|Yoda: If into the security recordings you go, only pain will you find.|
As the dust settles following the developments in The Clone Wars Season Five finale, it is time to revisit the fate of Ahsoka Tano and how the series should end. I am not going to even deal with the issues of production and distribution in this post, this is purely about what I really care about, the story.
Just as the Jedi Council lost faith in Ahsoka, her faith in the Order and the Republic has been shattered. So quickly they were to believe in her guilt despite of her devoting her life to their cause, can you really blame her?
The Jedi try to make it up to her by granting her the rank of Jedi Knight based on her experience in this arc representing her great trial. The irony is that even the council seems not to understand that the rank bestowed by the Order means nothing to someone who no longer respects the Order. Their olive branch is meaningless to Ahsoka, the only thing that even makes her briefly question her decision to leave is her familial love for Anakin.
What does Ahsoka's departure from the Jedi and from her role as a Commander in the Grand Army of the Republic mean for her and for the series as a whole?
For Ahsoka her life is at a cross-roads. She is no longer a Jedi, but her separation from the Order could allow her to be a true Jedi. This story line also strikes me as a bit of insurance. If the show is not picked up for distribution and continued production on a new channel or avenue, leaving Ahsoka alive but outside the Jedi Order and the GAR allows for a plausible explanation of her absence from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and allows for her character to survive and be used in other storytelling venues, be it books, comics, a spin-off TV series or a stand-alone film.
I am an eternal optimist so assuming arguendo, that The Clone Wars continues to be produced let me lay out how I see Season Six and Season Seven going.
Season Six would see the Clone Wars ramping up to the wars end, we would continue to see stories focusing on Anakin, Obi-Wan and the rest of the background Jedi leading the Grand Army as they get closer and closer to capturing Dooku and Grievous. At the same time we should see at least two full arcs or between 6-8 episodes focusing on Ahsoka. The first arc would be Ahsoka finding her own new path, the second would be a more action packed adventurous arc as Ahsoka is being a galactic do-gooder.
I think it would be interesting to see TCW borrow a bit from the Expanded Universe and Ahsoka seeking out some other Force using groups a bit like Jacen Solo's off-screen five year Force journey. Ahsoka could visit a few different Force using groups seeking to find answers or inner peace on what she should do in her future apart from the Jedi.
Ultimately I think Ahsoka finds her role by acting to help those in the galaxy, doing things that the Jedi would normally have done in the past but are too consumed with the war to currently do.
Then either in the Season Six final arc or early in Season Seven, something happens that causes Ahsoka to cross paths with Yoda, Anakin, or Obi-Wan and causes her to either re-join the Order or to work as a Jedi Independent Contractor.
In Season Seven or possibly in Season Eight if it continues that far, I believe we are now on an inevitable course that will end with Ahsoka's death.
The only question in my mind is if George Lucas and Dave Filoni are willing to deal Ahsoka as tragic an end as I have in mind.
If I were telling the story, Ahsoka will selflessly return to the Jedi Order in a time of their great need just before Order 66, this act of selflessness ultimately leading to her own death at the hands of her former Master.
Anakin Skywalker when confronted by Obi-Wan on Mustafar doesn't believe that he had killed Padme, it is only after when Palpatine convinces him of it that he comes to this "knowledge." The Clone Wars gives us the chance to expand on what can feel like an abbreviated and rushed fall to the Dark Side of Anakin. If there is one act short of killing Padme that Anakin could never forgive himself for it would be killing Ahsoka. As such I believe Star Wars: The Clone Wars will end with Order 66's Operation Knightfall. I believe that this fate is foreshadowed by the inclusion of the Young Jedi arc younglings in the Season Five finale. Ahsoka will be in the Temple when Anakin comes in with the clone troopers, she will step between Anakin and the younglings and they will duel. Ahsoka will actually duel Anakin to an advantage but hesitate and be unable to kill Anakin. Sensing this moment of hesitation Anakin kills Ahsoka and then proceeds to the slaughter at the Temple. This is the moment that Anakin is reliving on the balcony on Mustafar, the guilt, shame, and regret that he is overwhelmed by. This helps push Anakin so far that neither Obi-Wan or Padme can reach him at the end. At the end as the Vader personae takes dominance, he hates himself more than anything else.
The only other ending that feels right to me at this point is the same set up except Ahsoka escaping her duel with Anakin, much like Yoda escaping his duel with Sidious and fleeing into hiding with a small group of padawans or younglings. This would be the less tragic and more commercially friendly ending for future projects, but to me would be less emotionally profound.
I am very pleased to say as skeptical as I was of Ahsoka during The Clone Wars movie, she is now one of my all time favorite characters in the vast Star Wars universe. I care about the character's fate and that means that the goal of any good storyteller has been accomplished. As much as I wish Ahsoka could live, when the series ends she should die.