Ahsoka is Undermining the Most Important Cornerstone of Star Wars Canon
If anyone can wield the Force, what does that mean for the Jedi Order?
“If that's true, then why doesn't everyone use it?” Sabine quips.
A valid question, especially given the saga’s evolving ideas about Force sensitivity.
Ahsoka is not the first Star Wars story to try and make sense of the Force, how it works, or how Jedi and Sith are able to use it at will. The title character is using the same rhetoric we’ve heard from the likes of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) in the Star Wars prequels, and from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness) in the original trilogy. Saying that the Force resides in every living thing is like saying water is wet — but Ahsoka skirts tradition by suggesting that anyone can be taught to harness it, not only those with off-the-chart midichlorian readings.
Of course, it does help to be at least a little Force-sensitive. And disciplined. But Ahsoka posits that it’s all just a matter of practice. “Training and focus are what truly define someone’s success,” she explains.
With one simple remark, Ahsoka brings the Star Wars saga one step closer to democratizing its most exclusive currency. The complex inner workings of Force sensitivity have always given the franchise a certain level of mystique. It’s the very thing that fuels its central Chosen One narrative; the very thing that makes Jedi so special. As Professor Huyang (David Tennant) explains later, only those with a tangible aptitude for the Force are accepted in the Jedi Order. Sabine’s talent falls short of even the most pedestrian padawan learner, and by that logic, it doesn’t make much sense to train her in the Jedi way. In spite of that, though, Ahsoka still believes in her ability to (eventually) move a cup with her mind.
It definitely makes sense for our resident ex-Jedi to feel that way, but it also re-ups a persistant new theme in the franchise. After The Last Jedi tried to reintroduce the mysterious Rey (Daisy Ridley) as a “nobody” — unattached to the legacy of the Skywalkers, or to any notable lineage whatsoever — the Star Wars fandom latched hard onto the idea that (gasp!) anyone really can wield the Force. Such radical ideals were quickly put to bed with The Rise of Skywalker, which connected Rey to the most powerful Sith that’s ever lived, then made her an honorary Skywalker for good measure.
Such a wild pivot wasn’t exactly necessary, but it speaks to the franchise’s discomfort with leveling the playing field in any significant way. And that may be frustrating to some, but not everyone can walk the path of the Jedi. Not everyone should be expected to, either.
There’s a reason why Ahsoka resists the Jedi label in her self-titled series, even where it pertains to Sabine’s training. It’s not easy to become one, and the rules that govern the Order have created countless problems for the galaxy. But the elitism that once kept the Jedi on top, while outdated to some, is actually very necessary for this particular saga.
Star Wars is built on the backs of a chosen few. Yes, the Force resides in everyone and everything, but not everyone should be able to access it. Making it a matter of training and discipline isn’t just confusing to audiences; it retroactively makes Force wielders obsolete.
In Chosen One narratives (of which Star Wars definitely is), there has to be a certain level of exclusivity. Someone has to be special — but that, in turn, encourages a diversity of skill in characters that don’t have that same talent. What would Star Wars be if Han Solo’s expert piloting skills were chalked up to his aptitude with the Force, or if Din Djarin’s unwavering resilience were a product of Jedi training, not his Mandalorian upbringing? Sabine is a compelling enough character as she is, and Ahsoka even acknowledges that fact. “I don’t need Sabine to be a Jedi,” Ahsoka tells Huyang. “I need her to be herself.”
That’s a fantastic sentiment, but it doesn’t really make sense under the circumstances.