The long-time devotees of George Lucas’s universe have never been happier, as Star Wars fans are living their dreams, seeing the beloved Force warrior Ahsoka Tano finally meet again with her old master Anakin Skywalker, not only for the first time in glorious live-action but also during one of the best eras of the saga, the Clone Wars. Hayden Christensen has made a distinguished return to the iconic character of Anakin in Ahsoka as fans have welcomed him back with open arms after decades of ridicule and mockery, proving once and for all that he is the best choice for the role once he’s got a good script in hand.
Ariana Greenblatt made her stunning debut to a galaxy far, far away at the same time, bringing the once-hated-now-loved character of Ahsoka full circle as she portrays the younger apprentice who grew up knowing only war and death. The reunion is one to make any Star Wars fan shed a tear after witnessing the beautiful story finally come to life after fifteen years.
Though, it’s much more than a reunion. As bringing Anakin and Ahsoka back together again (and in live-action, no less) could have simply been made purely for fan service and left at that, their meeting means much more to them and to us. In their precious time together, Anakin teaches Ahsoka one final lesson that changes everything. So, let’s break down the lesson and see what it means for Star Wars and for us.
Live… Or Die
In the fifth episode of the Ahsoka series, after losing her duel against the fallen Jedi Baylon Skoll, Ahsoka is pushed off a high cliff, falling into the ocean…and the World Between Worlds. She wakes up to find herself in the ethereal realm that exists outside of time and space, connecting her to everywhere, everyone, everything – including her old master.
Ahsoka and Anakin face each other again for the first time in thirty years. The last time they met, Anakin was not himself but possessed by the dark side as the monster Darth Vader and had nearly killed Ahsoka. So Ahsoka is undeniably happy to hear her old teacher, her long-time friend, call her “Snips.”
But we find out that it’s not just Anakin; Vader’s there too, and they’re both going to finish Ahsoka’s training, which was never completed because Ahsoka left the Jedi long ago. So the master takes the apprentice through their past for one final lesson, revealing his red lightsaber before telling her to “Live…or die.”
You Determine Your Legacy
From their first mission together at the Battle of Teth to the last one, where they separated at the Siege of Mandalore, Anakin forces Ahsoka to relive the horrors of the war she grew up in, where he trained her to be a soldier as a child, leading soldiers to their deaths in order to kill more people, forcing her to become a lethal warrior.
Anakin makes fun of the war instead of being serious, seeing it as the only way to stay somewhat human amidst the death and destruction, though Ahsoka can’t take it either way. Anakin excitedly rushes off into the horrible fog, shifting between his light and dark selves, blue and red, while Ahsoka sits beside suffering clone troopers, created only to fight and die for the Jedi.
Anakin explains that Ahsoka is all he is, passing down all his knowledge and wisdom to her, as his master did to him, as his master before him. Ahsoka becomes afraid, knowing that Anakin has become Vader and that she could become a monster as well.
Anakin fights Ahsoka once again, effortlessly pushing her around and onto the ground. As he’s about to kill her once again, he stares through her with his yellow eyes when Ahsoka suddenly finds a new spirit to push Anakin back, an evil spirit. Her eyes become yellow too, channeling the dark side to save herself, until Ahsoka takes Anakin’s red lightsaber to his throat – and tosses it into the void between worlds.
Ahsoka is like her master. As Anakin became Vader, so did she, but she chose to do away with it all, with the legacy of her master and his masters before him. Ahsoka is a new kind of Jedi, not really a Jedi at all, unburdened with the failings of her master and the flawed Order she had once devoted her whole life.
Despite being an apprentice to Anakin Skywalker, the Padawan on the Chosen One, Ahsoka is free to determine her own legacy, and Anakin teaches her that it’s all her choice.
Changing Anakin, Ahsoka, and Star Wars
This is contrary to everything in Star Wars. The Jedi and the Sith have fought across the galaxy for millennia. War and suffering have always been a part of the lives of Ahsoka and Anakin, forced into service, usually without consent, for their entire lives, giving up everything and everyone for the endless war and hate. But Anakin, the prophesied Chosen One, conceived and destined for one purpose, to bring balance to the Force, is teaching his apprentice that she doesn’t have to become a part of someone else’s legacy, even his.
Anakin rejects everything that has brought him to this moment, and even though he has fulfilled the destiny he was forced into, he won’t do the same for Ahsoka. It’s a big change for them both to finally move on from the war, the Order, and everything that made them who they are, but they are the better for it.
This lesson is meant for Star Wars fans in general. In a franchise that crippled itself due to self-inflicted nostalgia during the disastrous sequel trilogy, it’s time for fans to move on from everything, too, so the story can grow.