Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episodes 1 & 2.
The Big Picture
- A giant ring-like structure called “The Eye of Sion” is seen at the end of Ahsoka Episode 2, which is a hyperspace docking ring.
- Morgan Elsbeth is overseeing the construction of the docking ring to reach Grand Admiral Thrawn’s location beyond the borders of the known galaxy.
- Ahsoka and the rebels may need to rely on the purrgil, massive space whales capable of hyperspace travel, to reach Thrawn and Ezra Bridger.
It’s been just two episodes so far but Ahsoka is already filling our minds with a lot of terms that could only have come from a galaxy far, far away. Expressions like “Nightsisters of Dathomir” and “Pathway to Peridea” were already mentioned, but the only one we actually got to see is “The Eye of Sion”. Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) refers to it in Episode 2, right after she opens the orb containing the map to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Lars Mikkelsen) alleged location beyond the borders of the known galaxy. When she talks about it, she gives the impression that it’s the stuff of legends, but that’s not actually what we see at the end of the episode when the Eye finally appears onscreen.
What Is the Massive Ring at the End of ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 2?
Right before the episode ends, we see a giant ring-like structure floating in the orbit of the planet Seatos. That’s where the reflex point of the orb is located, the place where Morgan Elsbeth accessed the map and its projections. Star Wars loves huge starships like Star Destroyers and even the Death Star, and this massive ring is one of them: it’s a hyperspace docking ring.
We first saw a docking ring back in Attack of the Clones, while following Obi-Wan Kenobi’s (Ewan McGregor) investigation around the creation of a clone army for the Republic. The Jedi flies around the galaxy on his Delta-7 Jedi Starfighter, which requires this kind of technology in order to jump to hyperspace. At that time, small starships like starfighters and interceptors did have hyperdrives of their own and could only access hyperspace with one of those or inside a larger ship with hyperspace capabilities. The ring itself was developed to work as a hyperdrive for these smaller kinds of ships. Obi-Wan’s mission required stealth and secrecy, so he needed to travel on his own, hence the ring. We also see an updated version of them in Revenge of the Sith, as Obi-Wan is about to jump to Utapau to carry out his mission of finding General Grievous (Matthew Wood), as well as countless times in The Clone Wars animated series.
Docking rings stopped being such an indispensable part of hyperspace traveling within just a few years, though, at least for Rebellion starships. For example, we see Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) jump to hyperspace with his X-Wing countless times in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi while going from Hoth to Dagobah, to Cloud City, and so on. Y-wings and freighters in general also have hyperdrives of their own, like Hera Syndulla’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) Ghost and Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) Millennium Falcon.
On the Empire side, though, it would take a while longer. In A New Hope, the Millennium Falcon is spotted by what they think is a rogue TIE Fighter. At first, Luke wonders if it’s lost, but Han mentions that a ship that small doesn’t have a hyperdrive, so it couldn’t be far from a larger hangar ship. As it turns out, the TIE Fighter is actually within range of one of the Death Star hangars – it’s the scene in which Ben Kenobi (Alec Guiness) says his famous line: “That’s no moon, it’s a space station.” Only by the end of the war against the Rebel Alliance did the Empire provide some of its starfighter classes with hyperdrives, as we see at the end of the awesome Lost Stars novel. By the time of The Force Awakens, TIE Fighters are already equipped with hyperdrives, and we even see them lightspeed-skipping in The Rise of Skywalker.
Why Would Morgan Elsbeth Build Such a Massive Docking Ring?
The premise of these first two episodes of Ahsoka is to show how both sides – the Light and the Dark – are preparing for Thrawn’s return. Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) herself has been searching for the Imperial Grand Admiral for a while, as it would help lead her to find the lost Jedi Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi). The orb she finds on the planet Arcana in Episode 1 can finally point her in the right direction, but then it is stolen by Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) under Baylan Skoll’s (Ray Stevenson) and Morgan Elsbeth’s orders.
What the map shows is that Thrawn’s location lies far beyond the borders of the known galaxy. There’s no way of getting there with a regular starship, so Elsbeth is supervising the construction of the massive hyperspace docking ring named The Eye of Sion. We even see a smaller hyperdrive getting attached to the superstructure. As a former Imperial warlord, Elsbeth helped build the Imperial Navy, and we see this very hyperdrive being shipped off Corellia when Ahsoka and Hera are investigating shipyard connections to Elsbeth.
A docking ring that big is the only way she can get to where Thrawn is, as no existing hyperdrive can perform such a huge jump. Perspective is necessary here: when Morgan Elsbeth opens the map on Seatos, it shows the known galaxy at the center, a small shape no bigger than the palm of her hand. Then it points to Thrawn’s location, and it’s in an area at least ten times larger. If travel inside the known galaxy already requires hyperdrives, imagine jumping into the vastness of the unknown.
What Are Ahsoka and the Rebels Going To Do?
As old Ben Kenobi would say, they can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting. The New Republic certainly has no hyperdrive with such capabilities. The alternative would be doing what Ezra himself did at the end of the Rebels animated series: calling upon the purrgil. Purrgil are huge space whales capable of jumping to hyperspace themselves, and we’ve already seen a hint of their appearance when Grogu spots them in Season 3 of The Mandalorian. It was probably the purrgil that took Thrawn and Ezra so far in the first place, so they can also go back.
What we know for sure is that whatever attempt Morgan Elsbeth is making to get Thrawn back is successful, as the trailers show the Grand Admiral walking in the same golden-adorned room we see her in at the end of Episode 2. Now it’s just a matter of time until the heir to the Empire is back.
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