- Ahsoka’s journey in the Disney+ show allowed her to confront her personal trauma and relationship with Anakin, leading to her transformation.
- The World Between Worlds in Ahsoka had different implications compared to its portrayal in Star Wars Rebels, with Anakin’s appearance showing his control over this dimension.
- Ahsoka’s experience in the World Between Worlds parallels Darth Vader’s mystical journey in the comics, both leading to a transformative realization of their true selves.
Ahsoka made a subtle change to the Force vergence known as the World Between Worlds, one subtly set up five years ago. The Ahsoka Disney+ TV show was, at heart, a personal journey for Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan; Ahsoka Tano had to face her own personal trauma, including her relationship wiith Anakin. This trauma was the real reason she had held back from training Sabine Wren, her Mandalorian Padawan.
This culminated in Ahsoka episode 5, something of a bottle episode in which Ahsoka entered the mysterious dimension known as the World Between Worlds. First introduced in Star Wars Rebels back in 2018, the World Between Worlds is a place Ahsoka has visited before – when Ezra Bridger used it to save her life from Darth Vader. But in Ahsoka, the World Between Worlds was subtly rewritten.
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How Star Wars Changed The World Between Worlds For Ahsoka
In Star Wars Rebels, the World Between Worlds was portrayed as a vast, empty space filled with portals – potential gateways to the past. This served as something of a plot device to help Ezra Bridger face his grief, as well as continue his path as a Jedi. Ezra was initially tempted to try to use the power he gained from the World Between Worlds to save his mentor, Kanan Jarrus, but he recognized this was impossible. Instead, that power was used to selflessly save someone else.
Ahsoka episode 5 used the World Between Worlds in a very different way. This time, Ahsoka was transported to the World Between Worlds after she was almost killed by Dark Jedi Baylan Skoll. Ezra encountered nobody in the World Between Worlds – at least not until he rescued Ahsoka, and Palpatine subsequently forced his way in. Ahsoka, however, was visited by Anakin, who vowed to finish her training. He guided her through various memories of the Clone Wars. As Lucasfilm’s Dave Filoni explained in an interview with Dagobah Dispatch, this was about Ahsoka’s need to face her past – and so transform her for the future.
“The way i think about that as a cinematic device, and a way to tell the story of the Clone Wars without you having to watch the entire Clone Wars. When I did it for Rebels, it was really for a very different purpose; it was for Ezra to relive his experience of his mentor dying, and to kind of bring Ahsoka into that story in a nice way and have him do something selfless for somebody else which was just as valuable if not more than doing it for what he wanted it to be, which is save his master.
In this story, knowing that I had that kind of device, I wanted to use it as the transition point between Ahsoka before and Ahsoka after. I made that a real change in her, and have her actually confront Anakin, and the question that she would have about him – that he would become Darth Vader.”
The change was purely for story purposes, and it suggested a being like Anakin can have tremendous control over the World Between Worlds. This seems unprecedented based on everything seen of the World Between Worlds on screen, but it actually hearkens back to a plot from the comics – one that featured Darth Vader himself. This story was told in Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader #25.
Ahsoka’s Use Of The World Between Worlds Was Set Up Five Years Ago
Soule’s Darth Vader series follows Darth Vader in the years immediately following his transformation, and the final arc deals with the construction of his Dark Side castle on Mustafar. After the castle is completed, Vader attempts to use a vergence to go into the Force in an attempt to resurrect his dead wife, Padmé Amidala. After entering the Force like this, Vader experiences a Force vision much like the one Ahsoka experiences, visiting locations and memories from his past. Much like Ahsoka’s experience, this is transformative for Anakin, as he sees his memories but with his present consciousness.
Vader’s Force avatar sees his child self on the streets of Mos Espa, sees himself fighting alongside Ahsoka, and even sees their future duel on Malachor. After facing off against his memories of the Jedi, Anakin finally meets and confronts Padmé, and he sees her die once again. This entire vision serves as a way of re-establishing the fact that Padmé is very much dead, and there’s nothing Anakin can do about it, even accessing the netherworld of the Force. In a way, the purpose of this comic series is to fully demonstrate Anakin’s transition into Darth Vader – fully giving up hope on anything else, and becoming the servant of the Emperor seen in the original trilogy.
What Darth Vader’s Experience Tells Us About Ahsoka’s
Darth Vader’s experience isn’t necessarily in the World Between Worlds itself, but is certainly in a netherworld aligned with it. Visually, Camuncoli’s art seems to pay homage to the film Kagemusha – one in which a man pretending to be the emperor experiences a vision in a strange, smoke-filled place. Kagemusha was also the inspiration for Ahsoka‘s World Between Worlds; as Filoni explained:
“One of my inspirations for it was in the film Kagemusha you have the man who is pretending to be the Emperor, he’s confronted by a vision of the Emperor, he’s mad at him because he’s unsure of himself. And it’s a very surrealistic image, dreamlike state that you see in that movie. And the whole nighttime battle, where he kind of stands in the tide during the night, shot with these red lights and smoke and all these different color palettes… that was kind of the touchstone that we were using for all these sequences to make them feel a bit more abstract, so it feels like this is something that is possibly just in Ahsoka’s mind, we don’t even know where Ahsoka is, what’s going on here, but we are reliving something that’s important for the audience to know. And that’s kinda how I looked at it for the live-action series.”
Darth Vader’s mystical experience was the final step to becoming his true self, as he viewed his past through a new lens – just like Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds. Both these vision-quests are formative, revealing a person’s truth to themselves. In both cases, the people experiencing these visions are grappling with aspects of their past that they need to move on from, and the visions finally force them to do so. Ahsoka was dealing with Anakin’s fall, Darth Vader with Padmé’s death. They’re both revelations of the truth that seemed obvious, but wasn’t truly accepted by Anakin and Ahsoka until after their visions.
Both these vision-quests are formative, revealing a person’s truth to themselves.
Ahsoka’s transformation becomes more visually impressive, however. She chooses to live, to change, to grow rather than be bound by the past as she has been for over 10 years. She is pulled from the waters of Seatos, as if having been baptized and changed. Her outfit in the following scenes is a distinctly lighter color, fully becoming the “Ahsoka the White” that was seen in the epilogue to Rebels. Just as Vader’s vision brought him further into the dark, Ahsoka’s brings her further into the light, albeit through some new changes to the World Between Worlds in Ahsoka.