In the Star Wars prequels, Anakin Skywalker never talked about having a Padawan. You’d think something so big and important in his life would be something he mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, but he doesn’t. Now, of course, part of that is because Ahsoka wasn’t introduced until three years after Episode III in The Clone Wars animated movie and series. But another part is because she left the Jedi Order, and it was painful for Anakin.
They were very close, so some might wonder if the two had a Force connection or bond, and what that might have looked like after Order 66 when the Jedi were slaughtered. According to Dave Filoni, Anakin’s turn to Darth Vader cut it off.
Anakin and Ahsoka had a strong connection, through the Force and beyond
When Ahsoka was first introduced as Anakin’s Padawan, he was in no way interested in taking on a student. In fact, he thought it would slow him down and he didn’t want to worry about anyone other than himself and his troops. However, over the course of the first season — heck, even the first few episodes — Ahsoka grew on Anakin. And by Season 3, he had obviously come to be very protective of her and think of her as family. And by Season 5, it was quite clear that he was as attached to her as he was to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
With that said, it makes sense that the two did, indeed, share a Force bond. Supervising Director for The Clone Wars Dave Filoni shared as much at the Star Wars Celebration in Europe in 2016. “The thing about Anakin and Ahsoka— when you know someone well, you can kind of tell where they are in the Force,” Filoni said at the “Ahsoka’s Untold Tales” panel.
“It’s an extension of that idea that you’ll have stories where parents get a feeling that their kids are in trouble, they might be somewhere else in the world,” he continued, “Then the kid calls and something bad has happened… This is real stuff that people talk about that happens in our world. So you extend that to the Force… and there’s always this feeling that Anakin’s around, that he’s alive, that things are going on.”
But his turn to the Dark Side disrupted their connection
Considering that Anakin Skywalker is no more when he became Darth Vader, Ahsoka’s connection is cut off when her former master turned to the Dark Side. “So when Order 66 happens and Ahsoka reaches into the Force, she actually can’t feel Anakin anymore,” Filoni explained. “He’s gone, he’s missing from the Force. And that’s what leads her to believe that he died sometime at the end of Order 66.”
This is further shown through Ahsoka’s perspective in E.K. Johnston’s novel, Ahsoka, when she tentatively reaches out to the Force a year after the Jedi purge and doesn’t feel Anakin.
When Ahsoka does finally realize Anakin is Darth Vader, it’s devastating
Because she can’t feel Anakin’s presence in the Force like she was able to before, it was easier for her to believe he was dead rather than face the truth about him being Darth Vader. Although, when the audience catches up with Ahsoka in Star Wars Rebels Season 2, it seems like she has her suspicions about the Sith Lord.
“And that’s why she does not believe that he could be Darth Vader,” Filoni said. “She doesn’t believe it, she denies it. She can’t even imagine that he would become that person because that’s not the person she knows.”
This is perfectly highlighted when she finally has her standoff with Darth Vader in the finale of Season 2 and tells him, “I was beginning to believe I knew who you were behind that mask, but it’s impossible. My master could never be as vile as you!” When Anakin comes back for a brief moment as she slices his mask open, it makes it that much more of a heartbreaking scene.