Editor’s note: Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are ahead. You have been warned!
With the airing of the latest Star Wars Rebels episodes, Wolves and a Door and A World Between Worlds, our own concepts of the Force, and even the entire Star Wars saga, has changed once again. Before Monday’s episode aired, one of the most recent events that changed our conception of the Force was when Luke Skywalker, in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, created a Force Illusion of his body before Kylo Ren from light years away. When it comes to Star Wars, and pivotal moments in which the saga’s foundation is shaken, I just love to speculate. Here’s some questions that arise from the newest episodes from Star Wars Rebels. First, some context to bring you up to speed.
When last we saw Ezra Bridger, he was tasked with uncovering a secret within the Jedi Temple on Lothal. When the crew of the Ghost shows up to investigate, they find that the Empire has been there for quite some time, also attempting to unlock the secrets of the temple. This fulfills a plot point in season two, where Minister Tua remarks that the Emperor has a vested interest in the planet of Lothal. Up until now I wondered why exactly that was.
It’s soon revealed that the Jedi Temple on Lothal bears a connection to the Mortis gods, whom we first saw on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Mortis gods were three ancient Force practitioners calling themselves the Father, the Son, and the Daughter. The Father acted as the middle ground between the Daughter, who embodied the light side of the Force, and the Son, who symbolized the dark side of the Force. In short, the gods lured Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano to Mortis in order to determine if Skywalker was indeed the prophesied Chosen One to bring balance to the Force. Skywalker, through the Force, bent both the Daughter and Son to his will when they began to fight one another. The Father desired Anakin to remain on Mortis, but he refused. Soon after, the Son managed to kill the Daughter and the Father sacrificed himself since he could not directly harm the Son. In his dying words the Father remarked that the dark side of the Force would have a profound advantage in the years to come, but one day Skywalker would fulfill his destiny and restore balance to the Force nonetheless. Curiously, when the Father died, Obi-Wan, Anakin, nor Ahsoka had any recollection of their time on Mortis.
In Star Wars Rebels, the Mortis gods again resurface, this time as an ancient painting found in the roots of the Jedi Temple on Lothal. Minister Hydan tells Emperor Palpatine that the painting must act as a key to accessing the temple’s secrets. Curiously, Emperor Palpatine alludes to the idea that the power within acts as “a conduit between the living and the dead.” When Ezra successfully unlocks the secret of the painting we find him, not inside the temple, but in a world between worlds.
The official Star Wars Databank describes the world between worlds as “a collection of pathways and doors between time and space.” Palpatine, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, is not wrong in that there could exist a conduit between the living and dead. Ezra begins to hear voices from across time from characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, to even the likes of Jyn Erso, Chirrut Imwe, Maz Kanata, Rey, and Kylo Ren. The fate of Ahsoka Tano, after her duel with Darth Vader on Malachor in season two, is revealed. Ezra was able to reach through time and space and pull her into the world between worlds before Vader could land a killing blow with his lightsaber. It’s also been confirmed that the green colored convor that had been following Ahsoka around has a name: Morai, and the Databank also confirms it shares ties with the Daughter. Not only that, but many gateways across time appeared before Ezra and Ahsoka, as evidenced by the voices emanating from their respective portals. Star Wars Rebels just made time travel possible in the Force.
#1 – Where does the world between worlds exist?
I believe, though it’s not confirmed, that this new world introduced in Star Wars Rebels exists in some way within the Cosmic Force. The Cosmic Force is what binds the greater galaxy together from the energy fed into it by the Living Force, which we know as living matter. Yoda speaks of this in the Empire Strikes Back, saying, “life (Living Force) creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us (Cosmic Force).”
There’s too little time spent in this world to give us a definitive answer, but we can still speculate. For instance, the very surroundings of this other world could have been pure darkness, or a purgatorial white. Instead, Ezra is surrounded by an endless sea of stars. Truthfully, any time Ezra found himself in this dimension, speaking with Yoda in prior seasons, accepting his Kyber crystal, to most recently when the Loth-wolfs moved from one pole of the planet to the other, I kept thinking of this visualization to be that of the Cosmic Force.
With the ability to alter time and space itself, it would be best to keep such a place hidden from the vast majority of the galaxy. For that reason, the world between worlds just has to exist within some plane of existence, some netherworld of the Force.
#2 – Could we further delve into the canonicity of Darth Plagueis?
Here’s a question within a question. How could Darth Sidious know that the secrets of the Jedi Temple on Lothal held a conduit between the living and the dead? Perhaps that is a reference to his former master, Darth Plagueis the Wise. So far, in canon, Darth Plagueis has only been mentioned twice. First in Revenge of the Sith, and the second in the Tarkin novel. Plagueis, allegedly accounted by Sidious to Anakin Skywalker, was so skilled in influencing the midi-chlorians that he could create life and keep those he cared about from dying. As far as I’m concerned, this was just hearsay to sway Anakin to the dark side, but perhaps there were elements of truth to Sidious’ assertion.
