Western Animation: Star Wars Rebels

Spoilers regarding returning characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be left unmarked.

"We have been called criminals, but we are not. We are rebels, fighting for the people. Fighting for you... I see what the Empire has done to your lives, your family, and your freedom. It's only gonna get worse. Unless we stand up and fight back. It won't be easy; there'll be loss, and sacrifice, but we can't back down just because we're afraid — that's when we need to stand the tallest. That's what my parents taught me. That's what my new family helped me remember. Stand up together, because that's when we're strongest: as one!"
Ezra

Star Wars Rebels is a CGI Western Animation series in the Star Wars franchise, produced by Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation with the distinction of being the first Star Wars project released following Disney's acquisition of the franchise in their takeover of Lucasfilm.

Set between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hopenote , as the Galactic Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights, a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking form. The series premiered on October 3, 2014 as a one-hour special on Disney Channel and aired regularly on Disney XD starting October 13. Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman all acted as executive producers for Season 1, though Weisman left the show, to work on the tie-in comic Kanan. The show is also notable for being greenlit for a second season before the premiere of the television movie, which aired a little over a week before the series itself did, based on positive fan reception at private screenings alone.

While the show primarily focuses on an entirely new case of characters, it has also brought back talent from the movies into the series itself. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Darth Vader for "Spark of Rebellion", Anthony Daniels lends his voice to C-3PO in "Droids in Distress", Frank Oz returns as the voice of Yoda for "Path of the Jedi", and Billy Dee Williams reprises his role as Lando Calrissian for "Idiot's Array". Interestingly, while neither Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) nor Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa) reprise their roles, their voice actors from Star Wars: The Clone Wars (James Arnold Taylor and Phil LaMarr, respectively) came back for cameos. Stephen Stanton, who played Wilhuff Tarkin in The Clone Wars, also returned to reprise his role here, as does Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Jim Cummings as Hondo Ohnaka, and Dee Bradley Baker as various Clone Troopers. Sam Witwer also confirmed that he will be voicing Emperor Palpatine, having done so previously in the Legends-continuity game The Force Unleashed. Sarah Michelle Gellar will be joining the show in the future, and rumors that Andrew Kishino will be joining the cast have also appeared.

A prequel novel released about a month before the start of the series, A New Dawn, provides backstory about two of the show's major characters: Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla. Kanan, a prequel comic further detailing the past of Kanan Jarrus at the very end of the Clone Wars and the beginning of the Dark Times, was also released, with former showrunner Greg Weisman writing several issues. There are also a number of other supplementary books to the series, including The Rebellion Begins, a novelization of the premiere film Spark of Rebellion, and Servants of the Empire, a four-book series focused on Zare Leonis, an Imperial cadet who ends up serving as a spy for the Rebels.

The show provides examples of:

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     A-C 
  • Ace Pilot: Hera
    • Darth Vader single-handedly brings down an entire rebel fighter squadron and small fleet.
  • Action Girl: Sabine, the graffiti-making Mandalorian weapons expert, and Hera Syndulla, the pilot of the Ghost.
  • Air Vent Escape: Played with in the pilot. When Ezra does this in the Ghost, Sabine and Zeb can hear him clanking around in the vents. On the much larger Imperial Star Destroyer, however, it works perfectly.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: It seems Ezra is quite accustomed and fond of using these to get around. He does it three times in the pilot and again in "Droids in Distress". His comments to Kanan along the way give the implication that he's no stranger to doing so.
  • The Alcatraz:
    • The Spire on Stygeon Prime appears in the third episode, "Rise of the Old Masters". This is the same place Darth Maul was contained at the beginning of Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir. By the time frame of this series, Jedi Master Luminara Unduli (or her corpse, at least) is being held there.
    • Mustafar is also treated as this during the final episodes of Season 1, specifically being called the place that Jedi go to die.
  • Alien Sky: Lothal has two moons. Also, it's atmosphere seems to be golden, rather than blue.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Much like The Clone Wars, this series is also entirely generated on computer.
  • Arc Welding:
    • The audience finally gets to see and hear Obi-Wan's unseen message from Revenge Of The Sith almost a decade after the film came out. This, plus the number of cameo's from characters from the original movies and prequels, ties the series tightly to the established canon.
    • The reveal of Fulcrum's identity, Ahsoka Tano, welds Rebels and The Clone Wars together. The appearances of Rex, Wolffe, Gregor, and Hondo Ohnaka on the show will take this even further.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Played straight for Stormtroopers in regards to blocking blaster bolts, but averted in regards to explosions, which they can survive as indicated by "Art Attack" and "Entanglement".
    • Subverted when it comes to Ezra's energy slingshot; the bolts are too weak individually to stop a Stormtrooper, though several in quick succession will do the trick, and the Pau'an Inquisitor's armor blocks them completely.
    • Averted entirely for Kallus; he takes a blaster bolt to the chest and is no worse for wear. Sabine similarly gets shot in the head and chest, both of which her armor stops.
    • Also averted with Kanan's shoulder pauldron, which stops Vader's lightsaber from cutting his arm off during their duel.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety:
    • Hera's blaster pistol is noticeably lacking a trigger guard.
    • This gets lampshaded during Ezra's first few experiences holding Kanan's lightsaber. The first time he ignites it (while looking through Kanan's room), Kanan warns him that he'll cut his own arm off if he's not careful. The second time, Ezra activates it (this time with Kanan's permission) with the emitter pointed towards Kanan's face and almost skewers him through it. Kanan wisely decides to shorten the blade length to avoid any repeat accidents.
  • Art Shifted Sequel: Compared to The Clone Wars, the art of Rebels is — while similar — more cartoony, "Disney-fied" with smoother, rounder edges. Also the paintbrush-style coloring of The Clone Wars is gone, and a more vibrant palette is used. The differences are probably best shown on the respective models of Tarkin.
    • Vader appears subtly different from the way he does in the movies — specifically, his mask has more of an "angry" appearance. This is because the show's art style is based on Ralph Mac Quarie's original artwork, rather than the finished designs that appear in the films.
    • Ahsoka's appearance in Rebels has various changes from her appearance in The Clone Wars, even accounting for age. The blue stripes on her horns and head-tails are thinner and wavy, the markings on her cheeks extend further up to be level with her eyes, her eye markings are extended to just below her eyes, and her forehead markings are wider. She also now has a long ovalish/rectangular face instead of a square face, something that age normally doesn't change. Her lips are also notably thinner.
    • The entire race of the Ithorian seems to have a much less bulky body compared to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Wookies also appear quite different.
    • As shown in this preview of "The Lost Commanders", the heads of the basic model of Separatist tactical droids seem a bit larger and more elongated when compared to their original appearance and their vocabulators seem more teeth-like.
  • Ascended Meme: Kanan and Hera were given the respective Fan Nicknames "Space Dad" and "Space Mom" based on their roles as Team Dad and Team Mom. In "The Siege Of Lothal", after the other members of the Ghost report in, Hera states "Alright kids, do mom and dad proud!" in the presence of Kanan, alluding to these nicknames.invoked
  • Author Appeal: Dave Filoni is a cat person, so it's no surprise that Lothal has a population of alien cats.
    • And the fact that Chopper is "the family cat".
