Warning: spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels.
Although Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker primarily dealt with resolving the stories of Rey, Kylo Ren, and the rest of the sequel trilogy stars, it also managed to pack in some cameos from long-gone characters when Rey reached out through the Force to connect with the Jedi of the past. And also Ahsoka.
Fans of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels likely recognized Ashley Eckstein's voice as Ahsoka Tano among the Jedi speaking to Rey in the climax of Rise of Skywalker. The group was packed with some big names of Jedi past, including Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan Jarrus as a treat for Rebels fans still mourning the death of that series' main Jedi.
Basically, the whole pack of characters speaking to Rey in this scene were dead Jedi, with the exception of Ahsoka. She famously left the Jedi Order in The Clone Wars. Now, based on how Ahsoka left in Clone Wars, the events of Rebels, and what happened in the sequel trilogy, I'm wondering if she returned to the Jedi path in the Star Wars timeline ahead of Rise of Skywalker.
Let's break down why I think it's possible, starting with why Ahsoka left the Jedi in the first place.
Ahsoka's Decision In The Clone Wars
Ahsoka debuted as Anakin Skywalker's Padawan in The Clone Wars, set in the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Although Anakin and Ahsoka were a great team (often working with Obi-Wan), Ahsoka left the Jedi Order in Clone Wars Season 5 after the Jedi Council expelled her when she was framed for a bombing of the Jedi Temple.
Although the Council offered for her to return after the truth came out, Ahsoka was disillusioned with the group that raised her and then gave her up, and she decided to leave altogether. Even Anakin wanting her to stay wasn't enough, as she was ready to pursue a new path into the future.
This decision meant The Clone Wars could avoid killing Ahsoka off to explain why she wasn't around in Revenge of the Sith and that she could come back as a rebel in Star Wars Rebels, but it also meant Anakin lost an ally who may have been able to help keep his head on straight when tempted by Palpatine.
Why is this important now? Well, Ahsoka was disillusioned with the Jedi Council and the Jedi Order as it was circa the prequel trilogy, and it's pretty clear in hindsight that she wasn't wrong about that. She also didn't depart angrily, and was clearly still fond of Anakin. Could Ahsoka see her way back to the Jedi path without the Council and bureaucracy getting in the way?
Luke was still a Jedi despite having to reforge the path with nothing much more than his instincts and some books he didn't thoroughly read circa the sequel trilogy, and Star Wars Rebels always referred to Kanan and Ezra as Jedi even though Kanan was just a Padawan during Order 66, spent many years very much off the Jedi path, and was more or less winging it when it came to training Ezra.
If Ahsoka still believed in Jedi principles, or could come back to them like Kanan did, couldn't she reasonably return to the Jedi path by the time of Rise of Skywalker, to fit with the others speaking to Rey through the Force? Next, let's jump to Ahsoka in Star Wars Rebels.
Ahsoka As Fulcrum In Star Wars Rebels
By the time Ahsoka made her Star Wars Rebels debut, about 15 years had passed since she left the Jedi Order in The Clone Wars, and she was working for the Rebellion under the name "Fulcrum." While she carried lightsabers and still seemed to more or less act in accordance with her Jedi upbringing, she was very clear that she's not a Jedi. In fact, in a chill-inducing scene, a vengeful Ahsoka explicitly says "I am no Jedi" when Darth Vader tells her that "revenge is not the Jedi way."
So, Ahsoka in Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels was pretty clear that she wasn't a Jedi. That said, she also explicitly told Vader that "there are no more Jedi" because of his Inquisitors, and the people closest to her during the Clone Wars were (as far as she knew) gone. The structure that made the Jedi when Ahsoka was rising through the ranks was gone. There were no more Jedi like those she used to know. Unlike Kanan when he met Ezra, Ahsoka to that point didn't have an inciting event to push her back to the Jedi ways, independent of bureaucracy.
Ahsoka was a warrior who favored lightsabers and had a Jedi upbringing, but was no Jedi in Rebels Season 2. This allowed for epic scenes like the lightsaber battle between Ahsoka and Vader and kept an actual main Rebels character as the lead Jedi rather than upstaging him with the recurring Ahsoka. As proved by Ahsoka's unexpected final Rebels season appearances, however, it would make sense if she did experience the kind of event that would push her back to the Jedi way. Just not in her Fulcrum days.
So, on to the end of Rebels and period before Rise of Skywalker!
Ahsoka Before Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
The final episodes of Star Wars Rebels finally answered the question of whether or not Ahsoka survived the Season 2 finale, when she trapped herself in the collapsing Sith temple with Vader. I was originally a proponent of Ahsoka having died with her spirit left behind, because obviously Vader wasn't going to lose in the pre-original trilogy era and it was hard to imagine Vader winning with Ahsoka still living and just hanging out on Malachor.
Rebels Season 4 managed to reveal that Ahsoka lived in a way that it made sense for Vader to leave Malachor without killing her. Ezra yanked Ahsoka out of the duel with Vader before Vader could strike a killing blow when he was in the world between worlds, saving her life, messing with time, and probably seriously confusing Darth Vader on Malachor.
Since Ahsoka had been pulled out of her own timeline, she returned to Malachor after being saved, promising Ezra that she'd find him when she could return. This involved a reunion with Morai from The Clone Wars. Meeting with Morai, visiting the world between worlds, and being saved by a Jedi still mourning his master all sound like reasons for somebody to start reflecting on their Jedi upbringing, right? Especially if that somebody was quite possibly going to hang out alone in a Sith temple away from all her friends for a couple of years with nothing to do but reflect?
Well, Rebels never explained what exactly Ahsoka did after going back to Malachor, very much alive, but she did return in the epilogue of the series finale, looking a whole lot more mystical and... well, Jedi-like. (Pictured above.) She came to Lothal to pick up Sabine and bring her along on the mission to find Ezra after his disappearance, conveniently before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope.
She'd been away from the rebels for about six years at this point, with her two or so on Malachor and the four of the original trilogy. That's a lot of time for reflection, right? Shortly before going back to her own time on Malachor, she'd also learned that Kanan was dead, which could be a motivator to revive some more of her Jedi habits. If she goes on to learn that Luke and Leia are Anakin's kids, she could feel even more pull back toward the Jedi path.
Or, of course, she might not and Ahsoka might just remain a fabulous Force-sensitive warrior who chose to leave the Jedi ways behind. This is all speculation at this point. Still, there's a lot of time between Ahsoka returning to Malachor on Rebels and Ahsoka's voice chiming in with all the Jedi in the Force in Rise of Skywalker, and there are reasons to suspect she was veering back toward the Jedi path.
If Kanan could pick the Jedi ways back up and Darth Vader could make his way back to the light (if not necessarily redeem himself) despite everything, why can't Ahsoka return to her ways as well? Of course, all the Jedi who spoke to Rey in Rise of Skywalker were also dead, so if the rule here would be that the speakers in the Force have to be dead Jedi, it may be more comforting to just imagine that rules don't apply and Ahsoka is just fine and neutral somewhere, hanging out with Ezra and Sabine.
Will we ever find out? Well, Ahsoka is returning to the small screen in February with the revival of The Clone Wars on Disney+ that will serve as the final season of the beloved series. Obviously The Clone Wars has to end its major action at least around Revenge of the Sith in the Star Wars timeline, but if Rebels could end on an epilogue jumping forward several years and dropping a major bombshell, why can't Clone Wars end with a time jump revealing what happened to Ahsoka after Rebels but before Rise of Skywalker?