WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Ahsoka Tano's much-anticipated big screen debut finally happens in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Episode IX is the final film in the Skywalker saga, serving as the culmination of everything that has transpired in the space opera. Abrams was tasked with tying all narratives and characters linked to the overall story of the Jedi and the Sith - including the fan-favorite Jedi Ahsoka Tano, from animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Anakin Skywalker's Padawan debuted in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated film which was set between Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Ahsoka's journey, however, was more fleshed out in the subsequent The Clone Wars animated series where she decided to leave the Jedi order under unfortunate circumstances.
Ahsoka made her small screen return in Star Wars Rebels, which is where we last saw her in - that is, until we hear again from her in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as a guiding voice for Rey in her time of need.
Ahsoka Tano's Role In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Sadly, Ahsoka's big screen debut wasn't what many of her fans envisioned it to be. There was no physical appearance from the character; instead, we can only hear her voice among the many Jedi voices during Rey's (Daisy Ridley) final battle with Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). With Ben Solo (Adam Driver) blasted down a cliff by Darth Sidious, Rey lies weakened on the ground, watchinging the Resistance on the verge of being destroyed by the Emperor's lethal Force lightning. She then starts to chant "be with me" - the same phrase she repeated over and over again while training with Leia (Carrie Fisher) at the beginning of the movie.
Soon, we hear the voices of prominent Jedi throughout the history of Star Wars with the most notable ones including Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Yoda (Frank Oz), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness/Ewan McGregor), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). We also hear Ahsoka's voice simply saying "Rey." This was confirmed in The Rise of Skywalker's credits, with Ashley Eckstein credited for the part.
Backed up by the legendary Jedi who lived before her, Rey recovers and manages one final stand against her evil grandfather. While defeating him (briefly) zaps the life out of her, she is saved by Ben Solo gifting her his own life force, as his final act of redemption.
Ahsoka Tano Must Be Dead By The Star Wars Sequels
The last time fans saw Ahsoka was shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, where the Galactic Empire was finally defeated by the Rebellion at the end of Rebels. Together with Ghost Crew Mandalorian member Sabine, Ahsoka traveled to the Unknown Regions in the hopes of locating Ezra Bridger, whose whereabouts continue to be a mystery until now after his heroic face-off with Grand Admiral Thrawn (although confirmed to be alive). Since then, we've never heard any update about the character.
Unfortunately for those who are hoping that Ahsoka is still around, The Rise of Skywalker seems to inadvertently confirm her death by the time of the film. Every voice featured in the aforementioned scene came from a confirmed dead Jedi, except for hers. Perhaps it's Lucasfilm's way of officially announcing that she's no longer around, which would explain her absence in the sequel trilogy. All that being said, it's also worth noting that since Rey is technically the last remaining Jedi, the film didn't really have a choice but to feature his predecessors. In any case, considering that she's among some of the most memorable Jedis in the history of Star Wars, it seems like she ultimately returned to the order following her heartbreaking decision to leave it all the way back in The Clone Wars.
When Will Ahsoka Tano Return To Star Wars?
The good news is, regardless of whether Ahsoka is alive or not in the Star Wars' present time, her voice cameo in The Rise of Skywalker may be an indication that Lucasfilm is ready to revisit her story. Ahsoka's narrative is one of the most interesting arcs in the whole franchise, not to mention how unique it is considering that, despite leaving the Jedi order, she continued to fight for what's right. Rarely does Star Wars put such great focus and attention to detail to characters outside of the main film players. However, her arc in The Clone Wars which was continued in Rebels was among the highlights of the said animated shows.
The Clone Wars and Rebels creator Dave Filoni has kept quiet about anything related to Ahsoka's fate since we last saw her. However, he has floated the idea a couple of times that we'll eventually get to reunite with her and find out what she has been up to since her last emergence. With the arrival of Disney+, a proper Ahsoka Tano TV series may be in the cards for Lucasfilm. Filoni has already dabbled in the world of live-action Star Wars via directing two episodes (and writing one) for Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian. Otherwise, an animated show can also work just as long as they bring back Eckstein who really brought this character to life. Whatever format the potential Ahsoka project come in, one thing is for sure - fans will be very excited about its arrival.
Just because Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker seemingly confirmed Ahsoka's death, that doesn't mean that we can no longer further explore her character. If anything, this franchise has proven a couple of times that death doesn't necessarily end one's story - case in point: Darth Vader with the prequels, as well as the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+ directed by Deborah Chow. Considering the clamor for Ahsoka, coupled with an interesting premise for a limited series, perhaps Lucasfilm is really trying to weigh their options regarding how they'll approach a future project headlined by the beloved character.