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Inquisitors use a double-bladed lightsaber mounted to a ring mechanism which allows the blades to spin rapidly. While very flashy, the tactical advantages of this are outweighed by the flaws of the design. On the plus side, the spinning allows the user to quickly reorient the blade without adjusting their hands, hit with additional force, turn it into a Deadly Disc when thrown, and create a shield of sorts. The Rebels Encyclopedia actually invokes this, explaining that the weapon is meant to unnerve inexperienced Jedi opponents, making them more vulnerable for the real deadly strike. In Ezra's dream sequence in "Path of the Jedi", the Pau'an Inquisitor uses the spinning mode to rapidly hit at Kanan's lightsaber, throwing off his guard, then goes for a precision strike before Kanan can recover. The big flaw is demonstrated in the season finale when Kanan uses his lightsabers to break the ring while the sabers are spinning, causing both parts of the saber to fly out of the Pau'an Inquisitor's hand and spelling his defeat. By comparison, when Maul got his saber cut in half, he still had two functioning sabers to work with. Of note, Kanan had overcome his fear of the Inquisitor by then, making the unnerving and intimidation tactic the weapon is meant for completely worthless as well.
  • Badass Beard: Zeb's got one. According to the visual guide, facial hair is a status symbol for Lasats.
  • Berserk Button: When the Pau'an Inquisitor taunts Ezra, threatening to kill his master and friends, Ezra's anger summons a huge creature to attack the darksider.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: After being defeated by Kanan in a lightsaber duel in the season 1 finale, the Pau'an Inquisitor chooses a Disney Villain Death over reporting back to his boss, Lord Vader.
  • BFG: The T-7 Ion Disruptor that first appears in episode 3, "Droids in Distress"; it's a powerful hand-held rifle designed to disable starships and when used on living beings the results are rather nasty — in the old Expanded Universe, it was said that Disruptors disintegrate living beings, though the effect is just slow enough that the target dies in utter agony, feeling all of their atoms burning away into vapor. Even the Empire bans their use — or at least, pays lip-service to the idea that they are illegal, but discretely using them on rebellious planets they want to make an example out of (they're kind of the equivalent of using nerve gas). Zeb doesn't like them because he has gotten a real good look at what they can do when the Empire invaded his homeworld.
  • Big Bad: Tarkin stepped up for this role in Season One, much like he did in A New Hope. After all, Tarkin is the military governor of the entire Outer Rim and it is hinted Palpatine pretty much lets him do what he wants as long as he produces results. All Imperial forces the Rebels have fought have been Tarkin's troops. All other main Imperial characters were shown to be subservient to him in "Call to Action", including the Pau'an Inquisitor. Everything that has occurred on Lothal — the seizure of farmland, the rapid mining and industrialization — has been largely because of his orders. The slums and shanty towns are called "Tarkin Towns" for a reason. It's strongly implied that his five-year plan for the Outer Rim is supplying/funding the construction of the Death Star.
  • Bigger Bad: Darth Vader, for training the Pau'an Inquisitor, and Emperor Palpatine, for running the Empire. As Lothal is pretty out of the way, most of the work is left to the Pau'an Inquisitor and local security.
  • Big Good: Primarily Fulcrum, who coordinates various rebel cells including the Lothal crew. Bail Organa serves as a secondary one, scouting out the team for what would become the Rebel Alliance and working with Fulcrum.
  • The Big Guy: Zeb.
  • Big "NO!": At least twice with Ezra, when he's saving Zeb from Agent Kallus and when the Pau'an Inquisitor threatens to kill his friends. Kanan also invokes this three times in concern for Ezra, in "Rise of the Old Masters", "Gathering Forces", and "Fire Across the Galaxy".
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The "Empire Day"/"Gathering Forces" two-parter takes place on Ezra's birthday. Throughout the Ghost crew has to protect a Rodian with sensitive intel from the Empire, Ezra's forced to deal with his long-repressed issues about his parents, and Ezra taps into the dark side in a moment of desperation. On the bright side, Sabine found a holo-image of his parents.
  • Bottle Episode: Or rather, bottle season - the first season of the show seems to be largely concerned with the affairs of the planet Lothal, which is Ezra's home. Given that the theme of the series is that the spark of rebellion will spread like wildfire, it can be presumed that the rest of the series will explore a greater number of settings.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Chopper's personality in a nutshell.
  • Butt Monkey: TIE pilot Baron Valon Rudor. He's been shot down and robbed by Ezra, beaten up by Zeb twice (once his TIE fighter was blown up, the other time it was stolen). And at the Empire Day ceremony his new prototype fighter was blown to bits in a very public attack, while he was being praised by the Minister no less. Pretty much every appearance ends with him lying unconscious on the ground.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ezra has a crush on Sabine, but he's too nervous to say anything to her outright, so he resorts to unpolished, cheesy "smooth" talking.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Casual Danger Dialog: This seems to be a staple of Kanan and Hera's interactions. In the pilot alone, she discusses recruiting Ezra with Kanan while he's trying to get her to focus on TIE Fighters trying to kill them.
  • Character as Himself: Chopper is credited "as himself" in the credits. Given that Lucasfilm actually went the extra mile and built the character, this isn't too much of a stretch.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Senator Gall Trayvis appears as a hologram in "Rise of the Old Masters" and briefly in "Empire Day" before showing up in person in "Vision Of Hope".
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: It appears to be contagious, as spending a little time with the Ghost's crew inspires Ezra to help them out and to rescue a Wookiee child despite his earlier cynicism. The crew doesn't try to right every wrong they see, but they still take on very dangerous missions for no other reason than it being the right thing to do.
    • Well, Zeb in particular felt he owed these Wookiees, because they were Old Republic soldiers, and when the Empire killed off most of his species to make an example of them, the only reason he and a handful of other Lasats managed to survive was because some Wookiee soldiers helped them fight their way out (though it wasn't even this same group of Wookiees).
  • Circle of Standing Stones: There are a few on Lothal, and true to the trope supplementary material confirms that they're artificial and their origin is unknown.
  • Clip Show: "Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide" is a clip show summary of the first season.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Adding another layer to Lightsaber color denoting alleigance; in Season 2 Ahsoka's new Lightsabers will have white blades. Which Dave Filoni has revealed "reflects a lack of affiliation".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan said that he sent out a message to tell the Jedi to go into hiding. In this show, we actually get to hear it when Ezra takes a look at a Holocron.
    • The promotion-campaign revealed several nods towards Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
      • Hera Syndulla, the Twi'lek pilot and captain of the Ghost, is the daughter of Cham Syndulla, the leader of the Twi'lek freedom fighters during the Separatist occupation of Ryloth.
      • The visor-shape of Sabine's helmet has the same owl-face design as Bo-Katan's helmet, who was the second-in-command of Death Watch.
      • Concept art also shows that Sabine has created graffiti-portraits of Cad Bane and Embo on the walls of the Ghost.
    • In the pilot, the Empire harasses some Lothal citizens over jogan fruit, which were first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • In the pilot movie, the Empire makes the same mistake they did in Return of the Jedi, jamming the Rebels before the trap was fully sprung.
    • In "Droids in Distress", Bail Organa checks R2-D2 to find more about the rebels while on an Alderaan Diplomatic ship, a nod to how his adopted daughter Leia uploads a message to R2-D2 during A New Hope while her Alderaan Diplomatic ship is being boarded by the Empire.
    • "Breaking Ranks" features Kanan and Hera stopping a Kyber crystal from being delivered to the Empire. In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Crystal Crisis on Utapau story reels, a giant Kyber crystal was featured as the MacGuffin that Obi-Wan and Anakin tries to prevent from falling into Grevious's hands, and it's heavily implied to be the power source of the Death Star's laser.
