So, chronologically we now have:
- TOTJ - Life and Death: Ahsoka’s birth and discovery as a Jedi
- TOTJ - Justice: Dooku and Qui-Gon search for a captured Senator’s son
- TOTJ - Choices: Dooku and Mace clash over the Jedi’s role
- THE PHANTOM MENACE
- TOTJ - The Sith Lord: Concurrently with to just after the end of TPM, Dooku becomes Sidious’ apprentice
- ATTACK OF THE CLONES
- THE CLONE WARS BEGIN
- TOTJ - Practice Makes Perfect: From the beginning to end of The Clone Wars, Ahsoka trains against Clones
- REVENGE OF THE SITH
- THE CLONE WARS CONCLUDE
- TOTJ - Resolve: At the end of RotS, Ahsoka meets Bail at Padmé’s funeral, then some time later, defeats an inquisitor and rejoins the fight
So let’s take that bite by bite, Ahsoka’s episodes first.
Life and Death
This is the first chronological story now in film or TV media. It’s not particularly illuminating, though it is good. But, like some moments in the Star Wars saga, like Andor’s flashbacks and Mando’s flashbacks, it really belongs around the introduction of the focal character (i.e. early in The Clone Wars) or at a moment when it can support the present-day story.
I don’t think we really have any options for the latter, since taming a beast or showing an innate connection to the natural world doesn’t feature as a major storyline in any of the Ahsoka episodes. It does feature Togruta heavily, which does mean it could possibly pair with the Kadavo slavery arc where they’re captured and Ahsoka is involved in their escape. You could possibly, possibly pair it with the Lurmen arc, but I don’t think that connection is strong enough.
However, TCW:R (and TCW) had a very weak opening, with the Christophsis and Malevolence stories. Both could be suitable - it could open Christophsis, or interleave with it, or it could open Malevolence once we’ve been formally introduced to Ahsoka in the prior episode. (Though, I’m suprised Dave didn’t choose to include Plo Koon in any of these stories, especially the one where Ahsoka is discovered). I think the former is probably a sensible move - either as a cold open to my Christophsis episode (in which case fairly early we get the “I’m Ahsoka Tano” moment), or slightly intercut around the opening - a cold open for her birth, then my episode’s current opening until Ventress is fought, then back to Ahsoka, then a light twist as she walks out of the ship, now a padawan. It could replace the Ventress fight, for a trimmed intro to that plot, but I think even though Ventress doesn’t tie into the episode’s plot, the way she’s used here works well with the focus on her early in this season (and, remember, the original show also had her show up then disappear here too).
I think one of these Christophsis options is where I’m leaning, so we meet Ahsoka and then Anakin does - and this would also help cement her as the core figure of TCW:R.
Now, this content does have a different graphical style, but the Clone Wars are very much a multimedia project, and so is TCW:R. If anyone was watching chronologically, they’d have to shift media as they went. Obviously it’s a bit much to do it in one episode, but here I think story is key - having a compelling opening to the saga and the show trumps visual inconsistency. Plus, it doesn’t feature the same character models, so there’s less of a clash.
Practice Makes Perfect
The core of this story is showing Ahsoka during three different stages of the Clone Wars (as illustrated by her three character models matching TCW’s), showing that throughout the wars, Anakin trained her (relentlessly) against Clones, which ultimately helped her win her final fight of the Clone Wars. Again it’s very poignant and good fun, though not vital.
You could make this a flashback in the final episode, but I think that’d distract us from its tension, and besides, the show really feels like it has a gap early where we don’t really see Anakin train Ahsoka. So it’d be nice to see some of that early, to help us build that relationship. In that case, you have two options: Split it or keep it together. Obviously either way, that last segment (set during the final episode) is too light to carry any story on its own, so if you did split it, at the end of the show you’re reliant on the audience remembering the setup, but I think that’s OK. (Though it’s a cute enough moment that I might just add into my own final episode for a little extra flavour.)
But as for the main training sequences (set early in the war, and then when she switches to two lightsabers), again we have some choice. If we want any of it right at the start, we have to split it, which would be fine, and maybe a little early training cut into an early episode would be fun, but then that leaves the two-lightsaber part a bit orphaned.
