“Warrior. Outcast. Insurgent. Jedi,” the primary trailer for Ahsoka blares at us, attempting to distill the lifetime of one in every of Star Wars’ fashionable success tales—throughout mediums and eras because the titular heroine now finds herself on the precipice of her personal live-action sequence—into simply 4 phrases. However such a process isn’t going to be simple in a fandom as ardent, or as nitpicky, as Star Wars.
Such was the case when, this previous weekend, a new TV spot for Ahsoka—highlighting the return of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker—noticed voiceover from Anakin consult with himself as Ahsoka’s grasp. Between that, and the same title card that urged the present is about how “a brand new Jedi will rise,” there was a certain quantity of consternation from some corners of on-line fandom that Ahsoka was presenting a actuality of Star Wars previous that didn’t align with established truths. “Anakin was by no means a Jedi Grasp, that was the purpose of Revenge of the Sith!” “Ahsoka left the Order, she’s not a Jedi, that’s what she stated in Rebels!”
These are, after all, issues which can be technically appropriate: one of the best type of appropriate within the eyes of a fandom that craves the sanctioned knowledge of a coherent, codified canon. Anakin Skywalker by no means achieved the rank of Jedi Grasp, Ahsoka Tano renounced the title of Jedi and her connection to their Order. And but, we reside in a Star Wars universe the place Anakin was undoubtedly the grasp to Ahsoka throughout The Clone Wars, and we reside in a single the place Ahsoka will not be a member of the Jedi Order, however in some ways nonetheless certainly a Jedi—arguably extra of 1 than the Council was by the time she left.
The latter of those is the one which’s extra complicated a debate than the previous (by a big margin; it’s unfathomable a Star Wars fan mad sufficient to see Anakin known as a grasp wouldn’t then categorize his Clone Wars relationship with Ahsoka as something aside from that of grasp and apprentice—all else is simply nitpicking). Is Ahsoka Tano a Jedi? Is she the way forward for the Jedi? What even is it, precisely, that makes an individual a Jedi anyway? These are questions that aren’t completely greatest answered by 40-second TV spots aimed toward an informal viewers who arguably stands a greater probability of figuring out Ahsoka Tano as a personality from The Mandalorian earlier than they know her as one from Clone Wars.
The reply to those questions we’ve got proper now’s, after all, some variation of “it’s difficult.” Ahsoka was certainly a Jedi in a lot she was a Padawan provoke skilled by the Jedi Order. She spent years and years of her life, of her upbringing, on this definition of being a Jedi: a member of the Jedi Order. However did she stop to be a Jedi—from a theological, ideological standpoint—when she selected to go away the Order behind, after its recalcitrance left her deserted by the group that had been her life? Even when, as Ahsoka tells Darth Vader throughout their duel on Malachor in Rebels, she isn’t any Jedi, it might be a tough argument to make that she doesn’t no less than nonetheless reside by the beliefs and ethics that have been instilled in her as being “Jedi:” a religion within the gentle, a defender of the weak within the face of injustice, somebody who seeks to grasp and join with the Pressure and discover its mysteries, as a substitute of utilizing its powers to manage and dominate. To deal in absolutes right here, with the thought of being a Jedi being so intrinsically tied to the Order itself—and by defining Ahsoka’s personal identification by that one lens—is to provide ourselves to a particularly limiting learn of the textual content.
However these are certainly questions that hopefully Ahsoka the present itself will try and reply as nicely. Star Wars on the floor has all the time been a saga of black and whites, however finds itself at its most fascinating someplace within the murky center of these two issues. Ahsoka has an opportunity to do what the sequel motion pictures struggled to articulate, what present interpretations of Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Guide of Boba Fett have, by and enormous, failed to understand (which is, partially, among the motive for the heightened, sometimes nitpicky response to Ahsoka): to discover a nuance about what being a Jedi really means past a selected mantle tied to the precise dogma of a selected group.
Earlier than the prequels launched us to the Jedi Order and its litany of failings as an institutional force—failings Ahsoka’s arc would go on to compound and discover even additional in Clone Wars—that’s, in spite of everything, the thought of the Jedi we have been offered with within the authentic Star Wars motion pictures. Ahsoka’s journey now as she navigates the galaxy largely alone, attempting to do what she will be able to for herself and for the universe to one of the best of her personal intentions, might convey us again to an thought of the Jedi that’s extra akin to that than something we noticed of her in both Rebels or Clone Wars.
To open our thoughts to what the thought of being Jedi means as soon as once more, to seek out steadiness between diametrically opposed definitions and ideas? That in and of itself can be fairly the Jedi factor.
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