Breaking Down the Surprise Cameo at the End of Ahsoka Episode 4

What to know about Hayden Christensen's appearance as Anakin Skywalker in the new Star Wars series.

Breaking Down the Surprise Cameo at the End of Ahsoka Episode 4
STAR WARS: AHSOKA

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Ahsoka episode 4.

Following a high-stakes lightsaber duel with mercenary Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson) that ended with Baylan knocking her off a cliff on the planet Seatos, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) found herself on a illuminated, translucent plane suspended in the void of space as episode 4 of Ahsoka came to a close.

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It was there that she suddenly heard a familiar voice and turned to see her former Jedi Master, Anakin Skywalker (a de-aged Hayden Christensen), approaching. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” he told her before the credits rolled.

The pair appeared to be meeting in the World Between Worlds, a mystical dimension within the Force that touches every point of time and space in the Star Wars universe and should be familiar to fans of the animated Star Wars Rebels series. But after all that’s happened between them, how their reunion will play out in next week’s episode is still up in the air.

Read more: How Ahsoka‘s First Two Episodes Set Up a Long-Awaited Star Wars Story

What is Ahsoka and Anakin’s relationship?

While this is the first time we’ve seen Ahsoka and Anakin appear together in live-action, the two have a storied history in Star Wars canon.

After becoming Anakin’s Padawan in the 2008 animated Star Wars movie The Clone Wars, Ahsoka continued training with Anakin in the subsequent Clone Wars TV series. The pair formed a close relationship, giving each other the nicknames of “Snips” and “Skyguy.” But after Ahsoka was framed for murder by another Jedi and expelled from the Order, she chose to say goodbye to Anakin and set out on her own despite ultimately being absolved of the crime and invited back.

As the events of The Revenge of the Sith played out and Anakin turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader, The Clone Wars series showed that Ahsoka was off fighting to retake the planet Mandalore from Darth Maul, who was revealed in the show to have survived his seemingly fatal duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo. The final Clone Wars season ended with Ahsoka surviving Order 66, the command given by Emperor Palpatine to execute all Jedi. However, she was unaware that her former master and the Empire’s fearsome new Sith Lord were one and the same.

That all changed in Rebels when Ashoka came face to face with Darth Vader in a lightsaber battle on the planet Malachor V and was forced to come to terms with who she was actually dueling. This fight ultimately led to Ahsoka’s first encounter with the World Between Worlds, as her fellow Ghost crew member Ezra Bridger later used the mysterious realm to reach back in time and save her before Vader could deliver the killing blow.

What is the World Between Worlds?

Described by the official Star Wars site as “a collection of pathways and doors between time and space,” the World Between Worlds is a realm of unimaginable power in the galaxy far, far away.

Ezra was able to enter the World Between Worlds in Rebels after discovering how to open a portal to the ethereal dimension in a painting of the Force-related Mortis gods on the planet Lothal. Emperor Palpatine also greatly desired access to the World Between Worlds, describing it as “a conduit between the living and the dead.”

However, Ezra, who was wanted by Palpatine for his connection to the realm, ultimately avoided falling into the Emperor’s clutches in Rebels by boarding Grand Admiral Thrawn’s flagship during the Battle of Lothal and summoning a flock of the space whales known as purrgils to capture Thrawn’s fleet and vanish it through hyperspace while he and Thrawn were both onboard, sacrificing himself for the cause.

How Ahsoka will use World Between Worlds—or not—in her quest to prevent Thrawn’s return as heir to the Empire and possibly rescue Ezra remains to be seen.