It might seem a little odd to put the words ‘time travel’ in the same sentence as Star Wars, seeing as it’s never been explored in the movies (it’s also something more associated with the likes of Star Trek). However, in animated series Star Wars: Rebels, such a concept was introduced in the final season’s episode “A World Between Worlds”. But does this mean that time travel exists in the Star Wars universe? Is that episode even canon? Join us as we enter a place that exists between time and space and where the Force is stronger than you could possibly imagine…
9. The World Between Worlds
In the episode “A World Between Worlds”, young Jedi Ezra Bridger discovers a portal inside the mural of an ancient Jedi temple on his home planet Lothal. Upon entering, he finds himself on a system of narrow pathways and portals suspended in space (fortunately the Jedi have excellent balance). It becomes instantly clear that the rules of time don’t apply here as Ezra can hear the echoes of many Jedi and other Star Wars characters from the past, present and future! He can also see different events throughout history unfolding through each doorway.
8. What is the World Between Worlds?
The mystical dimension is a place that “exists between time and space”, and it exists within the Force. The pathways and portals interconnect moments across time, though it would appear that this place is accessible only to powerful Force wielders and the Sith, as Ezra Bridger, Ahsoka Tano and Emperor Palpatine all appear here in this episode. However, it’s unknown as to whether someone who is neither Jedi nor Sith can just casually stroll in, as this is the first and only time it has ever been seen in Star Wars.
7. How does the World Between Worlds work?
Ezra approaches a doorway through which he sees Ahsoka Tano (from The Clone Wars) and Darth Vader doing battle – which is taking place in the past, in Season 2’s finale “Twilight Apprentice Part II.” In that episode, Ahsoka finally confronts her old master and decides to hold him off so that Ezra and the other rebels can escape. While they believe Ahsoka to have died, we see her walking from the temple afterwards, although we don’t see her again until “The World Between Worlds”. Believing he can save her, Ezra acts as referee and pulls Ahsoka from the fight and into the realm.
6. Is the World Between Worlds a Multiverse?
As we know from the Season 2 finale, Ahsoka never died. So was Ezra wasting his time saving her? No, because it seems that he always saved her. In other words, the moment is caught in an isolated time loop! Either way, believing he has saved Ahsoka, Ezra then searches for a doorway where he can save his Jedi master, Kanan Jarrus, who died saving Ezra and the other rebels. But Ahsoka explains to Ezra that saving Kanan would result in him and the others dying. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to consider whether doing so would have created an alternate timeline…
5. Is the World Between Worlds time travel?
It would appear that this realm does allow one to change the past and future. After all, Ezra is able to pull Ahsoka from her time, so it’s reasonable to assume he could have gone through the portal himself and joined her on the other side. He could have also saved Kanan, but if that had happened, then Ezra never would have lived to change that moment anyway, so could it ever have been altered? Very mind-bending! Either way, if pulling people from their own time and hearing words that are yet to be spoken isn’t time travel, we don’t know what is!
4. What voices do we hear in the World Between Worlds?
Before Ezra arrives in the dimension, we hear echoes of many Jedi and other characters from throughout Star Wars history (which is very similar to the end of The Rise of Skywalker, in which we hear the voices of all the Jedi of the past). But what’s particularly thrilling about “A World Between Worlds” is that it uses real audio that spans the franchise. Among the voices are Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda, Jyn Erso, Finn, Kanan Jarrus, Rey, Kylo Ren and our own unofficial Disney Princess Leia Organa!
3. Who made the World Between Worlds?
The Jedi temple mural on Lothal depicts three sentient humanoid figures. They are named Father, Son and Daughter, and have previously appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in which the Force-wielding, God-like beings are discovered by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker on the realm-world of Mortis. The Daughter and Son are the personification of the light and dark sides of the Force, respectively, while many Jedi believe the Force itself originated on Mortis. So to say the Force is strong here is a bit of an understatement!
2. Is the World Between Worlds canon?
Animated shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: The Bad Batch are all canon (new animated show Star Wars: Visions is the exception). And the three shows do an incredible job at connecting with the larger Star Wars universe. But the truth is that The Clone Wars and Rebels delve much deeper into the Force than any other animated or live-action entry in the faraway galaxy. A concept not unlike the World Between Worlds is even touched upon in The Rise of Skywalker when all the dead Jedi speak to Rey from the cosmos.
1. Can the World Between Worlds be used again?
At the end of “A World Between Worlds”, after battling Emperor Palpatine in the mystical realm, Ezra and Ahsoka each return to their own rightful places in time. Ezra then makes physical contact with the image of the Son on the mural, who speaks about “the possibility to change the future”. This interaction causes all three figures on the mural move, before the Jedi temple sinks into the earth, seemingly lost forever.
So does time travel exist in the Star Wars universe? Well, the writing’s on the wall – or mural. And with Disney and Lucasfilm in possession of such power, they might wish to use it fix the sequel trilogy, or at least explore the concept in live action shows like The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett. In the meantime, time travel is still possible – just revisit Star Wars: Droids for some ’80s nostalgia – it’s one of many vintage Star Wars shows on Disney+.