By now, I'm sure you've all had a chance to digest what happened in the Season Five finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It was very emotional and like I teased all season long, I'm sure you now have more questions than answers about what happened and what's going to happen next.
Imagine being in my position, having to keep this a secret for so long! The suspense has been killing me! We recorded these last four episodes a year ago and I was definitely shocked when Dave Filoni told me that Ahsoka was going to walk away from the Jedi Order. It took me awhile to digest this news and I clearly remember, like it was yesterday, when it finally hit me that Ahsoka's life and my life was changing forever. Dave Filoni sent me an email about recording the final scene with Matt Lanter. The word "final" hit me like a ton of bricks. We've been recording The Clone Wars for seven years now. I've grown extremely fond of my time in the recording studio, especially getting to record the scenes between Anakin and Ahsoka with Matt. They had become routine, commonplace and when I realized that the final scene of the season was the final scene with Ahsoka and Anakin, it broke my heart. I wasn't sure if I was ready for that change.
I immediately emailed Dave back with several questions so I could understand WHY? In order to give the emotional performance needed for the final episode, I needed to get inside Ahsoka's head. His answers were amazing and I wanted to share them with you just in case you have some of the same questions I did.
Ashley: Wow, she really is changing a lot. I knew this was coming but I think the change is hitting me now and I'm realizing it's really moving forward and in a different direction, not just for one episode and then going back. It's great! The story is fantastic and I am honored to be a part of it. I want to talk to you more about this next week. Why does she walk away again, versus go back?
Dave: Ahsoka walks away because she is conflicted. She is not mad at Anakin, she knows doing this will hurt him, but she hopes he understands. She is frustrated with the Jedi Council, there is a feeling of betrayal. Much of this has to do with Anakin’s training and attachment rubbing off on her. She also leaves because while she believes Barriss was wrong, she cannot deny that there is truth to what Barriss was saying, especially in light of her own recent experiences. She needs perspective.
Ashley: I mean going back would be the easy thing but not the right thing... Walking away is the right thing to do right?
Dave: There is no real right or wrong. She makes a choice. This choice “feels” right. She is not ready to go back. It is easy to go back, it is easy to accept the gratitude of the council. But this does not “feel” genuine to her. Her path has changed, at least for now.
Ashley: Did she see that things would never be the same?
Dave: I think during a crisis we are never sure what is going to happen. Uncertainty causes fear. Change causes fear. But we do not need to be afraid of change. Change is the way of everything, nothing stays the same. It is the essence of growing up. We think our parents have always been our parents, we do not realize they are flawed, that they were kids, that they grow old. Ahsoka in a way is dealing with all that. The flaws in the Council, the flaws in herself. Trying to prove herself is an effort to keep things the same, not just self preservation, but preservation of the life she had and knows. Preservation of her comfort zone.
Ashley: Does Ahsoka always do the right thing at all costs?
Dave: No one is ever really sure what the right thing is. She follows her heart, in a way this defies some Jedi teachings. It is what Anakin and Qui-Gon do. She is governed by her heart, not logic or her mind. She is not entirely selfless, but that is not entirely bad. Doing the right thing at all costs is an absolute, and only a sith deals in absolutes. One would say follow the Chancellor or the Republic at all costs, but is this the right thing to do? It seems like it, but it can also be a blindness.
Ashley: Is that just her moral compass and who she is?
Dave: Her moral compass is guided by her heart and instinct. She cares, takes things personally, at least more personally than a normal Jedi. Thus she can get hurt, as we see she is hurt by what the Council decides. In some ways she is not mature enough to appreciate the peril the Council is in, and the greater decisions that do not involve her, which are transpiring all around her. She at this point, only sees what is happening to her, and feeling the sorrow, frustration, and anger that comes along with it. People want to flock, they want to be a part of something, an order, follow a crowd, but often the greatest movements forward in history are caused by people that walked differently, and acted out of line with what was “popular” of what seemed “right” or even “ethical.” Ahsoka must now decide what is right to her, what is ethical, and what her greater role is in all of this.
Ashley: Is that how she'll always be?
Dave: Like anyone Ahsoka evolves. As Luke does in the films.
Ashley: At this point, what's the overall message you are trying to convey with her choices?
Dave: That we have choices, and that sometimes we must not always make the easy choice. That often the right choice can be hard, and against your friends. It does not mean they are bad people, or that you do not relate to them anymore, but you have to make choices that are right for you.
There you have it! I hope this helps. I want to say thank you to all of our fans for the kind words this weekend about the show. It's been an amazing five seasons and your support has been incredible!
May The Force Be With You,
Ashley Eckstein is the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and also the founder of Her Universe, the first merchandise line made exclusively for female Star Wars fans! You can follow Ashley on Facebook and Twitter.