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FOR A SHOW called Ahsoka, there’s an awful lot of conversation about Ezra Bridger. Across the first two episodes of the latest Star Wars/Disney+ series, writer/director Dave Filoni spends a significant amount of time talking about the character, who only appears on screen via a holoprojector. For fans of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra’s name is a clarion call, a reminder of a long-simmering plot left unsolved since the conclusion of that animated series back in 2018. For everyone else turning into Ahsoka because they liked when she showed up in The Mandalorian a season ago, well, it’s a lot more confusing.
Ezra’s inclusion in the show highlights one of its central mysteries—especially if you didn’t watch all four seasons of the Disney XD show. As Rebels'protagonist, Ezra was a new way to explore the early days of the Rebellion’s attempts to take down the Empire—long before Luke Skywalker made his way off of that desert rock of a planet.
While Rebels is a worthy addition to the Star Wars canon, you might not have time to watch 75 episodes of a cartoon on top of all the other peak TV. So if you’re dying to get into Ahsoka and want a little more context into the who, what, when, where, and why of Ezra Bridger, we’ve got you covered.
Oh, and spoiler alert for Star Wars Rebels.
Who Is Ezra Bridger?
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: a plucky young boy living on a backwater planet without his parents aspires to more. Sure, that’s Luke Skywalker’s origin story, but it’s also Ezra’s. Instead of the sandy dunes of Tatooine, Ezra lives in the lush plains of Lothal, amongst the indigenous Loth-cats and Loth-wolves, where he cultivates a particularly, well, rebellious, skillset. A skilled thief, the orphan initially notices a new ship on Lothal that could fetch him a pretty price, which is where he comes across the crew of the Ghost, including Captain Hera Syndulla, ornery droid Chopper (who is a straight-up war criminal), Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren, Lasat warrior Zeb, and uncovered Jedi Kanan Jarrus. Kanan notices Ezra’s aptitude—and his Force sensitivities—and brings him aboard the Ghost as a new crew member in their fight against the Empire.
In the time-honored tradition of Star Wars, Kanan (reluctantly) becomes Ezra’s Jedi Master (although Kanan never finished his training, as his master was killed during Order 66), and the two form a deep bond before Kanan sacrifices himself to save Hera, whom he loved, and the rest of the Rebels. Ezra also came to deeply admire Sabine, as evidenced by the fact he calls her a sister in his holo message in Ahsoka. Ezra would also foster a relationship with Ahsoka, who was working during this time as a Rebel agent by the codename of Fulcrum.
In Rebels, Ezra is voiced by Taylor Gray, but King Richard’s Eman Esfandi portrays the character in Ahsoka.
So What Exactly Happened to Ezra?
The big bad of Star Wars Rebels isn’t the Emperor (although he does show up quite a few times throughout the series) but the nefarious Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn (who also has an extensive character history told in numerous Star Wars novels) made it his mission to crush Lothal and its denizens as the planet became quite a thorn in the side of the Empire. The climatic battle of Rebels involved Thrawn, a brilliant tactician, launching a blockade of the planet. Ezra eventually devised a plan to take out Thrawn, but did so without telling his fellow Rebels—mostly because of the toll it would end up taking on himself to execute it.
Throughout Ezra’s Jedi training, he developed a strong Force connection to animals like the Loth-wolves and Loth-cats. But he had an especially deep link with Purrgil, giant whale-like creatures that are capable of making a jump to hyperspace. In fact, studying the creatures allowed for the development of hyperdrive technology within the Star Wars universe. Nevertheless, Ezra leveraged his connection with the Purrgil to call on several pods to aid him in the battle against Thrawn. That was only a diversion; Ezra’s real intent was to have the Purrgil grab Thrawn’s ship and teleport them… elsewhere. In doing so, Lothal is saved, but Ezra and Thrawn end up missing in an unknown part of the galaxy.
Why Is Everyone Looking for Ezra?
Before Ezra enacted his plan, he made both Sabine and Ahsoka promise to come looking for him, indicating he knew he could be found. As we see in Ahsoka, there are whispers of Thrawn’s return while Ezra remains missing.
Since the Grand Admiral is a dangerous threat—and, as the trailers for the show declare, he’s the current heir to the Empire—finding Ezra likely means finding the key to defeating Thrawn once and for all. The search for a friend is now becoming a ticking clock as the enemy begins to gather their forces once more.
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