    • The episode also resembles "Death Trap" from The Clone Wars in that a boy who's more skilled than his peers (Boba Fett/Ezra Bridger) infiltrates the army ranks as a cadet.
    • In "Out of Darkness", the rhydonium Sabine uses were also used by clone commando Gregor in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • In "Path of the Jedi", Yoda appears to Ezra as a swarm of fireflies; Qui-Gon Jinn appeared to Yoda the same way in the Yoda arc for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • Also in "Path of the Jedi", when Kanan questions how Yoda can commune with him, he responds with "I am here because you are here". Qui-Gon said the same thing to Obi-Wan on Mortis in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, when Obi-Wan questioned Qui-Gon's presence.
    • We get to see how Jedi obtain their lightsaber crystals, which was also previously introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • In "Call to Action", Tarkin mentions his past experience with Jedi.
    • The artwork in Hera's cabin resembles Twi'lek art seen in the Ryloth arc of The Clone Wars
    • In "Fire Across the Galaxy", the rebels steal an Imperial Transport from the same TIE Fighter landing field Sabine raided in the "Art Attack" short. The stormtroopers even remember her, saying "the artist is back" when they spot her (doesn't stop her from blowing up the base yet again). The crew also use the TIE Fighter stolen by Ezra and Zeb from "Fighter Flight" as a Trojan horse/escape vehicle during the mission to Mustafar.
    • Also in "Fire Across the Galaxy", Kanan and Ezra's final battle with the Inquisitor bears a remarkable resemblance to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's battle with Darth Maul at the end of The Phantom Menace. Two Jedi — master and padawan — fight a darksider wielding a dual-bladed lightsaber over a series of catwalks. One of the Jedi is knocked out, leaving the other to finish the job. The darksider dies (or appears to) when he falls into a power core. However, there are some notable differences as well. Instead of the padawan being the one to finish the duel, it is the master. In addition, the victor does not push his victim to the latter's death; rather, the victim chooses death, rather than face the wrath of his master.
  • Crapsack World: Let's just say society on Lothal really went to hell after the Empire took over the planet. Aside from environmental pollution caused by the factories and strip-mining and the farmers being forcefully removed from their homes for land development, there are also plenty of corrupt Imperials taking advantage of middle-to-lower class citizens. One would get arrested for "treason" if they say anything negative about the Empire (and being compared to the Old Republic). Also, explosions are incredibly common in Capital City.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ezra and Kanan have both improved a lot since the start of the show, but it's not enough to help them against Darth Vader. The Sith Lord spends the entire battle smacking them around like they were nothing. To make matters worse, he didn't really seem to be trying all that hard, especially considering the power he showed at the end. There's a reason he's The Dreaded.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Ezra has indigo blue hair and eyes. On the Imperial side, Kallus has brown hair and brown eyes.

    D-G 
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Almost the entire crew.
    • Kanan is plagued by the guilt that most of the other Jedi died during Order 66 and he did not. Specifically, he is wracked by guilt that his own master sacrificed herself so that he could escape - even though this is what she wanted to happen, and her last words to him were to run and save himself.
    • Ezra last both of his parents on his seventh birthday (which he shares with Empire Day) when they protested against the Empire, causing him to develop a (temporary) "look out for number one" mentality and some abandonment issues.
    • Zeb is one of the few remaining Lasats left in the galaxy after they were nearly wiped out in a genocide using banned weapons. It's the reason why he hates the electric spears.
    • We don't know as much about Hera and Sabine's pasts yet, but they've been damaged by the Empire too. As for what's been revealed so far, Sabine was a former cadet at the Imperial academy on Mandalore and became disillusioned with them.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first season got darker and more violent as it progressed. To put it this way the TV movie had Wookie kids being sentenced to slave labor in the Star Wars equivalent of salt mines, the first episode introduced us to war crimes and genocide the Empire had committed. By the end of the season three of the main Imperial characters are dead, Darth Vader has arrived, Rebel warships are openly attacking the Imperial Navy and Ezra has gotten a nasty pair of scars.
  • Dark Reprise: Inverted, Empire Day reveals that The Imperial March is The Empire's actual national anthem, though the melody is much more upbeat than its usual sound.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whenever they're not being serious (and sometimes when they are), all six heroes regularly count as this.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The Pau'an Inquisitor is set up to be a major antagonist, but he does not survive beyond the first season's finale.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Ezra by Sabine, to the point of Skewed Priorities. In "Rise of the Old Masters", he takes a moment to smile at her as he's about to fall off the Ghost and towards the distant ground.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The town full of homeless people displaced by the Empire is ironically called "Tarkintown". It's clearly inspired by the Hoovervilles of The Great Depression.
    • Another episode shows that the Empire has a five-year plan for Lothal and the majority of worlds in the Outer Rim. A "five-year plan" was the term for a series of economic intervention plans within the Soviet Union and other communist states; the Nazis employed a similar four-year plan.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: According to his voice actor Steve Blum, Zeb "is also know as Garazeb Orrelios, but only to his mom." Hera uses it as a Full Name Ultimatum whenever she's mad at him.
  • Doomed by Canon: Kanan is a Padawan who has so far managed to survive the Empire's purge of the Jedi. How long this lasts remains to be seen. If Ezra keeps training under him and becomes a Jedi himself, the same applies to him. Of course, Yoda may simply have decided against mentioning them to Luke, for whatever reasons.
    • With the return of Ahsoka Tano, Word of God says they're going with Yoda not knowing due to limited contact, specifically to try and avoid getting locked into this trope.
    • It should also be noted that the old EU also had other Jedi who survived the purge.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • For people that have seen Revenge Of The Sith, Obi-Wan's hopeful message becomes a bit darker in hindsight when one remembers that he delivered the message just before learning that Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. "Our friendships will be tested," indeed.
    • In the pilot, Kanan tells Ezra that if he decides to train under him he can learn what it truly means to be a Jedi. As the series progresses, it becomes clear that learning how to be a Jedi again by teaching Ezra is going to be Kanan's character arc.
  • The Dreaded: Darth Vader. As Kanan put it, it's not a matter of fighting him, just surviving.
  • Drone of Dread: The sound effect used to indicate the dark side of the Force takes the usual high tone used for the light side and pitches it up until it's piercing.
  • Dual Wielding: Kanan and the Pau'an Inquisitor both do this with borrowed/stolen Lightsabers at one point. And Ahsoka is once again armed with both a standard and short Lightsaber.
  • Elite Mooks: The Pau'an Inquisitor has his own special forces units that are a cut above the regular Imperial troops on Lothal.
  • The Empire: Palpatine's Galactic Empire, of course. According to the official announcement, the series takes place during the time when the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy.
  • The Emperor: Palpatine/Darth Sidious, naturally.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: So far the Pau'an Inquisitor has No Name Given, and even he refers to himself simply as "the Inquisitor". This gets to be more confusing after Season Two, when it is revealed that there are more Inquisitors.
  • Evil Brit: Par for the Star Wars course, almost every Imperial character that isn't a Stormtrooper speaks this. Ezra exploits this trope by speaking in their accent when he's on their own communication channels. The Pau'an Inquisitor is also voiced by British actor Jason Isaacs, making him one of the few Star Wars aliens with a British accent. According to the Servants of the Empire tie-in series, it's called a "Core Worlds accent" in-universe.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Whenever Ezra senses Darth Vader, he feels a deep chill throughout his body. Ahsoka feels the same thing too in the finale.
  • Evil Laugh: The Pau'an Inquisitor laughs twice as he taunts Ezra, threatening to kill him, his master and his friends, which really sets the boy off.
