This Star Wars: Ahsoka article contains spoilers.
There’s never been a Star Wars show quite as jam-packed with easter eggs and references as Ahsoka, which is not just pulling from The Mandalorian-era shows but also two animated series and even one of the most celebrated Expanded Universe novels of all time. It’s easily the most ambitious Star Wars series to date, especially as it will presumably also set up the film set to be directed by Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni.
Featuring characters from both The Clone Wars and Rebels, and essentially serving as a sequel to the latter cartoon, Ahsoka wastes no time with its callbacks, as elements from those animated series make the jump to live action.
Here are all the biggest easter eggs and points of interest in “Master and Apprentice” and “Toil and Trouble”:
Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren
Two episodes in, it’s very clear that this show is as much about Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren as it is about Ahsoka herself. The character was introduced in the Rebels animated series, originally voiced by Tiya Sircar, and is played in live action by Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who got her start in 2016’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.
In Ahsoka, which takes place about a decade after the events of Rebels, we meet a Sabine who is still struggling with the loss of friend Ezra Bridger and who has not warmed up to the hero status the rest of the galaxy has bestowed on her. She’s also had a falling out with Ahsoka, who attempted to train her in the ways of the Jedi. The vibes are simply not great for this beloved member of Clan Wren.
But we all know what Sabine can do at her best. Not only did she help liberate Lothal and her home planet of Mandalore from the Empire (before the Great Purge destroyed the latter’s surface) but she was also the wielder of the Darksaber before Bo-Katan Kryze, Moff Gideon, and Din Djarin. In fact, it was while training to wield the Darksaber on Rebels that she picked up some of the lightsaber skills she gets to show off in the first episode of Ahsoka.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Hera Syndulla
Hera Syndulla is now a General of the New Republic, but she was also Rebel leader long before that, including as the commander of a cell of freedom fighters known as the Spectres, the group of characters that Rebels is about. But Hera was fighting the Empire long before even that. A decade prior to the Galactic Civil War, a young Hera helped the Bad Batch (a squad of rogue clone troopers who didn’t join the Empire) complete a mission on her home planet of Ryloth. Hera’s group was one of the earliest cells to join the fledgling Rebel Alliance in the early days of the civil war.
Originally voiced by Vanessa Marshall on Rebels, Hera is played here by the wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who you likely know from Scott Pilgrim, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Birds of Prey, and most recently the Netflix actioner Kate. She also happens to be married to Ewan McGregor. Heard of him?
Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn
To many fans, Grand Admiral Thrawn is the greatest Star Wars villain to never appear in live action. Until now. Although he doesn’t actually show up in the first two episodes of Ahsoka, he’s referenced a whole lot. And we know Thrawn will eventually pop up, as Lars Mikkelsen, who also voiced the villain on Rebels, has been cast to play him on the Disney+ series. And yes, Lars is Rogue One star Mads Mikkelsen’s brother!
Thrawn is actually one of the oldest characters in Star Wars, first debuting in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. That post-Return of the Jedi novel (the first of its kind) kicked off a whole new era of Star Wars stories on the page that propelled two decades of storytelling about the further adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, and all of their friends. Although that novel is no longer canon, it’s clearly inspired Ahsoka and its story about an Imperial Remnant secretly plotting to strike back at the New Republic.
It was actually Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni who brought Thrawn back to Star Wars canon, this time as a major threat to the characters on Rebels. Known as a master tactician who is always 10 steps ahead of his enemies, Thrawn is one of the scariest and most unpredictable Star Wars villains in the galaxy, and he doesn’t even need the dark side of the Force to take the heroes down!
Eman Esfandi as Ezra Bridger
Ezra Bridger is mentioned a few times in the first two episodes of Ahsoka, and you also get to see Eman Esfandi bring the character to life as a hologram message to Sabine. The message is actually an expanded version of the one featured in Rebels, where Ezra first debuted as the main protagonist. On the animated series, Ezra was the youngest member of the Spectres, and also the Jedi Padawan of Kanan Jarrus, Hera’s partner in crime on the show and later romantic partner.
What you need to know to understand what’s going on in Ahsoka is that Ezra disappeared during the Liberation of Lothal, the battle in which the Rebellion freed the planet from the Empire. With the help of some purrgil (in essence, space whales that can travel at lightspeed), Ezra sent himself, along with everyone on Thrawn’s Star Destroyer, including the Grand Admiral, hurtling into hyperspace, away from the battle, never to be seen again. But Ahsoka and Sabine believe Ezra might still be out there, and the key to finding their lost friend is locating Thrawn.
Ezra was first voiced by Taylor Gray.
David Tennant as Huyang
One of the nicest surprises of Ahsoka is the return of David Tennant as the voice of Huyang, the droid professor who first appeared in The Clone Wars animated series. Before the Jedi Purge, it was Huyang’s job to guide younglings through the construction of their first lightsabers, including Yoda and Mace Windu! In fact, Huyang has been in operation for about 25,000 years, which is why Ahsoka turns to Huyang when she needs info on Baylan Skoll, a former student at the Jedi Temple. This droid has basically trained every generation of Jedi to ever exist. But now that the Jedi Order is no more, he serves as Ahsoka’s travel companion and advisor, and it’s charming as hell.
