Relationships can be hard. Whether romantic, friendly, familial, or discipling in nature, pursuing an authentic relationship with another person takes courage and vulnerability. Past disappointments lead some to choose isolation. In its early episodes, the Disney Plus Star Wars series Ahsoka showcases the tension between living in such isolation and the wisdom of leaning on others.
Serious Star Wars fans are quite familiar with Ahsoka Tano, who was introduced in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) and brought to life by Rosario Dawson in the live-action series The Mandalorian, where she proved she could hold her own when she challenged and defeated Imperial Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto). The Jedi-trained Ahsoka continues to embody this strength and independence in the season premiere of her own series, where she finds herself in an empty temple in search of a coveted star map. Despite being in a dimly lit underground cavern surrounded by three eerie statues, Ahsoka displays a cool, calm demeanor. And when ambushed by a cohort of five droids, Ahsoka easily defeats them.
When chastising her own droid companion, Huyang (voiced by David Tennant), for not keeping their ship close by, she says that he’s supposed to watch her back. He coolly responds that watching her back is the job of a Jedi Padawan, or apprentice. Ahsoka’s discomfort with his response is subtle but still apparent, as she hesitates momentarily before changing the topic. (Huyang’s honesty brings to mind Proverbs 24:26: “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”) Ahsoka seems to have more assurance placing her security in the hands of a droid than a living partner.
Ahsoka hesitates again in relation to relying on others when General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) advises Ahsoka that her former Mandalorian Padawan, Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), can assist Ahsoka in unlocking the star map. Sabine exudes confidence with her independent disposition and fiery red and purple hair; when she skips out on a dedication ceremony and her path is blocked by a security starship, she accelerates her speeder bike in order to maneuver under the low ship with flair. There is an obvious tension in the air as Sabine and Ahsoka face each other with neutral expressions for several seconds before Ahsoka holds out the star map.
Ahsoka showcases the tension between living in isolation and leaning on others.
Another verse in Proverbs notes that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Ahsoka and Sabine are both iron in their own ways, yet they struggle to sharpen each other. Much to Ahsoka’s bewilderment, Sabine blatantly disobeys her orders not to take the star map off ship. At another point, Ahsoka quickly dismisses Sabine’s attempts to join another investigation. While trying to encourage a dejected Sabine, General Syndulla notes that while she and Ahsoka are “both difficult,” they still need to help each other. Eventually we begin to see gestures of cooperation: Sabine telling Ahsoka “I’m ready” (albeit via hologram); Ahsoka addressing Sabine as “Padawan” with a touch of affection in her voice.
In the third episode, the pair are ambushed by a squadron of enemy crafts led by Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). Ahsoka and Sabine initially struggle in mounting a defense; only when Ahsoka decides to trust Sabine and ask her what she needs in order to succeed with manning the tail gun do their counterattacks start making an impact. Huyang makes note of their success when they work together in Episode 4, telling them to “stay together” because “they always did better that way.” And yet, they’ve refused to fully commit to such teamwork, occasionally still choosing to take on challenges alone.
In John 15, where Jesus offers the metaphor of the vine and the branches, we’re told that “no branch can bear fruit by itself . . .” While this passage references a Christian’s inability to bear fruit without remaining in close fellowship with the Lord, the principle of intimate fellowship can be applied to our relationships with others (as the Apostle Paul does in 1 Corinthians 12 when he discusses unity and diversity in the body of Christ). When we try to live a life of self-sufficiency and isolation, we leave ourselves susceptible to a host of pitfalls that could have been avoided had we had someone to lean on—Christ primarily, along with our iron-sharpening fellow believers.
Time will tell if such biblical wisdom is heeded in Ahsoka. At the midpoint of the series’ first season, we’re still unsure whether Ahsoka will stubbornly choose solitude or live up to the call of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a [sister] is born for a time of adversity.”