Ahsoka Tano entered the Star Wars universe in 2008 in the feature length Star Wars: The Clone Wars film. The Togruta Padawan was young, curious, and energetic. I’d go so far as to say that she was bratty. She could be too much to handle from time to time and often tried the patience of her Master, Anakin Skywalker (who probably didn’t have all that much to start with), and the audience. But, funny thing about the young: They grow up. They gain experience and knowledge, and they end up teaching us lessons.
We got to watch Ahsoka learn from the world and people around her over five seasons of The Clone Wars animated series. She fought against the Separatists, learned about guerrilla tactics, and saw an unkind side of the Jedi Order. By the time she left the Jedi Temple in the final moments of Season Five, she’d traversed a challenging path and won the hearts of many fans. Here are some things we’ve learned from Ahsoka:
1. Get to know your enemies. You never know what you’ll find out.
Until she met a Separatist civilian, Ahsoka saw the war as being black and white. The Republic was right, and the Separatists were wrong. In Season Three’s “Heroes on Both Sides,” she got to know Lux Bonteri and learned he wasn’t so different from her. Though the circumstances in which they met eventually turned sour, the encounter between Ahsoka and Lux gave both of them a better understanding of the war and taught them that the opposing side isn’t necessarily evil or incorrect. Keep an open mind and see what happens.
2. Acting quickly doesn’t always get results.
Remember when I mentioned that Ahsoka had a rocky start? She was careless enough to lose her lightsaber to a pickpocket. It wasn’t her finest moment. I’m pretty sure that’s the top of the “Do Not” list for Padawans. On top of that, she didn’t tell Anakin about the mishap. She ended up getting assistance from the older and slower Jedi Master Tera Sinube in Season Two’s “Lightsaber Lost” and while Ahsoka raced to capture the thief, Sinube took a more measured approach. Guess who gets the lightsaber back? Taking your time can make all the difference.
3. Leadership can be a heavy burden.
Though Ahsoka is young, she is in training to become a Jedi Knight and that means great responsibility. She learned the hardships of leading in Season One’s “Storm Over Ryloth.” It was hard for her and for us when her first time taking charge of a squadron went poorly. Some of her pilots were killed, and though she was shaken, she had to step back into the commander role almost immediately. Leading means taking risks and understanding they won’t always pay off.
4. Never be afraid to speak your mind.
Ahsoka rarely backed down from the opportunity to interject her thoughts, and that’s an admirable trait. Sure, sometimes her comments were snarky, but those were usually directed at Anakin and he usually deserved it. She wasn’t afraid to call General Grievous “Grumpy,” and she called out Anakin when he screwed up even though he was her teacher.
5. It’s okay to walk away.
There’s a lot to be said for never giving up and sticking things through until the end, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so if your beliefs have changed. In “The Wrong Jedi,” Ahsoka was put on trial for a crime she didn’t commit. The Jedi expelled her from the Order, and when they learned they were wrong, they didn’t apologize. That makes them jerks, but I don’t believe their behavior was the only reason Ahsoka left. Her conviction in the Jedi and her understanding of the role they were playing in the war changed, and she couldn’t stay even though the Jedi life was the only life she knew. She made the brave decision to forge her own path.