Since the original trilogy concluded in 1983 with the Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars franchise has introduced thousands of new characters, and there has been perhaps no era as thoroughly explored and fleshed out as that of the prequel trilogy. While some characters, such as Darth Maul, Mace Windu, and Padmé Amidala, were met with a positive reception, they, generally, aren’t as beloved as those who debuted in the original trilogy. However, there is one prequel-era character that definitively stands above the rest as the best addition to stand with the original heroes of the Millennium Falcon.
That character is Ahsoka Tano.
Introduced as the young padawan of Anakin Skywalker in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, she, along with the movie, were met with mostly negative reviews and criticisms. Seen as annoying by many, it was evident Ahsoka had a long journey ahead of her to become beloved. Luckily, this fit perfectly with who she is as a character. As the film followed her first mission as a padawan, away from the Jedi Temple, it seemed natural that there would be some missteps. This introduction only served to increase the fans’ love for her, as they knew where she had come from.
Another important aspect of Ahsoka’s success is her design and origin. Developed by both George Lucas and Dave Filoni, her status as a member of the Tortuga race made her both quintessential Star Wars and an iconic member of the Jedi Order. Not wasting such a great look, like many Star Wars characters, Ahsoka also stands as one of the most well-developed characters in all of the franchise. After the movie, the show followed her as she learned to become a leader and skilled fighter under the tutelage of her master. Unlike other prominent Jedi, there was no large jump, where her skill increased exponentially. Instead, it was her hard work and dedication, seen on the show and slowly developed, that allowed her to become a great Jedi.
Speaking of her skill as a warrior, no other Jedi has come close to matching the action that she has taken part in. While there have been some great fights with the likes of Anakin and Obi-Wan, Ahsoka has consistently been part of some of the best action scenes that Clone Wars (and Rebels) have to offer. One only needs to take a look at the “Siege of Mandalore” arc, and her fight with Maul, which stands as one of the best battles Clone Wars has to offer. Trained by the greatest warrior in the Jedi Order, it makes sense that Ahsoka offers some of the best action scenes that Star Wars has to offer. This makes her a joy to watch in any episode in which she’s given the chance to let loose.
As Ahsoka has worked to carve out her own place in the Star Wars universe, she has also retroactively improved the journeys of plenty of other characters from the prequel trilogy. Given Anakin’s sudden turn to darkness in Episode III, the added impact of Ahsoka’s story helps to explain the tension Anakin felt towards the Jedi and one of the reasons that he was seduced to the Dark Side. Ahsoka also allowed fans to see a new side of Anakin in his own development into a Jedi Knight. Without Ahsoka, Anakin would have never been able to escape the shadow of Darth Vader. This vital connection only made her eventual battle with the Dark Lord of the Sith more exciting and heartbreaking.
As a character, Ahsoka is all about challenging the status quo, which makes her such a wonderful addition to a universe of order and politics. From her initial inclusion, she disrupted everything that fans thought they knew about the Clone Wars and Anakin’s time in the Jedi Order. As her journey continued, she was one of the few Jedi to see the Order for what it had become. Recognizing its current state, she made the choice to leave and become something new. She is neither Jedi nor Sith; merely a force for good and change in the universe.
After serving as a commander in the Clone Wars, Ahsoka continued to fight as a member and pivotal figure in the Rebel Alliance. With such an integral role in so many events that decided the fate of the galaxy, it should be noted that Ahsoka never needed the spotlight, or to appear in any of the films. She is a great character because she can exist out of the spotlight. Although never there for the biggest moments in the galaxy, her actions are constantly felt by a universe that is largely unaware of her.
The last reason that Ahsoka stands as the best addition since the original trilogy is that she still has a bright future ahead of her. Outside of the unaccounted time between the prequels and the original, Ahsoka is still an active member in the universe. Between the search for Ezra Bridger or, possibly, the search for everyone’s favorite baby, there is still plenty of things left for Ahsoka to do before her time comes to an end.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has helped make Ahsoka Tano one of the best and most important characters in the history of the galaxy far, far away.