Morgan Elsbeth, the Nightsisters, and Dathomir
Diana Lee Inosanto reprises her role as Morgan Elsbeth, the former magistrate who subjugated the people of Corvus in order to harvest all of the planet’s resources for the Imperial war machine. She was first introduced in The Mandalorian season 2 episode “The Jedi” as a close associate of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Ahsoka and Din Djarin work together to take her down, although it was unclear until now whether Ahsoka had killed Elsbeth or captured her at the end of the episode.
Well, Elsbeth is very much alive, and we learn a bit more about her in the first two episodes of Ahsoka. For one thing, she’s hired Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati to help her find Thrawn out in a distant part of the galaxy. More importantly, she’s not just a wicked Imperial sympathizer but also one of the few surviving members of the Nightsisters, also known as the Witches of Dathomir, a clan of Force-wielding Dathomirian women who practiced dark magick and were first introduced on The Clone Wars. Although most of the Nightsisters were massacred at the end of that war, some survived, such as Merrin from the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
The planet Dathomir itself has a long Star Wars history. Among other things, it’s the home planet of Darth Maul, who was actually the son of the leader of the Nightsisters, Mother Talzin.
Wherever Hera goes, grumpy astromech droid Chopper is usually not very far behind. But unlike other Rebel droids like R2-D2, he doesn’t particularly like finding himself in the line of fire, and he’s very happy to let you know about it. Ultimately, Chopper is incredibly loyal and his heart is in the right place, but he can also be very difficult and loves to argue. You can see all of these traits on display as Hera chases that ship into space in the second episode. Like Hera, Chopper first appeared on Rebels and also made a fun little cameo in Rogue One.
Lothal was one of the central settings of Rebels, so it makes sense it returns in live action. Ezra Bridger’s home planet is located in the Outer Rim of the galaxy and is largely known for its agriculture and grassy plains. Its capital city served as its industrial center.
For most of the animated series, Lothal was under Imperial rule, and its resources largely went to the Empire. It wasn’t until the Spectres showed up to sabotage Imperial operations that things started to change for the people living there. Eventually, the Rebellion freed Lothal, but, as we already mentioned, it wasn’t without sacrifices.
Corellia is a classic Star Wars planet, first seen on the big screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s the homeworld of both Han Solo and Qi’ra, and also the birthplace of the Millennium Falcon. This Core World is best known for its massive shipyards.
While Corellia was alluded to in the Original Trilogy, it didn’t actually appear in Star Wars media until 1985, two years after the release of Return of the Jedi, in the Marvel comic Star Wars #100. The planet was a mainstay of the Legends continuity.
Ahsoka’s T-6 Shuttle
The T-6 shuttle Ahsoka uses to get around first debuted in The Clone Wars. It was one of several ships used by the Jedi Order during the Prequel era. Ahsoka’s specific ship first appeared in the series finale of Rebels.
When the New Republic hails Ahsoka’s ship, Huyang answers the call as “Fulcrum.” That is of course the codename used by Ahsoka during the Galactic Civil War while working as an informant for the Rebellion. Other spies, such as Agent Kallus from Rebels, used the codename, too.
While we don’t see Hera’s ship, the Ghost, in the first two episodes, we do get to watch her pilot the Phantom, a smaller shuttle that detaches from the main ship. It was usually used by the Spectres when they needed to run recon or send down a landing party on a mission. This is actually the second Phantom used by Hera, as the first one was destroyed in Rebels season 3.
While we learn virtually nothing about the mysterious Marrok in these episodes, StarWars.com confirmed that he’s a former Inquisitor who now works as a mercenary, just like Baylan and Shin. Maybe there’s someone from the past hiding behind that mask?
Yes, Ahsoka is the first Disney+ live-action Star Wars series to feature an opening crawl. It’s not exactly the same crawl featured in the movies — the font and color are different — but it’s close enough!
“Toil and Trouble”
The title of the second episode is of course a reference to the three witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and their famous chant: “”Double, double toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” This is the episode in which we learn more about Morgan Elsbeth’s witchy background so the reference is appropriate.
The grateful citizens of Lothal commemorate the Spectres by unveiling a mural of the Rebel heroes, the same one Sabine visited in the final scene of Rebels. It features all the Spectres already mentioned above as well as Kanan Jarrus, who died in season 4 of the cartoon, and Zeb Orrelios, who we know is now working as a ranger of the New Republic, thanks to a cameo in The Mandalorian season 3. The characters are also bookended by loth-wolves, Force-sensitive creatures who helped the Spectres throughout the series.
Sabine’s cute little pet is known as a loth-cat. These little critters were staples of Rebels.
HK Assassin Droid
Morgan Elsbeth and the rest of the villains employ HK assassin droids to do their dirty work. HK droids were first introduced in the 2003 video game Knights of the Old Republic.
What would Star Wars be without a MacGuffin for all the characters to fight over? In this case, Ahsoka and Elsbeth are both after a Star Map, an artifact that can show them the way to the part of the galaxy Thrawn and Ezra were zapped to. Star Maps were first introduced in Knights of the Old Republic.
Mon Calamari Star Cruiser
The ship that Ahsoka docks with to meet Hera is a Mon Calamari Star Cruiser, which first appeared in Return of the Jedi as one of the many kinds of ships that made up the Rebel Fleet.