It had to be discussed sooner or later. Where are the cast of Star Wars Rebels in the Original Trilogy?
The crew of the Ghost are just not in the Star Wars original trilogy. Suspend the practical reasons for this fact for a moment, and approach this idea entirely in the canon of the Star Wars saga. It doesn’t seem plausible that, for all of their striving against the Empire, the crew would not be part of the Rebel Alliance. And of course, if they were aware of another Force user in their ranks, I have no doubt that Kanan and Ezra would have sought out beings such as Luke Skywalker.
So where are they? I’ve given this a lot of thought since “Spark of Rebellion” aired, and I’ve narrowed down what possibly could have happened to them to to five different scenarios. Have at it.
1. They go into hiding, and Kanan and Ezra never use the Force again.
With the galactic civil war heating up–a conflict they have been trying to spur on for years–what does the crew of the Ghost do? Hide. That’s right, all the talk of a bigger purpose they’re fighting for is great, until they actually have to fight. So, Hera, Zeb, Sabine, Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper all go find a small moon way, way out in the Outer Rim, start a farm, and they never take to the skies again. Also Kanan and Ezra say, “Force? Schmorce!” and never again use their inherent gifts, because that only brought them a lot of trouble. It would stink to be discovered by other Force users, right?
Yeah…I don’t buy it either.
2. They were part of the Rebel Alliance the whole time! We just never saw them.
Dave Filoni has discussed that the story of the rebels starts in a completely different place than the events of A New Hope. The idea is that if A New Hope is happening “here,” then Rebels is happening way, way over “there,” and they may see the outcomes of events on Holonet news, but they don’t ever interact.
This is a great starting point, but even in the first few episodes this quickly gets jettisoned. We’ve already seen these characters have interaction with Obi-Wan Kenobi (through hologram), Bail Organa, See-Threepio, and Artoo Detoo. They’ve been on board the Tantive IV. The crew of the Ghost is fast approaching the epicenter of the Rebel Alliance, so I don’t think they’d be on Lothal by the time of the Battle of Yavin. It doesn’t seem plausible. The Ghost, with all its capabilities, and Hera being such an amazing pilot, would have been much needed in the assault on the Death Star. Besides, do you think so little of Obi-Wan and Yoda to not detect Kanan and Ezra’s growing Force abilities? They are learning how to commune with the netherworld of the Force! I don’t think they’d be telling Luke he’s the last Jedi based on an assumption.
So, it seems they were not able to make it to Yavin. Therefore, they must have been waylaid.
3. They are captured, and held at the Death Star. Boom.
It’s only a matter of time. One ship against the mightiest military force the galaxy has ever seen, and pursued by dark side agents bent on their destruction! Eventually, they must have been caught. We’ve seen a lot of detention centers in the “dark times,” but none as menacing as the ones on the Death Star. I wouldn’t doubt that Sabine would figure out a way to escape any regular prison, so the only logical conclusion is that they were behind the doors of the other cells on the Death Star detention block, and had the unfortunate luck of not being able to escape when Luke fired his photon torpedoes. Boom.
But wait, that would mean Luke killed them! That won’t do. So….
4. They were on Alderaan. Boom.
This may make even more sense. We already know their connection to Bail Organa, established int he very first episode of the series, and there is much speculation that he is the mysterious “Fulcrum” character. So, it would lead us to think that by the time of A New Hope, Kanan and crew are running some very important missions. Perhaps they stole the Death Star plans in that first decisive battle, and turned to Alderaan to hide. Who would’ve have thought that Tarkin would set his sights there?
But, there’s another way this could all go, and it may seem crazy right now, but bear with me.
5. Ezra turns to the dark side, kills Kanan, and joins the
Inquisitorius Darth Maul.
We know that the Inquisitor was tasked with rooting out children of the Force, and either turning them to the dark side or killing them outright. It was obvious he tried to turn Ezra. But could our scrappy young hero actually be fodder for the dark side?
(Well, since 2014 when this article was fist published, a lot has happened, Ezra DID turn to the dark side and used it liberally in the six months between seasons two and three. But he has appeared to have swung back! At the moment, this upends much of Yoda’s teachings about the dark side. but what did he know about it anyway!)
I think so. Ezra has a lot of pain in his background, pain he clings to like a coat of armor. He is an orphan. His parents were taken from him when he was very young, and he grew up on the streets, doing whatever he had to to survive. He doesn’t trust easily. He is impatient and cynical. There is anger and fear inside of him from what has happened. There are all the ingredients there to make a powerful connection to the dark side, a part of the Force he knows nothing about. And in this case, what he doesn’t know can insidiously hurt him. The dark side could get its claws in him before he even knew it. And once a person starts down the dark path, forever will it dominate their destiny.
If Ezra were to turn to the dark side, it would be likely, if not definite, that he would betray his friends and his Jedi master, Kanan. We’ve already seen how strong Ezra has the potential to be, so any training Kanan provides would only augment that ability. It’s entirely possible that Ezra could outpace Kanan in his training, which would prove disastrous should he fall to the dark side. Should this sad outcome befall the crew of the Ghost, they would not last long against Ezra Bridger, dark side adept. He could take a place by the side of the Inquisitor (or inquisitors, should there be more than one) who were canonically part of the Empire but not featured in the original trilogy.
6. Kanan and Ezra move beyond Jedi or Sith, and the team disperses.
When gone is Yoda, the last of the Jedi will Luke be. So…that is a truth Lucas meant to be literal, and it wouldn’t be right to reinterpret such a core concept of the Maker’s vision. And, it seems that Filoni has conceived a way out of the situation, and the Jedi/Sith dichotomy in creative fashion:
You know, the one in the middle? Kanan’s new teacher? This is a being that doesn’t preach in favor of either side; in fact, doesn’t even credit either side with the persuasive power to consume anyone. The Bendu believes in personal discipline and knowledge and implies that dark and light sides can be balanced. Perhaps his place in the middle lends credence to a unified force, as I’ve discussed for years?
Anyway, if Kanan is on the path of the Bendu, and with Ezra also along this path as his student, then these are two beings who has departed from the Jedi path. which is admittedly only one side of the larger story. While Kanan is not interested in using the dark side, perhaps he has balanced a darkness within him.
So. what does this mean in the bigger story? Will Kanan and Ezra move beyond the galactic conflict? Will they begin to endanger their comrades? It’s possible. Perhaps the entire Phoenix Squadron will have to break up, and the team will be dispersed unto the stars, each fighting the good fight on the ground in multiple areas.
Hera could return to Ryloth, Sabine to Concord Dawn or Mandalore, Zeb could find his kinsmen in their secret hiding place outside the galaxy.
There you have it. six ways the rebels don’t make it to Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters any time soon! I want as many episodes of Rebels as possible. But if the show must end one day, I hope it goes out in style, and tells a final story that will be talked about for generations.
Joseph Tavano is the owner and editor in chief of RetroZap. Born just months before Luke found out who his father was, he has been fortunate to have had Star Wars in his life as long as he can remember. Growing up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, he can remember substituting sticks for lightsabers and BMX bikes for speeders. He loves comics, retro games, vintage sci-fi paperbacks, and maps. Though an accomplished drummer, he doesn’t crave adventure (as much) any more, and prefers his old haunts in Salem, Massachusetts, where he resides with his wife. Buy him a glass of whiskey and he’ll return it in kind.