Monday, May 11, 2020

Let's talk for a moment about the fates of Jyn Erso and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars

Many of you who count yourselves (like me) as a fan of Star Wars understand that Ahsoka Tano was Anakin Skywalker's padawan. She's also unique among force users and people who have all the powers and training of the Jedi (but do not have the title "Jedi") which is just a word after all. Ahsoka didn't even exist until after "Revenge of the Sith." So her fate (and story) had to be constrained by canon. It's a tragedy that she couldn't save the Republic, and that she saw the doom on the horizon yet (like Cassandra in the Trojan War) could do very little about what was transpiring. She is my favorite character in all of Star Wars, because of this.
Jyn Erso is a great character, and her story featured in Rogue One is one of the best told in the entire series.

With the Clone Wars having ended on Disney +, it makes me think of another tragic character named Jyn Erso, whom most of us watched in Rogue One, which is a powerful, moving, and well-told Star Wars movie. Jyn Erso's story was complicated and tragic, and she isn't seen or mentioned in the original trilogy, because 1) yes it doesn't fit within the events of the original trilogy, and 2) she didn't exist as a character until many years later. That's how things like this work.

A little research online also provides the following: Jyn wasn't killed off because she wasn't mentioned in the original trilogy. They (the makers of Rogue One) intended for her and Cassian to survive. It just worked better narratively if these characters didn't survive (writers know all about these kinds of choices), and since they were totally new characters they had the freedom to go with that decision.
Many people think that Ahsoka Tano only lived because she was Dave Filoni's character (the showrunner behind
much of the Star Wars stuff that graces our screens). I disagree. Ahsoka Tano who is every bit as strong and
complex as Jyn Erso does deserves to live, and Star Wars as a story is all the better for it.
In context, I think Ahsoka is different. Jyn was created as a way to tell a story about a single huge event within Star Wars canon, and she served that purpose extremely well. Ahsoka is a character who was featured in many stories over more than a decade. She grew, became an adult, went from one animated series to another, and she was shaped by the events of Anakin becoming Darth Vader, and by Senator Palpatine becoming the Emperor (who then murdered all of her friends by enacting Order 66). In all the ways I can think, it makes sense that Ahsoka is alive in the active Star Wars universe, and that Jyn Erso is not.

Ahsoka's great strength (I think) is that she chose a different path, walking away from the Jedi Order even as she was offered acceptance into its upper ranks. She's probably the first "Jedi" to walk the right road in a very long time. The Jedi Order (before the fall) was arrogant, drunk on power, and filled with hypocrisy. Think about how bad Mace Windu was. He was more than happy to be a warrior instead of a peacekeeper. And then there was Qui Gon. He was told directly that Anakin should not be accepted as a Jedi trainee, and then Obi Wan, his head filled with Qui Gon's idealism, pulled a move to train Anakin himself. The Jedi had become something they were never supposed to evolution that took a long time. And while I'm at it, Luke was a horrible Jedi too. His training was just about weaponizing him to aim him at the Emperor and Vader, because Yoda didn't have the luxury of time. So, the more I ruminate on it, the more I realize that The Last Jedi was just pointing out what should have been obvious to me about Luke. I just wasn't prepared to hear it at the time, because my younger self had idolized him. But the story of Ahsoka Tano told to me through the years allows me to look on the events of the movies with clear eyes and a clear mind, and it all makes sense now.

Anyway, Ahosoka managed to see clearly enough what was happening, she took a stand, made a choice to remove herself from the cancer that was the Jedi Order, and she lived. By contrast, Jyn Erso died. Both stories, and the fates of their main characters make sense to me. I hope, in reading this, they make a little more sense to you.


  1. Never watched the series.
    However Jyn and Rogue One are great. Glad they have more stand alone movies planned although I doubt they will create another one of that caliber.

  2. Ahsoka vs Jyn is really the difference between the series and movies. Because Ahsoka was on two TV series it really gave her a chance to grow more than a character who appeared in 1 movie. It'll be interesting what they do with Ahsoka in season 2 of The Mandalorian. Since it takes place after Endor, I wonder if they'll mention what happened to Ezra?

  3. Ahsoka actually fills a void long spoken of in the SWU, the rare jedi survivor of the purge existing at the edges. There were even various appearances of an aged, female jedi wiseprson. I'm very glad of Ahsoka's continuation and am looking forward to her character in The Mandalorian.

  4. The great thing is they are able to tell all these stories, thereby fleshing out all that came before.