The new Ahsoka series starts off with many changes to the characters we last saw during Star Wars: Rebels. The most specific one is that Sabine Wren in Ahsoka is now a Jedi apprentice. Or rather, was. After the Ahsoka premiere, fans are wondering how that is possible, given where her character was in the story of Rebels. The reactions range from confusion to accusations of retcons to existing Star Wars canon. But read on to find out why Sabine Wren in Ahsoka being a Jedi is actually building on the existing concepts set up in the Star Wars universe.
Please note that the following will contain spoilers for Ahsoka episodes 1 and 2, now streaming on Disney+.
Sabine Wren In Ahsoka Is Tano’s Former Apprentice
Years have passed between the last scene of Rebels, to the events shown in Ahsoka. One signifier of this is Sabine Wren’s long hair in Ahsoka, implying she hasn’t cut it since the finale of Rebels. But there are many more clues and downright references throughout. The premiere episodes of Ahsoka give us plenty of backstory of how Ahsoka, at some point after Rebels, took Sabine in as her Jedi apprentice.
However, things between the two soured, and her Jedi training ended. Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) explicitly states in her conversations with Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) that she walked away from Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). The reasons why could come up later on in the series.
Sabine Wren As A Jedi Is Not A Retcon
Now, none of this backstory shown in Ahsoka is a ret-con, like many on the internet are proclaiming. A Retcon, or retroactive continuity, is when something established in the canon of a story, gets changed, recontextualized or downright contradicted in a new story. Filling in the blanks of what happened in canon from the end of one fictional story to the start of another, like from Rebels to Ahsoka, is just backstory. It would be a retcon if someone during Rebels explicitly said that ‘Sabine Wren cannot and will not ever be a Jedi’. Then her being a Jedi now, would be a retcon.
Instead, Ahsoka now recontextualizes everything we saw of Sabine in Rebels. The story builds on what we know, and fills in what we didn’t. All of which are valid storytelling to bridge the gap between one fictional story to another. And literally everything outside of the film-trilogies have been doing just that for decades. The Clone Wars animated series expands on the events between The Attack Of The Clones movie to Revenge Of The Sith. Star Wars: Rebels fills in the gap from Revenge Of The Sith to A New Hope. Andor was a prequel to Rogue one, which was a prequel to A New Hope. And the new era of Star Wars television is riding the gap from after the original trilogy to The Force Awakens with shows like The Mandalorian, Book of Boba Fett and now, Ahsoka.
Rebels Explains Sabine’s Jedi Potential With One Line Of Dialogue
During Star Wars: Rebels, in its entire 4 season run, never is Sabine shown as being Force-sensitive, or having Force-like powers. This much is true. however, in Season 3 Episode 15 entitled “Trials of the Darksaber”, Kanan Jarrus trains Sabine with the Mandalorian Darksaber. When confronted by Hera if he is holding back on her training due to her not having the Force, Jarrus explains exactly why Sabine Wren in Ahsoka being a Jedi is very much a plausible thing.
“The Force resides in all living things. But you have to be open to it. Sabine is blocked. Her mind is conflicted.”
— Kanan Jarrus; Rebels, Season 3, Episode 15
This line specifically spells out that every person has the potential to be sensitive or have access to the Force, but it’s their spiritual outlook or willingness to let it in, that impacts how much Force abilities they may or may not have.
Sabine has had a complicated history. A major part of that history is how her expertise in weaponry resulted in the Empire using a weapon she made against her Mandalorian people to commit genocide. Something that caused her to leave the Empire and get branded a traitor by her people. So it makes sense that she wouldn’t have confidence in her abilities and hold back, given one of those abilities in one way caused a lot of turmoil in her life.
The Idea Of The Force Has Constantly Evolved
The criticism of Sabine Wren in Ahsoka being a Jedi relies on some black-and-white assumptions about the Force, which are, basically incorrect. Through the various mediums that Star Wars has existed in, the idea of The Force has expanded, grown and enhanced. Rebels introduced the idea of how certain beings, like Loth-Wolves, can have such a strong connection to The Force, that they can travel across space and time. Other concepts like Force Healing, and even the Force Echo power that Ahsoka uses in the premiere episode, were introduced years between one another and expanded our understanding of The Force
The Force Isn’t A Binary Concept, But Rather On A Spectrum
Even when it comes to Force sensitivity within people, we’ve seen a wide range. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) from Rogue One had a special connection to the Force, despite being blind. While he couldn’t move objects or shoot lightning from his hands, his connection allowed him to do things that would seem impossible for the everyday person. Especially one with his handicap. We saw Kanan Jarrus do something similar with the help of the Force in Rebels when he became blind after a battle.
The live-action movies even saw Finn (John Boyega) develop Force sensitivity much later in life, as we saw in The Rise Of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams and Boyega both confirmed this depiction, even if it wasn’t explicitly showcased in the movie. And let’s not forget Broom Boy from The Last Jedi.
Sabine Wren In Ahsoka Could Still Exhibit Force Powers
So Sabine Wren in Ahsoka having little to no Force sensitivity, doesn’t automatically exclude her from being a Jedi. With only 2 episodes into Ahsoka, maybe she did show some Force connection between the events of the Rebels finale to the events of Ahsoka, which convinced Tano to train her. And like Finn, she could always exhibit Force sensitivity later on in life. But even if she didn’t Sabine Wren in Ahsoka being a Jedi makes complete sense and builds on what we have already seen in the story, despite that.
And to be completely fair, the rules around Force training and Jedi sensitivity are all governed within this fictional Star Wars universe that has spanned thousands of years. Within this time frame, the remaining experts of Jedi culture are someone like Huyang (David Tenant) who literally taught Jedi Masters like Yoda and Mace Windu to build their lightsabers, along with other Jedis for a thousand years. So if he doesn’t have a problem with Sabine Wren in Ahsoka being a Jedi, who really are all to criticize this depiction?
Ahsoka is now streaming on Disney+.
What did you think of Sabine Wren in Ahsoka as a Jedi? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter at @theshahshahid for more Star Wars and Ahsoka talk!