17 Years Later, a Forgotten Star Wars Invention Could Save a Doomed Character
“I want more life.”
Star Wars characters once confined to the animated TV shows have been appearing in the live-action Mando-verse by the bushel. There’s Ahsoka, obviously, and her old friends Hera, Sabine, and Chopper from Rebels. But Rebels isn’t where most fans know Ahsoka from; she made a name for herself as the spunky padawan at the center of The Clone Wars.
Because The Clone Wars was set decades ago, cameos from that era are looking extremely unlikely. However, a forgotten novel thrown out of the canon may provide a clever workaround to the inevitable problem of time’s passage.
In a flashback during Ahsoka Episode 5, a younger Anakin and Ahsoka find themselves in an old Clone Wars battle. At one point we briefly see Commander Rex, the clone trooper who became Ahsoka’s closest friend and ally. Fans were excited to see him appear in live-action, but the moment was a little underwhelming; there’s no word of where he is in the Ahsoka timeline. Given that he’s a clone soldier, he probably met his demise long ago, and that tiny little glimpse will be all we get.
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The cloning process makes a Rex cameo in Ahsoka’s main story a very slim possibility. All of the Republic’s clone soldiers were created with advanced aging technology, which was great for speeding their troops through puberty but not so helpful when it came to enjoying a cozy retirement. Rex is simply too old to appear in Ahsoka... unless his advanced aging could somehow be reversed.
In the 2006 novel Republic Commando: Triple Zero by Karen Traviss, we meet the Null-class Advanced Recon Commandos, early clones of Jango Fett considered “failures” because they weren’t pliable. Basically, they’re the Bad Batch before The Bad Batch, and one of these clones, Mereel Skirata, made it his mission to take back his lifespan.
“They used our genes against us, the ones that make us bond with our brothers, make us loyal, make us respect and obey our fathers—that’s what they manipulated to make us more likely to obey orders. They had to remove what made Jango a selfish loner, because that makes a bad infantry soldier,” Mereel wrote to his brother, Ordo. “There’s one thing I don’t know yet—and that’s how they controlled the aging process. That’s the key. They robbed us of a full life span.”
Mereel tried to fix the problem with the help of kidnapped Kaminoan scientist Ko Sai, but Palpatine also sought Ko Sai to help with his own life-lengthening mission. Sad story short, Ko Sai met her demise, and Mereel never got his cure.
This story, or one like it, could be given a happier ending in canon. Perhaps, through a clone-focused show like The Bad Batch, we could finally see some clones unlock the lifespans they deserve, allowing them to age at the same rate as the rest of the galaxy. The lives of clone soldiers remain underexplored in Star Wars, and the prospect of more stories focused on them is tantalizing.
Throughout The Clone Wars, Ahsoka evolved from treating the clones as nothing more than a manufactured tool to seeing them as close friends, compatriots, and even family. They deserve to live to see Ahsoka achieve greatness, and Rex, who she saved from Order 66, deserves this most of all. The Republic may have robbed the clones of their lives, but the New Republic could help restore them.