Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Ahsoka Episode 3.
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Star Wars has always revolved around galactic politics, and Ahsoka is no different. However, the series occurs during the New Republic era, with a largely unexplored government. Yet, it is not entirely unfamiliar. Based on the Republic’s system, the new government demonstrates a return to the old ways, and that’s not the only thing fans should instantly recognize. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), who played a significant role in the Rebellion, is the Chancellor, making the organization seem trustworthy. But Ahsoka proves that, even after such a brief tenure in control, the New Republic has flaws, even at its highest levels.
After her experience in episode 2, “Toil and Trouble,” General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) approaches Mon Mothma and several senators to propose a mission that would investigate the threat of Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and his apparent allies. After being attacked just days before, Hera has more than just rumors on her side. Yet the Senators dismiss the arguments of an accomplished General, refusing to see the danger. Their arrogance threatens the entire galaxy that they are meant to serve. The problems facing the New Republic aren’t new. After the Empire’s decades-long rule, there are sure to be holdovers, and The Mandalorian proved that there are still active Imperial loyalists. But the New Republic government refuses to acknowledge them as a danger. With the Rebellion so fresh in everyone’s mind and the destruction of the Empire still prevalent, it’s no wonder they are desperate for peace, but that doesn’t happen overnight. The new government should be focused on eliminating threats, not waiting for them to grow.
‘Ahsoka’ Shows the New Republic Senators Dismissing the Threat
Episode 3, “Time to Fly,” shows Hera’s meeting with Chancellor Mothma and several Senators as she reports on the incident on the Vesper. However, the Senators quickly and irreverently dismiss her concerns. She presents evidence of Morgan Elsbeth’s (Diana Lee Inosanto) suspicious activity, though she has nothing that unequivocally ties it to Thrawn. But she and Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) were undoubtedly attacked by an Imperial loyalist on Corellia. That itself is worth investigating. Certainly, after the Empire’s complete control, their supporters could not be fully removed. It is easy for a person to lie about their loyalties, and yet the Senators are satisfied with oaths from former Imperial supporters and see Hera’s report as something to be handled with a few arrests.
When Hera introduces the idea of Thrawn’s return, the Senators treat it as paranoia. Admittedly, Hera has been fighting an all-powerful enemy for most of her life, but that doesn’t mean her perceived dangers are baseless. Without more evidence, Thrawn’s involvement may be a leap, especially with his presumed death. However, that fact remains unconfirmed, and as he is one of the few who could reunite the Empire’s remaining assets, the New Republic shouldn’t be content to ignore him without solid evidence of his death. Furthermore, Hera is more familiar with Thrawn than the Senators or even Mon Mothma, who was integral to the Rebellion but didn’t personally face off against the Admiral. Yet, Hera’s fears are considered a personal vendetta and an excuse to look for Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) rather than the threat they are. One Senator, Hamato Xiono (Nelson Lee), goes as far as antagonizing Hera by bringing Ezra’s death into the conversation needlessly. The New Republic government does themselves a disservice by dismissing this threat so quickly.
The New Republic’s Problems in ‘Ahsoka’ Aren’t New
Though a single incident inspires Hera’s meeting, the threat to the New Republic is not new. In the premiere, Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) invade a New Republic cruiser to save Morgan Elsbeth. The Senators even acknowledge that people who served the Empire have positions within the new government, provided they give an oath of loyalty. Only a few years after the Empire’s defeat, it would be impossible for all supporters to be gone. But if they are to preserve the tenuous peace, the New Republic should do everything it can to prevent escalation. An employee at the shipyard may assist Elsbeth for money or personal gain, but they clearly shout “Long live the Empire,” erasing any doubts about their motivation. While Mon Mothma says there is an investigation into these activities, there should be more concern.
Though limited stories are set in the early days of the New Republic, The Mandalorian makes no secret about the dangers of Imperial remnants. Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his army of remaining stormtroopers are active, but the New Republic does little but put out a bounty for them. The Mandalorian even demonstrates a rehabilitation facility for former Imperials that is bursting. Those who propped up the Empire are not gone, and the Senators’ naive belief that the hard-won peace will not be challenged is a mistake. They are so focused on rebuilding the galaxy that they are willing to ignore a serious threat to the peace they treasure.
The Senate Is Already Complacent in ‘Ahsoka’
Despite Hera’s warnings, the Senators refuse to take action. Though they may doubt Thrawn’s survival, there is clearly an issue with Morgan Elsbeth, Baylan, and Shin’s activities, which should not be ignored. With the loss and bloodshed of the Rebellion so recent and the galaxy still recovering from the Empire’s rule, the New Republic should be chasing down any rumors to ensure peace before a conflict escalates. The whisper of a threat should send them on high alert. Thrawn is unquestioningly a formidable opponent, but even if they want to believe him dead, are two lightsaber-wielding enemies not enough to get them moving? Hera did not bring Baylan or Shin up in her report, though she knows about Shin, at the very least. Perhaps she should have been more detailed, but she should also have more good faith from the leaders after all she did to defeat the Empire.
The Senators are suspiciously quick to dismiss Hera’s report. Certainly, they, like the rest of the galaxy, are anxious for peace. But as people in authority, their refusal to listen puts the entire galaxy at risk. Their insistence that no one could be working against them is the height of arrogance. It would be better for them to over-investigate than ignore such a threat. Perhaps they are too well aware of the issue, and at least one isn’t as loyal to the New Republic as the others believe. But traitors or not, Ahsoka demonstrates that only a few years in, the New Republic’s leaders are complacent enough to blatantly ignore the threat of Imperial loyalists. It’s no wonder that the First Order rises in only a generation.