  • Expressive Ears: Zeb and Cikatro Vizago.
  • Expy:
    • Chopper, the Ghost's resident astromech, is based on R2-D2's early designs and shares much the same role. With his grumpy personality and tendency to ignore orders, he also has a bit of C-3PO and R3-S6 in him. Dave Filoni told his crew "If R2-D2 was a dog, then Chopper is a cat."
    • Zeb, the alien muscle of the group, is a member of a species similar to Wookies (called Lasat) and is based on early concept art for Chewbacca, as well as filling a similar role.
  • Faceless Goons: Not just the Stormtroopers, but done with the generic Imperial officers, as well. Almost all of them have their visors angled in such a way that their eyes are hidden, and they all share the same chin. This is particularly noticeable in "Gathering Forces", where the Pau'an Inquisitor walks down the bridge of a Star Destroyer and past a half-dozen identical officers.
  • Fangirl: Sabine has graffiti of Cad Bane and Embo (with the latter circled with a heart-shape) on the wall of her quarters aboard the Ghost.
  • Fantastic Racism: According to the visual guide (and carrying over from the Legends Expanded Universe), the human-o-centric Empire looks down on aliens, and it is rare for them to serve in high-ranking positions. The Pau'an Inquisitor is one of those exceptions, as is Grand Vizier Mas Amedda (a Chagrian).
    • Notably, the new Inquisitors also appear to be nonhuman.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Kanan has a a right shoulderpad but not a left one, and Ezra has a guard on his right leg but not his left. Appropriate for a master and apprentice.
    • Sabine's shoulderpads are coloured differently, and her armour as a whole is decorated with splotches of her spray paint.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Ezra tries to flirt with Sabine while she's shooting down TIE fighters, which she responds to by rolling her eyes and getting back to shooting.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Zig-zagged, just like in The Clone Wars — they obviously won't be the ones to defeat the Emperor, though they do have a hand in the fledgling Rebellion itself, and by necessity, any characters from the films must survive, but anyone else is fair game.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "Spark of Rebellion", Ezra says that the Ghost crew aren't going to come for him, because people don't do that. In "Gathering Forces", he tells Sabine that if he believed that his parents would save him he wouldn't have been able to survive.
    • Sabine pretends to be an Imperial cadet in "Droids In Distress". In "Out of Darkness", it's revealed that she is a former Imperial cadet.
    • In "Rise of the Old Masters", the Pau'an Inquisitor offers to train Ezra in the dark side, and Ezra replies that he's never heard of it. In "Gathering Forces", Ezra taps into the dark side to hold him off.
    • Hera tells Sabine in "Out of Darkness" that the reason all intel is on a need-to-know basis is that, if captured, the crew members can't reveal what they don't know. After "Call to Action", Kanan is captured and tortured for information, but it's ultimately pointless because he doesn't know anything about a larger rebellion. Hera also reassures Sabine that there is a greater movement going on, which is revealed in "Fire Across The Galaxy" when several cells join forces to extricate our heroes, Bail Organa is revealed as a mover-shaker of the Rebels, and Fulcrum reveals their identity.
    • A meta-example: A promotional slogan for the Season 1 finale "Fire Across the Galaxy" was "Who will fall?" It's the Pau'an Inquisitor, quite literally.
  • Genius Bruiser: Zeb, who's strong but far from stupid.
  • Genre Savvy: Kallus is off to a good start: when Ezra is captured, he fully expects an attempt to be made to rescue him (even if Ezra doesn't), and when he discovers they were able to listen in to internal communications that had a mention of where the Wookiees really were, he knew where a group with a proven record of attempting heroic rescues would head next.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • In the pilot, Kanan actually using his lightsaber and revealing himself to be a Jedi was seen as an absolute last resort by the Ghost crew. It's no longer the case later on, now that the cat of Kanan being a Jedi is out of the bag, though he still doesn't use it at all times so as to avoid drawing attention to himself.
    • Ezra indebts himself to Vizago and reveals that he and Kanan are Jedi in order to get information from him that will help rescue Kanan from Tarkin.
    • In the season one finale, Fulcrum reveals her identity (Ahsoka Tano) and brings together a number of Rebel cells in violation of existing protocols in order to extract the crew of the Ghost after they rescue Kanan over Mustafar.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Hera's goggles seem to be perpetually above her eyes but never on them. One can assume they're supposed to make her look like a pilot (she owns the Ghost, after all), but why would she need them when her cockpit is airtight?
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The Pau'an Inquisitor's decapitation of Grint and Aresko is blocked by Tarkin's shoulders, followed by a cutaway to Tua and Kallus's shocked expressions.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Zeb disables a couple of Stormtroopers by grabbing them and throwing them at their partners. He shows fondness of this trope when does it again in a later episode.
  • Groin Attack: Hera punches Lando in the nads after he puts her through trouble in "Idiot's Array".
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In the pilot, Ezra fakes being sick to trick two Stormtroopers into the cell while hiding behind the steps. He then runs out and traps them in.
  • Guns Akimbo: Sabine dual wields blaster pistols.
  • Gunship Rescue: A squadron of Rebel Blockade Runners saves the Ghost crew during their rescue mission to Mustafar.

    H-L 
  • The Heavy: The Pau'an Inquisitor, a Dark Jedi who's one of Vader's top lieutenants, seems to be set up as this. He is for a while, but it doesn't quite shake out that way long-term.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted with Sabine, who does wear the helmet belonging to her Mandalorian armor when appropriate.
  • Hero of Another Story: Dave Filoni mentioned/hinted in an interview that this is what the Ghost crew are and would end up as through the course of the story with relation to the Rebel Alliance from A New Hope.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Any surviving Jedi are largely dismissed by Imperial citizens, who view them as traitors to the Republic/Empire, disappointments, inefficient, or any combination of the above.
  • Homage Shot: Grand Moff Tarkin's arrival on Lothal parallels Darth Vader's arrival on the Death Star II in the opening of Return of the Jedi. And for bonus points, the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back is playing.
  • Heroic BSOD: This happens to Ahsoka when she finds out who Darth Vader really is.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Empire uses walkers yet again. However, unlike the more familiar AT-ST and AT-AT used in the movies (although the AT-AT does appear in season 2) the primary walker unit in the series is the AT-DP, which in terms of size is somewhere between the AT-ST and AT-AT.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Sabine loves to call the Stormtroopers "bucketheads". While wearing a Mandalorian helmet, which looks even more like a bucket.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Ezra says this word-for-word to Jai Kell after shoving him off a moving platform.
  • I'm Standing Right Here:
    • The rebels have to come up with a different plan when they're trying to free Jedi Master Luminara Unduli. In the elevator, Sabine and Zeb voice their frustration:
      Sabine: Ugh, his plan gets worse all the time.
      Zeb: Just hope he doesn't change it again.
      Kanan: I'm standing right here.
      Sabine and Zeb: ...We know.
    • In "Out of Darkness", Zeb and Ezra decide to tell Kanan that Hera and Sabine are stranded without fuel, but not that it's their fault for not checking the diagnostic. He finds out anyway, since they're yelling at each other right outside his door.
  • Implied Love Interest: Kanan and Hera act a lot like a couple that has been together for a while, with Hera calling Kanan 'love' and 'dear' and the way they act with each other. There's also their Team Mom and Team Dad aspects, and their reunion in the season one finale practically begged for a kiss, making it seem like they are already an Official Couple, even though they don't show it. (Or not around "the kids", at any rate.)
