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‘Ahsoka’ features a much-anticipated Star Wars reunion

THE WASHINGTON POST – The chosen one has returned.

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) made a long-suspected appearance in the fourth episode of Ahsoka. The episode’s title, Fallen Jedi, was the first clue that this chapter might feature Ahsoka’s former Jedi Master who fell to the Dark Side to become one of the greatest evils in the galaxy.

But we don’t see Anakin as Darth Vader.

There’s no heavy machine-assisted breathing. No black mask. No flowing cape. No red lightsaber. Just the untainted voice of a young Anakin Skywalker (with a CGI facelift), who calls to Ahsoka with the nickname Darth Vader would likely never have the heart to use: “Snips.”

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) prepare for a lightsaber duel in ‘Ahsoka’. PHOTO: LUCASFILM LTD / THE WASHINGTON POST

The meeting takes place in what looks to be the World Between Worlds (a sort of interstitial dimension introduced on the animated show Star Wars: Rebels), which means Ahsoka may be unconscious or worse – highly unlikely, this is her show after all – after losing a lightsaber battle with the Dark Jedi Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson).

The meeting between Ahsoka and Anakin is only seconds long and takes place at the very end of episode four, but the much-hyped reunion offers something we’ve yet to see much of during Rosario Dawson’s turn as Ahsoka: emotion.

Ahsoka has been moody, to say this least, during this series – a far cry from the fun-loving Jedi featured in the Clone Wars animated series (then voiced by Ashley Eckstein) who constantly got on her young Master Skywalker’s nerves. Part of that moodiness feels like guilt. Ahsoka is battling the demons that come with having abandoned her former Padawan Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) while pondering whether her own choices could have prevented Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side.

Christensen’s return should come as no surprise. He’s already returned as Darth Vader in the recent Obi Wan series alongside his Star Wars soul mate Ewan McGregor. It’s downright foolish to think producer/writer Dave Filoni wouldn’t play this card after having spent so many seasons on The Clone Wars building Ahsoka and Anakin from a reluctant pairing to a dynamic duo.

The return of Anakin gives Christensen the chance to do something he’s never had the chance to do in front of the camera in this galaxy far, far away: be the ultimate heroic Jedi.

Part of the magic of The Clone Wars was seeing (for years) Anakin Skywalker at his absolute best. A hero. A general. A leader. And a friend. Those Clone Wars years, never shown in the major Star Wars films, are what made his fall to the Dark Side so tragic because the series showed what Anakin (voiced by Matt Lanter) could be at his very best. Christensen, in his now classic role as Anakin in the Star Wars prequels, could only play the character as a bratty, lovestruck Padawan (Episode II) and a scorned lover turned Sith Lord (Episode III).

That’s not to say an appearance from Lord Vader is out of the question. Many Star Wars fans are likely salivating at the chance to see a live-action version of one of the greatest lightsaber battles of all time, a clash between Ahsoka and Darth Vader that took place on Rebels. Will Ahsoka’s dream reunion turn into a nightmare? Or will Christensen be allowed to flesh out the iconic Anakin that was always hinted at in the prequels but that he was never allowed to fully be?

Perhaps this Anakin will be a secret weapon in the upcoming battle against Thrawn, giving the first live-action version of this duo a chance to fulfill their potential against the looming Heir to the Empire.