The latest episode of Ahsoka, the Disney+ series that follows the adventures of the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), delivered a fan-service blast from the past by bringing back her former master Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in a series of flashbacks and visions. The episode, titled “Part Five: Shadow Warrior”, explores Ahsoka’s unresolved feelings and regrets about her relationship with Anakin, who became the Sith Lord Darth Vader after betraying the Jedi Order and the Republic.
The episode begins with Ahsoka being trapped in the World Between Worlds, a mystical dimension that connects different points in time and space, by a mysterious hooded figure who claims to be an ally. There, she encounters Anakin, who appears to be his younger self from the Clone Wars era. He tells her that he is there to help her complete her Jedi training and face her fears. He also reveals that he knows about her involvement in the Siege of Mandalore, the final battle of the Clone Wars that led to the rise of the Empire and the execution of Order 66, which wiped out most of the Jedi.
Ahsoka is initially reluctant to trust Anakin, but she agrees to follow him through various portals that show scenes from their past adventures together. She relives moments such as the Battle of Ryloth, where they fought alongside Cham Syndulla and his freedom fighters; the rescue of Master Piell from a Separatist prison; and the confrontation with Maul on Mandalore, where Ahsoka learned about Anakin’s destiny as Darth Vader. Along the way, she also sees glimpses of Anakin’s darker side, such as his anger, his jealousy, and his willingness to break the Jedi Code.
Anakin Skywalker transforms into Darth Vader before Ahsoka’s eyes
The episode reaches its climax when Ahsoka and Anakin arrive at a portal that shows the Jedi Temple on Coruscant during Order 66. Ahsoka watches in horror as Anakin leads a squad of clone troopers to slaughter the Jedi, including younglings. She tries to stop him, but he ignites his red lightsaber and attacks her. He tells her that he has embraced his new identity as Darth Vader, and that he wants her to join him or die.
Ahsoka refuses to give in to his offer, and engages him in a fierce lightsaber duel. She manages to hold her own against him, but he eventually overpowers her and pins her down. He tells her that she was his greatest student, but also his greatest failure. He says that he loved her like a sister, but she betrayed him by leaving the Jedi Order and siding with his enemies. He then prepares to deliver the killing blow, but Ahsoka is saved by Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), who arrives with Captain Rex (Temuera Morrison) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) to rescue her.
Hera shoots Anakin in the back, causing him to drop his lightsaber. Ahsoka grabs it and slashes him across the chest, seemingly killing him. She then escapes through a portal with Hera and the others, leaving behind Anakin’s lifeless body. However, as they leave, they hear a familiar mechanical breathing sound, implying that Anakin survived and became Darth Vader.
Ahsoka Episode 5 is a love letter to The Clone Wars animated series
Ahsoka Episode 5 is a clear homage to The Clone Wars animated series, which introduced Ahsoka as Anakin’s padawan and chronicled their adventures during the galactic conflict. The episode features many references and callbacks to the show, such as Anakin calling Ahsoka “Snips”, Ahsoka calling Anakin “Skyguy”, and Rex calling them both “General”. It also recreates some of the most iconic scenes from the show in live-action, such as Anakin’s duel with Maul on Mandalore, Ahsoka’s farewell to Rex after Order 66, and Anakin’s march on the Jedi Temple.
The episode also showcases Hayden Christensen’s return as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, which was announced at Disney Investor Day 2020. Christensen reprises his role from the prequel trilogy films, but also channels Matt Lanter’s voice performance from The Clone Wars animated series. He delivers a nuanced portrayal of Anakin’s complex character arc, showing both his heroic and tragic sides. He also shares great chemistry with Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka, who captures Ashley Eckstein’s voice and mannerisms from The Clone Wars animated series.
The episode also features Ariana Greenblatt as a young Ahsoka during the Clone Wars flashbacks. Greenblatt does a good job of mimicking Eckstein’s voice and expressions, while also bringing her own charm and energy to the role. She also wears a realistic version of Ahsoka’s outfit and headpiece from the show, which was designed by prop master Josh Roth. Roth revealed that he and his team upgraded Ahsoka’s lightsabers for the live-action series, making them more slender and fitting the batteries inside the hilts, so that Dawson could perform all the stunts and fighting scenes.
Ahsoka Episode 5 is a fan-service blast from the past that revives an old face and an old chapter of Ahsoka Tano’s life with equal parts nostalgia and emotional catharsis. It is a true love letter to The Clone Wars animated series, and a testament to Dave Filoni’s vision and passion for Star Wars storytelling.