(Spoilers for Star Wars: Ahsoka Part Five: Shadow Warrior follow.) Would a bona fide filmmaker tell proteges that if they want an example of excellent filmmaking, watch Ahsoka: Part Five – Shadow Warrior? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Below are 21 takeaways from the episode in order from my biggest to smallest takeaway.

1. I don’t know the last time I went back and re-watched clips of a film or television/streaming production.

I did that with Shadow Warrior. Three times. And I don’t know when I last did it twice.

2. Is director Dave Filoni trying to say that a non-Force-sensitive individual can sense something through the Force if shared blood can?

Jacen Syndulla (Evan Whitten) (photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

To my understanding, it was thought that Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) was not Force-sensitive. However, she can sense a lightsaber duel. Is she doing it through her son, Jacen Syndulla, who is Force-sensitive?

3. It seems clear that Star Wars will be seen in a new galaxy.

That’s really intriguing, though it seems to defeat a point given that Star Wars is supposed to take place in “a galaxy far, far away.” It is worth noting this production was not preceded by that statement.

4. ‘I choose to live’.

Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) told Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) that she had to live or die. But then, when Ahsoka could have killed him, she threw away the lightsaber. The apprentice actually taught the master.

I actually like how the duel was decided by those who didn’t have lightsabers. It’s perfect given the relationship between the two and since Ahsoka is a master now herself.

5. Ahsoka: Shadow Warrior seems to refer to Anakin and Ahsoka — for different reasons.

Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels (photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Anakin, because he became the shadow-like Vader. It’s like the reference to Vader in Star Wars: Episode I’s title, The Phantom Menace.

Ahsoka, because she’s not really a warrior.

6. The purrgil interactions seem to get into nature.

Star Wars‘ purrgil are essentially space whales. With whales being some of the oldest creatures still living on Earth and all.

7. Vader/Anakin moving between the characters

Vader/Anakin moving between the characters also is a fan’s dream come true.

If Anakin is one with the Force but still struggles with his Vader tendencies, this is similar to an idea for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that was cut but may very well have been the best part of the film. That’s Vader/Anakin moving between the characters.

8. Ahsoka seems so much more at ease after her interaction with her master.

She doesn’t seem to care that she could go anywhere in the mouth of the whale into which she flew.

9. The shots of the whales flying past New Republic ships inspire awe.

The whales as a symbol of the living world and in Star Wars, the living Force, is powerful.

10. The final shot’s impact

The shot really makes viewers wonder where the whale is taking Ahsoka. Also, has a shot of spinning stars, which follows the whale’s hyperspace jump, ever been a closing shot of a Star Wars film or TV/streaming episode? My sincere apologies for asking if it has.

11. The way lightsaber duels seem to be telling a story is beautiful. And it’s being done as well as it ever has been in the Star Wars franchise.

Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano (photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

I highly doubt that Anakin’s fighting style while fighting Ahsoka being a little bit different than as seen in other productions is by accident. It seems near-certain that it’s because Anakin needs to change his approach a little bit since he and Ahsoka know each other so well. This same artwork-through-action is seen in duels between Vader/Anakin and Obi-Wan, from different directors.

12. ‘Ahsoka, within you will be everything I am. All the knowledge I possess. Just as I inherited knowledge from my master and he from his. You’re part of a legacy.’

This made me consider that Sabine Wren comes from a master-apprentice line that goes back to Yoda. (Yoda trained Count Dooku, who trained Qui-Gon Jinn, who trained Obi-Wan Kenobi, who trained Anakin, who trained Ahsoka, who is training Sabine.)

13. The audio combination of lightsaber fighting and waves was beautiful and artistic.

This happens in the scene where Hera and Jacen can hear the duel and waves through the Force.

14. Beautiful moments where the intent to please fans seems to have been at least a small factor.

  • Parts when Anakin is fighting remind of Anakin fighting in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. It’s wonderful.
  • Anakin spun his lightsaber much like he did in the past. It was really cool.
  • Seeing how Vader would have looked in his 40s had he not needed to have been encased in a suit is a fan dream come true.
  • More of Vader/Anakin’s yellow eyes is a fan dream come true.
  • Vader/Anakin having a red lightsaber is a fan dream come true.
  • More of Vader sans suit is a fan dream come true.
  • Hayden Christensen as Anakin as first seen in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars also was great.
  • As was anything seen in The Clone Wars that was in Shadow Warrior. Including Captain Rex.
  • A sound effect in the final leg of Vader/Anakin and Ahsoka fighting is familiar.
  • Ahsoka seems to have used the trick Anakin used to defeat Dooku in Revenge of the Sith. It seems quite possible that Ahsoka used a trick against Anakin that he taught her.

15. Anakin seeing a Siege of Mandalore moment was powerful since, as Ahsoka said, they had parted ways by then.

Anakin was able to get a sense of what his Padawan endured as he willingly let the dark side enter his life.

16. Ahsoka being on the outside of ships, standing on them as they are flying, is interesting.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) (photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

That hasn’t been seen much, if at all, in Star Wars.

17. Is Ahsoka going into a whale inspired by the Bible?

Ahsoka’s action seems to have a lot of resemblance with Jonah being in a while in the Bible’s Old Testament.

18. Hera’s support of Ahsoka is impressive.

Hera seems OK with Ahsoka seeking Sabine and not returning to Coruscant. Even though testimony from Ahsoka would help Sabine keep her position as a general.

19. During the scene depicting one of Anakin and Ahsoka’s first missions, I wondered why Star Wars: The Clone Wars wasn’t live-action.

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) (photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

It would have been amazing and I’m near-certain that Lucasfilm had the money.

20. Women characters and being a transgender woman

Since I accepted that I am a transgender woman, I have always noticed how stunning at least one woman is in every film or television/streaming production I’ve seen. That continued in Shadow Warrior in seeing Winstead as Hera.

Also, a scene shows almost all of one of Dawson’s/Ahsoka’s slender arms. I was so happy to think about how my arms closely resemble that mass now, as a result of being on hormone replacement therapy.

21. Ahsoka’s lack of headband during a scene was an interesting choice.

The scene followed Ahsoka’s confrontation with Vader/Anakin.

Shadow Warrior (and the episode immediately before it) is in the top tier of excellence regarding Star Wars productions. It’s in the same tier as the original trilogy, the final arc of each of the final two seasons of The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, Rogue One, and the Star Wars Rebels scenes where Ahsoka realizes Anakin is Darth Vader, the two duel and Kanan Jarrus dies.

Filoni was just a learner. Now, he is a master.

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