Ahsoka’s academic program started after being found by Jedi Master Plo Koon as a small child on her native planet of Togruta, after which she went through the regular academic wringer at the Jedi Temple under the direct tutelage of myriad Jedi Knights and Masters, patiently trained to harness her innate Force powers in what was to be a life-long learning endeavor. Indeed, the grandiose, elite life path of Jedi was first implied in The Phantom Menace when Yoda initially deemed an 8-year-old Anakin Skywalker “too old” to be trained in the ways of the Force. Clearly, Coruscant’s Jedi Temple is no one’s backup school.
Indisputable facts state that Ahsoka was wandering the galaxy toward the end of the Clone Wars as a formidable apostate Jedi well before Luke was even a forbidden gleam in the sand-hating Anakin Skywalker’s eye. We even witnessed a notable step in her extensive training process in Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ 2008 series-launching feature film, in which an adolescent Ahsoka—already a skilled fighter—was first assigned as a Padawan learner to an initially-reluctant Anakin. Naturally, we saw Ahsoka’s skills evolve for years on the series, tested against the events of the titular war, and she would even rise to supreme splendor years later upon resurfacing on Star Wars Rebels to take on Darth Vader. Consequently, by the time we reach the post-Return of the Jedi era of Rosario Dawson’s live-action Ahsoka on The Mandalorian, she clearly achieved a sagely level—not just when comes to her signature two-lightsaber combat style, but also deep wisdom regarding her spiritual connection with the Force, through which she was able to reveal Baby Yoda’s true name as Grogu. In the very least, most can agree Ahsoka would have a lot to teach Luke—that is, if they haven’t met already, which we don’t know for sure.
Nevertheless, in a stark contrast pertinent to our pandemic era, Luke Skywalker was the original distance learner; a product of formerly-lofty institutional standards loosened out of necessity (in this case the extermination of the Jedi Order). His in-person training was—at least, as portrayed in the Original Trilogy—severely limited to a few fundamentals imparted ever-so-briefly by Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Millennium Falcon, and later from what amounted to a few days of Force training on Dagobah with Yoda. Consequently, in the arena of formally recognized Jedi credentials, Ahsoka is an Ivy League university graduate with workplace experience from years fighting the Clone Wars. Luke, on the other hand, came off a fast-tracked Jedi GED to earn a Jedi Skills Certificate from the proverbial online school of discovered Jedi texts and holocrons, making him a galactic Zoom class student, presumably deprived of opportunities to physically implement what he’d learned.
Of course, those ideas don’t necessarily seal the deal in the Luke/Ahsoka debate (if it even is a debate), since the true extent of Luke’s post-Jedi education is not really known. While “The Rescue” didn’t answer the question of who’s been teaching Luke advanced lightsaber techniques, the ease and stylistic panache with which he single-handedly dispatched a heavily-armed and armored platoon of Moff Gideon’s robotic Dark Troopers make it abundantly clear that his combat skills somehow evolved substantially from the rudimentary wide swipes and overhead caveman-swings showcased in Return of the Jedi. Thus, Luke’s upgraded skills seem attributed to something far more substantial than ancient books. Additionally, his life in the post-Original Trilogy, pre-Sequel Trilogy remains fertile ground in the Disney-designated franchise; a state due in no small part to the company’s canonical erasure of the vast array of Expanded Universe books and comics, now dubbed the “Legends” lore, which extensively showcased a now-apocryphal version of that era.
However, as we’ve seen with the Force, combat skills don’t necessarily make one more powerful, at least not in the manner through which the Jedi view the balance of the universe. For example, Qui-Gon Jinn was defeated in a duel with a mere Sith apprentice in Darth Maul, but his spiritual knowledge facilitated a subsequent trail-blazing ascension to the living Force, becoming the first fully-manifested Jedi Spirit, as vaguely teased in the Prequel Trilogy, and showcased on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Moreover, Matthew Stover’s novelization of Sequel Trilogy closer Revenge of the Sith provides a key contextual moment omitted from the film, since Qui-Gon appears to Yoda fully-manifested as a Jedi spirit, offering to teach him the technique. At that point, the ancient and conventionally more-powerful Jedi master admits his hubris and exercises humility, stating to the spectral Qui-Gon, “A great Jedi Master you always were, but too blind I was to see it. Your apprentice, I gratefully become.”
Pertinent to this point, the version of Luke we saw over 30 years beyond the timeline of his monumental Mandalorian moment in sequel films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi may have been—to much controversy—disheveled, disenchanted and oddly-indifferent, but he was able to demonstrate some unprecedented Omega-level abilities (to borrow from the X-Men’s parlance). This idea proves that Luke’s Force education—such as it was—was nevertheless substantial enough for him to form a Jedi Academy to carry on the lost traditions—tragic ending of said academy notwithstanding. Consequently, any earnest debate about which Jedi is more powerful would likely require far more detail and nuance than the various agendas of the Twittersphere are able to conjure.
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