Tag Archives: Ezra Bridger

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A Rebel by Any Other Name…

A Rebel by Any Other Name…
–shazbazzar

Since the inception of Star Wars, names have been significant to the saga’s story lines.  From subtle hints about origins to conveying more obvious character qualities, the names, and changes in names, are selected to expedite the audience’s understanding of the storyteller’s vision.  For example, Deak Starkiller from the early story treatments became Luke Skywalker in the final script — a name that maintains the potential power of the character without the burden of the negative connotation inherent in the word killer.  Han Solo’s surname gave us immediate insight into the smuggler as a loner who relied on himself for his success (or failure).  During the three years between the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, many fans made a connection (although, in this case, an unintended connection) to Darth Vader’s claim to be the father of Luke Skywalker based on an interpretation of Darth Vader as Dark Father, based on variations of the word father in German and Dutch.  Star Wars Rebels continues in this rich heritage of nomenclature with the names of its characters, both heroes and villains.

Gall Trayvis
In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, the self-proclaimed “SenaVision-of-Hope-Gall-Trayvistor-in-Exile” betrayed our heroic band of Rebels by luring them into a trap on Lothal.  When his betrayal was fully revealed in “Vision of Hope”, what was expected by some as far back as “Rise of the Old Masters” was proven: Gall Trayvis was an agent of the Empire, tasked with drawing out insurgents who set themselves against the tyrannical government.

As the closing credits of “Vision of Hope” rolled, I noticed something about Brent Spiner’s character that I had failed to realize previously — the spelling of his name included part of the word betrayal.  Gall Trayvis had the gall to pretend to fight the Emperor’s tyranny while intentionally bringing the wrath of the Empire down upon small cells on various systems.  His bitter deception had been foreshadowed in his own name, a hint to observant fans of the new animated series.  After realizing this, I wondered what other clues the storytellers have hidden in their characters’ names.  Below are my thoughts about the names of the members of the crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels.

Hera Syndulla
Home
This one seems rather obvious to fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, since Cham Syndulla was a freedom fighter of the Twi’lek people in the opening episodes of the third seasonStar-wars-rebels-hera of the series.  Most fans quickly made that connection, amplified by unconfirmed reports that she is the niece of the famed hero of Ryloth.  But perhaps more interesting to her role in Rebels is her namesake, the Greek goddess Hera.

Hera is the goddess of love and marriage in Greek mythology.  She is seen as the protector of the home and family, especially in nurturing and providing for children under their mother’s care.  As the captain and pilot of the Ghost, Hera manages her “household” by seeing to their care and growth while under her protective wing.  Early in the series, Hera convinces Kanan of his responsibility to train Ezra, repeatedly reminding him of his need to begin the boy’s training.

Hera is the mother figure of the crew of the Ghost.  She will both protect and push her “family” to rise to reach their potential, as individuals and as a collective unit.

Sabine Wren
Heart
The young, artistic explosives-expert of the Ghost’s crew shares her surname with a character in the upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, as well as with a Cularin senator whose history is checkered with accusations of CIS sympathies as well as incidents of graffiti on warehouse walls (see Senator Levina Wren).  Whether Sabine has any coSabine_Panel_Shot.pngnnection to either of these characters is unknown at this point, but with the young Mandalorian’s penchant for artistic explosions and at a hint that her family was negatively affected by the Empire, some significant connection is plausible.

Her given name, however, is rife with meaning — both historically and colloquially.  The Sabine women of Italy are credited with aiding the creation of ancient Rome according to folklore passed down over the centuries.  Long before the Sabines were subdued by Roman forces in the third century, the fortitude of Sabine women was recognized and prized, first by the republic and later by the empire.  In certain circles, the term Sabine is used to describe a lovable girl who is artistically gifted, quick-witted with a tendency towards biting humor, and fiercely loyal.  While a “Sabine” may be difficult to get to know, she is worth making the effort.

With these characteristics, it is little wonder that Sabine has already captured the heart of young Ezra Bridger.  However, Sabine is certainly not cast as a simple love interest, but as the very heart of the crew.  Her fiery disposition pumps energy through the rest of  the team.

