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Do You Need To Watch Star Wars Rebels Before Ahsoka?

There's so much canon "Star Wars" content now that it can be hard to know what to watch and what to skip. That's doubly true in the case of "Ahsoka," the upcoming live-action Disney+ series starring the eponymous former Jedi Knight. Helmed by "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and "Star Wars Rebels" mastermind Dave Filoni, "Ahsoka" looks to bring together storylines from both animated shows, as well as threads from "The Mandalorian" and the sequel trilogy. It's an ambitious goal, and it begs the question: How much do you really need to watch ahead of time?

According to Filoni himself, the answer is none. When the showrunner was asked by Collider which "Rebels" arcs are necessary viewing for "Ahsoka," he responded simply, "You wouldn't need to watch any," though he quickly added, "You really should." While the new series is intended to play just fine for audiences with no "Rebels" familiarity, Filoni did recommend a few specific parts of the show for anyone who wants a more complete experience. "If you just watched Season 4, you'd be set," he said. "You could start with that, and you'd get that these rebels are fighting this tyrannical empire, and that would get you everything and everybody you need."

While Filoni clearly crafted "Ahsoka" to be accessible for all "Star Wars" fans, you'll certainly get more out of the show if you've followed her entire journey thus far. Still confused as to where to start? Keep reading.

How Rebels ties into Ahsoka: Everything you need to know

"Star Wars Rebels" takes place around the same time as "Andor," covering the five-year period leading up to "A New Hope." While its story spans all corners of the galaxy, including stints with clone troopers and the disgraced former Sith Lord Maul, it mainly follows one particular rebel cell known as the Spectres. Based out of a ship called the Ghost, the group consists of Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus, ace pilot Hera Syndulla, astromech droid Chopper, Mandalorian explosives expert Sabine Wren, Jedi trainee Ezra Bridger, and Lasat bruiser Zeb Orrelios.

The group has several encounters with Ahsoka Tano throughout the show because she too is working with the burgeoning Rebel Alliance. While she isn't exactly a main character, she plays into several key moments. At the end of the series, it's revealed that she sought out Sabine after the Empire's defeat to try to track down a missing Ezra. That search connects to her pursuit of Grand Admiral Thrawn in "The Mandalorian," who's set to be the main antagonist of the "Ahsoka" show.

In addition to Ahsoka herself, most of the core "Rebels" characters, including Hera, Ezra, and Sabine, are set to feature in the upcoming series. Therefore, if you want to fully understand all the interpersonal relationships and backstories, you should definitely watch "Rebels," or at least the last season as Dave Filoni has recommended. But even then, you'd only be scratching the surface of Ahsoka's story.

A truncated Ahsoka Tano viewing guide

While she appears in "Rebels," Ahsoka is much more famous for her leading role in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." First introduced in the animated film that preceded the series as Anakin Skywalker's new apprentice, Ahsoka became the de facto protagonist of the show throughout its seven seasons. Voiced spectacularly by Ashley Eckstein, she goes on one of the most compelling character arcs in all of "Star Wars." Going from a hotheaded padawan with a chip on her shoulder to a wizened war veteran with a complicated view of the Jedi, Ahsoka's story is one of the highlights of the entire series.

To be fully prepared for the live-action show, you should watch at least some of her big arcs from "The Clone Wars." Start with the animated movie and the Season 1 "Malevolence" arc, then watch "Cloak of Darkness," the Geonosis arc (Season 2, Episodes 5-8), "Lightsaber Lost," and the last three arcs of Season 3 (Episodes 15-22). Then watch the last four episodes of Season 5 and the last eight episodes of Season 7. And then, after all of that, watch "Tales of the Jedi."

Of course, to fully understand everything in Ahsoka's "Clone Wars" journey, you might also want to watch the Rex arcs, the Mandalore arcs, and the Darth Maul arcs. And that doesn't even include the aforementioned Rebels episodes. At some point, for better or worse, the right answer is just to start now and watch it all. Or, according to Dave Filoni, watch none of it!

What are the most important storylines for Ahsoka?

While any and all of Ahsoka Tano's past arcs will surely add to the experience of watching her self-titled show, not all of them are likely to be super important.

As Dave Filoni has said, watching "Star Wars Rebels" Season 4 will highlight the core characters in "Ahsoka" and show how Grand Admiral Thrawn last left the galaxy. The new show will probably also touch on Ahsoka's time in the World Between Worlds, a mysterious dimension outside of time that she and Ezra Bridger discover in "Rebels." The biggest question around Ahsoka right now is where she was during the original trilogy. Her time in the World Between Worlds likely explains that absence, as well as her notable personality shift between the animated series and "The Mandalorian." As such, it would make sense to watch most of her "Rebels" episodes first – a list that includes the majority of Season 2 in addition to the previously mentioned Season 4 material.

With luck, the new series can deliver a satisfying continuation for fans and a complete experience for newcomers at the same time. Ahsoka remains one of the most beloved "Star Wars" characters, and her show has a chance of becoming a true high point for the Disney era. Time will tell.