When I read about Kelly’s search for guest writers to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Clone Wars, I jumped at the chance. But when I started writing and I stared at my blank screen, the doubts came crawling in.
First, let me introduce myself: I’m Jordi, I hail from Catalonia, and my wife Heleia and I are big fans of Star Wars. You could say we’re children of the prequels; we were 14 when The Phantom Menace was released. We’d seen the Original Trilogy on TV, of course, and watched the prequels but then, well, life took over. We grew up, we started working…
I never really cared for the old Expanded Universe (what’s known as Legends today) and I didn’t even watch The Clone Wars when it first came out (the horror!). As a matter of fact, we only got around to watching The Clone Wars and Rebels this year! Hence my doubts about me being the right person to write about the show’s tenth anniversary. My wife and I have never been the kind to dress up and meet up with other fans, or even follow blogs about Star Wars – yours is the first, Kelly! For me, personally, my undying love is motorsport; I run a blog about Formula One, not Star Wars.
So, to be honest, our love for Star Wars was rekindled by The Force Awakens and the subsequent movies. We even went to see The Last Jedi on opening night, something I’d never thought I’d do ten, fifteen years ago. I’ve enjoyed them all and I’ve revisited the first six movies again, with the flavour that experience, knowledge, and a little extra age gives us.
They say it’s never too late to mend your ways. For the past couple of years, I have watched and re-watched the movies, but they always left me with that same sense of incompletion. It always felt like the prequels didn’t deal much with how or why Anakin fell to the Dark Side but merely showed it. You saw the events unfolding but it all felt a bit unnatural and forced. I had read about The Clone Wars and how it helped with those issues and, as Anakin would say, I wanted more.
So we started watching the series this past winter and we were blown away. Here was all the depth, intrigue, and flavours we missed. Now those Jedi Masters we briefly saw on the Jedi Council, on Geonosis, and during the Order 66 scenes were no longer simply background characters. They were part of us, they each had a story and personality. Like the clones, which were almost as throwaway as the B1 battle droids in the movies, they suddenly had names and their own stories and struggles alongside our favourite Jedi knights. Along the way, we travelled to spectacular worlds and got to meet even more strange and different people.
One of the greatest things about The Clone Wars is how it doesn’t shy away from anything that is part of life: death, sadness, politics, crime, redemption, corruption, trust, the very thin lines that run between right and wrong. No key theme was left untouched and this was important because it wasn’t just adults who were watching the series but also teenagers, who were growing up and learning about life.
To me, the greatest thing The Clone Wars achieves is that it made Revenge of The Sith so much more emotional. Back in 2005, we had seen Jedi knights being killed by clones in seemingly random worlds; now, we see the treason of brothers in arms in the places they’d fought alongside each other to save democracy. Back then, we saw Anakin become a bit of a jerk and give in almost all too easily to the power of the Sith; now, we see the culmination of a years-long struggle between the pressures of expectation, the demands of the Jedi Council, the sweet songs Palpatine was singing in his ear, and his need to keep his love for Padmé a secret
But although The Clone Wars and the movie saga is about the Skywalker family and, specifically, Anakin’s rise and fall, I can’t help but feel that Ahsoka Tano stole the show here. I suppose we all cringed when we first heard her saying “Skyguy” and “Artooie”, or “Skyguay” and “Erredosito” in Castilian Spanish (for the record, “Snips” gets translated as “Chulita”, which means “cocky”). But we can’t always trust first impressions. And cocky teenagers don’t always grow up to become cocky adults. We see a growth and maturity in Ahsoka well beyond her years. Character progression, if you will.
Now, there are great, legendary characters in Star Wars. A huge debate can ensue about who’s the greatest character in Star Wars: Yoda, Palpatine, Anakin, Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, they all make great cases for that. But who is the most influential? I reckon Ahsoka can stake a claim for that one.
Let’s start by reminding ourselves of some of the important events she’s taken part in.
As Anakin’s Padawan, she served well in instilling in Anakin a renewed sense of caring for someone that was not born out of love or lust (Padmé) or out of allegiance (Obi-Wan and the whole Jedi Order). Even though Ahsoka’s departure in season five would ultimately hurt Anakin and make him distrust the Jedi Council even more, Ahsoka’s influence is still deeply felt. She plays her part in a number of important battles of that era, often showing quick thinking and the same inability for following orders as Anakin does, which was often to their benefit.
But it’s perhaps the older Ahsoka that’s the most impressive. As I said earlier, I’m only just getting into the current expanded universe. I haven’t read the Ahsoka novel yet , so I don’t know that much about the events that haven’t been shown in the TV series. But I know that she serves as an important agent for the fledgling Rebellion, using her powers freely, similar to what Qui-Gon Jinn might have done had he lived, free from the restrictions of the Jedi Council. Doing what’s right instead of doing what they told you to. And we are yet to see an older Ahsoka, who appears to be on a mission with Sabine Wren to find Ezra Bridger.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Togruta. For starters, how not to get too lost in a dogmatic view of the world; how to do good regardless of the situation you’re in and make yourself useful in whatever capacity you can; how to mature and become more reflective while being as effective as before. And, last but not least and with specific reference to The Clone Wars as a series, how to avoid being fooled by the impression that a cartoon can’t be as profound as a live-action movie.
But to wrap up this article, the main lesson here is not that Ahsoka is awesome. After all, if you’re reading this on the Team Ahsoka site, you probably think that already. No, what I want to tell you is that there’s no “right” way of enjoying Star Wars, and that’s one of the great things about the saga. You can just focus the movies and have more than 20 hours of fun right there. You can devour every kind of Star Wars media and be a know-it-all. You can watch some things and skip others. Or you can collect every single collectable item… though you’ll need a big house to store them all.
Star Wars is large enough for people to enjoy it “their” way. There are no better ways or worse ways, just different ones. For us, it was the movies and then the TV shows. Ahsoka was a big part of that and we’re glad we met her. So glad, in fact, that we named our kitty after her!
We will see, sooner or later, what becomes of Ahsoka, and I very much look forward to seeing what’s next. I’d love to see her in a live-action movie and interacting with Luke’s generation, or even Rey’s. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not a problem. We can go beyond the movies, and if you crave more Star Wars, start with The Clone Wars. You’ll find great story arcs, funny characters, canny antagonists, and amongst it all, a legendary woman. Let Ahsoka be your portal to more!
About the Author:
Jordi Domènech is a recently qualified travel agent and motorsport fan from Catalunya who is currently seeking new job opportunities and writes about Formula 1 for the Catalan-language blog, Fórmula 1 en Català, in his spare time.