Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episodes 1 & 2.
The Big Picture
- The orb obtained by Ahsoka Tano on Arcana holds the key to finding the exiled Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka.
- Sabine Wren and Morgan Elsbeth are able to open the orb, revealing the map that points to their location.
- Ahsoka and her companions must follow traces and connect dots to catch up to Elsbeth, who has a head start on the journey to find Thrawn and Ezra.
Another Star Wars, another map to someone important. In the first two episodes of Ahsoka, an orb obtained by Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) on the planet Arcana holds the key to finding the place of exile of Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen). The object is difficult to understand, but Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) are able to open it at two separate moments, providing some insight into how it works, as well as how bumpy this ride to the ends of the galaxy is going to be.
It’s inevitable, though, to point out how much Star Wars loves the “map to someone” MacGuffin. Ahsoka is arguably the most awaited series in the franchise since The Mandalorian, and uses the same plot device to put its narrative in motion as The Force Awakens did with the map to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Is this bad? Well, not necessarily, as long as everything is properly developed. The movie did it well and had its catharsis when Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds Luke in the last scene. Now, based on its first episodes, Ahsoka knows what to do with the map to Ezra and Thrawn, too.
How Does the Map in ‘Ahsoka’ Work?
The trailers for Ahsoka show many takes of the title character fighting droids in a white ruins city. In the series premiere, it’s revealed that the place used to be a stronghold built by the Nightsisters of Dathomir on the planet Arcana. Ahsoka obtains the orb in a room full of runes and opens it by gently using the force on three key pillars. The Nightsisters were an order of Force-sensitive women, so it makes sense that obtaining a device of their making would require the Force, right? They just didn’t count on the Sabine Wren factor.
Later in the episode, on Lothal, the Mandalorian proto-hacker is working on the orb and finally cracks it. She uses the blueprint of the Nightsister chamber where the orb resided in Arcana and identified the pattern of the runes, aligning the lines on the orb according to them. A projection then comes to life, pointing to a distant point from where she’s at, but, apparently, still visible in the sky, as she goes outside to find it with her binoculars. Unfortunately, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) arrives with her droids and steals the orb from Sabine, leaving her wounded after a duel.
In the second episode, we see another way of opening the orb. On the planet Seatos, Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin, who is his Padawan, provide Morgan Elsbeth with the orb, and she proceeds to open it on a platform specifically designed for this, referred to by Baylan as the “reflex point.” That’s when Elsbeth reveals she used to be a Nightsister, and uses her “magicks” (how the Nightsisters refer to their Force abilities) to access the information in the orb. The reflex point turns into a sort of planetarium, projecting the known galaxy at the center and drawing a straight line to another celestial far away. This place at the edge of the universe is where Thrawn and Ezra are likely to be found.
How Can the Characters Get to Where the Map Points?
Although they have both opened the map close to each other in time, Morgan Elsbeth has a considerable head start compared to Ahsoka and Sabine, thanks to her droids having destroyed Sabine’s notes on Lothal. So when Elsbeth is already positioned at the reflex point on Seatos, Ahsoka and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) are forced to follow up traces and connect dots to catch on. It’s fitting, though, that Sabine and Elsbeth would open the map in different ways, as they are chasing different people and to different ends.
It’s important to note that this map isn’t really a map, though, but more like a compass, as it points the direction one is supposed to go. And that’s a long way. The straight line cast by the compass between the known galaxy and Thrawn’s location is a big one. We know how Thrawn and Ezra got there — at the end of Rebels, the Jedi called upon the purrgil, a species of hyperspace-traveling space whale that we’ve also seen in The Mandalorian, to take them away from Lothal and wherever it is that the purrgil go. But that was a long time ago, what about now?
Morgan Elsbeth is working on her own ship to take her there, the Eye of Sidon. It’s a huge ring-like structure complete with engines that are supposed to make the hyperspace journey to the destination marked on the map. As for Ahsoka, Sabine, and Hera, we’ll have to wait and see. But if Ezra, a Jedi, was able to call upon the purrgil for aid once, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Ahsoka manages to do it, too. Who knows? Perhaps she may even need guidance from her old master…
What Dangers Lie Ahead in the Journey to Thrawn and Ezra?
Not only is the line between the known galaxy to the marked spot a very long one, but there’s also nothing in between the two locations. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is nothing there, only that the map is showing what’s important to know: where it was open and where it leads. Many threats may lie in the way, though. When Morgan Elsbeth opens the map on Seatos, Baylan Skoll looks at the line drawn by it and calls it “the pathway to Peridea.” That’s an old tale, a bedtime story that used to be told to the younglings at the Jedi Temple, but one we don’t know much about. But if there is even folklore around it, we can bet it’s not just a long straight line.
Since we’re talking about Thrawn, he himself comes from a region beyond the borders of the known galaxy, the Chiss Ascendancy. That’s a state similar to the Republic or the Empire, with a lot of planetary systems inhabited by the blue-skinned and red-eyed Chiss. There’s a reason the Ascendancy is not part of the known galaxy, though. It lies in what is currently known as “the Unknown Regions,” but they call it “the Chaos.” It’s a corner of the universe of deep instability that makes it nearly impossible to navigate. The Chiss have mastered the Chaos using a class of Force-sensitive pilots they appropriately call “sky-walkers,” who are able to navigate a ship through hyperspace, but not on a straight line. In the book Thrawn: Alliances, we even see Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) himself “sky-walk,” a rather wholesome moment even if we’re talking about a murderous Sith Lord.
Perhaps what it takes for our ragtag band of heroes is to learn how to sky-walk, as Ahsoka herself is powerful in the Force and apprenticed under another powerful Force user who has sky-walked before. Or maybe the purrgil are the answer, as they were all those years ago. Or maybe they’ll even call a devious old space pirate for help. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be one hell of a ride.