Perhaps during his apprenticeship to Plagueis, Darth Sidious ventured into seeking possible ways to claim immortality. What if Plagueis was nearly able to ascertain the location of the world between worlds but kept its information hidden from Sidious? After all, as is tradition with Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, once an apprentice can learn no more from their master it is their duty to supplant them as Dark Lord of the Sith. If we follow this train of thought, there would be even more “irony” surrounding the murder of Plagueis at the hands of Sidious. By withholding potential information about the world between worlds from Sidious, until he truly was able to unlock its full potential, Plagueis was killed by Sidious in his sleep, the latter honestly believing there was nothing more he could learn from the former.
By the time Star Wars Rebels comes around, Sidious could take the pieces of what he was able to glean from his fallen master and begin to slowly piece together a path to immortality. Think about it, Sidious was able to use his mastery of Sith sorcery to deceive and locate Ezra and Ahsoka, who strayed out of time and space, and very nearly crossed into the world between worlds only by forming an actual tether to Ezra that Ahsoka soon after destroyed. How would he have been able to at least open a gateway to the world between worlds without some prior knowledge of its existence? This is knowledge he could have gained from his former master. The knowledge of the gods of Mortis was ascertained early on for Sidious. But just how early? What point in time? This is a good opportunity to truly flesh out Plagueis and his quest for greater power. After all, according to Sidious, Plagueis feared to lose that power. What if Plagueis did get that close to conquering life and death? The fact that Sidious knows of the existence of the world between worlds with this breadth of precision can’t be mere chance. There’s a reason for everything in this saga. After all, to quote Darth Sidious himself, “if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects. Not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi.”
# 3 – Who fashioned the world between worlds?
I think the existence of the world between worlds in Star Wars Rebels, and the overall organization of the gateways therein, seems too sophisticated to not be fashioned by some higher power. The Jedi and Sith are not the sole practitioners of the Force. In canon, there exist beings with a greater grasp of the Force, one that the Jedi nor the Sith can comprehend. The Mortis gods are one of those, yes. Another group appeared towards the end of the Clone Wars known as the Force Priestesses, who held the answer to becoming a Force spirit after death. You know what? Those same priestesses appear in a picture in Wolves and a Door. Is it coincidence that their imagery appears near to such a vergence in the Force?
Then you have creatures like the Loth-wolf that have a deep connection to the Force and can influence it in their own way. My point is, the Force has manifested itself in physical bodies that dwell in the Living Force. In my first question above I assumed that the world between worlds may exist within the confines of the Cosmic Force, but could a physical body have fashioned something so discreet? Ezra walks on constructed paths; paths that branch off to other rings with their own paths. Those paths have gateways through time that bear intricate stylizations. It looks like the work and veracity of someone, or something, with a physical body. It wouldn’t be farfetched to think something from the Living Force could have fashioned this world. Ezra and Ahsoka were able to inhabit it after all, even if it was just for a short time. Which brings me to one more question.
# 4 – Could the Whills be behind this?
When Star Wars Rebels poses something new in front of me, my imagination is automatically going to run wild. I continued to follow the train of thought of “who”, if possible, could be behind the latest happenings on Star Wars Rebels. My mind immediately went to the Whills. The Whills have not been seen in canon insofar as being mentioned via the Journal of the Whills. They also have representatives who call themselves the Guardians of the Whills, with Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus from Rogue One being the most prominent. The Whills are individuals who are said to record the history of the galaxy in said Journal of the Whills.
What’s interesting is that, in Legends, R2-D2, around 104 ABY, recounted the tales of the Skywalker family to a Keeper of the Whills. So, by imagination, every time a movie opens with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”, this could be interpreted as the Whills sharing the history of that galaxy with us.
What better way to record the events of the galaxy than to witness them happening simultaneously from within the Comic Force? Of course, this is pure conjecture. But it’s interesting to note that while the Whills exist, it’s only their guardians we’ve seen in an official capacity. Where are the Whills? Are they perhaps sensitive to the Force? Do they play an omnipotent role in the galaxy along with the gods of Mortis and the Force Priestesses? Maybe we’ll never know.
Yoda said in Attack of the Clones, and is also heard in A World Between Worlds, “truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” I think the same can be said of the Star Wars fans who follow the mythology of the entire saga under a magnifying glass. It’s so fun to theorize and to see whether there’s truth to your theory or if it requires some fine tuning. Perhaps what I enjoy most about this Star Wars canon is that it nearly became a blank slate for expanded material to work with. In some ways it still feels like the canon is in its infancy, and slowly beginning to grow up across the span of films, books, comics, and, of course, TV shows. When something game changing drops in Star Wars, you can be sure to look to Mammoth Gamers for some insight. May the Force be with you, always.