15 Years Later, Dave Filoni Is Still Making the Same Star Wars Blunder

How many times can one character cheat death?

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka

From the moment Ahsoka Tano was first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it felt like she was living on borrowed time. The character started out as one destined for death: it was the only way to explain her absence in films like Revenge of the Sith and George Lucas’ original trilogy. Ahsoka was firmly set on the path to becoming a Jedi, after all, so the Jedi Purge that bookended the Star Wars prequels was inevitably going to affect her.

For Lucas himself, it was always the plan to kill Ahsoka. But Dave Filoni, Lucas’ apprentice and Ahsoka’s co-creator, saw another way forward for the character. “I’ve always been a bit more into the ‘Ahsoka Lives’ camp, and George has been very full-on in the ‘Ahsoka Dies’ camp,” Filoni said in 2013. Ahsoka’s departure from the Jedi Order in the Clone Wars episode “The Wrong Jedi” was Filoni’s way of saving her from an obvious fate. While the filmmaker had other ideas for Ahsoka’s eventual demise, they eventually went on to inspire a series of near-misses.

There may be a world in which Ahsoka fell with the Jedi Order or died by Vader’s hand, but it’s not one we’ll ever see. As the years went on and the character endeared herself to fans, Filoni found a way to weave her in and out of the saga at will. Finally, he found a way for Ahsoka to make the jump from animation to live-action, in her very own solo series to boot. And for the fans who’ve spent the past decade and change watching the character grow up, Ahsoka’s existence is just a testament to the character’s resilience.

For others, though, Ahsoka’s continued survival might speak to a deeper problem for the franchise.

Ahsoka has always been resilient, but her frequent brushes with death are starting to get a little stale.


Ahsoka’s prevalence makes plenty sense in this new era of Star Wars. She’s one of Filoni’s most beloved characters, and as he takes the reins of the newly-minted Mando-verse, he’s naturally going to bring her along for the ride. Ahsoka wasn’t the first Filoni creation to debut in a live-action Star Wars property — and she won’t be the last. Most have made a pretty seamless transition from their animated origins, and their followings have only grown since. But problems arise when these characters survive encounters that no one else would ever walk away from — and Ahsoka is rife with such conflicts.

It all began in the series’ two-episode premiere, which saw Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) make a lightspeed recovery from a lightsaber wound. Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) found herself face-to-face with a massive hyperspace ring in the latest episode of Ahsoka, “Fallen Jedi” — and while a handful of X-wings are destroyed when the Eye of Sion makes the jump to lightspeed, she miraculously survives the encounter. And after a duel with Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) sends her tumbling off a cliff, Ahsoka wakes up in what could be some limbo between her world and the afterlife.

How many times can Ahsoka’s heroes cheat death?


Given that this is quite literally the Ahsoka show, it’s safe to assume that our heroine will find her way back to the world of the living soon enough. But this would mark Ahsoka’s third official brush with death, after being poisoned (and resurrected) in The Clone Wars and pulled from a duel with Darth Vader in Rebels. She’s technically imbued with the living manifestation of the Light Side of the Force — long story, but check out Clone Wars episode “Altar of Mortis” for reference — so she may have some unspoken power on her side. But is that same power helping Sabine heal fatal wounds, or keeping Hera’s ship from spinning out into the far reaches of space?

That Filoni has found a way to continue Ahsoka, Hera, and Sabine’s adventures is definitely a feat — and a real reward for fans of the animated shows. Just as Ahsoka graduated from plucky padawan to sage mentor, so too has Filoni become a definitive shepherd for the Star Wars saga. But none of that means anything if he can’t let go of one of his most frustrating habits. It’s one thing to steer Ahsoka from the events of the Jedi Purge or other near-death experiences. Using the character to make sense of Star Wars’ most mystical themes is also a clever conceit. But Star Wars is nothing without stakes. The more Filoni tries to pull his creations back from the brink, the less their adventures could matter in the grand scheme. The saga already feels like its losing some of its juice, and this is just one of the things that could hurt it moving forward.

Ahsoka is currently streaming on Disney+.

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