Star Wars: Ahsoka should continue the Darth Vader fix that began in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The new show will follow one of Star Wars’ most beloved characters, Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka is well-known for her role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as a sidekick to Anakin Skywalker, which has led to speculation over the role of Darth Vader in the upcoming series. Ahsoka recently made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian, and her new show will hit screens in 2023.
Moving forward, it is arguably best if Ahsoka leans into Darth Vader’s straightforward villain characterization that was re-established in Obi-Wan Kenobi. After acquiring Star Wars, Disney began moving Vader closer to an anti-hero, and at one point, even labeled him an anti-hero on the Star Wars website. However, Vader is not an anti-hero. He is the oppressor of an entire galaxy, a textbook villain. While Emperor Palpatine may be pulling the Empire’s strings, Vader is the one doing the villainous, dirty work. He has simply done too many terrible things to be considered anything but a villain in Star Wars canon, and it is important for Ahsoka to reinforce that.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Fixed Disney’s Darth Vader
Obi-Wan Kenobi went a long way toward fixing Disney’s portrayal of Darth Vader. Vader plays a central role in the first season as the main villain. The show unapologetically presents Vader as a brutal tyrant at the peak of his evil, including murdering innocent civilians to force Obi-Wan out into the open in Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3. Vader being defeated by Obi-Wan is season 1’s climax, and it reinforces the role of Vader as a true villain rather than an anti-hero. Vader doesn’t simply lack heroic traits; he is deeply and fundamentally evil.
Ahsoka Can Make Vader Even More Evil
Ahsoka has an important opportunity to continue building on Obi-Wan Kenobi’s portrayal of Darth Vader. Because of Ahsoka’s complicated relationship with Anakin, the show will have a chance to make Vader even eviler by exploiting their former friendship. Ahsoka’s evolving dynamic with Anakin is a huge part of her development as a character through Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.
A route to explore their dynamic further could be Vader returning for Ahsoka. Their relationship is important not only to Ahsoka but also to Anakin before he becomes Vader. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, the audience experiences Vader’s conflict with his former Master, but in Ahsoka, it will experience his conflict with his former Apprentice. When Vader fights Obi-Wan, he wants revenge for wrongs he felt were done to Anakin. However, if he fights Ahsoka for the second time following their Rebels clash, he will have no obvious motivation outside of hurting her further. This represents a golden opportunity to display Vader’s unchecked villainy.
How Anakin & Vader Can Appear In Ahsoka
Considering how important Anakin is to Ahsoka, it is likely Anakin will appear in some fashion in the upcoming series. Ahsoka will need to do the leg work to develop Ahsoka’s character for the portion of its audience not already familiar with her. Bringing back Hayden Christensen for a flashback to Ahsoka’s time as Anakin’s apprentice could be an effective way of introducing her backstory to a new audience. Should Ahsoka decide not to bring in Anakin, it would represent a missed opportunity to contrast the heroic Anakin with the villainous Vader, to reinforce the extent of his descent into evil.
Darth Vader will likely appear in Ahsoka as well, and there are several ways in which he could do so. Ahsoka could show Vader hunting down Ahsoka, leading to another standoff between them. It could also subvert expectations and have Ahsoka attempt to track down and take on Vader, which would be an unexpected way of driving season 1’s plot. Regardless of how Vader is brought back, it will be important for Ahsoka to portray him as a classic villain.
Ahsoka and Darth Vader’s relationship is tragic, and it is likely to be central to the plot in Ahsoka. The series will need to be careful to show Anakin as he was without sugarcoating who Darth Vader has become. It has to make Anakin sympathetic without turning Vader into an anti-hero. Darth Vader commits numerous atrocities across the Star Wars canon, and his role as a villain, which was illustrated in Obi-Wan Kenobi, should be reaffirmed in Star Wars: Ahsoka.