Ezra Bridger
Hope
In a recent interview with Jimmy Mac, writer Henry Gilroy somewhat inadvertently voiced what many already felt to be the case in Rebels, that this series which seems to be told from Ezra’s perspective, bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (consult RebelForce Radio “2.20.2015”).  Ezra, whose birth coincided with the birth of the Empire (Star Wars Rebels “Empire Day”), provides a new generation of Star Wars fans with insight into the times and circumstances of the original trilogy characters as he introduces Luke, Han, and Leia to the fourth generation of viewers just in time for the seventh movie in the ongoing saga.Erza-Star-Wars-Rebels

The selection of Ezra as his common name may stem from the Biblical character who is credited by students of the Old Testament with restoring the Israelites to their former status by reminding them of the original covenant they had with their God through Moses after they had fallen into captivity because of their failure to faithfully adhere to the statutes of the Law as handed down at Mount Sinai.  The Biblical Ezra called his people to return to the Law of Moses by teaching publicly, reorganizing the canonical books and psalms into their commonly accepted order, and possibly even penning the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles as a history of the nation of Israel with a focus on faithfulness with the intention of preparing the people for the culmination of their history through the long-awaited Messiah who would usher in a new hope for the world through the people of Israel.

As such, Ezra connects Star Wars of the past, both the original and prequel trilogies, with Star Wars of the future in a story that centers on the hope for a brighter future based on the promises and prophecies of the “Messianic Age” of the Force.

C1-10P (a.k.a. “Chopper”)
Human Nature
To put it briefly, and bluntly, Chopper is the “cut-up” of the crew of the Ghost.  As Dave Filoni star-wars-rebels-chopper-viddescribed him when introducing him on StarWars.com, “If Artoo is the family dog, Chopper is the cat.”  Although an essential member of the team, Chopper’s actions at any given moment is solely focused on doing things his way.  His muffled murmurings are patently snide, likely filled with cut-downs, and eschew an amiable grumpiness in the ‘droid who serves the group in a way that best pleases him (perhaps to satisfy some deeply-ingrained sense of self-importance — something unexpected in a unit designed to serve its creators).  In a way, Chopper continues in the Star Wars tradition of making ‘droids the most human of the characters of the saga).  Maybe most of us are more like Chopper than any other single member of the crew.

Garazeb Orrelios
Hulk
I have absolutely no idea where Zeb gets his name.  His is the least recognizable name among zeb-orrelios-star-wars-rebelsall the characters in the series.  Zeb embodies strength and loyalty combined with a childish mindset that enables him to connect with Ezra like a big brother in the “family unit” on board the Ghost.  Not known for his intellectual aptitude, Zeb is at his best when bashing Stormtroopers or teasing his mates.  A combination of Wookiee and gecko, his agile strength provides Rebels with a unique character that rounds out this small band of freedom fighters.

Kanan Jarrus (Caleb Dume)
Help
Kanan’s name may have the most complex and intriguing origin of all members of the crew of the Ghost.  First introduced to Star Wars fans as a padawan in the Jedi Temple before the Purge, Kanan was formerly known as Caleb Dume (see A New Dawn).

Another name derived from Hebrew Scriptures, Caleb was one of twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan to determine how the Israelites would conquer the land God had promised to them through Abraham.  Of all the spies, only Caleb and Joshua returned with an optimistic appraisal of their situation.  Even against seemingly insurmountable odds, with fortified cities and giant inhabitants, Caleb tried to rally the army of Israel to invade the land promised to them, saying, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it,” (Numbers 13.30).  However, due to the people’s lack of faith, God prevented Israel from entering the land for another forty years.  In the end, of all the soldiers of that generation, only Caleb and Joshua were permitted to enter the land when those forty years of wandering ended.  At the age of eighty-five, Caleb led the attack on the city of Hebron, trusting that even in his old age, God would give him the strength to conquer the giants before him.

Even as a padawan, Caleb embodied the same “can do” attitude of his namesake, recognizing the possibility of using the Jedi homecoming signal to warn Jedi away from Coruscant in case of immanent danger.  Once Order 66 had been issued, Obi-Wan Kenobi put Caleb’s idea to use, sending out the signal to all Jedi about their betrayal by the Emperor and chc55beedb16e8cf5a003b3f39be19c413arging them to conceal themselves in exile for an unspecified period of time.  It was at that point that Caleb became Kanan (a homophonous reference to the land the Biblical Caleb was assured he could conquer with supernatural assistance).

Kanan spent the years after Order 66 distancing himself from the Jedi Order, not merely assuming a new name, but casting off many lingering vestiges of the Jedi Code and avoiding using his Force abilities, and specifically his lightsaber, for fear of drawing attention to himself.  When Star Wars Rebels premiered with the hour-long televised movie, Spark of Rebellion, Kanan revealed himself as a Jedi by brandishing his lightsaber in the battle to release a group of Wookiees from slavery and allowing his crew mates to escape the Imperial forces converging on their position.  His reemergence as a Jedi permitted Yoda to “see” him again, as the Jedi Master stated while Kanan meditated in the Temple on Lothal (“Path of the Jedi”).