    • At the end of the "Machine in the Ghost" short, Kanan and Hera seem quite close to sharing a kiss.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • In general, the first season took a fair amount of heat for this, especially in some episodes. It can be worse than it was in the original series, and that's saying something.
    • Sabine lampshades this to the Trope Namers themselves during a diversion on a TIE flight pad. She even tells them they could benefit from more time at the academy.
      Sabine Wren: You call that shooting? I think you boys need a little more time on the practice range.
    • A pretty noticeable case occurs in "Spark Of Rebellion", in which Kanan jumps out of cover while Stormtroopers are shooting at him and walks directly toward them slowly and without a weapon, and they all keep missing him. The only ones that come close come within inches of him, but he tilts his head a bit to avoid the blaster fire. Of course, given that this is the point where he pulls out his lightsaber and reveals himself as a Jedi, Rule of Cool is in effect.
    • The concept is mocked by Rex:
    Rex: I hope you brought a better class of soldier than these... storm troopers.
  • Interquel: The series bridges the nineteen-year gap between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope. Specifically, it is set fifteen years after Revenge of the Sith, and about four years before A New Hope (Season 1's "Empire Day" is specifically stated to take place on the fifteenth anniversary of Palpatine's formation of the Galactic Empire).
  • Ironic Name: The Greek Goddess Hera was Zeus's wife and patron of marriage, but she's also known for her vengeful nature, hunting Zeus's illegitimate children, and being an Abusive Parent for Hephaestus. Considering this, it's quite ironic that Hera Syndulla, the Team Mom of this series, is named after her.
  • I Work Alone: In Spark of Rebellion, Ezra Bridger says this to Agent Kallus when he accuses him of being a Jedi Padawan training under Kanan Jarrus. Not long after, however, the accusation ends up becoming true.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pretty much every crew member of the Ghost is this at one point or another.
    • Kanan isn't as much of this as he was in A New Dawn, but he's still very skeptical towards some non-crew members because they could be troublesome.
    • Ezra starts off as a cynical street rat only looking out for himself, but that didn't stop him saving a fruit vendor from being arrested for a misdemeanor against the Empire. Like Kanan, he becomes nicer and less self-serving after he meets the crew.
    • Zeb seems pretty gruff and willing to kill Ezra when they first meet, but he ultimately cares for the crew and their cause and eventually comes to respect Ezra.
    • Hera can sometimes come off as a nagging Team Mom whenever any of the crew does something stupid, but only because she has their best interests at heart. Otherwise, she's probably the nicest member of the crew.
    • Sabine has some trust issues (a result of her time with the Empire) and comes off as a bit of a Tsundere towards Ezra, but like everyone else in the crew, is fighting for a righteous cause.
    • Chopper for the most part is an obnoxious, hedonistic (and mildly sociopathic) prankster towards just about everyone, but his loyalties ultimately lie with the crew, even if his ownership rights have been lost to someone else.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Kallus starts having some friction with the Pau'an Inquisitor. While the Pau'an Inquisitor seems fixated on Kanan and Ezra, Kallus aims to bag the whole group. He still has this to some degree with Tarkin, but quickly realizes he is way outside his depth in dealing with the top of the Imperial food chain.
    • He still clearly can't resist being subtly snarky when Tarkin himself returns in defeat from Mustafar... and then he sees Tarkin's "guest", and he realizes the depth is beyond his head at this point.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Although Agent Kallus brought a decent level of threat with himself, the Pau'an Inquisitor is the real one for the show. Right up until he showed up in "Rise of the Old Masters" the series was rather light, with only occasional and momentary dips into a serious tone. Then, in the span of just a few moments, a holo-recording of Luminara Unduli's last moments and her mummified corpse was shown, followed up by the Pau'an Inquisitor curb-stomping Kanan, and a chase sequence that the heroes barely get out of.
    • Tarkin serves as a far more aggressive example - he shows up in "Call of Action" and, in order: executes Aresko and Grint for their incompetence and warns Kallus and Tua that further failure will not be tolerated, manages to trap the rebels, and captures Kanan. His final lines imply that he's just getting started.
    • The last scene of season one finale hints that Darth Vader will be this for season two, if not the entire series, and certainly is when he shows up. Flushing the rebels out of Lothal, then decimating the rebel fleet in the season 2 premiere.
  • The Leader: Kanan is the de facto leader of the group, though Kanan and Hera sort of form a Team Dad and Team Mom leadership duo. Hera actually owns the ship they live on (the Ghost is consistently referred to as her ship, not Kanan's) and she is its pilot. Moreover, Hera is the one who communicates with their mission contact Fulcrum, not Kanan. It's implied that they did this on purpose to compartmental information: Kanan is out in the field running ops while Hera is usually flying the ship, thus he is more likely to be captured, in which case they don't want him to have any vital information about the wider rebel network that can be tortured out of him. This is exactly what happens at the end of Season 1: Kanan is captured in the assault on the planetary communications array, but even under heavy torture he simply doesn't know anything about Fulcrum to tell the Pau'an Inquisitor, because Hera always handled that.
  • Legacy Character: In season 2, two new Inquisitors will show up to replace the Pau'an Inquisitor who died in the season 1 finale.
  • La Résistance: The series starts on a planet recently occupied by the Empire, where the youths start to resist conscription into the army and for labor for its war-facilities.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: The "Empire Day"/"Gathering Forces" two-parter has the Ghost crew trying to get Tseebo, a Rodian with half the Empire's secrets in his implant, off Lothal and to safety. Unlike most examples, Tseebo's catatonic most of the time, and actively helpful for the rest.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: In "Idiot's Array", Zeb bets Chopper in a game of Sabacc, believing his hand is unbeatable. Lando, however, has an "Idiot's Array" and takes Chopper, forcing Kanan to broker a deal so Lando will give him back.
  • Lovable Rogue: Lando Calrissian. He's such an asshole that nearly everyone in the show hates him...but he's such a smooth asshole that most of the audience loves him.

    M-P 
  • Meaningful Name: Kallus is a very callous person, indeed. But surprisingly less so than most Imperials, or at least, that is what it seemed like at first. Not only does he murder a stormtrooper for making a sly remark, but we later learn that he was the one who gave the order to decimate Zeb's people, driving them to near extinction. A fact that he mocks Zeb with.
  • The Merch: There's plenty of it out there, from action figures, to throw blankets, to books, and also plush toys, to the point that it's...
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: In "Siege of Lothal" Ahsoka joined the Ghost crew in their attempt to stop Vader from destroying the rest of Pnoenix Squadron. When she realises that the pilot of the lone TIE is a Force-sensitive, she and Kanan use the Force together to try and probe him. She's so thoroughly horrified when she and Vader mutually recognise eachother that she faints.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Ezra's lightsaber has a stun blaster built into it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 11, "Call To Action", feels like this. Two episodes previous, we were hyuk-hyuking it up with Lando Calrissian in cartoon hijinx which, while enjoyable, were ultimately light-hearted. The first scene after the intro of Call To Action itself has the two recurring Funny Bumbling Cartoon Imperials chasing our heroes in a good fun bike chase, whee! And then, two episodes after Lando and five minutes after the chase, Tarkin has said bumbling officers beheaded without warning in front of the other Imperial characters to make a point that failure will no longer be tolerated. The Imperials then barely let up on the brutality for the remaining fifty minutes or so of runtime of the season.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • As in the original trilogy films, the first ship we see in the series is an Imperial Star Destroyer. (Uniquely, this time it's in a planet's atmosphere.)
