“Who’s the youngling?” Rex asked as he eyed the young Togruta.
“I’m Master Skywalker’s Padawan. The name’s Ahsoka Tano,” she replied, and a friendship was born.
A friendship that’s been around for about 18 years within the Star Wars universe, from the start of Ahsoka’s journey in Star Wars: The Clone Wars to Rex’s appearance in the Star Wars Rebels season two trailer. Even though we didn’t see them interact much throughout The Clone Wars series, we often got the impression that they were good comrades and friends both on and off the battlefield. After all, Rex made his Star Wars Rebels debut stating that any friend of hers was a friend of his as well. There’s clearly a level of understanding and trust in that relationship that’s been there since the very beginning.
Some of my favorite Rex and Ahsoka interactions, actually, came from the novel No Prisoners by Karen Traviss, which now belongs in Star Wars Legends. Tumblr user Finuiwen recently created a comic depicting a particular scene from chapter eleven in which Rex and Ahsoka reflect on their positions in the war as a soldier and Jedi, respectively. Unfortunately, we never see Rex and Ahsoka have deep and meaningful conversations, like the one depicted below, throughout the series because the focus was always placed elsewhere. It’s these small moments that truly capture and enhance the way we view Rex and Ahsoka’s friendship.
If you look hard, however, there are moments throughout the series that also show Rex and Ahsoka’s loyalty to each other and how they always have each other’s backs.
Experience Outranks Everything
“Ahsoka might talk like she’s the Grand Admiral of the Fleet, but she respects Rex. And I suspect some lessons are easier when learned from him instead of me . . . He can also bring her back down to ground level pretty fast when needed,” Anakin told Padmé in the novel No Prisoners. Rex was a mentor to Ahsoka, first and foremost. He immediately taught her that in his book, experience outranked everything. It was also at this moment, in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars novelization, where they forged a strong bond. He warily watched the expanding energy field in the distance, noting how they would be overwhelmed soon with Separatist forces. Unfortunately, what she said next isn’t canon, but it’s an exchange I hold near and dear to my heart and one that goes down as the foundation of their friendship.
“Well, you need experience, littl’un. Here’s where you start getting it.”
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll watch your back.”
Rex didn’t doubt it. “And I’ll watch yours,” he said.
True to their words, Rex and Ahsoka did look out for each other. In “Duel of the Droids”, Rex’s life almost came to a swift end when General Grievous brought down his lightsaber on him, but Ahsoka came to his rescue, putting her own life on the line in the process. They both had a duty to each other, he as a soldier and she as a Jedi–both protectors. Despite not knowing any details about when and how he left, Rex had formed a connection with individuals like Ahsoka and it’s experiences like this that I think factor into Rex’s later decision to leave the army.
Rex and Tarkin
Later on, Ahsoka came to a point in her training where she didn’t want to be seen as a child. She wanted to be recognized as someone who was capable of handling herself as well as managing tasks that would ordinarily be far beyond her skill set. She took initiative and sneaked herself into a mission to the Citadel, an impregnable prison on Lola Sayu, despite her Master’s orders to stay behind.
Though she proved herself to be useful on a few occasions, Wilhuff Tarkin didn’t give her the satisfaction of recognizing her talents and even went as far as to say, “I am concerned that the Jedi have elected this child to lead the group.”
Captain Rex, as ever loyal and faithful, defended her and her abilities, unafraid to speak the truth. “I’ve served with her many times, and I trust her, Captain.”
Rex Believed In Ahsoka
Anakin wasn’t the only one to believe in Ahsoka’s innocence.
“I know Commander Tano. She would never do something like this,” Rex said confidently to Commander Fox, despite what looked like incriminating evidence laid out in front of him.
Till this day, it bothers me that we never got his perspective on the matter and his reaction to Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order, especially given how closely he had worked with her over time. Thankfully, we found out at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim that a small group of clone troopers pledged their allegiance to Ahsoka, giving us a small glimpse at the clone trooper mindset at the time. Despite not knowing any other details, I really hope we see that concept factor into Star Wars Rebels.
“Ahsoka and Captain Rex are like family, and they have a bond that–it just runs deep. Ahsoka will always have a part of Rex with her,” Ashley Eckstein said in an interview with IGN at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.
Without a doubt, Rex and Ahsoka have a long past together and share a deep bond that will inform how we’ll see them in the second season of Star Wars Rebels. With Ahsoka involved in the game and Rex back in action, what sort of interactions are you hoping to see when the series returns?
“The Siege of Lothal” premieres Saturday, June 20, 2015, at 9PM EST on Disney XD. The rest of season two will air later in the fall.