Timey Wimey

Yoda's lightsaber plot hole reveals a bigger Star Wars problem

A rogue lightsaber and Ahsoka's time-traveling all suggest a Star Wars multiverse that can't work.

A Star Wars multiverse arguably exists already. As soon as Disney and Lucasfilm relegated the previous “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars novels and comics into the noncanonical category of “Legends,” parallel timelines were forged. This multiverse isn’t formally recognized like in Star Trek or Marvel, but to fans, it exists nonetheless. Recently, in what can only be described as a confusing Book of Boba Fett plot point, various in-the-weeds Star Wars fandom discussions have fueled odd fan theories that the faraway galaxy is already presenting a conflicting continuity. Here’s why some Star Wars fans think Luke, Ahsoka, and Grogu are living in a bizzaro timeline.

Is there a multiverse in Star Wars canon?

There’s nothing to suggest that the overall story of Star Wars has multiple outcomes in competing realities. The lack of a formal multiverse creates a frustrating binary within Star Wars fandom in which things are either canon or not canon. Contrast this with Marvel or Star Trek: It’s not that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man or Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk are somehow unofficial. Instead, their various universes and timelines can be referenced, visited, and influenced.

Star Wars doesn’t have that. There’s Legends, and Dark Horse did a series of What If... style comics called Star Wars: Infinities, but there’s no overt connection between these timelines and the primary timeline. This is the difference between apocrypha and alternate universes. Either the writing itself knows about the other timelines, or it doesn’t. Star Wars is the latter.

Time travel, Star Wars style. Lucasfilm

Did Ezra and Ahsoka create an alternate timeline?

In the Rebels episode “The World Between Worlds,” Ezra Bridger used a series of interconnected time portals to travel back in time and save Ahsoka from a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader. And, when you have time travel in your sci-fi universe, that means you have to have alternate timelines, right?

Not necessarily. As of now, Ezra’s rescue of Ahsoka constitutes a causality loop, also known as a predestination paradox. In this model of time travel, the event from the past the time traveler seems to have changed was actually always that way. Star Wars likes the word “destiny,” and that’s kind of what this is: the events occurred because of time travel, but that doesn’t mean destiny was altered.

So we’re led to believe that the reason Ahsoka is alive in the present is because her duel with Darth Vader always ended with Ezra’s help. There’s no alternative answer to how Ahsoka’s duel with Vader ended. Ezra rescued her. That’s it.

Ahsoka and Luke Skywalker in The Book of Boba Fett.Lucasfilm

Why do fans think there’s an alternate Ahsoka universe?

Because Star Wars has never really established its time travel rules in the same way other sci-fi franchises have, it’s been easy for fans to think of the moment when Ahsoka is rescued as a point of divergence. In one universe she was slain, and in the universe where Ezra rescued her, she lived. But again, based on the information we have, Ezra’s rescue of Ahsoka scans as a closed-loop.

But if you disagree, then you can decide there are two timelines. And according to some Reddit theories and TikToks, this means the Ahsoka Lives Timeline is different from the Sequel Trilogy Timeline. Ahsoka’s ghostly spirit speaks to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, so according to these theorists, the sequels can only happen if Ezra never rescued Ahsoka from certain doom in Rebels.

This thinking suggests that because Ahsoka is alive in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, the continuity of Rebels also exists in an alternate timeline, and this timeline doesn’t result in the existence of the sequels as we know them, because those films end with Ahsoka having been (presumably) dead for decades.

If you don’t already have a headache, you’ll realize this type of theory requires a lot of cherry-picking. Just because Ahsoka is dead in The Rise of Skywalker, that doesn’t mean she had to have lost her fight to Vader in Rebels. Over two decades pass between Boba Fett and the sequel trilogy, meaning there are plenty of ways for Ahsoka to become one with the Force before Rey hears from her in Rise.

The other problem with this theory is that it mostly arises from a knee-jerk reaction in certain fandom segments to the elements of Star Wars they simply don’t like. But this thinking requires you to believe that Boba Fett executive producer Dave Filoni is trying to create a second canon designed to undermine the existing one, which is conspiratorial.

Yoda has a headache.Lucasfilm

Yoda’s lightsaber makes it all worse

This brings us to the smoking lightsaber that has given more fuel to this odd fire. The existing Star Wars canon doesn’t seem to have a straight answer about how Luke got Yoda’s lightsaber by the time of The Book of Boba Fett. In Revenge of the Sith three decades prior Yoda drops his lightsaber into the depths of the Senate during his duel with Palpatine. Later, a 2017 Darth Vader comic shows Palpatine having the saber burned publicly. However, a 2016 Star Wars book indicated Yoda had a lightsaber on Dagobah around the time Luke was there.

Leaving aside the idea that Yoda built a second lightsaber after Revenge of the Sith, the real problem with Luke having it in The Book of Boba Fett is that we’re not told why. This oddity could have been explained in a voiceover and brief flashback, or even a single line of dialogue like “It took me many years to retrieve this.” Instead, we have nothing.

That creates a plot hole that encourages all of these alternate timeline theories. There’s nothing wrong with a zany fan theory, but when they result in arguments over what is and isn’t even happening, you can’t entirely blame the fans if they’re off-base.

Luke having Yoda’s lightsaber is confusing regardless of what kind of fan you are; toxic Last Jedi hater, curious multiverse proponent, or just a casual viewer trying to make sense of it all. Onscreen, we’ve seen Ahsoka travel through time and Yoda drop his lightsaber. How Luke got it back is simply a question mark that could hopefully be resolved without tearing a hole in the fabric of space and time.

The Book of Boba Fett airs its finale on Wednesday, February 9, 2022.