Star Wars: Ahsoka is a show built for cartoon fans. If you kept up with all seven seasons of Clone Wars and made it to the end of Rebels, then you’re likely tracking just about everything that’s going on so far in the latest live-action Star Wars series. If you’re a Star Wars movie fan who dipped into The Mandalorian because it was familiar, though, things might be a little more confusing.
An earlier episode gave us a perfect example of a potentially “huh?” scene when Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) spent a quiet few minutes talking to a young boy named Jacen (Evan Whitten). For longtime fans, it was a touching moment, and the first time we’ve seen Jacen a little bit grown up. For everyone else, it probably raised more questions than it answered. So what’s up with Jacen? Lots — and if you know what you’re looking for, he also has a not-so-secret connection to Star Wars Legends lore. Quite literally not so secret: In episode 5, Huyang (David Tennant) comes out and says exactly who Jacen’s dad is, and what makes him so special.
Who is Jacen Syndulla?
Despite what their appearances may suggest, Jacen is actually Hera’s son. He’s a half-Twi’lek, half-human child with a genetic disposition toward the Force, thanks to his father, Kanan Jarrus. Rebels fans will recognize Jacen from the final episode of that show, where he briefly appeared. But let’s go further back.
Who is Kanan Jarrus?
Kanan is one of the main characters of Star Wars Rebels, and Hera’s romantic partner. The character, voiced in the animated series by Freddie Prinze Jr., was also the Jedi that trained Ezra Bridger, and he has worked with Ahsoka on numerous missions before. Sadly, if you’re hoping for a Kanan/Hera reunion, you should stop — Kanan died saving Hera in season 4 of Rebels. The good news is that Jacen is here to carry on Kanan’s legacy, since he probably has the Force and, as he says in Ahsoka episode 3, is antsy to become a Jedi.
Who is Jacen Solo and how does he fit into all this?
Jacen Solo is one of the most important and interesting characters in the Star Wars Legends universe, the collection of books, comics, and other media that was released before Disney acquired Lucasfilm (and has since been deemed noncanonical). The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa-Solo, Jacen grew to become a powerful Jedi — and eventually a Sith Lord who tried to take over the galaxy to better protect it. If you haven’t caught on, he’s also the broad-stroke inspiration for Kylo Ren.
Jacen Syndulla’s name serves as an Easter egg for longtime Star Wars fans, according to Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni. Of course, Jacen Syndulla probably won’t follow his namesake all the way to the Dark Side, but the way he keeps nagging his mom certainly isn’t helping his case…