One of the benefits of the Star Wars TV universe being set between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy is its ability to belatedly foreshadow. Snoke appeared out of nowhere in The Force Awakens, so The Mandalorian Season 2 showed us a bunch of failed Snoke clones. We know Palpatine will eventually return, so cloning technology ripples further throughout Mando Season 3.
But that handy technique isn’t limited to The Mandalorian. The upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka is already doing a lot to fill in blanks in the timeline. The show is set to feature multiple characters from the animated series Rebels, including fan favorites like Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren, and Grand Admiral Thrawn. But it turns out, Ahsoka might also be bringing a iconic space structure into live-action as well.
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In one key part of the latest Ahsoka trailer, we see Morgan Elsbeth (the villain from that Ahsoka-focused episode of The Mandalorian Season 2) activate a device that projects what looks like a star map surrounding her, Ahsoka, and new character Baylon Skoll (Ray Stevenson).
Many fans noticed a similarity between these holographic orbs and the star maps used in the non-canon video game Knights of the Old Republic. In the 2003 game, the maps were corrupted, and the player needed to find five to patch over the errors and locate something called the Star Forge.
The Star Forge is a massive automated shipyard created 30,000 years before the events of Star Wars by a powerful species known as the Rakata. Fueled by a nearby star, it could operate independently, pumping out fully constructed spaceships more or less forever. This makes it the perfect tool if you’re trying to overthrow a nascent republic.
After the release of Rise of Skywalker, the logistics of Palpatine’s huge Exegol fleet confused fans, leading some to theorize he had access to the Star Forge. If a map to the Forge is appearing in canon, it could explain how Palpatine was able to build such a massive navy without alerting anyone — and how Thrawn can secretly assist Palpatine during the events of Ahsoka.
A Star Forge appearance wouldn’t come out of nowhere. At the end of Rebels, Thrawn and Ezra Bridger ended up in the Unknown Regions, where the Rakata thrived. Thrawn may have already found the Forge, which would mean Ahsoka and Sabine will not only have to find Ezra but stop Thrawn from aiding Palpatine further. They can’t stop the Forge completely — we already know Palpatine ends up with his fleet — but they can at least prevent it from becoming overwhelming.
There was also a reference in Andor that seemed too unusual to simply be a coincidence. When Luthen Rael entrusted Cassian Andor with his Kyber crystal necklace, he told him it was “Blue Kyber. Sky stone. The ancient world. Celebrates the uprising against the Rakatan invaders.”
Dropping a Rakatan reference out of nowhere could be a hint of what’s to come. Ahsoka Tano has seen pretty much everything: We’ve watched her go from spunky padawan to framed traitor to a self-exiled former Jedi to Grogu’s mentor. If Star Wars is going to introduce such a huge plot point, it makes sense that a wandering character like Ahsoka would be the one to stumble across it.
Palpatine has been murdered twice now, but you still can’t remove his influence from Star Wars. He’s the ultimate supervillain, and while Thrawn may be gunning for his crown, even that will serve Palpatine in the long run. Though we may not see his wizened face again, it’s good to know he’s still pulling the strings in the background — and finally explaining his latest appearance.