WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episodes of Star Wars Rebels, "Wolves and a Door" and "A World Between Worlds," which premiered Monday on Disney XD.
Fans have speculated fiercely about the ultimate fate of Ahsoka Tano, the beloved Jedi Padawan turned Rebel informant last seen in Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels facing off against Darth Vader. The final moments of her reunion with her former Master were left purposely ambiguous, as Ahsoka faded into shadow while the Sith temple on Malachor crumbled around her, fueling persistent hopes her return. And this week she finally did, although viewers may not be any more satisfied with the apparent ending to her story two seasons earlier -- or on The Clone Wars, for that matter.
In last week's midseason premiere, a grieving Ezra Bridger was visited in a vision by a talking Loth-wolf named "DUME," who pointed him in the direction of the Jedi temple of Lothal, now somehow endangered by the Galactic Empire. In "Wolves and a Door," Ezra calls upon a pack of Loth-wolves to transport him and his remaining friends to the temple, far to the north, for what amounts to a tribute to 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark: Minister Hydan, a scientist who answers directly to Emperor Palpatine, is leading a top-secret expedition to discover a way into the temple, and the mysterious gateway that lies within.
The temple, and more specifically a mural of The Ones, had managed to keep the Empire perplexed, but Sabine and Ezra combine their knowledge to open a gateway, permitting the young Jedi to enter, and travel what's described as a pathway between all time and space -- a "world between worlds" that could permit Palpatine to conquer the universe.
There, amid the vast emptiness, Ezra hears voices -- Obi-Wan, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Kanan, Anakin and more -- as he strolls past doorways before coming upon the convor he associates with Ahoka. As in the classic Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," a portal opens to reveal Ahsoka's duel with Darth Vader on Malachor. Instinctively, Ezra reaches through the door and pulls Ahsoka from that moment in time, seemingly saving her from her dark fate.
We say seemingly only because this isn't a rescue, despite Ezra momentarily concluding that the dead Kanan, working through the Loth-wolf, had directed him there to save Ahsoka, not the temple. But her purpose in "A World Between Worlds" is to play the young Jedi's conscience and guide, a familiar role in the Star Wars saga: When Ezra realizes that he can similarly pull Kanan out of harm's way seconds before his death, Ahsoka convinces him that his Master placed himself where he was most need, when he was needed. It's the key to Ezra comprehending a "final lesson" that will no doubt come into play in the series finale.
As if Ezra's journey along the pathway didn't already bear thematic similarities to Luke's visit to the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, he and Ahsoka are confronted by Emperor Palpatine, who peers through another portal. Pursued by his Force lightning, Ahsoka and Ezra split up so the latter can escape and seal the temple. He does, leaving Ahsoka to pass back through a gateway to the darkness of Malachor, this time with her convor for company.
We're left with the implication that Ezra and Ahsoka, now returned to their correct times, will yet reunite. However, given that there are only two more episodes -- a mere 90 minutes -- remaining before the end of Star Wars Rebels, that seems more than a little unlikely. If that's indeed the case, then Ahsoka will continue to exist in that nebulous limbo we left her in at the end of Season 2. There's no real closure, just another hello and a goodbye.
Returning Monday, March 5, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD, Star Wars Rebels stars Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Steve Blum as Zeb, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Taylor Gray as Ezra, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex, David Oyelowo as Kallus, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Governor Pryce, Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn and Warwick Davis as Rukh.