    • During one scene, Zeb poses as a "Hairless Wookiee" in order to infiltrate an Imperial compound. Zeb's design is based on the early concept art for Wookiees.
    • Obi-Wan's holocron message (itself a Continuity Nod to Revenge of the Sith) ends with him saying the remains of the Jedi Order need to stay in hiding until "A New Hope rises."
    • The pilot droid RX-24 from "Droids in Distress" was the pilot in the original Star Tours ride. They're both even voiced by Paul Ruebens.
    • In "Breaking Ranks", Kanan and Hera go after a powerful kaiburr crystal, mention of which goes all the way back to a May 1975 synopsis of an early draft of A New Hope (although its first actual appearance was as the MacGuffin in Splinter of the Mind's Eye and it's now spelled as "kyber crystal").
    • The Imperial troop transports bear a strong resemblance to this 1979 toy, down to the prisoner cells mounted on the sides.
    • The training obstacle course in "Breaking Ranks" is confirmed by Dave Filoni to be based on both the Box and the clone training yard from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • The lines that the Pau'an Inquisitor says to Ezra in "Gathering Forces" is similar to what Emperor Palpatine says to Luke in his throne room in the Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
    • "Path of the Jedi":
    • The title of the episode "Idiot's Array". In the old Expanded Universe an "Idiot's Array" is a winning hand in sabbac (and the episode establishes that that's still the case in the new continuity).
    • The Kanan vs Vader fight in "The Siege Of Lothal" is noticeably slower and heavier than fights in the rest of the series, resembling the original Obi-Wan vs Vader fight in A New Hope.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, most of the time. A notable exception is in "Spark of Rebellion", which uses "end" as a verb twice in places where the meaning was obviously "kill", even though it's still used later on in the same special.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Based upon the early trailers and especially the character shorts released on YouTube, the show appeared to go for a Lighter and Softer direction to the point that was on the verge of becoming Denser and Wackier. Then the pilot premiered, and while it turned out to be Lighter and Softer compared to later seasons of The Clone Wars, it also became clear that the show does take itself seriously, and it got Darker and Edgier as it went on.
  • No Flow in CGI: Played with. The characters have specific locks of hair that flow fairly realistically with motion and the wind. Outside of these sections, however, their hair tends to stay still even when it shouldn't be. Averted completely with Hera's lekku, since they're much easier to animate.
  • No Gravity for You: In the pilot, the team disables the gravity on a prisoner transport to trip up some Stormtroopers.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Some episode titles. "Rise of the Old Masters" only involves one Jedi Master, and she turns out to be Dead All Along. "Vision of Hope" does involve an actual vision, but it's one that was horrifically misinterpreted.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • According to the visual guide, the working conditions in the spice mines of Kessel are brutal, as the workers are constantly exposed to a mineral that is also used for a dangerous drug without protective gear (for Real Life analogies, it's like a combination of working in a salt mine and on a drug plantation), and the royal family of Kessel (located on the other hemisphere of the planet) allows the operations, but turns a blind eye to the lethal working conditions. The Empire takes advantage of this and sends prisoners there as a subtle means of executing them, including children. If old Legends lore is anything to go by, spice is produced by energy spiders (and said spiders eat people) and are highly flammable. So spice mining without proper gear or protection is suicide, and the Empire has no problem in sending slaves to their deaths for fast drug credits.
    • As shown in "Fire Across the Galaxy", the engine rooms of Imperial Star Destroyers have narrow walkways over a large chasm with no guardrails. Thus, there's nothing preventing any crew men from accidentally stumbling over or accidentally dropping something dangerous into the engines and causing them to explode (such as the Pau'an Inquisitor's lightsaber).
  • Nom de Guerre: The Ghost's crew refer to each other as "Spectre (Number)" when they're on missions or else don't want people to know their names. If one's piloting the Ghost or the Phantom, then the name of the ship is used as the callsign instead.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Inverted in the season one finale. The crew is ordered to go into hiding to ensure that their message of hope will not meet a depressing end. They decide to go rescue Kanan, which all of them know is risky and, at least in a military sense, a bad decision. After they succeed, whispers of what happened reach across the galaxy, sending the message that the Empire is Not So Invincible After All. While people did listen to their message, the fact that they backed it up is what sparks unrest on Lothal.
  • Off Stage Villainy: The destruction of Tarkintown in The Siege of Lothal takes place offscreen; we only get to witness the aftermath and the characters' reactions. Granted, it is less than forty-five minutes long and has to remain kid-friendly, but they avoid showing even a single shot of the Empire destroying the town.
  • Oh Crap!: Kallus and Tua have stark reactions of this sort to the surprise beheading of Aresko and Grint right in front of them. Poor Tua barely manages to avoid screaming in pure terror but is still obviously struggling to maintain her composure at all; Kallus manages to remain a little more collected but is still obviously having trouble believing what he's seeing.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future:
    • Sabine's blasters are basically bricks with a grip, which is pretty standard for Mandalorian weapons.
    • Ezra's lightsaber, built from whatever parts the crew had lying around, looks like a staple gun with the saber hilt as the handle. It doubles as a blaster.
  • Out of the Inferno: In "Siege of Lothal" Vader gets two burning AT-DPs toppled on top of him by the Ghost crew. Just as they're about to leave, he almost casually lifts them of himself.
    Ezra: If that doesn't kill him, what will?
    Kanan: Not us.
  • Passing the Torch: Obi-Wan's message at the end of the pilot can be seen as this, not just from the Jedi to whatever new hope rises, nor from The Clone Wars to Rebels, but potentially from the entire pre-Disney era to the current era of Star Wars itself.
  • Pastiche: The series's art-style has been repeatedly described as "Ralph McQuarrie's concept-arts brought to life in CG", as a deliberate homage to the late artist's work. While it may be harder to see in individual stills, it's easier to notice in the actual animation; it's at it's most apparent with the lightsaber blades & Darth Vader's helmet.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Sabine wears pink Mandalorian armor.
  • Police Brutality: Some of the Imperials on Lothal (including the Stormtroopers) use their positions for personal gain and sometimes take advantage of the weak and helpless, such as demanding protection money from factory workers who are essentially working as slave labor. They'll even consider showing dislike for the Empire as "treason".
  • Pragmatic Villainy / Villains Out Shopping: Given the series's focus on one backwater planet (Lothal) as a microcosm of how the Galactic Civil War is playing out across the galaxy at the local level, there's actually a fair amount of focus on the Imperials doing relatively mundane things which are part of the day-to-day routine of running a government and maintaining economic quotas. Instead of an endless parade of superweapons and diabolical plots each week, the local Imperial garrison actually has mundane tasks like "make sure local fruit vendors have registered licenses with the Empire, and arrest them if they don't". A recurring element in the background is how the Empire's rule has affected day-to-day life on Lothal, which was once a backwater farming planet. The Empire's military-industrial complex has built a large Sienar Fleet Systems TIE fighter factory on Lothal now, and they're aggressively strip-mining local resources to support it, edging out the small scale miners. They're also repeatedly shown pushing out the remaining independent farm owners, either by pressuring them to sell their land or outright seizing it, so they can set up more productive large-scale farms to meet the Five Year Plan's quota. This has led to displaced farmers forming several shantytowns in the outlying areas, dubbed "Tarkintowns". This actually ties in with Biggs's conversation with Luke in a deleted scene from A New Hope, where he mentions that the Empire is starting to nationalize farms in the Core Worlds, and it's only a matter of time before Luke's Uncle Owen is just a tenant farmer slaving away for the Empire.
