It’s Good That Sabine Is Bad At The Force On Ahsoka

Gamersadmin September 1, 2023

On the TV show that bears her name, Ahsoka Tano is trying to train Sabine Wren in the ways of the Force. But Sabine struggles to feel the Force, and she’s an impossibly long way away from being able to jump 50 feet in the air or do any Jedi mind tricks or lift rocks mentally. Ahsoka’s droid Huyang says Sabine has the least potential he’s ever seen in a Jedi candidate. But Sabine keeps trying anyway.

I like that. Not the perseverance, which is a common trope across all media, but specifically having a main character be completely useless with the Force despite trying really hard not to be. That’s not how this story usually goes in the live-action portion of the Star Wars universe, and it certainly wasn’t with Disney’s sequel trilogy. Rey, for example, successfully does a mind trick on a stormtrooper despite knowing nothing about the Force–her ability with the Force was inherent, not learned or trained, and she simply needed the right inspiration to unlock it.

While Rey was not a well-written character, she wasn’t that different than the other Jedi we know. Luke and Anakin are similarly portrayed as being massively powerful from the start–they need training to hone the potential that is self-evidently already present. They don’t become powerful. They just are powerful.

That sort of thing has been pervasive in pop culture over the past decade and change with the help not just of Star Wars but also of Marvel and DC comic book movies. So many superhero origins involve a regular person gaining abilities and then pretty quickly getting a handle on those abilities–a tendency that’s gotten more prevalent recently in the MCU, which has been increasingly glossing over its origin stories in order to get to the rest of the action. Folks go from not having powers, to having powers and being ready and able to use them without much of a gap, if any.

Sabine, then, is an extreme contrast to the current state of things. The only thing self-evident about her potential is that she doesn’t seem to have any. If she wants to become a new Jedi, she’s going to have to put in lots of extra effort, or maybe work out a new way of doing things. Or maybe she’s just going to fail.

But whatever ends up happening with this arc, she’s going to learn a few things. Episode 3’s first scene is a training sequence in which Ahsoka has Sabine wear a mask that prevents her from seeing while Ahsoka quietly walks around her, poking her with a training sword–Sabine is supposed to sense Ahsoka’s movements and parry her. It starts as a callback to A New Hope, with Obi-Wan putting Luke through similar paces on the Millennium Falcon.

But while Luke had to use the Force for his exercise, Sabine doesn’t have that luxury–she instead has to rely on her other physical senses. Ahsoka knows this. She’s teaching Sabine how to fight like a Jedi but without the magical part.

Having a character who wants to be a Jedi but can’t use the Force is a unique bit for live-action Star Wars to explore, if indeed that’s how this plays out, and could take us to some legitimately interesting thematic places. It’s also relatable–most of us in the real world struggle every day to get what we want, and we rarely actually get it.

There are a lot of ways this could turn out, though. Maybe she’ll slowly but surely find her own unique connection to the Force. Or maybe she’ll never have one and will have to make do with the tools she has. Or maybe Sabine’s aptitude with the Force is simply buried and will be unlocked in a convenient narrative moment, which would be an unfortunate cop-out–this is the worst of these three options, and it probably is the most likely to come true.

But we’re not even halfway through this series just yet, and there’s plenty of ground yet to be covered over the next month. How Sabine’s story plays out could very well determine if Ahsoka is a good show–I hope Dave Filoni and pals made the right choices.

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