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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

‘Ahsoka’s Clones Wearing Orange Helmets Means More Than You Think

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episode 5.

The Big Picture

  • Episode 5 of Ahsoka explores pivotal moments in her growth through memories of the Clone Wars, with a focus on the Siege of Mandalore and the bond between Ahsoka and the 332nd Company.
  • The orange helmets worn by the 332nd Company serve as a tribute to Ahsoka and symbolize their respect for her as their former commander, even after she left the Jedi Order.
  • These helmets are a visual reminder of the close relationship between Ahsoka and the clones, representing both the bond they shared and the tragedy of their deaths during Order 66.

Following a character first introduced in Clone Wars, the newest Disney+ show, Ahsoka was bound to have a connection to the other series. Episode 5, “Shadow Warrior,” delivers that and more as it journeys through the title character’s memories of the Clone Wars, focusing on a few pivotal moments in Ahsoka’s (Rosario Dawson) growth. The episode is directed by Clone Wars creator Dave Filoni, who included plenty of small details for fans of the animated series to look out for. The previous episode saw Ahsoka fall into the World Between Worlds, but that was not the biggest surprise waiting for her. While trapped in this mysterious place, Ahsoka is visited by her former Master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who guides her on a sort of self-discovery. Back in the days of the Clone Wars, Ahsoka and Anakin fought side by side in many battles despite Ahsoka’s youth. But only a few critical moments make it into Ahsoka’s World Between Worlds vision, one being the Siege of Mandalore. During this scene, some clone troopers are briefly seen with helmets painted orange to match Ahsoka herself. This distinguishes them as the 332nd Company, a division of the 501st Legion formed to accompany Ahsoka to Mandalore. But these helmets are more significant than the scene has time to indicate. Clone Wars Season 7 highlights their importance, so Ahsoka didn’t take the time to acknowledge it, but they tie in perfectly to the point the flashback was trying to make.

What Does ‘Ahsoka’ Show of the Siege of Mandalore?

Ahsoka (Ariana Greenblatt) in the Battle of Mandalore with Clones behind her
Image via Disney+

In truth, the brief scene shows little of the actual battle, where Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) assists the Mandalore resistance and confronts Maul (Sam Witwer) on the planet of Mandalore. Taking place at the end of the Clone Wars, Anakin is busy with the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Yet Ahsoka takes on the battle on Mandalore without the help of her former Master. The finale season of The Clone Wars tells of Ahsoka’s short-lived triumph, so Ahsoka takes a different approach. With Ahsoka young (Ariana Greenblatt) again, the flashback vision focuses instead on a conversation between Anakin and Ahsoka that never occurred because Anakin wasn’t present. This makes the flashback less about the battle than Ahsoka’s emotions.

But the battle isn’t completely absent from the scene. All around them is the carnage of the war, complete with explosions, violence, and the chaos of the battlefield. Ahsoka takes out one of Maul’s soldiers before her argument with Anakin begins. Though the battle is not the focus, it is significant as Ahsoka remembers the damage the war caused. This scene even provides a glimpse of a favorite character from Clone Wars, Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker), who was raised to Commander for this very battle. There is also a brief but heart-wrenching cameo from the 332nd Company of Clone Troopers. They can be seen running behind Ahsoka, their trademark orange helmets blurred in the hazy background.

Who Are the 332nd Company, and Why Do Their Helmets Look Like Ahsoka?

The 332nd Company greets Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein)
Image via Disney+

These helmets only make a brief appearance in Clone Wars, as they are painted orange for the Siege of Mandalor at the end of the series. The color matches Ahoska’s skin and even includes stylized versions of her unique Togruta face markings as a symbol of respect for the former Padawan. The 332nd Company is a group of Clones who serve in the 501st Legion under Anakin. Ahsoka grew up as their commander, but after she left the Jedi Order, she had no right to lead them. When they hear she is to return, the Clone quickly repaint their helmets as a tribute. Customizing armor is the Clones’ display of individuality, so this is a significant honor.

When Anakin cannot go to Mandalore with Ahsoka, the 332nd Company accompanies her instead, officially under Rex’s command, yet they look to Ahsoka as a leader as well. Strictly speaking, she is only an advisor for the battle, but they follow her orders without question. Though no longer their commander, the clone troopers respect the young girl who fought beside them and saved their lives when she could. So they continue to show her their loyalty despite her lack of rank. The orange helmets were a tribute to Ahsoka, who had left the Jedi Order, but these helmets demonstrated that she still had the respect of these clones who chose to follow her into battle, Jedi or not.

RELATED: Hayden Christensen Delivers His Best Star Wars Performance Ever in ‘Ahsoka’

Why Are These Helmets Important to ‘Ahsoka’?

Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) mourns the Clones that died in Order 66
Image via Disney+

The honor given by these helmets and the 332nd Company’s actions are not lost on Ahsoka. The helmets are a visual reminder of the relationship Ahsoka had with her now-dead companions, which was a significant part of these flashbacks. As the flashbacks highlight the cost of war and the bloodshed that the series had to brush over, the helmets are another reminder that the Clones were more than soldiers. They were Ahsoka’s friends, essentially her family. The Jedi padawan and the Clones share a close relationship throughout Clone Wars, and distance doesn’t change that. The scenes demonstrate this bond in many ways, but the helmets are a nice touch.

But the helmets have a more upsetting connection as well. After the conflict on Mandalore was complete, Ahsoka and the 332nd Company set out with Maul as their prisoner. But during their flight, Order 66 took over the Clones’ wills. Ahsoka escaped and freed Rex from the command, but the rest of her friends turned on her (against their own will). The ship crashed and left Rex as the only surviving member of the 332nd Company. These helmets are not only a reminder of the final battle Ahsoka fought in the Clone Wars but also the last time she saw most of these men. These people were an integral part of Ahsoka’s life, and they wore the helmets in her final traumatic memory of them. The orange helmets represent the bond between Ahsoka and the clones of the 501st Legion and the ultimate horror of their death, fitting the themes of the Clone Wars scenes in “Shadow Warrior.”

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