Examining the personal journey of two characters that have earned their rightful place in our hearts…
Hey everyone. With season three of Star Wars Rebels now ended and the final one set to start this fall (sad, I know), I felt it was only right to talk about this:
Kallus and Ahsoka:
Both began their lives as characters we could essentially hate, but now would now be devastated if we saw them go. At this point, we would rather their fates be left in limbo rather than have confirmation of the worst. In this way, it allows their use, be it in other forms of media or fan-work, in times moving forward.
Let’s start with Ahsoka. She was introduced to us in The Clone Wars movie that came out in 2008, as Anakin’s Padawan. Being a young snippy girl that seemed to come out of nowhere and likely would go nowhere, many fans could not help but be instantly annoyed by her. As if Anakin in the prequels was not bad enough, now it’s cannon that he had a Padawan? How the force does that happen and where is she during the events of Revenge of the Sith? Only by watching the series does one discover the painful answer to these questions. Being as she was a character that many hated, what did her fate matter? If asked back during season one of The Clone Wars TV Series, then many fans would likely say that it didn’t. They couldn’t have cared less one way or the other if she died at the end of the season. The only thing it would do is upset the fans more as they were left wondering why she was put there in the first place, if she went nowhere. In other words, she would have just been pointless.
Then, if asked at the end of her final season in The Clone Wars series, fans’ response would be vastly different. In the event she had died, it likely would have broken many fans’ hearts and left them a non-functioning mess. The question now though is why? To answer this, one just had to be patient enough to watch her grow and develop over the course of the entire series. Then show creator and director Dave Filoni, was even noted as saying as much to her voice actress Ashley Eckstein upon the first recording. He knew that fans initial reaction to her would be to hate her for the above reasons.
As the series continued however, fans got the joy of seeing her learn and grow alongside the famous characters of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker respectively. Throughout the show, we got to see her make mistakes and learn from them as any person, both in real life and in a mentor-mentee relationship, is bound to do. While we all fall, it is nice to have someone there teach us how to improve so we don’t make the same mistakes again. More than this however, we also got to watch how these decisions effected her mentally and emotionally as well as physically. We got to see her cry, break down and get mad/frustrated at times, because of her failures.
In other shows, animated and otherwise, even when we did get to see a character’s failures, the repercussions never seemed to last long. For Ahsoka though, they did. She took what she learned and applied it in future missions. After all, it cannot be easy being so young and losing a good portion of your pilot squadron in one fight as she endured in the episode “Storm Over Ryloth”. From this, she wisely took Anakin’s advice and got right back into the action. She took what she had learned from her mistake and applied it not only to this battle, but also in all going forward.
Not that she had much choice as Anakin literally threw her back on, but still…
Following this, we got to see Anakin guide her on her journey, from Padawan learner to high-esteem amongst her Jedi peers. Thanks to amazing animation, in the last episode of season five, “The Wrong Jedi”, we got to stand with the masters and watch as emotions danced across Ahsoka’s face as she made the ultimate decision to leave the order, an action that likely saved her life during the events of Order 66 and The Great Jedi Purge.
Many years later, we once again got the chance to meet up with her at the end of the first season of Star Wars Rebels. This time, she was introduced to us a Fulcrum agent, an undercover intelligence officer for the growing rebellion. More to the point though, she had been the person who, unknown to both us and the crew of the Ghost, had been feeding them the information they needed to strategically strike at the heart of the Empire. It was implied throughout the season that Hera, and by default likely even Chopper, knew of her true identity. The ironic thing about this, that her voice actress Ashley Eckstein picked up on as well, is that she appeared back in our lives two years to the day of her leaving (left March 2, 2013 and returned March 2, 2015).
From an annoying sidekick in The Clone Wars, to a confident and seasoned Fulcrum agent in Rebels, we were gifted the opportunity to watch as she went from a snippy little Padawan, to strong and confident would be Jedi Knight, to ultimately a Fulcrum informant for the growing rebellion. Due to this, we were witness to her highs as well as her lows. With each time, she managed to bury herself just a little bit deeper in our hearts…
On the other hand however…
We have Imperial ISB Agent Kallus. While he was more of a simple reoccurring character to Ahsoka’s mainstay, he was still able to worm his way into our hearts. Yes it was on a faster time scale, four seasons as opposed to five, but it still felt like there was somehow enough time for him to breath and grow.