  • Propaganda Machine: HoloNet News acts as this, routinely twisting events to make the Empire look better.
  • The Purge:
    • Order 66 already got most of the Jedi. It's the Pau'an Inquisitor's job to hunt down those who are left.
    • Zeb's race was subjected to this; he is one of the few Lasats left.

    R-Z 
  • Railing Kill: Subverted when Agent Kallus and a random Stormtrooper are knocked over a railing into a pit, as they both manage to hold on to one of the pylons. Double subverted when Agent Kallus kicks the Stormtrooper down anyway.
  • Reality Ensues: For most of the first season, the crew is regularly skirmishing with the local Imperials, in a pretty ratings-friendly way, and with some of the Imperials even acting a bit like standard "I'll get you next time!" villains. In "Call to Action", Tarkin grows tired of this incompetence and shows up to handle things personally. Which begins with the brutal execution of half the old Imperial recurring cast as a warning to the other half.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Pau'an Inquisitor has gray skin with red Facial Markings, wears black armor, and wields a double-bladed red lightsaber.
    • Even moreso Darth Vader, who shows up to Curb Stomp the entire crew of the Ghost AND take out most of a Rebel squadron on his own.
  • Retired Badass:
    • Kanan has forsaken his past as a Jedi since the Order was destroyed. He's forced to come out of retirement at the start of the series.
    • Dave Filoni confirmed that all of the surviving Clone Troopers from the Clone Wars were relieved from combat duty and were reassigned to managing various Imperial projects due to their Clone Degeneration. He also notes that a number of them are either bitter or distraught over Order 66.
  • Retired Badass Roundup: The Season 2 trailer reveals that Captain Rex and a few other old clone troopers from the 501st take up the cause again.
  • Retraux: Well, close as you could get in CGI, but the lightsabers and blaster shots look more like the effects from the original trilogy than the prequel era.
  • The Reveal: Fulcrum is Ahsoka Tano.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Hera's group tries to keep the death count to minimum, and when they do attack the Empire deaths tend to be just the result of defending themselves and never the objective. Tarkin even points this outwhen informed of their latest raid, deeming them more principled than other Rebel cells. This actually makes them more dangerous to the Empire because it's harder to paint them as simple terrorists, while also making it easier for the civilian population to sympathize with them.
  • Role Reprisal:
    • From the movies: James Earl Jones returned to voice Darth Vader, Frank Oz returned to voice Yoda, and Billy Dee Williams returned to voice Lando Calrissian. Also, Anthony Daniels once more returns as C-3P0.
    • From The Clone Wars: James Arnold Taylor returned to voice Obi-Wan Kenobi, Phil LaMarr returned to voice Bail Organa, and Stephen Stanton returned to voice Tarkin. In addition, Ashley Eckstein reprises her role as Ahsoka Tano.
    • Paul Reubens returned to voice pilot droid RX-24 (AKA the original Captain Rex) from the original version of the Disney Star Tours ride.
    • Steve Blum voices a number of Stormtroopers, like he did in a number of Star Wars games previously.
  • Run or Die: Whenever the Pau'an Inquisitor shows up, the only option is to hold him off long enough to escape - at least until "Fire Across The Galaxy".
    • And when Vader shows up, the team is lucky to even have the chance to run.
  • Sampling: The music used in the show often borrows and reworks music from the first six Star Wars movies. Interestingly, the show also borrows a bit of the soundtrack of the Indiana Jones movies on occasion.
  • Samurai Cowboy: Kanan is described as a "Cowboy Jedi", he uses blasters, has a lightsaber with a Chokuto-style tip, and wears his hair in a samurai-esque ponytail. This becomes a lot more interesting when you consider that Star Wars was partially inspired by the Western and Wuxia genres in the first place.
  • Secret Police: The Imperial Security Bureau, or the ISB for short, is tasked with taking out hidden Rebel cells.
  • Secret Test of Character: Kanan allows Ezra to steal his holocron as a test to see if Ezra can open it. He also allows Ezra to steal his lightsaber later on, offering to let him keep it as a trinket or make his own as a Jedi.
  • Sensor Character: Ezra and Kanan first meet when they sense each other's presence in the marketplace.
  • Sequel Hook: The final scene of Season One is Darth Vader arriving on Lothal to stamp out the fledgling rebellion.
  • Silent Snarker: Chopper is a variation: while he can't speak a language discernible to viewers, everyone in-show can understand his quips.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Ezra finds the idea that anyone would act selflessly to help others to be ridiculous. Hera calls him out on this, telling him his life is worth nothing if it only means something to himself. Surprisingly, even Kallus shares this view; when Ezra repeats the sentiment after being told he'll be used as bait, Kallus just smiles and says nothing, clearly knowing better.
  • Ship Tease:
    • A little between Kanan and Hera at the end of "The Machine In The Ghost", which is promptly interrupted by Chopper. In the show itself, Hera calls Kanan "love" as an Affectionate Nickname. It helps that they're the Team Dad and Team Mom of the group, respectively.
    • Ezra is a bit surprised to see Sabine is Beautiful All Along without her helmet in "Spark Of Rebellion". Sabine mostly responds with irritation at his attempts to flirt in succeeding episodes, until "Empire Day" and "Gathering Forces" give them some moments.
    • Both Ezra and Kanan's intense dislike of Lando in "Idiot's Aray" stem from his flirting with Sabine and Hera, respectively.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Bumbling Imperial officers Aresko and Grint are executed on Grand Moff Tarkin's order for their embarrassing defeats at the hands of the rebels. This serves as a sign that Tarkin and the Empire are taking the kid gloves off, and as a warning to Kallus and Maketh Tua that further failure is unacceptable.
  • Shout-Out: The phrase "fire across the galaxy" was previously used in Clone Wars to describe the Clone Wars themselves. Here, however, it's used to describe the Rebellion against the Empire.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Fulcrum's voice actor/actress goes uncredited prior to the character's reveal, most likely to avoid bringing an Interface Spoiler about. In fact, heavy distortion and different actors are used to throw off any attempt to figure it out. Not that it worked, but points for trying.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Played straight. The first threat to the heroes is local ISB agent Kallus, who is talented but a small fry nonetheless. Once Kanan is outed as a Jedi, the Pau'an Inquisitor joins the fold to even out the odds. After a string of failures, Tarkin shows up to set things right. Finally, when Tarkin is outmaneuvered by several Rebel cells joining together and and the Pau'an Inquisitor dies, he calls in Darth Vader.
  • Space Navy: The Imperial Navy, naturally.
  • Spiritual Successor: The show is basically Firefly in Star Wars. A crew that smuggles and transports cargo while working against a corrupt government.
  • State Sec:
    • The Inquisitorius is a secret division consisting of dark side Force-sensitive agents tasked by the Emperor to hunt down the remaining Jedi.
    • The Imperial Security Bureau is, according to the developers, a combination of the FBI and a military police force. In Legends the ISB had their own Stormtroopers that operated outside the command structure of the regular Imperial Military, their own specialized warships and enforcement; a branch responsible for providing specialized enforcers and muscle to assist in the Bureau's operations (mainly by hiring mercenaries). The devs have hinted many of these features are making it over into the new canon.
  • Stealth Sequel: Rebels is very much a sequel to The Clone Wars, even though it wasn't advertised as being one in the first season. Come the second season, a number of characters from the series (including Ahsoka, Rex, Wolffe, Gregor, and Hondo) make appearances, with their storylines carrying over from the previous cartoon.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream is heard when Ezra knocks a Stormtrooper off a bridge.
