Ahsoka Episode 3 Reveals an Impossible Problem With Star Wars Canon

Ahsoka wants to do a lot, but it would benefit from shrinking its scope a little.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla in 'Ahsoka' Episode 3

If there’s one thing that seems to be on the mind of Ahsoka and its creator, Dave Filoni, it’s canon. The term has been a key piece of vocabulary among Star Wars fans ever since Lucasfilm banished the Expanded Universe from canon back in 2014. In the years since, nearly all the studio’s Star Wars titles have struggled to reckon with the enormity of the franchise’s setting. That fact was highlighted in the sequel trilogy, which does its best to ignore the massive political ramifications of its story.

As a result, fans have been left asking big questions for nearly a decade now, including how the galaxy transitioned from its seemingly peaceful rebirth at the end of Return of the Jedi to the fractured, conflict-ridden era seen in The Force Awakens. The Mandalorian has gone out of its way to try to explain that, and in its first three episodes, so has Ahsoka. The Disney+ series has already planted the seeds for the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn and exposed even more flaws in the New Republic’s infrastructure.

On top of all that, it’s also tried to bring the few lingering plot threads from Rebels into the live-action side of the Star Wars universe. In doing so, Ahsoka has felt less like a compelling space adventure and more like narrative spackle, used to fill in and cover up the holes and cracks in its franchise’s timeline.

Ahsoka wants to answer every question fans might have about its story, even when it doesn’t need to.


Ahsoka’s canonical concerns are clear in its third episode, “Time to Fly.” It’s a rollicking adventure that centers its climax on a lengthy dogfight, but it also spends several minutes on a superfluous meeting between Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), and several New Republic senators viewers have never met before. It also takes the time to introduce Hera’s son, Jacen Syndulla (Evan Whitten), in a bizarre scene that will likely confuse most viewers.

Later, Ahsoka Episode 3 spends several minutes relitigating Sabine Wren’s (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) worthiness as a Jedi Padawan after having already put the matter to rest in Episode 2. The problem with all these scenes is that they don’t feel like beats Ahsoka needs to hit. Instead, they feel like preemptive responses to Reddit posts and fan questions, like “Where is Jacen?” and “Why isn’t the New Republic helping Ahsoka and Sabine?” That’s especially true for the episode’s introduction of Jacen, which feels jammed in so that the few Rebels fans who remember he exists won’t ask where he is.

Even the episode’s key New Republic meeting falls flat, mostly because the conflict feels forced. Coming off Andor Season 1, it’s hard not to feel a sense of narrative dissonance watching a character like Mon Mothma, who’s been defined by her caution and vigilance, be so easily swayed by her obviously sketchy senators. Her presence is meant to create a sense of narrative cohesion between Lucasfilm’s current Star Wars projects, but it ultimately just reveals the problem with trying to bridge disparate titles like Andor and Ahsoka.

Mon Mothma’s cameo reveals a disappointing narrative dissonance between Ahsoka and Andor.


It is refreshing to see a Star Wars show actually grapple with the full scope of its setting. However, there’s a fine line between keeping a franchise’s wider canon in mind and letting it determine your every creative decision. Ahsoka struggles to maintain that delicate balance, with scenes like the repetitive discussions of Sabine’s skills feeling designed to quell the complaints of certain power-ranking-obsessed fans.

Even if you’re well-versed enough in Rebels lore to not be confused by the episode’s inclusion of Jacen and the Purrgil space whales, these moments still come across as clunky and awkward. They feel more like canonical requirements (i.e., boxes on a checklist) than dramatically compelling story beats. Unfortunately, Ahsoka Episode 3 reveals what can happen when a show feels pressured to constantly acknowledge superfluous canonical details.

To quote Star Wars fans’ favorite filmmaker, Rian Johnson, “a story is not a Wikipedia page.” Ahsoka would do well to remember that.

New episodes of Ahsoka premiere Tuesday nights on Disney+.

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