Dave Filoni, executive producer of Star Wars Rebels, head of Lucasfilm Animation, and one of the most knowledgeable students of George Lucas, having worked directly with the Maker himself as showrunner of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, loves to get fans talking. At Star Wars Celebration earlier this year, Filoni took the stage in a t-shirt that read "Ahsoka Lives?" -- a play on Ahsoka's unknown fate following The Clone Wars from before she appeared on Rebels. He later came out for another appearance on stage with an exclamation point over the question mark -- but wouldn't acknowledge that at all in subsequent press conferences and interviews.
Thursday evening, Filoni posted to his official social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter another wrinkle in the mystery. In what he frames as an unaired scene from Star Wars Rebels (he says this "took place around the end of the episode 'The Mystery of Chopper Base'"), Filoni reveals that Kanan Jarrus, Jedi Knight, was not the first to encounter Bendu on Atollon. That honor went to Ahsoka Tano, according to this new story, and it's a doozy of a conversation, accompanied by a gorgeous illustration of the meeting by the accomplished artist.
The text reads, "It just occurred to me that I never got to tell you all the story of the time that Bendu met Ahsoka Tano. It was a brief encounter, which took place around the end of the episode 'The Mystery of Chopper Base' from Season Two, just before Ahsoka, Kanan and Ezra left on their fateful mission to Malachor. Of their conversation, you might find this dialog to be the most interesting."
That firmly places this encounter not just before Kanan ever met the Bendu, the mysterious, nearly ageless Force being that lives "in the middle" of the dark side and light side. Their conversation, well, it's not going to help you figure out Ahsoka's fate.
Bendu: "You are set on this confrontation then?"
Ahsoka: "I have to know the truth."
Bendu: "So be it, but understand this, much will change as a result of this encounter, including you."
Ahsoka: "Isn't that true of all things, as time advances?"
Bendu: "My dear, when I say change, I mean death."
Ahsoka: "So I will die?"
Bendu: "Will you? I didn't know that. Goodbye then, Ahsoka Tano, former Jedi Knight."
Ahsoka would go to Malachor with Kanan and Ezra, face both Darth Maul and Darth Vader, and end the episode with an intense battle with her former Jedi master, refusing to leave him behind despite Anakin's transformation into the Sith lord. It seemed the fight was to her death, though a near-spectral vision of her re-entering the Sith Temple was one of the final shots of the episode, and thus of the second season. We saw neither hide nor hair of Ahsoka in Season 3, and fan speculation has continued at a frantic pace leading into Season 4 this fall.
So what does their conversation mean? Well, Ahsoka talked with Bendu with an incredible sense of familiarity, almost as if they'd met before -- or at least knew of each other. This confirms she did not know 100 percent that Anakin was Darth Vader until their battle, either, which makes their encounter and conversation that much more heartbreaking. This could also be used to explain a bit of Bendu's amusement at Kanan identifying himself as a Jedi Knight after Ahsoka had identified herself as a former one. Was Bendu talking about Ahsoka's death? Well, the Inquisitors died during the Malachor mission, so that could be what he was referring to. We hope. Please.
Star Wars Rebels returns for its fourth and final (and slightly shorter) season this fall on Disney XD.