As the Biblical Caleb was of the princely tribe of Judah, a tribe from which the greatest leaders of Israel would arise, Kanan is recognized by his team as a leader, especially by Hera herself, who conveyed her trust in his leadership when she confided in Sabine that “Kanan…he knows what he’s doing,” (“Out of Darkness”).  Kanan’s renewed trust in the Force that moved him to take on a padawan, even while doubting his own qualifications for doing so, reveal himself to the Empire’s agents set on destruction of the Jedi, and self-sacrifice in staving off the Inquisitor and Tarkin to enable his friends’ escape (“Call to Action”) will eventually result in Kanan taking the lead in allying his team with other Rebel cells, bringing about the emergence of the Rebel Alliance.

Kanan emulates the help this small band of Rebels needs if they are going to survive against the growing Galactic Empire and eventually bring about the fall of Palpatine’s tyrannical rule.

…Would Smell as Free.
While there are other names in this animated series that suit their characters well — Kallus is truly a calloused individual and it seems that much of the rebellion hinges on the mysterious character known as “Fulcrum” — the evidence that the names of the main heroes of this series fit their personas is a testimony to the depth of writing present in the conceptualization and realization of this addition to Star Wars canon.  I, for one, am looking forward to more tributes to the mythos of Star Wars which has lent to its longevity throughout my lifetime.  Certainly, “Star Wars is forever!”

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Jedi Visions: Insights or Opportunities?

Jedi Visions:
Mere Insights into the Future or Opportunities to Change Course?

In the most recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Vision of Hope”, Ezra Bridger has visions of fighting alongside Gall Trayvis, the self-styled “Senator in Exile” who has been the source of information (or misinformation) for the Ghost’s small band of rebels.  Despite Kanan’s warning to refrain from taking the visions too literally, Ezra chooses to act upon his insights, hoping to meet and work with this man he idolizes as a celebrity among rebel insurgents.

The events that transpire during this episode of Rebels has caused speculation among fans about whether acting on visions is encouraged among the Jedi.  (Check out RebelForce Radio’s Star Wars Rebels: Declassified episode from 4 February 2015 for their discussion about Jedi visions.)  Citing Yoda’s advice to both Skywalkers in the movies, it has been asserted that using Jedi visions as a guide for action is frowned upon by the Jedi Order.

Ezra's Vision 1

From the perspective of the movies’ initial release order, our introduction to acting upon Jedi visions is during Luke’s training on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.  While balancing in a handstand and levitating cargo crates and R2-D2 through the Force, Luke experiences a vision of Han and Leia suffering at Cloud City.  When Luke prepares to rush to their rescue, Yoda issues a warning: “Decide, you must, how to serve them best.  If you leave now, help them, you could, but you will destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

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Yoda, aware of the machinations and deceptions of the Dark Side, tries to persuade Luke to choose his path based on wisdom and discretion instead of emotion and attachment.  He beseeches him to continue his training instead of hurrying away to confront unknown threats unprepared.  Obi-Wan weighs in on the discussion, warning Luke that temptation awaits him if he leaves before he is fully trained.  Adamantly, the two Jedi Masters, Luke’s mentors, sternly attempt to steer him from acting rashly as he is spurred on by his visions of his friends’ pain.  Some see this as a possible judgment against acting upon Jedi visions of the future.

Anakin's Anger

In other instances, more blatantly foreboding in its decrying reliance on Jedi visions to govern one’s actions, are Anakin’s visions of his mother’s pain on Tatooine and later of Padme’s death in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, respectively.  Anakin’s nightmarish visions of his mother in peril causes him to leave his assigned post on Naboo in order to find and rescue Shmi from her Tusken captors.  When he discovers her, nearly dead at the abusive hands of the sand people, he erupts in a wrathful rage against the Tusken encampment, slaying men, women, and children indiscriminately.  Certainly, his willingness to allow himself to thoughtlessly follow his visions led to a growing darkness in his person — something that would manifest itself in the eventual rise of Darth Vader when he later acts on his visions of losing his wife during childbirth to the point that he betrays the Jedi Order and slaughters younglings in the temple in a vain attempt to save Padme’s life.

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For those who remember these bleak examples of the dangers of allowing Jedi visions to dictate a course of action, it seems reasonable to assume that the Jedi are not only cautious when it comes to such premonitions, but even to rationalize that acting on those visions is forbidden in the Jedi Order.

That is, until we consider what was revealed in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars…

TCW Assassin Fortune Cookie.001In Season 3 of The Clone Wars, Episode 7 “Assassin”, Ahsoka has visions of Aurra Sing threatening to assassinate someone.  When she tells Yoda of her dreams, he informs her that she is having premonitions which can only be seen more clearly through meditation.  In saying this, he encourages her to focus on the visions — to seek to understand what they are telling her.  When she does so, she realizes that Senator Amidala is the one who is in danger of being assassinated.  She brings news of her visions to the Senator, who insists on going ahead with her plans to go to Alderaan in spite of Ahsoka’s warning.

