ahsoka marrok

Ahsoka/Disney+

‘Ahsoka’s’ Marrok is everything wrong with fan theory culture

Fans were obsessed with turning Marrok’s identity into a solvable mystery. But why?

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Marrok’s identity is one of the most widely-discussed mysteries in Ahsoka. An impressive feat, given that the show’s main story revolves around searching for two much more famous characters. But in episode 4 (spoiler alert!), the mystery of Marrok seemingly came to an end.

Rather than being unmasked as an established character, Marrok died unceremoniously in a duel. His armor collapsed in a puff of smoke, suggesting he was some kind of Nightsister magic entity – possibly a reanimated corpse or possessed suit of armor. At any rate, he is not someone whose identity matters to the plot.

If you weren’t following all the fan theory discourse, this likely seemed like an appropriate demise. Marrok was a tertiary villain with zero character development and minimal dialogue, making him obvious cannon-fodder in an ensemble fight. So why were so many fans obsessed with him? Even post-mortem, TikToks about this dude are racking up hundreds of thousands of views.

The answer partly lies with the Glup Shitto phenomenon, where Star Wars fans latch onto obscure characters. In Marrok’s defense, he did have a cool spinny lightsaber. Sometimes a distinctive costume or accessory is all you need to achieve Glup Shitto immortality.

The other half of this equation is fan theory culture. And the flurry of theorizing around Marrok doesn’t look good for either Ahsoka or its target audience. Right now the show’s main offerings are nostalgia value and a shallow mystery box storyline about a magic map. With little to discuss in terms of relationships or worldbuilding, fans focused their attention on a random background character. They assumed that because Marrok wears a mask, he must be someone else in disguise. But as it turns out, there was literally and figuratively nothing beneath the surface.

Star Wars has a long history of characters who hide their face beneath a helmet: Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, various Mandalorians. The difference here is there was no foreshadowing to suggest Marrok was anything other than an anonymous goon.

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