“Defining Moments” is a continuing series exploring key scenes or sequences from Lucasfilm’s many productions. It examines storytelling craft, behind-the-scenes insights, and cultural legacies from each selection. Revisit an old favorite or discover something brand new…
A Moment on the Small Screen Broke New Ground for Star Wars
Production: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2013, 2020)
If Ahsoka Tano has learned anything from her master Anakin Skywalker, it is to think for herself. Mission after mission during the Clone Wars, she matures into a compassionate leader with a creative mind. But she also endures the trauma of conflict, betrayal, and loss, and there appears to be no end to the war in sight.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Ahsoka is framed for a crime she did not commit, and after being expelled from the Jedi Order, she goes on the run to clear her name. When she is hauled in front of a tribunal, the Jedi Council stands idly by, and although Anakin Skywalker proves her innocence, Ahsoka is left unnerved.
When they offer her the chance to rejoin the Order, she walks away. Anakin is hurt and confused, but Ahsoka is committed to choosing her own destiny, something her master has struggled to achieve. She continues to walk away, down the Jedi Temple steps, following her own path.
From the beginning, Star Wars has had a capacity to surprise, and sometimes even shock, its audience. Ahsoka’s decision was a surprise conditioned by five television seasons that spanned half a decade, something never before experienced by an audience in the galaxy far, far away.
At the heart of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are characters original to the show, including Ahsoka, Captain Rex, and Hondo Ohnaka. Although the animated series boasts heroes of the theatrical Skywalker Saga, it’s when these original characters drive the narrative that The Clone Wars feels most like itself.
Released in March of 2013, this moment had ripples that extended beyond the story. Audiences didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last episode of The Clone Wars to air on network television. Nine days after it aired, Lucasfilm announced that the show’s production would come to an end after the completion of select episodic arcs to be released on other platforms the following year. Ahsoka did make her return in Star Wars Rebels, but fans remained dedicated to seeing Ahsoka’s journey continue in The Clone Wars, as did the crew at Lucasfilm Animation. It finally did in 2020.