Ahsoka and Anakin: Lasting Impact

March 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Television, The Clone Wars | 1 Comment

The animated television series The Clone Wars has created a rich and believable relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka, and now that it is in season three, it is becoming hard to remember what things were like before Ahsoka. In the Original Trilogy, Anakin Skywalker was a mere whispered name and the ravaged, unmasked Vader did little to conjure images of what the great Jedi might have once looked like. With the prequel films, George Lucas brought that young Anakin to life, even going so far as to show what Anakin was like as a child. Yet the relationship established in the Prequel Trilogy was one between Anakin and Obi-Wan. This same relationship was one of the core factors of Dark Horse’s Republic series. However, with the introduction of Ahsoka, the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan has changed, and the question is: has the change hurt or helped the Expanded Universe?

First off, let us look at what Ahsoka has done for The Clone Wars. One of the key elements of any show is the cast. With the Clone Wars era of Star Wars, the stars have always been Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As illustrated by the Republic comics and various other elements of the EU, they are the very heroes of the Clone Wars. However, a television show constantly following Anakin and Obi-Wan would present limited options for storytelling. Furthermore, the subtle change up of pairing them with other Jedi, while introducing more options, would still fall short of the longevity needed for a successful show. Yet Ahsoka not only provides a solution, but brings in a breath of fresh air.

Ahsoka’s addition to the cast as Anakin’s apprentice opens up the storytelling aspect threefold. On one hand, Ahsoka is a new unexplored character. On another, there is the new element of her relationship with Anakin and how it fits with his existing relationship with Obi-Wan. Finally there is the added option of the series now being able to toss Obi-Wan, and even Anakin, in and out of the episodes. In a way, Ahsoka becomes a new fulcrum for the series to stand upon…when needed.

Regardless of the extra storytelling options, Ahsoka has become a full-fledged character in her own right. Like Jar-Jar, she was met with initial criticism, however, she has also been much more successful in overcoming that initial criticism. That acceptance is essential because it has strengthened the importance of her bond with Anakin. With the popularity of the series, a whole host of new viewers are being introduced to this dynamic duo. The emphasis placed on Ahsoka and Anakin would normally have forced Obi-Wan out of the limelight, yet the show somehow has managed to avoid this. Rather than turning Obi-Wan into a third wheel, he has become the overseeing master of both of them, almost like a Jedi supervisor or chaperone. Between the three of them, they have created a new dynamic that works and maintains the importance of each character without diminishing their roles.

To the established fans, the most important factor is how the relationship between Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan affects the films, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the expanded universe. Since Ahsoka’s fate is unknown at this point, a discussion of why Anakin never mentions her in the films is premature and it may turn out to be an easy retcon. Nevertheless, the fact that Anakin formed a master-apprentice bond with Ahsoka does jeopardize the importance of that same bond with Obi-Wan. However, since Obi-Wan never really leaves the picture, and is a fairly constant companion to Anakin in The Clone Wars, there is never any weakening of that relationship. In fact, the way it turns out, it helps change the master-apprentice role between Anakin and Obi-Wan into the brother-like role they have in Revenge of the Sith. By giving Anakin an apprentice, it eases the focus on Obi-Wan the teacher and shifts his role more toward Obi-Wan the equal. Of course Obi-Wan still slips back into the role of teacher often enough, but there is still that slight elevation in status that lets Anakin strengthen that bond of brothers. In the end, Ahsoka’s greatest accomplishment might be giving truth to Obi-Wan’s line in ROTS, “You were my brother, Anakin.” Thus I think the introduction of Ahsoka has the potential to not only help the EU, but to strengthen it.

Feel free to share your feelings on the subject in the forums.



Posted By: Skuldren

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