Even though the adventures of the Ghost crew have ended for the moment, I’m definitely not ready to stop talking about them. As I thought through everything that happened with the last few episodes, I kept coming back to how stinking proud I am of our “Blueberry”. He’s changed so much, that when I go back and watch “Spark of Rebellion”, he hardly seems like the same person. (Aside from his unique sense of humor and dorkiness, which will always be a part of him.) In this post dedicated to him, I want to go through some of the main ways he’s grown through the series and some of my favorite Ezra moments.
Ezra, when we first meet him, is very much a loner. He does what he has to survive, and isn’t looking to become friends with the Ghost crew. But deep down, you can see that he does care about people, even if he claims to not like sticking his neck out for them. The lessons his parents were able to teach him in that short time are still there, and this encounter wakes them up again. You can see it in how amazed he was when someone thanked him for the food, when he goes to warn Kanan, Zeb, and Sabine, and when he suggests going to save the Wookiees. The name Ezra means “Helper” and that’s exactly who he’s going to be for the people of Lothal. Even though he’s had a tough life, he isn’t all depressed, or full of self-pity; his happiness and optimism are some of my favorite things about his personality. The first episode also shows us two other things that will forever part of Ezra: Impersonation, and his two-finger salute. I love both of these things, I can’t imagine him without them. Another thing that begins in this first episode is the beginning of Ezra’s training to become a Jedi. I feel like this should have been how all Jedi start, with them choosing this path, instead of being taken away from their families as infants. Of course, then you have the problem of attachments, and even though that does hinder Ezra at some points in his journey, the moments where he handles it the right way are the ones he grows the most.
In “Empire Day” and “Gathering Forces”, Ezra is afraid his parents are dead and gives into his fear and anger to call a giant fyrnock. This is the first time we really see Ezra use the dark side, and something has to change after this dangerous choice. Now that he knows how easy it is to give in, he has to work harder than ever to think like a Jedi.
“Path of the Jedi” is one of my favorite episodes. Ezra has to face his greatest fears and first responds with anger. Then he understands, saying, “I’m not afraid,” even as it appears he’s about to die. When Yoda asks him why he should become a Jedi, his first answer is so that he can be powerful enough to avenge everyone the Empire has hurt so he won’t be helpless anymore. And angry Ezra is scary to me because it’s so unlike his happy, friendly personality. Once he realizes that this is not what his new family has taught him, he finds the real reason he wants to be a Jedi: to be selfless, to help people – that’s what really makes him feel alive. He is given a kyber crystal and takes a big step closer to becoming a Jedi.
When the crew plans to send a message of hope out by taking over an Imperial communications tower, Ezra is reluctant, since his parents used to do the same thing. Kanan reminds him they have to take risks in order to keep moving forward and be ready to sacrifice themselves for something bigger. After Kanan’s capture, Ezra delivers the message and many people hear it, not just on Lothal. He tells them to stand up together, that they can’t stop just because they’re afraid. He passes on the things he just learned to give others hope. In the last two episodes, Ezra is able to balance his desire to rescue Kanan, with a plan that won’t get everyone killed. And even though he makes some risky moves, he is able to pull off the rescue mission, something he may not have been able to do at the beginning of the season.
Over the course of season two, Ezra grows in a variety of ways. He has no idea how important his ability to make friends with almost anyone he meets, such as the clones, or Hondo, will be later. In “Legacy” he deals with the loss of his parents, but he doesn’t let that stop him for long. Instead, he uses their sacrifice as motivation to keep going. While Yoda does warn him about choosing the right way to fight, the events on Malachor make him forget that until a while later, as he begins to spiral down a dark path until the beginning of season three. Because of his friendly, trusting personality, he ends up listening to the wrong person’s advice and having to live with consequences and shame after.
These dark ideas and emotions are evident in his attitude at the beginning of season three. His fighting is more aggressive, he is not as merciful as he once was, using the Force to walk an AT-DP off a cliff. This is a huge difference from the episode “Stealth Strike,” where he purposely doesn’t injure the stormtroopers. His relationships with the crew are more distant, especially with Kanan. What he learns at the end of his mission to salvage Y-Wings is that trusting your own power and judgment are not how to be a successful Rebel – or Jedi. In the next episode, Kanan is able to help Ezra let go of his regret of past actions so he can move forward.
