Star Wars fans were faced with a bit of a mystery at the very end of the Star Wars Rebels Season 2 finale. We got a glimpse of a owl-like creature, a “convor“, that was perched above on a structure watching Darth Vader walk away from his fight with Ahsoka Tano.
There’s the little guy up on that corner of what is left of some large structure. We get a quick cut and a shot of the owl from behind:
Shortly after this, the owl flies away, and we get a glimpse of what looks like Ahsoka entering the pyramid. But this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen this creature. We saw the owl at the end of the previous episode, “The Mystery of Chopper Base”:
So what the heck was this thing? Luckily, we recently got a lot of ideas as to what this owl could mean. Dave Filoni said some interesting things about the owl in a recent interview with IGN (emphasis mine):
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 is definitely something. And I would suggest – I would rather have fans debate – but I would suggest to say that whatever that thing is an avatar of has actually appeared in the animated Star Wars universe before. So decrypt from there…
So Filoni says that the owl is an observer, and an avatar for some something else…
Let’s let that sink in for a moment. An avatar? In Star Wars? So whatever the owl is, it is a different form of another being, and is observing the situation. So who or what would make sense for this owl to be an avatar of? There aren’t many plausible options, because beings in the Star Wars universe don’t usually have “avatars”. What’s more, Filoni says that we’ve seen whatever this is in the animated Star Wars universe. That narrows it down even more. Let’s discuss some plausible options:
1. Qui-gon Jinn
In the Clone Wars TV series, particularly in the Yoda arc (Lost Missions/Season 6), we saw Qui-gon come back to visit Yoda in a particular form, where he looked like a several glowing orbs to Yoda.
So is it possible that Qui-gon can come back as other forms? The owl was sitting over Darth Vader, so could Qui-gon have returned from the netherworld of the Force to observe what has happened to Anakin Skywalker? After all, Qui-gon is pretty much the reason why Anakin became a Jedi. This theory is interesting and plausible, but it would also be something that we’ve never seen. That said, on this planet near this Sith Temple, there could be some spooky Force-anomalies afoot, and this could give rise to all sorts of unexpected things.
2. The Whills
Although the Whills have never really been mentioned in the Star Wars movies(although they were mentioned in the novelization of Revenge of the Sith), or TV, they were mentioned in the forward for the novelization of The Force Awakens. Here is the quote:
“First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.”
―Journal of the Whills, 7:477
This in many ways describes the darkness that the Jedi had gone through during the Empire. What’s possibly interesting is the name of this episode of Rebels is “Twilight of the Apprentice”, and this quote also uses the progression from day to night and back to day as a metaphor for the strife that the Jedi have to go through. The “twilight” of all of this perhaps begins during the Clone Wars, but also perhaps kicks into high gear more so in this particular episode of Rebels.
With all that out of the way, who were the “Whills”? Put simply, they were an ancient order of beings that had tremendous Force powers. It is said that Qui-gon learned the power to retain his consciousness after death through the Whills. They are said to have written documents that describe this history of the galaxy, called the Journal of the Whills. While it is certainly possible that these beings could come back as observers, we haven’t really seen them in animated Star Wars, like Filoni said. That, and in many ways these beings are very similar to the “Celestials”, which we’ll go to next.
3. A Celestial
The Celestials were also ancient beings that were very powerful with the Force. In the Mortis Arc of the clone wars, we saw three beings, known as “The Ones” that were able to transform into flying beings, and were descended from the Celestials. Sounds a bit on the nose? I’m not the first to propose such an idea, and their could be many others that have made this connection.
There are three of The Ones: the Father, the Son, and the Daughter.
What’s more is we see the Son (left) and the Daughter (right) transform into flying creatures. While the Son transforms into a bat-like creature, the daughter transforms into a “griffin”-like creature:
The interesting thing is, we don’t really ever see the Father transform completely. In this digital model, we see the Father with his wings extended:
So given that we never saw the Father transform, we might begin to wonder if the owl could be the Father. Well, that would be a good theory except for the fact that all three of the Ones died at the end of the three episode arc, didn’t they? Well, not quite. In fact, Filoni described the Mortis arc as a three-episode “tree/cave sequence”, like from Empire Strikes Back. Therefore, we can’t necessarily conclude they died like they appeared to in those episodes. It may have been very much like a dream or hallucination.
…but wait there’s more. There was a post by “The Shadow Emperor to the Jedi Council Forums that kind of shocked me. It appears that there are deeper connections between The Ones and the Sith temple. Check out that post because he also contemplates that the owl could be one of The Ones, but in that case the daughter.
It turns out that if you compare the upper half of “Mortis Monolith”, the structure that Mortis resides within, it looks just like the Sith temple on Malachor:
What’s more, the altar that the Dagger of Mortis sits in, where Obi Wan had to retrieve the dagger from, looks exactly like the altar where the Sith Holocron is. Right down to the shape of the cut-out section, and the dagger is in the same relative position as the holocron:
This can’t be coincidence. These cartoons have a ton of concept artist that belabor these designs, not to mention Filoni is an illustrator and would have certainly picked up on this. What does this tell us? It might tell us that there is a deep connection between the Ones and the Sith. It might tell us that the same ancient technology that was used to build the Sith Temple goes back to ancient times when the Celestials were in power.
We’ve already speculated that Snoke might be a Celestial, or a descendent of them. So what does this connection imply for all of this? It is certainly tempting to wonder if indeed Snoke could be the owl, but it might be unlikely that they would go that route and put a major character like Snoke in Rebels before the completion of the sequel trilogy. Time will tell how this plays out, and speculation is half the fun.