An owl-like creature from Star Wars Rebels known as Morai staring down at someone.

The Clone Wars: Symbolism Behind Morai’s Appearance in “Victory and Death”

The series finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars emotionally broke me and brought me to tears. I knew what was coming, but after seeing how the story played out, it kicked me right in the chest. Suffice it to say, those last 4 episodes took Star Wars storytelling to yet another level, and it’s not surprising because Lucasfilm Animation consistently and continually raises the bar.

There’s so much to break down and analyze in the Siege of Mandalore arc, but today, I want to focus on Morai’s brief appearance at the end of “Victory and Death.”

For those not aware, Morai (a convor a.k.a. space owl) first shows up in the Star Wars Rebels season 2 episode “The Mystery of Chopper Base.” She has a spiritual connection to the Daughter, a powerful Force wielder who helped revive a deceased Ahsoka by transferring her life essence. This happened in the Mortis arc from season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. At some unknown point, Morai becomes Ahsoka’s companion, following and watching over her. And in some ways, she acts as an avatar of the Daughter.

“I love the idea of it being an avatar!” said Executive Producer and Supervising Director Dave Filoni in an interview with IGN back in 2016 after the epic Rebels season 2 finale. “You know me by now – it’s not accidental that this thing is flying around. It’s not accidental that it’s there, and it’s not accidental that it’s bizarrely on this completely different world at the end of that episode. It definitely has a meaning for me, as the storyteller. It’s a subtle thing that if you know what the owl represents, then it deepens the lore of the whole thing and you go, ‘Okay, there are things at work here that are beyond our reckoning.’ In some ways, I could say that it’s a messenger, it’s an observer.”

It’s amusing how a quote from 2016 about “Twilight of the Apprentice” accurately reflects what’s happening in the final moments of “Victory and Death,” and it should because both episodes are deeply connected and share several parallels. Like we see in “Twilight of the Apprentice,” Morai’s placement high up above Darth Vader in “Victory and Death” is not accidental and it holds a significant meaning to both the storyteller and the audience.

In a different interview, Dave describes the convor as a “foreshadowing element and symbol.” He went on to say, “[Owls] are an element of death. They are an element of wisdom. They are telling the viewer to look closely at this moment.” (Many thanks to Star Wars Speculation for highlighting this interview in his video.)

What I love most about this quote is how death and wisdom are both present in that final scene with Vader, as Morai watches over him. There is a burial site just a few feet away from him, and Ahsoka wisely leaving her lightsabers behind help pass off the idea she’s dead. Hence, Vader’s memorable “the Apprentice lives” line in “The Siege of Lothal.” (Then again, I could be wrong about the timeline and interpretation of that scene.)

In looking closer at her appearances, it’s clear to me Morai symbolizes a few things: 

  1. Ahsoka lives – Seeing Morai flying around at any point in time tells me Ahsoka is alive. In “Twilight of the Apprentice,” when she flies off and Ahsoka disappears into the temple, we know she’s alive in that moment. In “A World Between Worlds,” Morai guides Ezra to pull Ahsoka out at the right moment, helping Ahsoka to stay alive. In “Victory and Death,” she glides above, reminding us, once again, that Ahsoka lives to carry on. 
  2. Ahsoka’s close by – When Ezra sees Morai in “A World Between Worlds,” he tells her, “Yeah, whenever Ahsoka was around, you were always close by.” While Ahsoka may not be physically there when the Empire’s troops scour the crash site, her lightsabers are there. The men who donned her colors and markings are there. This is the place where Ahsoka lets go and moves forward. So it makes sense to see Morai lingering around, watching and observing, as Vader closes in on Ahsoka’s tracks.
  3. Beacon of hope – Morai is a physical embodiment of the light side of the Force, and she’s an extension of Ahsoka. Thus, they both embody the same qualities. Ashley Eckstein recently said, “To me, Star Wars equals hope. Star Wars, to me, is a story of good overcoming evil. And over time, when I think of hope, it’s actually changed from Star Wars to Ahsoka. Ahsoka means hope to me. She brings people so much hope. I think the most important part of Ahsoka’s personality is that she always finds hope… To me, [Morai] is always with Ahsoka and always shining the light.”
  4. Something Anakin lost (but not completely) – As previously mentioned, Morai represents the light. With her flying up above so high, it symbolizes how the light side of the Force is out of reach for Anakin. He’s so far gone, the light side he used to represent is a distant memory. At the same time, Morai’s presence could also symbolize the light still inside him.

Speaking of Anakin, every time I think of him, I think of the choice he makes in the Mortis arc. He refuses to replace he Father, a being who represents and maintains the balance between the light and the dark. In doing so, he refuses to maintain the balance in himself. And as a result, unrest and suffering grow in the galaxy.

“Everything that was happening [in that arc] was symbolic and a metaphor for things that were going to happen across the Star Wars trilogies,” said Filoni in a past interview, when talking about the Rebels season 2 finale. “Even now, it’s still having repercussions on [Ahsoka’s] story because Ahsoka played a significant role in that arc with Anakin. Some of that, that was a bit foretold on Mortis, plays out now in reality in her confrontation with Darth Vader.”

It’s crazy how I didn’t see it that way before. Ahsoka dying in the Mortis arc because of the dark side’s influence and being given a new life by the Daughter, this all plays out similarly in Rebels. Ahsoka is confronting the dark side in the form of Vader, and she’s about to die, but the Daughter in the form of Morai saves her with the help of Ezra, who, in this case, represents Anakin/Father, seeking that balance between the light and the dark within himself.

Now, take this and apply it to The Clone Wars series finale and beyond. Anakin represents the dark/Son. Ahsoka and Morai represent the light/Daughter. Ahsoka also carries out the same responsibilities as the Daughter by doing her part in the Rebellion as Fulcrum and trying to establish balance in the galaxy. And Luke Skywalker, representing the Father, is the one meant to bring balance. It also takes me back to “Twin Suns,” when a dying Maul asks Obi-Wan, “Tell me, is it the Chosen One?” Obi-Wan, from his point of view, replies, “He is.” With his last breath, Maul says, “He will avenge us.”

I just love how everything connects and how parallels surface and echo throughout different stories. Star Wars: The Clone Wars does such a fantastic job at enhancing not only the stories that precede it but also the stories that follow it.

I don’t know where Ahsoka and Morai will go next, but I hope we see them again someday soon. What are some of your thoughts and theories pertaining to the series finale?


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Featured Image: Lucasfilm

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