Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episode 5.
The Big Picture
- Ahsoka’s visions of the Battle of Ryloth and the Siege of Mandalore are the ones that haunt her because they were traumatic experiences with significant losses of life, including clones she was close to.
- In the Battle of Ryloth, Ahsoka’s choices as squadron commander led to major losses, and she blames herself for the casualties, which impacts her mindset in future battles.
- The Siege of Mandalore was Ahsoka’s final confrontation in the Clone Wars, and despite leaving the Jedi Order, she leads a division of clones into battle out of loyalty and friendship. The high body count and violence reinforce Ahsoka’s doubts about her role as a warrior.
Ahsoka‘s latest episode, “Shadow Warrior,” takes the title character back to her childhood, showing battles from The Clone Wars in a new format. After falling into the World Between Worlds, Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson, voiced by Ashley Eckstein) is confronted with her former Jedi Master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen, voiced by Matt Lanter), in a vision that takes her back to two memorable battles for her. While Ahsoka mentions the Siege of Mandalore, another unnamed battle from earlier in the series can also be seen. Context identifies this appearance as the Battle of Ryloth from The Clone Wars Season 1. But why do these battles stick in Ahsoka’s mind years later? Ahsoka fought many battles during the Clone Wars, constantly warring with the Separatists and seeing horrors far too mature for her. The Seige of Mandalore has an obvious significance as Ahsoka’s final battle in the Clone Wars. But, while the Battle of Ryloth occurred early in Ahsoka’s time as a Padawan, it was far from her first experience. However, like the Seige of Mandalore, Ryloth was significant to Ahsoka. During this conflict, she had her first chance to command a squadron, and her choices led to the loss of life, including some clones she was close to. Later, at the Siege of Mandalore, the 332nd division chose to accompany her out of loyalty, not duty, and again, many died. These were traumatic experiences for Ahsoka, even among the many battles she fought, as seen by the fact these are the ones that haunt her decades later.
Is That the Battle of Ryloth in ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5?
The first battle that appears is not directly named, but there are several things that link it to Ryloth. First, a suddenly young Ahsoka (Ariana Greenblatt) describes it as an early mission, and Ryloth fits that description. It falls at the end of Season 1, relatively early in the show’s 7-season run. Anakin and Ahsoka fight many battles together. The Liberation of Christophsis, the First Battle of Felucia, and the Campaign at Umbara, to name a few. Yet, a more obvious hint of which battle appears in Ahsoka’s vision is their allies. In the aftermath, several Twi’leks soldiers can be seen in the background. This is rare as the Republic’s army consists of clones. But Mace Windu (Terrence C. Carson) recruits the Twi’lek freedom fighters on Ryloth, meaning they fight beside Twi’leks during the siege of Ryloth’s capital. Though Windu leads this charge, Anakin and Ahsoka are present. The third, and perhaps the most significant, hint is that this battle lines up with an important lesson for Ahsoka, fitting the mindset in the flashback and making it worthy of a memory so many years later.
The process of freeing Ryloth was a changing point for Ahsoka. While taking out the Separatist blockade that held the planet captive, Ahsoka was given a chance to command a squadron for the first time. Anakin tries to impress upon the young padawan that the lives of those she commands depend on her as their leader. Yet Ahsoka is overconfident and refuses to retreat despite her orders. Her rash actions led to significant losses, including most of her squadron. This is a harsh lesson in the cost of war, and Ahsoka takes the losses to heart as she rightfully blames herself. During the next confrontation with the enemy, Ahsoka is plagued by doubt but forced to take charge. She does so successfully, yet her grief is not gone.
Ahsoka’s lesson takes place during the entrance to the planet, giving her plenty to think about during the ground assault. Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) and Windu lead the battle on the planet. Yet Ahsoka and Anakin are present, and her new lesson intensifies the cost of casualties in her mind. With a new understanding of war, Ahsoka continues to fight, yet most of the scene in Ahsoka takes place during a much-needed break as she stops to mourn her fallen friends. She focuses on the injured clones, proving how her recent experience impacted her. She stresses over her involvement in the casualties and refuses Anakin’s comfort as she contemplates her future. Feeling guilty over the lives lost because of her actions, it makes sense for her to get mad at Anakin’s lighthearted joking that she should be used to even in dire situations. This is an important lesson for Ahsoka that she must hold onto throughout the rest of her life as she battles the Separatists and, later, the Empire. Ahsoka never forgot the gravity of these losses, and, as such, the Battle of Ryloth had a major impact on her life. So it’s understandable this is the moment she goes back to instantly, especially as Anakin claims to be giving her another lesson on life and death.
The Seige of Mandalore Played a Large Part in Ahsoka Arc
The Siege of Mandalore was yet another significant battle for Ahsoka. Her final confrontation she participates in during the Clone Wars, Ahsoka, strictly speaking, shouldn’t be involved in this one. After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka isn’t a part of the Republic’s army. Yet Anakin and Obi-Wan cannot go to Mandalore, which is set up as a trap for them. But Ahsoka doesn’t give up on her friends, nor does she go alone. Despite Ahsoka’s lack of rank, the 332nd Division of Clones accompanies her. With Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) promoted to commander so they can leave Anakin, the company still looks to Ahsoka as their leader, going so far as to repaint their armor in her honor. Clones are led by loyalty above all else. Ahsoka is their friend and commander by virtue of their respect, if not by the military’s hierarchy. They chose to follow her into battle with no orders necessary, and Ahsoka understands the significance of that. The body count is high as they face Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), and though they come out victorious, most of the surviving clones die in a crash during Order 66.
This scene in Ahsoka is more straightforward, especially as Ahsoka states the battle. She is more involved in the actual fighting than in Ryloth. But as she watches the destruction, she once again questions if she is nothing more than a warrior. Though she had left the Jedi, she couldn’t put that life behind her entirely, as she gets called back into battle. Anakin may insist that she is part of a long legacy passed down from Master to padawan. But Ahsoka sees only death and violence because of experiences like the Siege of Mandalore and the Battle of Ryloth. Among the many battles Ahsoka fought, these stand out because of the severity, the losses, and the guilt she feels. So, it makes sense that they are the ones she revisits.