The fall of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith feels inevitable, but maybe it wasn't. As we just learned in the second to last episode of the Clone Wars finale, it turns out the Jedi would have been fine if one person decided to share a crucial bit of information with Yoda and the rest of the Council.
In what is certainly the biggest change to established Star Wars canon, part 3 of The Clone Wars finale, reveals that Ahsoka "Snips" Tano herself probably could have prevented all the Jedi from being wiped-out. Instead, because she decided to keep something to herself, the galaxy was changed forever. So, what does this mean? Does Ahsoka feel responsible for Order 66 happening the way that it did? Should we hold her responsible? And is Darth Maul really such a bad guy?
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Season 7, Episode 11, "Shattered."
First of all, as the penultimate part in the overall Clone Wars finale, "Shattered" is what Star Wars fans have been waiting for since the CGI series premiered in 2008. If you felt cheated that Order 66 was a quick montage in Revenge of the Sith, this episode of The Clone Wars finally gives us the real scope of Order 66. By having nearly 20 minutes of the episode focus on how Ahsoka escapes it, The Clone Wars adds gravity to this moment in Star Wars history in a way that Revenge of the Sith didn't. (Also, it's kind of cool we got to see what Order 66 looked like for people who are all inside the same spaceship!)
But could Ahsoka have prevented Order 66 from happening in the first place? Probably not. Palps was going to pull that trigger at some point, regardless. Even though in this episode, Ahsoka manages to help Rex get his inhibitor chip out of his head and thus prevent him from killing her, it's not like she had time to do that same thing for all the other bazillions of Clones.
But that's not the issue. The issue is that Ahsoka had intel about Anakin Skywalker. She was told by a (somewhat?) reliable source that Anakin was going to be the worst thing that happened to the galaxy since taxation of trade routes in the Naboo system, and she decided to keep it to herself.
Ahsoka keeps Darth Maul's secret to herself
Here's how the scene goes down. We see Mace Windu talking to Yoda, Ki Adi Mundi, and Aayla Secura about how they have to remove Palpatine from office. This scene plays out beat-for-beat how it happens in Revenge of the Sith; the difference being everyone is a hologram because it's from the POV of Ahsoka.
Rex and Ahsoka walk in right after Yoda says "To a dark place this will take us. Great care we must take." Everybody thanks Ahsoka for arresting Maul, even though she doesn't work for the Republic anymore, officially. Ahsoka says she "Did her duty as a citizen." Yoda asks, "Not as a Jedi?" and Ahsoka says, "No, not yet."
This implies Ahsoka was thinking about coming back to the Jedi Order before Order 66 happened, but that she really wants to get in touch with Anakin first. Naturally, the audience knows this isn't going to happen because Anakin is about to go ballistic and kill Mace Windu to save Palpatine. Still, in this brief moment, none of that has gone down yet. Mace and Yoda heavily imply that they are concerned about Palpatine not giving up his power but can't get into details because "these matters are for the council to discuss." Then there's the part that will really kill you...
After everyone signs off of the holographic conference, Yoda sticks around and asks, "Ahsoka, more to say have you?" Obviously, this smartly echoes what Yoda said to Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace when everybody first became aware of the idea that Anakin might be the Chosen One.
Basically, Yoda knows something is up, and even presses her: "A message for Skywalker, perhaps?" But Ahsoka says nothing. In doing so, she becomes the only person in the Star Wars canon who could have legitimately stopped Palpatine from getting away with literally everything. Still, even Rex is rattled, and says, "You didn't tell him what Maul said about General Skywalker."
Why this Clone Wars finale scene is so brilliant
I'm not here to criticize Ahsoka. Not at all! From her point of view, Anakin needed help and she senses the Jedi Council were not the people to help him. On some level, she's right. Like Anakin, Ahsoka was screwed-over by the political machinations of the Jedi Council. So, at this moment in time, she's the one person who could have set him straight.
But its' not like Anakin calls Ahsoka up on a secure channel right before he decides to take a speeder over to Palps office and kill Mace Windu. Anakin is totally isolated in the moment where he needs a friend the most. Back in 2005, this made his fall to the Dark Side of the Force tragic, but also somewhat realistic. People who feel like they have no one to turn to often do terrible things. The fall of Anakin Skywalker isn't so much about him being a bad seed, but instead about losing the ability to have anyone to talk to for perspective.
The layer that Clone Wars adds is Anakin's friendship with Ahsoka. In "Shattered," you firmly believe that if Ahsoka had been able to talk to Anakin at this moment, she could have talked him out of betraying everyone. Obviously, the larger storyline of Star Wars doesn't allow for this kind of pivot, but the brilliance of The Clone Wars finale is that because it floats the possibility, it makes Revenge of the Sith doubly tragic.
Ahsoka's only other option in "Shattered" was to sell-out Anakin to the Jedi Council. If she had said, "Hold up guys. Remember Darth Maul? He told me Anakin is gonna kill everyone," she might have been ignored. But if Mace Windu and the Jedi had hadn't been caught, as Palpatine said, "off-balance," they might have been saved.
Ahsoka couldn't have known Maul was right. But had she not let her personal feelings get in the way (shout-out to Obi-Wan) she might have passed along the information that could have changed the course of the history of the galaxy. The Clone Wars isn't here to retcon any of that history, but in its finale hours, it is making the balance of the Force a helluva lot more interesting than its been in many, many years.
The last episode in The Clone Wars finale airs on May 4, 2020, on Disney+.