When Ahsoka Tano left the Jedi Order in The Clone Wars season five finale ‘The Wrong Jedi’ and walked off into the sunset, a huge question mark hung over her fate.
For two years, fans were left wondering what had happened to the disillusioned young apprentice. Had she survived Order 66? Had she been captured (or killed) when the Empire seized control of the galaxy? Would we ever see her again?
So when Ahsoka made her long-awaited reappearance in the season one finale of Star Wars Rebels, fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Togruta was, indeed, alive and well in the Empire era and was assisting the rebels, no less.
There’s still a significant gap in our knowledge of what happened during those intervening years, though the recently released young adult novel Star Wars: Ahsoka and earlier segments of the Ahsoka’s Untold Tales panel have gone some way to address this. And in Part 5 of the panel, “After the War”, we got a glimpse of a post-Clone Wars scene that Dave Filoni had brainstormed but would probably never push into production.
When panel host David Collins complimented Filoni on his beautiful sketches for the Siege of Mandalore arc, Filoni took a moment to explain the purpose of the sketches and storyboards he’d often draw during his sessions with George Lucas.
“Every single episode of The Clone Wars has a bunch of drawings that goes with it. And the shots that you see on that day, I would say about 95% of the time are shots that actually end up in the episode. I’d give all this information to the episode directors when they [worked on] the episodes. I’d go over it, the whole thing. And they always did a brilliant job at being faithful to the vision that George and I had from the start. We had a great team”.
Fellow panelist Pablo Hidalgo started veering the conversation towards the next chapter in Ahsoka’s life but another of Filoni’s sketches was put up on screen and soon had the crowd buzzing.
“Oh, look at that!”, exclaimed Filoni as a sketch of Ahsoka riding on the back of a giant wolf-like animal appeared on screen. “That’s exciting”.
And since the sketch lacked any real context, Filoni took the opportunity to explain what had compelled him to draw that particular scene.
“Truthfully, this doesn’t have anything to do with a story”, he confessed. “It’s just that, every now and then, I draw Ahsoka riding a wolf. Ahsoka’s inspiration came from Princess Mononoke, from the character San, so I was, like, ‘I’ll draw her riding a wolf’ because it’s so cool”.
Filoni has never made a secret of how much this Miyazaki animated classic has influenced his own film-making and storytelling, especially with regards to Ahsoka Tano. StarWars.Com contributor Bryan Young recently devoted an edition of The Cinema Behind Star Wars to exploring how the Japanese film inspired Ahsoka’s character design and development, while blogger AndrewinBelfast contemplated the various Miyazaki influences found within The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels in his piece, Spirit of the Bendu in Princess Mononoke.
Coming back to Filoni’s sketch, Filoni explained that he had brainstormed a scene where Ahsoka, presumably on the run after Order 66 was initiated, is chased into a forest. The clone troopers sent to capture the fugitive former Jedi find her in a clearing deep within the forest, sitting on a rock and meditating.
“And the clones all get their guns out and they’re, like, ‘Commander Tano, you have to come with us’. And she’s, like, ‘You’ll have to ask my friends first'”.
It’s only then that the confused clone troopers realize that the trees around them weren’t trees at all but the legs of giant wolves. And, suffice it to say, it doesn’t end well for the clones. Ahsoka, on the other hand, takes full advantage of the chaos and makes a quick getaway on wolf-back.
It’s a shame this scene will probably never see the light of day as it’s an incredible example of Filoni’s visual storytelling, not to mention Ahsoka’s general badassery. But at least Filoni was kind enough to share this story with the audience.
As he went on to explain, this was as far as he got with developing this scene. “Then I started to feel guilty cos I like wolves and why am I doing that? It seemed very self-serving and I stopped myself”.
Dave Filoni (@dave_filoni) September 19, 2015
“So it remains an untold tale”, added Pablo Hidalgo before the panelists moved on to the next topic: the Ahsoka novel.
“In terms of what happens to Ahsoka after the Clone Wars”, Hidalgo continued, “This is the first time we’ve been able to sit down with an author, E.K. Johnston, and have worked to create a Star Wars Ahsoka novel. It’s young adult but it’s definitely got the tone, the energy of any Star Wars story you want”.
“We shared with [Johnston] all the stuff we’re sharing with you now – even more so – so that when you read this book, you’re wondering ‘Wow, there’s a reference to a fight with Maul and a reference to the Siege of Mandalore’. We thought it was important for you to understand that she’s not just inventing this from whole cloth. The author really worked with Dave and us to find out where Ahsoka is in this point in her life”.
When the idea of an Ahsoka novel was batted around, Filoni realized he needed to get involved. “I don’t want Ahsoka just to exist as an animated character; she’s just a Star Wars character and Star Wars characters exist on all forms of media. The more I can get exposure for her…I think it makes her stronger as a character”.
“So this is really the first time that there’s been something done…a part of her saga that I haven’t personally written, which is kind of exciting”, he added. “And I made sure to be very involved. My assistant Claudia made sure that I had time to read the book more than once, that I had looked at the cover extensively, and I made lots of notes on the outfit”.
Fans will no doubt recognize the outfit from the concept art designs shown during the “Ahsoka’s Walkabout” segment. “If you look closely”, Filoni pointed out, “You can see the tail of the boot monkey down there”.
“So I think [the novel] is really authentic and E.K. did a great job of asking questions and then coming through with a book that I think is going to be an exciting addition to the story of this character. You’ll have to read it”.
Star Wars: Ahsoka had been out for some time at the time of writing this article so if you’d like to know what I thought of it, you can read my review over here.
This article is the fifth in a series of articles on the “Ahsoka’s Untold Tales” panel from Star Wars Celebration Europe. In the next installment, we’ll be looking at Lucafilm’s decision to bring Ahsoka back for Star Wars Rebels.