Star Wars: How a Dangerous Game Was a Defining Moment for Ahsoka Tano
Because Ahsoka Tano has played a major role in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, her character arc has had many key points, and many of them have been when she was under fire. In the final arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3, Ahsoka is kidnapped by a group of Trandoshan hunters who hunt sentient beings for sport, particularly Jedi Younglings. While the experience is harrowing for her, Ahsoka survives and rescues her fellow prisoners as well. Overall, throughout the arc, Ahsoka begins to better understand her own strengths and the strengths of her training, and in the process, she gains confidence in her choices.
The opening moral, also known as a Jedi "cookie," of the arc's first episode, "Padawan Lost" reads, "Without humility, courage can be a dangerous game." The trivia gallery for the episode on StarWars.com reveals that this is a purposeful reference to Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game."
The note in the trivia gallery calls the reference a"nod" to the short story, implying that the arc itself is not a one-to-one adaptation of the text. The main correlation between the two works is that they both feature an antagonist or a group of antagonists who hunt sentient beings for sport on an island and mostly during daylight hours.
While the opening moral focuses on humility, the point of the arc is not to make Ahsoka more humble. At the beginning of "Padawan Lost," Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka discuss the difficulty of each flank of their current offensive on Felucia. Ahsoka states, "You have taught me well. I can handle anything." Anakin tells her, "Don't get cocky," and a recurring theme throughout Season 3 is the Jedi Knight's inability to trust his Padawan's abilities, especially after her brief death.
The mission on Felucia is successful, but a group of Trandoshan hunters kidnap Ahsoka during the battle and plan to hunt her for sport. They mistakenly believe that Ahsoka is a Youngling, not a Padawan, which means they misjudge her abilities from the beginning. When they reach the planet Wasskah, the Trandoshans release Ahsoka and her fellow captives to "Island Four," implying that there are multiple islands on the planet where sentient beings are hunted.
Throughout the arc, other characters tell Ahsoka not to "be cocky" or "overestimate her abilities." The dangerous game featured in the arc instead shows that Ahsoka is not overstating her abilities and is fully capable of taking care of herself and other people under her care. Once on the island, Ahsoka joins with Kalifa, Jinx and O-Mer, three Jedi Younglings who have given up hope. At first, the Younglings tell Ahsoka to follow their lead, but once she realizes that they are mostly focused on hiding rather than escaping or saving other captives, she goes off on her own. Her boldness inspires the Younglings to fight back, and she quickly takes charge of the group after that.
The road to freedom is still harrowing for Ahsoka's group, and Kalifa does not survive. Still, Ahsoka does not give up or lose faith in her skills. In fact, she shows her ability to adapt and incorporate the skills and plans of her allies with her own. After the Trandoshans capture Chewbacca and bring him to Island Four, he joins with Ahsoka's group and builds a transmitter to contact his fellow Wookiees. After the group takes a prisoner, Jinx comes up with a plan to use the prisoner to commandeer a ship. While Ahsoka initially rejects the idea, after Jinx and O-mer explain the idea further, she agrees to incorporate their plan with her own strategy. In the end, the combination of Wookiee allies, Jinx's plan and Ahsoka's leadership allow them to escape.
Overall, “Padawan Lost” and “Wookiee Hunt” are important episodes for Ahsoka because they show her coming into her own. These entries also prove to be a turning point in her mentorship with Anakin. While the two were close before, through her experience on Wasskah, Ahsoka has gained an even greater appreciation for her training, and Anakin has gained more respect for what his Padawan can accomplish on her own.
Ahsoka reaffirms what she stated at the beginning of the arc when she proclaims, "When I was out there alone, all I had was your training and the lessons you taught me. And because of you, I did survive. And not only that, but I was able to lead others to survive as well." So, even though Ahsoka began the arc confident in her skills, her experience still affirmed her abilities both as an individual and as a leader.