The following contains spoilers from Ahsoka, Episodes 1 & 2, “Master and Apprentice,” and “Toil and Trouble,” now streaming on Disney+.
The members of the Imperial Shadow Council were introduced in the third season of The Mandalorian, bringing characters like Captain Pellaeon and Commandant Brendol Hux to live-action, plotting their strategy to return the Imperial Remnant back into control. While some want to continue plundering the hyperspace lanes and engage in piracy, Hux and Pellaeon advocate pooling resources together for a show of strength. Another warlord agrees, saying that the Empire has loyalists across every world in the galaxy. It comes off as Imperial propaganda, nothing that had any substance behind it. But the second episode of Ahsoka has shown that this proclamation might actually hold some weight.
When Ahsoka and Hera Syndulla visit the Corellian Shipyards to check if Imperial activity has ceased, they make a shocking discovery. It exposes an existential threat to the New Republic and one that eventually dooms them. They pair find out that people have become apathetic towards the New Republic, not caring about the government, only being loyal to credits. The little metallic circles and rectangles have always had immense power in Star Wars, but here it’s proving harmful to the Rebel Alliance’s greatest achievement. And if the New Republic doesn’t fix this problem, they’ll have a galaxy full of apathetic insurgents.
Ahsoka Shows the True Strength of the Imperial Remnant
The Mandalorian Season 3 gave audiences a look at what the Imperial Remnant’s plan for retaking power. They hope to unionize behind a powerful leader and show their strength. This was in the desperate hope that the citizens of the galaxy will rise up against the New Republic and reinstall the Imperial Military back into positions of power. When it’s first revealed, it seems like the Shadow Council is overestimating the popularity of the Imperial regime. But when Ahsoka and Hera visit the Corellian Shipyards, this plan seems like it has merit. Instead of finding a tiny group of diehard Imperial loyalists, twisting their mustaches and smuggling parts in the small hours of the morning, Ahsoka and Hera find something much worse. They’re confronted by a workforce that’s turned their eyes away from their government and only cares about earning enough money to get them through the day.
The supervisor Ahsoka and Hera meet explains that across all levels of the New Republic, there are ex-Imperial workers who are just concerned with making a quick buck. And if this means they ignore a few hyperdrive cores going missing every now and then, or the odd appearance of an HK assassin droid, then they’re willing to do that. They have no loyalty to any government, just the one that’s paying them. And the Empire was paying them more. This isn’t only how workers on the vital planet of Corellia feel, but it’s representative of life across the galaxy. It signifies that the Shadow Council’s plan might work after all. If they can demonstrate to these disappointed citizens that the Empire is strong enough to rule once again then they might rise up, and form a galaxy-wide fifth column.
Ahsoka Reinforces the Power of Credits
This shows the continued power of credits in Star Wars. Credits have always played a part in the franchise, with several bounty hunters like Boba Fett and Cad Bane only working for a high fee, mercenaries like Asajj Ventress and the Bad Batch taking on jobs without truly knowing what they’re doing, and often showing a thriving underworld benefiting only the top gangsters like Jabba the Hutt. This part of the franchise is always filled with seedy characters and a part of the world that’s caked in dirt. Most of the citizens in the galaxy like to think that they’re above such petty motives, believing themselves to be immune from the pull of making quick cash and lowering themselves into the mud.
But Ahsoka shows that even the more civilized parts of the galaxy are not as immune to the allure of money as they think. The workers on Corellia say they just want to make enough to get by, but since the New Republic is directly lining the pockets of the investors of the shipyards and others with orders to break Star Destroyers down to scrap, none of them have to scrounge for money. This is an operation vital to carry out. The New Republic can’t leave Imperial scrap lying about the galaxy, or else that could worsen their situation. The Corellian Shipyards in particular have a long history as both members of the Republic and Empire, meaning both governments would have invested heavily in the areas. But this isn’t enough, and the greed of the workers makes them want more.
Ahsoka Ties This in With the Theme of Apathy
This all ties into the larger theme that Ahsoka is exploring, which is apathy. The people of Corellia have shown a lack of care in what they do, turning away from the government to seek quick and easy gratification. It fits in with other characters in Ahsoka, such as Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati, and Marrok. All three are mercenaries who don’t care about who they work for, and they don’t care about their end goals either. The only thing that motivates the trio is cold hard credits, and they will work for whomever can offer them the most. These selfish acts only lead to the dark side, and to suffering.
Ahsoka, Hera, and Sabine show a better way. When individuals care about the cause they are fighting for, and not just the end reward, then they can achieve brilliant things. All three women were instrumental in the fight against the Empire, and all of them remained committed to fighting for the cause they believed in. After Ahsoka left the Jedi, she could have stayed out of the fight, but her journey with the Martez sisters reminded her that she needed to help people. She continued fighting. Hera could have remained at home and never become an ace pilot. After Sabine left her home, her belief in her family led her to go back and mend her ties, even though she could have never gone back. All three show what’s possible when they overcome their apathy.
The New Republic Created its Own Enemies Within
The revelation means that the ex-Imperials weren’t as ex as the New Republic first thought should trouble them greatly. If people aren’t inspired by their government, then they won’t bat an eyelid when it’s replaced. They might even help this new power rise up. The New Republic needs to instill pride in its people, and not just be content with everyday people just living their lives. If this isn’t tackled before the Imperial Remnant makes its move, then the New Republic will find itself in a tough spot. Those in key roles like a shipyard workers or positions of power will become a secret fifth column. When the Imperial Remnant strikes, the New Republic will find itself losing facilities like the Corellian Shipyards without a single shot being fired. Everyday citizens will act just how the Shadow Council predicts they will, and take down the weak New Republic.
The fight against evil is never over. People and institutions must remain vigilant, or else evil will find a way to win. Fighting evil doesn’t always mean blasting away the enemy’s military with a stronger force. The battle for hearts and minds is even more important, and it’s a conflict that only gets tougher during peacetime. It requires keeping selfish traits like greed and apathy in check and developing selflessness traits, like kindness and respect. The New Republic forgets this, and in doing so has allowed evil to seep into itself. It’s what the Shadow Council has taken notice of and plans to use against their foe. So while their proclamation of having galactic-wide support might sound like a claim of Imperial propaganda, in reality, it’s deadly serious.
Ahsoka debuts new episodes on Tuesdays at 6pm PT/9 pm ET on Disney+.
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