Ahsoka Tano has been on quite the journey.
When we first met her, she was a mildly irritating padawan assigned to Anakin Skywalker on Christophsis. To say the two didn't initially hit it off would be an understatement, but as The Clone Wars progressed, teacher and student formed one of the tightest bonds we've seen in all of Star Wars. The relationship between Ahsoka and Anakin was defined by loyalty and trust, something we saw as the former was framed for the Jedi Temple bombing and when the latter was accused of being on the brink of falling to the dark side.
And then Order 66 happened, and everything changed. Anakin did succumb to darkness, and Ahsoka was forced to confront this terrible truth when she faced down Darth Vader in Rebels. Had Ezra Bridger not intervened in the World Between Worlds, Ahsoka and Anakin's relationship would have come to a tragic conclusion. But with her survival, Ahsoka is now poised to take over the role as a master, something her creator likens to another legendary fantasy mentor...
In an interview with Vanity Fair, producer Dave Filoni said that Ahsoka Tano is like a masterful samurai at this stage in her life:
"She is, for lack of a term, a master, because she’s largely an independent at this point. I play her much more as a knowledgeable knight. A wandering samurai character is what she really is at this point."
The creator likened the heroine's role to Gandalf:
"I’ve always made comparisons to her heading toward the Gandalf stage, where she is the one that has the knowledge of the world and can help others through it. I think she’s reached that point."
Filoni explained that as she's matured, Ahsoka's experiences have contributed to the weariness we saw in The Mandalorian:
"We saw her basically hit the scene as a Padawan: young, and naïve, and brash, and aggressive. Then, in Rebels, she’s more of a traditional knight, trying to figure out how to fight a war. There’s a lot of hesitation around what she wants to be and who she can be and how her life’s been guided. I think that now I’ve taken that a step further. When you see this version of the character, she’s world-weary from everything that she’s experienced and lived through. She’s seen so much happen in her time."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Ahsoka's journey has come full circle. The student has now become the teacher, just as Anakin once was to her. To a lesser degree, she served a similar role in Rebels, but it took facing and accepting what had happened to her former master for Ahsoka to truly evolve to the next level.
Filoni's intention to evoke Gandalf in Ahsoka was well translated in The Mandalorian. The setting on Corvus felt like Lord of the Rings, particularly the forestry and the sequence when Ahsoka connects with Grogu. When we find her in "Chapter 13," Ahsoka is off fighting her own battle against the local magistrate, but like Gandalf, she always has time to pass on the knowledge that our hero needs to continue his journey.
There's still a bit of her playful, upbeat personality left from her younger years, but Ahsoka at this stage in her life is definitely more serious and scarred by her experiences. Ahsoka outright tells Mando that she won't have any part in stripping Grogu of his attachment, leading him down a path that may turn out like Anakin in the process. It's this wisdom that allows her to serve as the perfect guide for Din, not doing the hero's job for him but passing on the knowledge needed to succeed.
Fans have noted that Ahsoka's attire in the epilogue of Rebels is also evocative of Gandalf, visually telling us that she's ascended to a new level of wisdom. While we didn't see Ahsoka the White in all her glory in The Mandalorian, those days are coming soon enough. Ahsoka's journey has been as compelling as anyone's in Star Wars, and the life she's lived makes her perfect for the role of the traveling mentor.