But here’s an idea: Those two parts together land either side of the transition point where Ahsoka changes character models. (Note: In the earlier part, she’s in a slightly more covered-up version of her usual early outfit, which could also imply a small time skip, but it’s clearly not long after as the clones are still Phase 1) So, why not set it at that transition point? Why not, even, merge it with my existing bonus episode set exactly then - Tales from the Clone Wars, which features some remaining Ahsoka/Padmé content from the Forces of Destiny shorts, plus the as-yet unused early episodes from the 2003 Tartakovsky miniseries (so it’s already multimedia!) To be cute, I could open on Ahsoka’s early clone training until she blacks out, then play out the FOD/2003 content, then fade back in to her waking up in her more mature character model. (Cheekily, that’d also slightly explain why those are cartoon, and also allow them to be a little less than canon if the viewer prefers.)
I think this is quite an elegant one - an enhanced s03e00. It would also really cement that time as Ahsoka’s transition point, with a lot of episodes where she really starts to develop on her own beyond Anakin.
This one shows Ahsoka, far from the Republic or war, until she’s finally drawn back into the plot (she’ll next appear in Rebels) by an inquisitor. It’s cool and interesting for this to be our first appearance of an inquisitor chronologically, I think! Like my existing thoughts on when flashbacks belong (at the point they become relevant to the present), I’d tend to treat this whole episode as a coda rather than trying to shoehorn the scenes at Padmé’s funeral into ROTS or the final TCW episode. Therefore I think this is indeed TCW:R’s expected s05e05 - “Coda: Ahsoka”.
…Either that, or it belongs in Rebels, at the moment just after the end of season one, where Ahsoka is revealed to the main characters and audience (probably as its own little standalone season one coda, or a season two prelude).
Anyway, that then does raise the question for me regarding what to do with TCW finale’s original in-episode coda (let’s call it “Coda: Anakin”), where Vader finds Ahsoka’s lightsaber. Thematically, it hits really nicely where it is, pinned to the end of the episode (though set much later, during the stormtrooper era of the Empire). Chronologically, it comes after Coda: Ahsoka (at least its intro with clone troopers), and probably before Kenobi (since it implies a glimmer of light is still in Anakin, which we know gets buried much more over time). Perhaps we conclude “Coda: Ahsoka” with it that moment, as a paired “Coda: Ahsoka and Anakin” (to balance “Coda: Maul and Obi-Wan”) or perhaps we simply have three codas.
The Dooku Content
Hot dang! GREAT trilogy of episodes, and lots to think about here. Firstly, I don’t think they’re super relevant to the Clone Wars in particular. Dooku, during the Clone Wars, is a loyal villain, but he doesn’t have any strong moments which would be better served by any of this content. BUT they’re useful to the prequel trilogy and the saga as a whole.
Let’s just remember for a moment that I think that Ahsoka’s first episode belongs as a TCW flashback, which makes these the chronologically first movie or TV media. In this case, these episodes actually do a suprisingly useful thing: They do a far better job of introducing us to the Star Wars setting than The Phantom Menace does! While they don’t introduce us to the main characters of the prequels, in a very compelling way they give us exposition on the Republic, the Senate (and its corruption), the Jedi (and their tense role within that power structure and primary use as negotiators before warriors), and the Jedi’s basic powers (lightsaber combat, pushing, choking). It’s an excellent intro for a new viewer!
So, simple option here would be - watch Dooku 1 & 2 before TPM, and Dooku 3 just after, to neatly set up AOTC. (Call that all season zero of TCW:R if you like, “Prelude to the Clone Wars”.)
But, if we can tolerate live action and animation combined, perhaps there’s a blend of TPM and these episodes that could make the experience stronger together. You’d open on Dooku 1, playing out the whole thing, then doing something (an iris wipe, or maybe just something with the crawl if you used Dooku 1 as a cold open) to highlight that Qui-Gon was in both, and hand the story over to him. Then, sometime during the first two thirds of the story (before Mace is seen on the council), intercut with Dooku 2 (which puts Mace on the council and frustrates Dooku). Then, when the gang are on Coruscant, put in Dooku’s conversation with Qui-Gon from Dooku 3, and finally, after the ending (though you could skip the celebration element, for tonal consistency) conclude Dooku 3 on the Yaddle fight. To achieve this last point, you’d change Yaddle’s dialogue so she was implying the other masters had already headed off to Qui-Gon’s funeral.
That intercutting could be a movie, which I think would likely not please enough people to be worthwhile (as this is TPM we’re talking about), but it could be just a series of wildly different length content: Dooku 1 & 2 become TCW:R s00e00, and Dooku 3 becomes s00e03 to be watched after TPM (s00e02).