As for the Maul arc as a whole, I think it taught Ezra three main things: 1. You can’t trust everyone, and you need to be very careful who you listen to. 2. Fighting with anger and revenge don’t get you anywhere. 3. It was distracting him from his real purpose of helping Lothal and the Rebels. He didn’t need to be on Tatooine pulling Obi-Wan out of exile, his place was helping the new Rebellion, and his people. Ezra is able to say in “Iron Squadron” that “how we choose to fight is just as important as what we fight for,” because he’s had to make the hard decisions about what is going to be the driving force behind his actions. During the Battle of Atollon, his unwillingness to give up helps the Rebels escape, and gives him the strength to go on after the devastating losses.
In the last season, Ezra’s choices and behavior show how much he has changed. Eager to help his homeworld, Ezra tried to convince the Rebel Alliance to help, but they have to focus on the bigger picture of freeing the galaxy. This means it will be up to the Ghost crew alone to help Lothal. Because he’s picking how he fights carefully, he decides that the ways of Saw Gerera are not for him. His ability to connect with animals helps the crew in many ways, from Loth-Wolves to purrgil. In “Rebel Assault”, he stays calm after Hera crashes and doesn’t go try to find her with Kanan. Season one Ezra would have probably decided to go after her before even Kanan turned around. When Kanan asks him to lead the rescue mission, Ezra is hesitant. As he does his planning, he gets input from others and plans carefully, instead of rushing in desperately. Even though some of his mourning for Kanan is self-pity when he says there was more he needed to learn from his master, it shows he respected him, and was humble enough to still learn; Ezra didn’t fall to the pride that many great Jedi do.
This is where I can’t stop thinking how proud I am of Ezra. Following Kanan’s departure, he is given a new mission: to protect the Jedi temple. Once he and Sabine work together to open the portal, he disappears inside and into the World Between Worlds. He saves Ahsoka, then realizes he could save Kanan too, and runs off with Ahsoka following. While I knew her warnings were true, and that it would change things if Kanan was pulled out, part of me really wanted him to do it, part of everyone wanted him to do it. Ezra has to watch his master’s sacrifice again, reaching out to pull him back, while Ahsoka pleads for him not to. “Kanan found the moment where he was needed most, and did what he had to do for everyone,” she says. Ezra realizes that there is one last lesson he can learn from his master and watches as the image fades from the portal. How much strength and self-control must it have taken for him not to go through with it when he believed there was still a chance to have his master back? This is the person he views as a mentor, friend, and father figure, who proved he was always there for him. Even had Ahsoka not been there, I’m not entirely sure he would have gone through with it, but younger Ezra would have, possibly even with Ahsoka present.
In the finale, Ezra pulls together a plan to free Lothal, complete with a Plan B. All the friends he’s made over the years come to aid him, and with the help of Loth-wolves, they capture Governer Pryce. Ezra has never forgotten the lessons his parents first taught him, and he talks to the picture of them to remind himself why he’s fighting. He doesn’t let any of the anger, sadness, or regret at losing them take him over. When he hands himself over to Grand Admiral Thrawn, he’s not afraid; he knows exactly what he is doing. The Emperor wanted to use Ezra because he is powerful, his abilities are unique from any other Jedi we’ve seen. He tried to give Ezra what he wanted most, and Ahsoka wasn’t there to help him this time. But he still lets his parents go, because of what Kanan taught him. He knew he was meant to be right where he was, and nothing could change that. He then defeats Thrawn with the help of the purrgil, and disappears. Later in his message, he says he didn’t want to do this, but it was what he needed to do. He didn’t think about everything that could go wrong once he did it, he didn’t think about how he wouldn’t get to see what his sacrifice accomplished, he just thought about who he was doing it for. He sacrificed himself for others and changed the galaxy because of it. I mean, can you imagine the horror if Thrawn was still with the Empire in the Original Trilogy? Ezra Bridger may have saved the entire Rebellion.
Kanan tells Ezra, “Ezra, you have never been like everyone else,” and he most certainly has not. Ahsoka and Sabine had better find him soon because a whole lot of people miss him. Even though his master had very little training, even though he failed sometimes, even though he lived in one of the darkest times of the galaxy’s history, he had hope. He was everything a true Jedi should be.
Ten of my favorite Ezra moments (in no particular order):
1. Pretending to be the Emperor’s nephew.
2. Letting go of Kanan.
3. The Kanan and Ezra hug in “Holocrons of Fate.”
4. Stealing from his future family.
5. Being Commander Brom Titus.
6. His sacrifice.
7. Talking with Yoda in “Path of the Jedi.”
8. Being stuck on a puffer pig.
9. Delivering the transmission in “Call to Action.”
10. Helping train Sabine.
Why do you love Ezra? What is your favorite Ezra moment? What do you want to see when he comes back?