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In her battle with the Emperor in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rey finds strength in the Jedi that have come before her. We hear the voices of long dead Jedi like Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu. We also hear the voice of Ashoka Tano, the former student of Anakin Skywalker, seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Her inclusion in this class of past Jedi made many assume that, by the time Rise of Skywalker rolled around, Ashoka Tano must have died, but Clone Wars creator Dave Filoni is reiterating that might not necessarily be the case.
It seemed like a fairly logical conclusion to draw. Every other voice we hear is from a character we know to be dead, and so it implies that Ashoka is also part of the class of characters we can call "dead Jedi." Of course, as far as Ashoka's story has gone, she has yet to actually become a Jedi, and Dave Filoni tells i09 that making that connection that she is dead is a case of dealing in absolutes, and Jedi don't do that...
I have to wonder with Star Wars fans. They seem to watch the movies but they don’t take all the lessons. They deal a lot in absolutes, which is very much a Sith thing. I remember in The Empire Strikes Back Luke speaking out through the force to Leia. Vader also does this at the end of Empire Strikes Back. There’s no absoluteness that these people are dead. I mean, some of them we know are dead.
Dave Filoni had previously teased the idea that, just because Ashoka appeared to be dead during Rise of Skywalker didn't mean it was true, and now, as Ashoka Tano returns for a final season of The Clone Wars on Disney+, which is set in the middle of the character's timeline, he's doubling down on this idea.
Dave Filoni has been pretty open about the fact that the story of Ashoka Tano will continue, though he's being unsurprisingly vague about exactly when or how that story will continue. Eventually, we might make it to the sequel trilogy era and learn what happened to Ashoka, but Filoni told iO9 that the moment from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker doesn't have any bearing on whatever he's currently working on. At the same time, he understands that the fact that fans are making a big deal out of Ashoka's appearance in the film means that people care about the character and want to know the answers.
I always take from [fan reactions] that ‘Wow, they really care about this character.' They want to know the ins and the outs and everything. And so I take it with a real grain of respect because, well, we’ve got to figure all these things out and how it works. And it is interesting that the voice is there. What does that mean?
The final season of The Clone Wars, which debuted on Disney+ today, won't explain The Rise of Skywalker connection, but it will fill in some gaps in the history of a very popular Star Wars character.