The main thing that stands out about him and his humble beginnings in the show happened in the second/third episode (depending on how you count them) “Droids in Distress” when Kallus claimed sole responsibility for the genocide of Zeb’s home world, Lasan. Therefore, we cannot help but oppose him from the start. A guy that wipes out an entire race? Sounds way too familiar to be comfortable.
Someone please turn that bow rifle around and kill him already…
Despite this, along with the fact that he had far fewer episodes to establish himself than Ahsoka, the writers were somehow able to craft him in such a way that when he didn’t die in the season three finale, it came as quite a relief to many, myself included. If I remember correctly, there was a theory going around suggesting that he was expected to die at the end of this most recent season.
Whether or not he makes it out of the fourth and final one remains to be seen…
Now, according to a poll I ran on twitter, the main thing that won him the heart of the fans was his interaction with Zeb in season two episode “The Honourable Ones”. This episode found them stranded together overnight on one of the arctic moons of Geonosis. It was while working together to survive the bitter temperatures, that they came to a mutual understanding, one that Zeb later remarks to by saying that he “must have recruited him while on that moon”
From “The Honourable Ones” forward, Kallus used his status as an Imperial ISB Agent to feed the rebels as much information about the inner workings of the Empire as possible. Similar to Ahsoka’s own start in this show, we were not entirely sure if it was him acting under this assumed codename. While the show-runners did not do as much to disguise his voice, it was still left vague enough to make us speculate.
If not him, as a majority of evidence indicated, then who? With the voice sounding as close to Kallus’ as it did while still being somewhat disguised, there was literally no one else in the frame. Well luckily for fans, they did not have to wait as long to find out the truth. Rather than waiting an entire season to discover the truth as with Ahsoka, they only had to endure a brief six episodes before all was revealed.
This revelation came in the episode “An Inside Man” as Kanan and Ezra were attempting to escape an imperial facility following Chopper’s removal of documents detailing the plans for a new prototype TIE fighter. Even now, I remember watching this episode for the first time and hearing Kallus claim that he was Fulcrum. While the notion itself wasn’t hard to believe, it was more that the production team had allowed his character to reveal his true identity so casually that really shocked me. On top of that, I also recall thinking that I was surprised they didn’t use this moment to help sell the episode in promos and such. One would think they would want to have Kallus reveal he’s Fulcrum, then pause the clip to insert some text or a voice over asking the audience if he’s telling the truth, or if it’s simply a lie in order to lure the rebels into a trap.
Either way, with his Fulcrum identity revealed, he continued to use his position inside the ranks of the Empire to secretly aid the struggling band of rebels. Somehow for him, even while working under the infamous (and formerly legends) character Grand Admiral Thrawn, he is able to keep this hidden all the way up until the finale. It is in one of the earliest scenes that Thrawn confronts him in the location where he has been doing his broadcasts from. From here, Thrawn soundly beats him (the results of which are actually allowed to be shown — go Disney), for being a traitor to the Empire. It is only in the conclusion of this episode that we see the Ghost crew rescue him, along with the other survivors of the Battle of Atollon.
Despite their differences, both Ahsoka and Kallus were able to grow from once hated characters, to ones we wouldn’t want to see depart. If either of them were to die now, it would likely leave many fans in mourning for a given period of time. All I know for sure right now, is that I would definitely be one of them. As it was, towards the tail end of the finale, I was thinking that Hera would get close to saving him, only for his escape pod to be shot and him thusly killed. (Infinitely glad he wasn’t, as he looks dang good in Rebel wear.)
In the end, both were proud Fulcrum agents doing what they could, to fight for what is right. Now that, that part of their lives is over, here’s to what the future may bring for them both.
May the force be with them…always