Ahsoka's Vision Aurra Sing

Determined to get a better understanding of what she has seen, Anakin’s padawan returns to her chambers in the Jedi Temple to continue her meditation, resulting in further confirmation that Senator Amidala’s life is in danger.  When she tells Yoda of her concerns, Yoda responds with the familiar words, “always in motion is the future”.  Similar to his direction to Luke many years later, he provides Ahsoka with a choice of whether to act upon what she has seen: “Choose you must, how to respond to your visions.”

Ahsoka Consults Yoda

As she accompanies Padme on her mission to Alderaan as additional security, she is plagued with uncertainty about her visions and how she should act upon them.  Her dilemma is punctuated by a rash response to her vision that turned out to be either misunderstood or a possible variation of the future of which Yoda spoke.  Yet, when she is convinced to act upon a vision a second time, she interrupts an assassination attempt by deflecting Aurra Sing’s shot sufficiently to save Amidala’s life.

Later, when Ahsoka realizes that the would-be assassin was about to make another attempt on the senator’s life, she prevents the second attack and enables the capture of Aurra Sing.

When Ahsoka and Senator Amidala return safely to Coruscant, Yoda congratulates Anakin’s padawan for her choice to act upon her visions in defense of the senator’s life,  “Served you well, your visions have, young padawan.”  He then encourages her to peer more deeply into the matter through her increased insight to discover more about the plot to assassinate the senator from Naboo.  The additional details she provides brings about the confession of Ziro the Hutt who was already imprisoned on Coruscant.

Although Ezra’s visions in Star Wars Rebels “Vision of Hope” turned out to be misleading, it is not a blanket condemnation against using Jedi visions to determine an appropriate course of action — rather it is an admonition to beware of allowing emotions to cloud one’s insight and discipline oneself to spend time and thought in meditation in order to better interpret one’s visions.  As Kanan teaches Ezra in the epilogue, “Visions are difficult, almost impossible to interpret,” Jedi visions do not forbid action, but are to be considered in view of the complexity of an ever-changing future.

Review: Droids In Distress by Michael Kogge

Review: Droids In Distress by Michael Kogge (or, Something Meta This Way Comes)

Droids In Distress, by Michael Kogge, is an odd one. For me, that is, as a reviewer. The book itself is good, don’t worry about it. Droids In Distress is a direct translation – from the perspective of Ezra – of the TV series Star Wars: Rebels. Which puts me in a rather odd position. Should I review the story of the episodes? Should I review how the book conveys the story of the episodes? Should I review just the book as its own entity?  And there’s the meta aspect of it all: since the book is an adaptation of a TV show, I’m essentially reviewing a synopsis in a book of a TV episode that’s on TV. Okay, I’m slightly confused now. Is this what it’s like to be in the Matrix?

That’s nice, Morpheus, but have you got any headache tablets?

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Review: Ezra’s Gamble by Ryder Windham

Review: Ezra’s Gamble by Ryder Windham (or, The Bossk Show feat. Ezra Bridger)

Ezra’s Gamble by Ryder Windham sees the very first appearance of one of our new characters, Ezra Bridger, from Star Wars: Rebels. As such, I went into the reading of this book thinking it would be a sort of coming-of-age story. One where we see a young(er, for this book takes place just before the video short Property of Ezra Bridger. We even get to see that clip in the book) Ezra get his first taste of danger, which sets him on the path to wanting to be a rebel. Instead, we don’t get that in this book. Which makes sense, I realized much later (I’m a little slow on the uptake, you may gather), because that’s what the TV show is for. With all that in mind, it makes for an odd introduction, so it’s best to not think of it as that. It is, at its heart, an adventure story. Also it has Bossk, the famed bounty hunter from The Empire Strikes Back. So there’s that.

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Dragon Con 2014: Goodbye Clone Wars, Hello Rebels

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This past weekend saw Dragon Con come and go. Fans of everything from Doctor Who to Harry Potter met in Atlanta to costume, hang with friends, and generally geek-out over all their favorite things. For us Star Wars fans though, there was one place at the con we just had to congregate. The Star Wars Track room at the Marriott. This is where you could find all the great Star Wars panels and a room packed full of like-minded fans.

One such panel took place on Friday and was titled “Goodbye Clone Wars, Hello Rebels.” The title kind of gives you an idea what the panel was all about. Fans from a number of different Star Wars fan sites were on the panel to discuss the passing of the animated series The Clone Wars and also to welcome the new animated series coming in October, Star Wars Rebels.

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