The Most Ambitious Star Wars Series Yet Could Bridge 2 Different Time Periods
Time travel is not required.
Oh, you’ve got short hair. Oh, you’ve got long hair. Oh, you’ve got purple hair! The changing hair length of Mandalorian Rebel hero Sabine Wren is suddenly the most mysterious aspect of the future of the Force. In the upcoming series Star Wars: Ahsoka, we’ve seen Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in the trailers with long purple hair. But now, in one officially released photo, we’ve also seen her with her signature short hair from Rebels. So, what does it mean? While we won’t know for sure until Ahsoka debuts in August 2023, right now the good Republic credits are on time jumps, flashbacks, and a possible inversion of long-held assumptions about the Rebels timeline.
Because it seems unlikely that we’ll get a scene in Ahsoka in which Sabine cuts her purple hair with Ezra’s old lightsaber, there are basically only two explanations for her appearing with two radically different hair lengths: Either the series will feature a few time jumps or, we’ll get Ahsoka and Sabine’s meeting from the Rebels finale as some kind of flashback. In an exclusive photo for Empire, Sabine is clearly rocking her short haircut from the last episode of Rebels, ever, “Family Reunion - and Farewell Part 2.” In this photo, she’s also wearing her full Mandalorian armor and, as many fans have pointed out, has what appears to be Ezra Bridger’s lightsaber on her belt.
According to the new interviews in Empire, the finale of Rebels, in which Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren set off to find Ezra Bridger — lost somewhere in the “Unknown Regions” with space whales — will play a huge part in the forthcoming live-action series, Ahsoka. Sabine actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo notes that, “She [Sabine] feels an obligation to [Ezra].” Meanwhile, the new photo, as Empire points out, intentionally seems to recreate Ahsoka and Sabine’s final scene in Rebels, in which Ahsoka wordlessly appears and the two set off, presumably, on the search to find Ezra. As the creator of both Rebels and Ahsoka, Dave Filoni puts it: “I wanted to resolve these things with [Ahsoka], but I wanted to do something new with it.”
Empire concludes, “The search for Ezra Bridger starts now.” But now, when? Presumably, most of Ahsoka will take place after the ending of Mandalorian Season 3, which would be roughly 10 ABY, or about six years after Return of the Jedi. However, “Sabine’s Epilogue” in Rebels seems to take place about 5 ABY, right after the Battle of Endor in that movie. So if the majority of Ahsoka takes place in the Mando era, then it stands to reason Sabine’s longer hair reflects the “present” and the short hair reflects the recent past.
Multiple Timelines in Ahsoka?
Time jumps within Ahsoka, or flashbacks to earlier moments, make a lot of sense. Flashbacks are, of course, quite common in the various Disney+ Star Wars shows. From early Mando to Andor, to The Book of Boba Fett, and very prominently, Obi-Wan Kenobi, using the age-old trick of a quick flashback is gold for Star Wars. There are already strong suggestions that the series will flashback even further — nearly 30 years in the past — to the time of The Clone Wars, which would allow us to see Rosario Dawson and Hayden Christensen on screen together as Ahsoka and Anakin Skywalker. So, why not a brief Rebels flashback?
But, could short-haired Sabine and the search for Ezra will occupy way more than just a quick flashback? If Ezra is still missing in the present tense of Ahsoka, then maybe the initial “Search for Ezra Bridger” was called off at some point, and Sabine went back to live on Lothal. In the first Ahsoka teaser trailer, Sabine (with long hair) says, “It’s been a while” and Ahsoka says, “Things have changed.” This is the point at which Ahsoka talks about Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was last seen with Ezra in the finale of Rebels.
In The Mandalorian Season 2, when Ahsoka confronted Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto,) she specifically asked: “Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn!” Chronologically, those events from the 2020 Mando episode “The Jedi,” are likely very close to Ahsoka’s contemporary search in the new series. Or are they?
Yep, there’s a possible big timeline wrinkle in all of this. Back in 2020, Dave Filoni told Vanity Fair that maybe, just maybe, the Rebels epilogue isn’t right after Return of the Jedi, and, in fact, what we’ve seen in Mando and now, Ahsoka, could, maybe take place BEFORE that finale, not after it. “I think the thing people will most not understand is they want to go in a linear fashion, but as I learned as a kid, nothing in Star Wars really works in a linear fashion,” Filoni said in 2020. “So in the vein of that history, when you look at the epilogue of Rebels you don't really know how much time has passed. So, it's possible that the story I'm telling in The Mandalorian actually takes place prior to that. Possible. I'm saying it's possible.”
In any case, barring an unlikely moment in which Sabine dons a wig, the changing hair length tells Ahsoka will cover more than one time period. This means that the fateful finale of Rebels could be in the past of Ahsoka, the future, or somewhere in between.