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Ahsoka’s place in the Star Wars timeline is immediately confusing

ABY are they doing this

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian wielding two white lightsabers Image: Lucasfilm
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Did you finish the first couple episodes of Ahsoka wondering when exactly this all takes place? It wasn’t just you — the new Disney Plus series doesn’t give specifics, and if you’re a fan of Star Wars Rebels, it even appears to contradict itself.

So let’s sweep up all these breadcrumbs and see what we can make of it, and Ahsoka’s (so far) oddly coy way of dating itself.

[Ed. note: This piece big spoilers for the first two episodes of Ahsoka, and minor spoilers for episode 7.]

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), with short hair, stands in front of her mural of the crew of the Ghost — Ezra is clearly visible — in Star Wars: Ahsoka. Image: Lucasfilm

In a general sense, Ahsoka’s place in the Star Wars timeline is clear. Like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, it takes place after the fall of the Empire and before the rise of the First Order — between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, starring Luke, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starring Rey. In Star Wars universe parlance, this is at least four years after Star Wars: A New Hope, or 4 ABY (which stands for After the Battle of Yavin).

And according to some supplemental Star Wars books, the events of The Mandalorian, in which Ahsoka initially cameoed, take place nine years after A New Hope, or 9 ABY. Ahsoka the show seems to take place sometime after that.

But then there’s that dang mural dedication scene

The mural is a nice treat for Rebels fans to see this artwork rendered in live action. Lothal’s government has a whole dedication ceremony for it in Ahsoka, which would imply that it’s newly painted.

But if you’ve watched Rebels, you know that it’s not. It was originally seen in the show’s finale, which takes place in 5 ABY, as Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano stood before it and vowed to work together in a search for Ezra Bridger. This should sound very familiar, because they do that exact same thing in the exact same place in the second episode of Ahsoka. So you could be forgiven for thinking that Ahsoka takes place in 5 ABY, before the events of The Mandalorian and immediately flowing out of Rebels.

And yet, we also learn in Ahsoka that Ahsoka and Sabine have developed a whole master-and-failed-apprentice relationship off screen, which would imply that when Sabine and Ahsoka meet to go find Ezra in front of the mural in Ahsoka, it is not simply a live-action re-creation of the final scene of Rebels. It’s just the two of them doing it again some years later, without either of them commenting on the repetition, and also that Lothal is just really, really late to dedicate the mural. Not confusing at all.

Episode 7 of the series underscores this when Captain Carson Teva — who first appeared in The Mandalorian as a New Republic space ranger-type that Din Djarin would cross paths with — mentions “the conflict on Mandalore,” prompting another to describe Moff Gideon as “a warlord acting on his own.” This would indicate that Ahsoka takes place after season 3 of The Mandalorian, in which Gideon’s plot to seize and reignite the mines of Mandalore was discovered and stymied by Din Djarin and his allies.

So: Ahsoka takes place after the events of The Mandalorian and Boba Fett, which take place around 9 ABY, which is at least nine years after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. How many years after? As the governor of Lothal so helpfully puts it at the mural dedication ceremony: “Several.”

Thanks, that’s very informative.