Stand down, Commander Wren
What did you expect? She's a Mandalorian! (Ahsoka spoilers, and finally, a Star Wars post!)
A few months ago, I was asked which character in Ahsoka I most identified with. I couldn’t really think of any. Definitely not Ahsoka. In many ways, I don’t particularly like Ahsoka. But I haven’t watched the animated series that shows how she grew up so I really shouldn’t speak to it.
At the time, when I was asked, I said, “Definitely not Sabine Wren.” Sabine is a Mandalorian who becomes a Jedi, something that rarely happens as Jedi and Mandalorians were enemies long ago, and they have a very different set of values. Jedi value detachment, and see close relationships as dangerous because attachment can lead to fear, which can lead to rage, which can lead to the Dark Side. Note Anakin Skywalker. His rage over his mother’s death and his fear of losing his wife sent him to the Dark Side.
“Anakin was… intense,” says the all-wise droid in Ahosaka when Sabine asks about him. Anakin was Ahsoka’s master.
Sabine is rebellious, action oriented, and willing to take risks. Taking risks is natural to her. She’s a Mandalorian. Mandalorian is not a race, it’s a creed. Mandalorians value solidarity above everything.
I’ve now rewatched the Ahsoka series more times than I can count, and every time I see something new. Sabine’s devotion to her friend Ezra makes perfect sense once you’ve watched Rebels (all 75 episodes!) and seen them grow up together in the Rebellion. It’s remarkable to see how well the actors in the live series present themselves as identical to the animated characters. Especially Thrawn. Of course he’s the bad guy, but I have to say, there’s something super hot about a man who is in command and perfectly calm, all the time. I’m keeping the politics out of this one, but I recently read a profile of a man who sounded like that, and it’s always lovely to have a celebrity crush. In many ways, celebrity crushes are much better than real live ones, because you can maintain the illusions that crushes require more easily, and they can’t hurt you because you have no contact with them. My celebrity crush is probably one of the most unavailable men in the world right now, which is perfect! It also fulfills a prophesy in the book The Rules that I wrote about months ago… I will leave it at that.
Now that I’ve watched Ahsoka over and over again, thought deeply about my connections to people and how I want to live my life, I have come to identify with Sabine Wren.
After Ezra disappears with Thrawn and Ahsoka stops training her, Sabine is depressed. She doesn’t show up at a ceremony to commemorate the day they won against the Empire, and when the soldiers sent to bring her to it find her, she’s riding her flying motorcycle home. “Stand down, Commander Wren,” they say. But they know it’s pointless. Sabine is going to do what she’s going to do. And what she’s going to do, in order, is go home, feed her cat, watch the hologram that Ezra left her, and set out on a journey to bring her friend home.
Ahsoka (the series) shows the instability of the New Republic. They have a hard time keeping order. There are Imperial loyalists at every step of every ladder. Their deprogramming camps, which are creepy and can be seen in the otherwise fairly boring “Andor.” (Did I start a fight with that comment? My apologies if you took offense.)
Once Sabine has hope of finding Ezra, she completely changes. She is animated, driven, won’t stop working even after she’s stabbed with a light saber (ouch!). Even Thrawn is impressed with her commitment.
Mandalorians just don’t stand down. They aren’t your “go with the flow” bystander kind of people. They’re a lot like organizers. They do something. They act.
Sabine gets Ezra home. Then Ashoka says, it’s time to move on.
To find Ezra, she had to go with the enemy across the galaxy, spending most of her time in handcuffs. She never loses her fighting spirit. I don’t think I would have been as rude to Thrawn as she was - it’s just not my style - but I admire how she showed no fear.
I’ve thought through a scene of meeting Thrawn. I might have said, “You’re looking well. It seems that exile suits you.” I would have managed to avoid saying, “You’re looking rather blue.”
Commander Wren does not stand down. Her biggest enemy is loneliness. She desperately needs to be on a team, in solidarity, working toward a common goal. She is rebellious but when she’s in, she takes orders and carries them out. And there’s nobody you can count on more in a fight.
I think, for now, Sabine is my girl.
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