone helmets on spikes (a clear homage to the shot in The Mandalorian of Stormtrooper helmets on pikes), as well as the Vader scene, were by and large the aorta of tonight’s finale.
Earlier in the episode, as Rex and Ahsoka battle the clones who have turned against them, the unleashed Darth Maul destroys the Destroyer’s hyper-drive, creating damage to the ship and sending it hurdling toward a moon, the ship caught in its gravitational pull. When faced with the dilemma of killing the clones who Palpatine programmed against them, Ahsoka doesn’t have that bone in her body: She respects them too much. In facing them, Rex acts as though he’s taking Ahsoka hostage before they drop the platform lifts beneath most of the soldiers’ feet. Later on as Maul tries to escape in his ship, Ahsoka force-pulls it back, but eventually she eases, having mercy upon the Sith Lord, who was also a target of Order 66 (because the Clones can’t tell Jedis and Siths apart).
We’ll see Maul again (sans the title of Darth) in, yes, The Rebels’ two-part Season 2 finale “Twilight of the Apprentice.” The great cinematic visuals, in particular, Ahsoka skydiving through the Destroyer’s debris to catch onto the Y-Wing Rex is piloting, are the by far tonight’s biggest star.
For Filoni, the journey of the animated Clone Wars, on which he’s served as the animator, producer, scribe and supervising director, has been a 15-year one which yielded the first 2008 animated feature, then released by Warner Bros. That served as the pilot for the seven-season animated series. The first five seasons aired on Cartoon Network, Season 6 on Netflix, with the final season here on Disney+. The entire Clone Wars series began with George Lucas, pre-dating Disney’s $4.05 billion 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm.
When will we see Ahsoka Tano next? Likely in flesh form later this fall on Season 2 of The Mandalorian, on which Rosario Dawson will play her; Filoni serves as EP and episodic director on that series. Note, however, that Ahsoka will be significantly older in Mandalorian than in Rebels and Clone Wars as the bounty hunter Disney+ show takes place after 1983’s Return of the Jedi. After Deadline confirmed the news broken by Slash Film about Dawson playing Ahsoka, we separately heard that it’s not a series regular role, but an appearance at this point, so it remains to be seen how her character is further expanded going forward in the Star Wars universe.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.