Ahsoka Season 1 Finale Repeats Star Wars' Most Frustrating Mistake
Lucasfilm’s latest show goes out with a whimper.
To give credit where credit is due, Ahsoka did exactly what it said it would. After kicking its story off with the promise of bringing Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) back into the galactic fray, Ahsoka capped off its Season 1 finale with exactly that. Among the season’s final images are those of Thrawn looking ominously at the crimson-red surface of Dathomir, and Ezra reuniting with his old friend and former mother figure, Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who was given very little to do).
On paper, these moments should feel like the grand culmination of Ahsoka’s story. Instead, they’re a little hollow, just like the rest of Ahsoka Episode 8. The show’s finale doesn’t so much bring its story to a satisfying conclusion as end with a handful of vague promises that there’s still more to come. In doing so, Ahsoka succumbs to one of creator Dave Filoni’s worst habits.
When The Clone Wars was airing its original, five-season run, everyone assumed Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice, was destined to fall at the hands of her Jedi teacher, or as a result of his and Emperor Palpatine’s galactic takeover. Fans were surprised when an older Ahsoka was then reintroduced in Rebels, but still believed she would meet her end before the events of A New Hope. These assumptions were all based on existing Star Wars canon, and Filoni’s own acknowledgment that George Lucas never intended for Ahsoka to live that long.
But survive she has. Thanks to Rebels, The Mandalorian, and Ahsoka, Rosario Dawson’s plucky former Jedi has now outlived every major character from Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy, including Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. She isn’t the only character from Filoni’s Clone Wars who’s survived the Galactic Empire’s reign, either. Several of that show’s minor characters, like Bo-Katan Kryze and Cad Bane, have also been brought back as active players in Filoni and Jon Favreau’s ever-growing Mandoverse.
Individually, these returns might not seem like a problem. But collectively, they highlight an unwillingness on the part of Filoni to let go of his Clone Wars and Rebels stars, even after their stories reached their natural conclusions. In Ahsoka, Filoni continues that trend by not only focusing on far too many superfluous characters (looking at you, Jacen Syndulla) but ending the show with still-unresolved plot threads for all of its primary players.
Ahsoka’s Season 1 finale is one of the show’s best episodes. It’s propulsive and straightforward in a way that many of the series’ installments aren’t. But in its final 10 minutes, the episode makes a classic Dave Filoni mistake by refusing to wrap up any of its existing plot lines. The finale separates nearly all of its characters and leaves their stories in uncertain places. Nowhere is that clearer than in the episode’s final moments with Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno).
The two characters each appear just once in Episode 8. Baylan is shown looking toward the mountains of Peridea while standing near two giant stone statues of the Mortis Gods from The Clone Wars, while Shin is shown raising her lightsaber toward a group of faceless bandits. The two moments are clearly designed to tease what’s to come, but they’re mostly just vague and frustrating. The same goes for Sabine and Ahsoka’s final conversation on Peridea, which is comprised of generic statements about letting go and being where they’re supposed to be.
For years, Dave Filoni made a habit of keeping his characters’ stories going with half-promises about their futures, but in the Ahsoka Season 1 finale, that’s come back to haunt him. Rather than deliver a satisfying, concise conclusion to the show’s story, he’s given fans a collection of cliffhangers that make Ahsoka feel like little more than the prologue of a bigger crossover plot, which is an odd, disappointing way to describe an 8-hour TV series.
Ahsoka Season 1 is streaming on Disney+.