Ahsoka Episode 4 Ending Explained: A World Between Worlds

Our understanding of the Force in most Star Wars rarely matches the most esoteric imaginings a mystical energy field connecting all living things should be capable of. But sometimes a slice of Star Wars is willing to push that imagining beyond telekinesis and into something far more intriguing—and last night Ahsoka went there, via a little bit of Star Wars Rebels.

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Where Did Ahsoka Go in Ahsoka Episode 4?

During the climax of “Fallen Jedi,” the fourth episode of Ahsoka, the titular hero’s duel with mysterious former Jedi Baylan Skoll takes a turn for the worst when, in a moment of distraction, Baylan swings an upward strike that knocks Ahsoka off her footing, seemingly sending her plummeting off the side of a cliff face and into the ocean below. Except… that’s not what happens. At the very end of the episode, we see her wake up and stand on a floating bridge of translucent energy, in a fantastical stellar anomaly filled with similar bridges.

This is a place that is known to Ahsoka, as much as it is to Star Wars Rebels fans. Dubbed in ancient Jedi texts as a Vergence Scatter, it’s more commonly known by a more poetic name: the World Between Worlds, and it’s where she is reunited with none other than her former Jedi master, Anakin Skywalker.

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

What Is the World Between Worlds?

An extraplanar reality within the Cosmic Force itself, the World Between Worlds connected, and existed outside, the very fabric of time and space. A nexus of incredible Force power, the plane housed gateways to crucial moments across past, present, and future—sometimes manifesting as echoed voices, sometimes as literal windows across spacetime that seemingly changed and shaped themselves around the Force user that had accessed the realm in the first place.

The World Between Worlds existed, seemingly, outside of the Light/Dark binary prescribed to the Force by practitioners like the Jedi and the Sith, and portals to the realm could be found in places with particular ties to the Force—regardless of alignment, including places like Lothal, which housed a Jedi Temple, and Malachor, an ancient stronghold of the Sith. This connection to the Cosmic Force was noted on Lothal by the entrance to the portal connecting physical reality to the World Between Worlds—artwork depicting a triumvirate of ancient cosmic beings from the planet Mortis known only as the Father, the Daughter, and the Son, physical embodiments of different aspects of the Force.

The gateways the World Between Worlds housed could allow whoever had gained access to the plane to manipulate those specific moments in time… if they chose to do so.

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Has the World Between Worlds Been Seen in Star Wars Before?

Naturally given that we’re dealing with its spiritual sequel in Ahsoka, the World Between Worlds first debuted in Star Wars Rebels season four, in a 2018 episode naturally called “A World Between Worlds.” Accessing the plane through the gateway on his home world of Lothal, Ezra bore witness to the capabilities of the World Between Worlds when he pulled none other than Ahsoka Tano herself out of time and space and into the realm—seemingly saving her from certain death at the hands of Darth Vader during their duel on the planet Malachor, first depicted in Rebels’ season two finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice.” There, Ahsoka and Ezra chose different paths—Ezra left the World Between Worlds after deciding that he couldn’t manipulate past events to save his master Kanan from his own recent death, and resolved to destroy Lothal’s gateway to the realm so the Empire couldn’t get their hands on it.

Ahsoka meanwhile, remained in the realm for a while, before re-emerging from it back in her own time on Malachor. There she, with the help of the spiritual animal Morai—a small owl-like creature called the Convor that was the spiritual embodiment of the Mortis Daughter, who had saved Ahsoka’s life in a prior encounter during The Clone Wars—discovered another gateway on the world back into the World Between Worlds.

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Image: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Daniele Orlandini, David Curiel, Dono Sánchez-Almara, Erick Arciniega, and Travis Lanham/Marvel Comics

Elsewhere in Star Wars continuity a much darker interpretation of a plane akin to the World Between Worlds appeared in late 2018 again, during the climax of the second volume of Marvel’s Darth Vader comic series, by then-future High Republic author Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli. There Vader himself, attempting to stop an ancient Sith lord named Momin on Mustafar from resurrecting himself beyond the spirit linked to his own ancient mask, navigated the plane and glimpsed twisted visions of his own past and future as Anakin Skywalker—including a fated duel with what he would come to realize is own son, Luke.

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Why Is Anakin in the World Between Worlds?

Well, right now we don’t really know—but we sure do have a lot of questions.

