Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ahsoka and Star Wars Rebels.
Ahsoka’s latest episode ends on a major, potentially galaxy-shifting cliffhanger: After being knocked off a cliff by the former Jedi-turned-mercenary Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) in the middle of a lightsaber battle, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) wakes up in a mysterious environment.
The ground ripples around Ahsoka like waves, a transition pulled off by director Peter Ramsey (best known for co-directing Into the Spider-Verse). As she gets up, she’s on a platform lit with blue, surrounded by indistinguishable lines with clouds and stars in the background; to the untrained eye, it could look similar (albeit different) than displaying the MacGuffin map leading people to the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger.
“Hello, Snips,” a voice says. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon.”
It doesn’t take long to discover the owner of that voice, which Ahsoka recognizes instantly. And sure enough, when she turns around, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) looks right back at her with a small smile. He even calls her by a nickname he frequently used for his old apprentice in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
However controversial, Christensen’s return isn’t a surprise; the trades first reported he would show up back in 2021. But the location certainly is. And as for the how, or the why, or the what—and the emotional catharsis it might provide—we’ll have to wait until next week. But like many aspects of Ahsoka, it’s a place and concept we’ve only seen show up in Star Wars animation.
The World Between Worlds
It’s not of this world, nor is it the galaxy where Thrawn and Ezra are located. It’s more of a go-between or another plane of existence, one that exists between space and time and within the Force itself. It’s a place that very few people, even those with a strong connection with the Force, can access.
First introduced in the Rebels season 4 episode “A World Between Worlds,” Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray) enters the World Between Worlds through a gateway inside a Jedi Temple on Lothal. That gateway is marked with a mural of three god-like beings—which previously appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars—known only as the Father, the Daughter, and the Son. Activating the Daughter opens the gateway while activating the Son closes it. It’s less clear what the gateway looks like on different planets.
Rebels’ rendition of the World Between Worlds is in starker black and white versus Ahsoka’s blue hues, but the designs are otherwise similar in their depictions of platforms leading…somewhere.
This isn’t Ahsoka’s first encounter with the World Between Worlds
Ahsoka’s first visit to this realm, which occurs in the same Rebels episode, is something of a fluke.
Amid echoes of former and future Jedi—everyone from Qui-Gon Jinn to Rey—are glimpses into different points of Ezra’s life. One entryway, which Ezra is directed toward by an owl associated with Ahsoka and the Daughter, shows a lightsaber duel that took place in “Twilight of the Apprentice,” the Rebels season 2 finale, between Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) and Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) in a Sith temple.
When the duo begins to fight, Ahsoka only knows Vader as a powerful Sith lord. But during the duel, she damages Vader’s helmet and learns his true identity as her former Master, both devastating her and motivating her to keep Ezra and his companions out of the fray. Despite their previous connection, Vader aimed to kill her, but we never saw how that fight ended, so Ahsoka’s fate was up in the air for years.
When Ezra watches what happens in the World Between Worlds, he sees Ahsoka and Vader fight, but Ezra grabs Ahsoka through the gateway, likely saving her life. But that’s not the only obstacle they face. During their time in the World Between Worlds, they must stop Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from trying to access and use the realm for his nefarious purposes. And when Ezra sees an opportunity to save his former Master Kanan Jarrus’ life, Ahsoka stops him because his doing that would result in the deaths of everyone Kanan ever cared for, including Ezra. (Which would likely also result in Ahsoka’s death because Ezra couldn’t save her.)
Eventually, Ezra and Ahsoka return to their respective moments in time, and Ezra closes the gateway. To our knowledge, there have been no other visible entry points into the World Between Worlds in the galaxy.
How is Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds now?
Simply put, we don’t know.
In Ahsoka episode 4, Ahsoka is knocked off the cliffside during a lightsaber duel with Baylan Skoll, and we don’t see her again until she wakes up. It’s unclear if she fell through another plane of existence or tapped into it subconsciously, like a version of Jedi purgatory.
Hell, we technically don’t even know if Ahsoka is still alive.
Anakin’s assertion that “I didn’t expect to see you so soon” furthers the seeds of doubt, and the end of the episode still leaves the question of whether Anakin is a Force Ghost or we’re seeing a Clone Wars-era Anakin reunite with his former apprentice. A de-aged Christensen and Anakin having Vader’s lightsaber further complicates this question.
Episode 5 will likely try offering some kind of emotional catharsis, and if Ahsoka is alive, she may soon be discovered by Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), whose ship is currently above the planet Seatos.
But if Ahsoka is physically in the World Between Worlds? It might make it easier for her to catch up with the ship hurtling toward what most characters suspect is Thrawn and Ezra’s current location if an entryway in that space places her right in the middle of the action.