The excitement in Ahsoka may come in fits and starts, but watching Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) trade barbs with the dismissive Senator Xiono (Nelson Lee) is slowly becoming one of the series’ most exhilarating highlights — and leading to some very revealing Star Wars moments.
After Hera goes rogue to thwart the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), she gets into hot water with New Republic leadership. Ahsoka’s seventh episode, “Dreams and Madness,” brings Hera before the Senate oversight committee, of which Xiono is a member. Xiono’s attempts to suspend Hera’s command are, fortunately, thwarted by a last-minute assist from Senator Leia Organa (who’s been pulling strings behind the scenes for a while now). But Hera’s insubordination is actually the least of the New Republic’s worries. It’s Xiono’s attitude toward the Imperial Remnant, the overarching antagonist of Star Wars’ Mando-verse, that presents a much bigger threat to this fledgling democracy.
The root of Hera and Xiono’s enmity stems from the issue of the Imperial Remnant. As we’ve seen in Ahsoka’s predecessor, The Mandalorian, the Remnant has been steadily growing in influence and strength. While the New Republic rebuilds the galaxy by rehabilitating ex-Imperial soldiers, generals like Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) are establishing new strongholds in the Outer Rim. The return of Thrawn would essentially give these warlords a rallying point through which to resurrect the Empire — and given all we know about the rise of the First Order, this reality isn’t far off at all.
Of course, Senator Xiono can’t see the future, but his unwillingness to admit that there’s any threat to the Republic at all is still immensely troubling. He denied the possibility of Thrawn’s return in Ahsoka Episode 3, and in Episode 7, his delusion extends to Moff Gideon. At this point in the timeline, Gideon has already revealed his forces on the planet Mandalore. He was defeated by Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), though, and Xiono is quick to write him off as “a warlord acting on his own.”
“There is no proof of any coordination between the scattered and dwindling number of Imperial forces,” the senator boasts. “There is no proof of a greater conspiracy, and thus no immediate threat to this Republic.” If only that were true.
Moff Gideon may be dead and gone, but the dogma he swore by is still a danger to the galaxy. The problem is, no member of Senate leadership is taking the threat seriously. Not even Chancellor Mon Mothma — who’s meant to keep senators like Xiono in line — is willing to entertain any of Hera’s anxieties. From the outside looking in, it seems like a product of her own personal paranoia. And as Xiono continues to belittle her concerns, one has to wonder whether Gideon was ever a blip on anyone’s radar.
Star Wars continues to weave a very cautionary tale, and unfortunately, we already know the ending. But how much of a threat are the Imperial warlords, really? Thrawn’s return could finally set the record straight, but either way, it’s not looking good for the New Republic.