The biggest question, however, might not necessarily necessarily why or how, but when this particular version of Anakin is from. His appearance (which includes a distressingly de-aged Hayden Christensen, unlike the actor’s recent appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi) sees him wearing his hair and robes as he appeared in the very final season of Clone Wars and then in Revenge of the Sith, rather than the Jedi robes we see his redeemed spirit wearing in updated versions of Return of the Jedi. Even more interesting is the fact that, chronologically speaking for Ahsoka and us as an audience, the last time these two saw each other was when Vader was trying to murder Ahsoka. The musical sting the episode concludes on after the moment Anakin and Ahsoka meet is very specifically Vader’s leitmotif too, the Imperial March, potentially suggesting something sinister is afoot.

After all, the World Between Worlds, as far as we have been presented it in material like Rebels, is not a gateway to the afterlife but a gateway across time and space. Although Ahsoka takes place after Anakin’s death and redemption in Return of the Jedi, is this version of Anakin she encounters here from a point in time before that? A version of him before his downfall? We can’t say for sure right now. Just as likely is perhaps that this is simply Anakin’s spirit, a Force Ghost now wandering through another planar existence. He was the Chosen One, of course, so maybe that’s just a thing he can do after dying.

And Force Ghosts themselves do indeed have a lot of powers we don’t quite understand beyond their ethereal manifestation as spirits in Star Wars’ own physical realm. We know they can choose how to manifest and present themselves, as Anakin does appearing as his younger self in more modern editions of Return of the Jedi, compared to his ravaged appearance as he died as Vader. We also know in more recent canon material like the A New Hope anthology collection From a Certain Point of View that Force users sufficiently trained in the art of remaining as a Force Ghost can also eventually come to percieve spacetime in a non-linear fashion. Visiting Obi-Wan Kenobi just before the events of A New Hope, Qui-Gon Jinn’s Force Ghost manages to see multiple versions of Obi-Wan all at once—as a young Padawan, as he is in the present, and the then-impending moment of his death at Vader’s hands. So it’s not like there isn’t a chance this is Anakin’s redeemed spirit on a little Doctor Who jaunt. Huyang would be impressed!

But just how Anakin appears in the World Between Worlds raises another question…

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Is Ahsoka Alive or Dead?

If the Anakin we meet in Ahsoka is indeed his Force Ghost, and Ahsoka seemingly found herself thrust into the World Between Worlds in a moment of mortal peril, is there a chance that she somehow is in Star Wars limbo?

It’s unlikely, to say the least—the World Between Worlds as we’ve primarily seen it so far, the Anakin of it all aside, is a gateway across spacetime, not the Star Wars afterlife. And it’s not like we saw Ahsoka sustain fatal injuries in her fight with Baylan—very specifically, she doesn’t; we just see her knocked off the cliff face on Seatos by his strike, not any evidence that he actually wounded her.

We know that after Ezra saved her through the World Between Worlds, Ahsoka returned to the realm herself for reasons that were then-unknown. Perhaps in the time since, she has studied the realm long enough—become linked to it through her connection to Morai and the Mortis daughter—that she can instinctively transpose herself there in moments of great peril. Maybe it’s why, after this when we hear Ahsoka calling to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker she’s not actually dead there, as Dave Filoni previously suggest. Perhaps she’s chillin’ in the World Between Worlds again! Either way, there’s simply the fact of the matter that we’re four episodes into an eight-episode series called Ahsoka, and we can’t image she’s going to be dead for the rest of it.

Maybe it’s just temporary. After all, what’s a little impermanent death among friends in Star Wars these days?

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Screenshot: Lucasfilm

What Does This Mean for the Rest of Ahsoka?

Well, aside from the fact Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano are going to metaphysically sit down and have a chat in the next episode, the World Between Worlds is likely going to be how Ahsoka herself makes her way to the extragalactic location where Thrawn and Ezra are. It is, after all, a nexus across time and space, and when you have access to something like that you don’t need an elaborate multi-hyperdrive starship like the one Morgan and her allies jumped off in with Sabine in tow. It’d be a fitting connection, too—Ezra saved Ahsoka once through the realm, to have her do the same for him is very much the kind of rhyming poetry that Star Wars often loves.

There’s also another sinister threat beyond whatever invoking the “Imperial March” in the soundtrack might have left. Part of the reason Ezra chooses to destroy the Lothal gateway to the World Between Worlds in Rebels is because he and Ahsoka encounter a watching Emperor Palpatine through one of its gateways—attempting to force his own way into the realm. Presumably, Palpatine would’ve wanted his hands on the World Between Worlds as part of one of his many attempts to cheat death, and now by the time of Ahsoka he’s currently in the process of cheating that death through other means. But what’s to say he’s not still interested, and we get a little Rise of Skywalker connection her as well? It’s a bit of a stretch considering Ahsoka is rapidly running out of ground to cover the things actually more important to its story and characters, but hey—that’s not stopped Star Wars before.

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