  • Street Urchin: Ezra is an orphan who lives on the streets, looking out for only himself, and often steals from the Imperials.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The Pau'an Inquisitor has gold eyes, signaling his status as a Dark Jedi.
  • Swivel-Chair Antics: Ezra whenever he's in the copilot's chair.
  • Team Mom: Hera is described as the one who keeps the team together, by both providing emotional support and keeping the members in line.
  • Team Dad: Kanan helps Hera look after the other members and keep the peace between them, mentors Ezra (in the Force, but also in general), encourages his crew, and protects them with his life. Ezra even calls him 'dad' as part of a ruse for the benefit of a stormtrooper.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Ezra and Zeb are the epitome of this.
    • The entire crew (except Sabine) when having to go along with Lando.
    • Kanan doesn't like the Alliance very much due to their large, enigmatic, militaristic nature.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When he lands on Lothal, the first thing Grand Moff Tarkin does is call out each of the main Imperial characters (Minister Tua, Agent Kallus, and the Pau'an Inquisitor) for their individual failures in dealing with the Ghost crew.
  • Theme Naming: The ship is the Ghost, the auxiliary craft is the Phantom, and each crew member is identified as "Specter (number)."
  • Theme Tune Cameo: At the beginning of the "Property of Ezra Bridger" short, Ezra's whistling the Rebels main theme while taking a walk on Lothal's plains.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Commander Aresko and Taskmaster Grint are slated for these roles, with Aresko being the brains and Grint being the brawn. They even have the same voice actor.
  • Time Skip: In regards to the returning characters from The Clone Wars. Due to the show's cancellation, many plot threads regarding the characters were Left Hanging, with the fates of Hondo Ohnaka, Ahsoka Tano, various Clone Troopers, and possibly others remaining uncertain. The show alludes to what happened between then and this show while developing these characters further.
  • Title Drop: Kallus drops the "Spark Of Rebellion" episode title into one of his lines during the series premiere.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A Stormtrooper stands mere inches from an explosive charge seconds before it goes off. Somewhat justified as the short "Art Attack" shows the events leading up to this; namely it is the second time the trooper saw the graffiti (the first time the bomb wasn't there). He does have an Oh Crap! moment a second before it detonates.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: An Entertainment Weekly clip featuring the Pau'an Inquisitor's first duel with Kanan revealed the episode's Plot Twist - namely, that prisoner Luminara Unduli was Dead All Along by means of a Freeze-Frame Bonus during a close-up of Kanan.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In "Spark of Rebellion", the crew of the Ghost attempt to infiltrate an Imperial Cruiser, by claiming that Zeb is a captured Wookie. A rare, hairless Wookie.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Hera and Sabine are the only women on the team, though given the team's size, that comes to 40%, not counting the droid.
    • Ahsoka is supposed to join in with the Ghost crew's antics every once in a while in Season Two, bringing it up to three.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Depa Billaba, former Jedi High Councilor, posthumously. Star Wars: The Clone Wars had completely ignored her note ; before that, the Star Wars Expanded Universe had depicted her as getting incapacitated early in the war, with her seat going to Obi-Wan Kenobi. So making her Kanan's mentor right until Order 66 was rather surprising.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi's holocron cameo in "Spark of Rebellion" wasn't expected.
    • Why hello there, Luminara Unduli. Up until the SDCC 2014 trailer for the show, it had been presumed that she had died along with all the other Jedi with the advent of Order 66, especially considering that she was on Kashyyyk with Yoda, and that there was no indication that she had escaped from the other Clone Troopers. The fact that she was simply taken prisoner instead of simply being executed is also surprising. Played with in that Luminara is Dead All Along and her being "alive" was simply a trap set by the Pau'an Inquisitor.
    • Darth Vader was expected to show up at one point — that his appearance in the series was slated to happen less than a month after the series premiere threw people off-guard. Bonus unexpected points should be added by being voiced by James Earl Jones when Matt Sloan seems to be the go-to guy for Darth Vader voices in official Star Wars media.
    • Yoda's appearance (or more accurately, his voice) in "Path of the Jedi" was also unexpected, as Yoda was isolating himself on Dagobah at the time. And similar to Darth Vader above, being voiced by Frank Oz was even more unexpected, as Tom Kane is usually the go-to-guy for a Yoda voice outside the films, including Lucasfilm Animation's previous project, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • Lando makes his appearance in "Idiot's Array" when he ropes the Ghost crew into his schemes after winning Chopper in a game of Sabacc.
    • Tarkin shows up in "Call to Action" and things get serious real quick.
    • While the Clone Troopers were expected to show up eventually, many were surprised that Gregor - who only appeared once in the series and was left in a situation where he was hopelessly outnumbered and believed to have died - was among them.
  • Unflinching Walk: Kanan walks straight at the Stormtroopers' blaster fire just before he pulls out his lightsaber.
  • The Unreveal: A lot of characters comment on what a T-7 disruptor will do to an organic being, but they never specify exactly what happens, possibly as a Nothing Is Scarier situation.
  • Used Future: The series centers around a backwater planet and a rebel cell that's barely scraping by. As such, most of the machines are cobbled together (Chopper and Ezra's lightsaber being examples), the Ghost looks dirty and banged-up, and the buildings have graffiti and visible wear and tear.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Up until they start carrying out pointlessly oppressive actions, the Empire's more authoritative rule has largely been seen as a step up from the Republic in the eyes of many citizens, and a key reason that a major Rebellion hasn't started since the Empire's formation.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Senator-in-exile Gall Trayvis, who frequently interrupts the Imperial HoloNet News broadcasts with "news the Empire doesn't want you to hear." It remains to be seen, though, if he is real or merely a ploy to root out dissidents. It's revealed in "Vision of Hope" that he's an Imperial Agent.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Inquisitors all use a double-bladed saber with a ring mechanism that allows the blades to spin.
  • We Help the Helpless: Ezra reasons that this is the reason the rebels exist.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "The Siege of Lothall", an incompetent Imperial admiral accidentally captures Darth Vader's TIE Fighter in a tractor beam, and plans to lay the blame on the poor tractor beam officer who followed his orders. Later in the episode, the same admiral is alive and well, but we don't know if the man he used as a patsy is still alive or not.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The heroes regularly gun down Stormtroopers. However, in "Call to Action", it's reported that the crew's latest heist resulted in no casualties, even though Kanan clearly guns down one of the Stormtroopers; whether this is meant to suggest no civilian casualties or their Stormtroopers are surviving getting shot is hard to say.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Call to Action". Grint and Aresko are executed for their incompetence, Kanan is taken prisoner, and the Ghost crew sends out a message across several systems that inspires others to stand up against the Empire.
    • "Fire Across the Galaxy". Kanan is rescued, Ahsoka Tano is alive and leading the Rebels that rescue the heroes along with Bail Organa, Vader is on Lothal and the Pau'an Inquisitor is dead.
    • "The Seige Of Lothal" is easily the darkest and most shocking episode released yet. Maketh Tua tries to defect to the Rebels, but she is killed in a plot by Darth Vader and Kallus. Ezra's hideout is destroyed, and Tarkintown is razed by the Empire. Lothal's liberation becomes a lost cause for a long while. Much of Phoenix Squadron is destroyed. Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader learn of each other's identities. Emperor Palpatine authorizes Darth Vader to send two Inquisitors to kill the Ghost crew and retrieve Ahsoka as a means to find and kill more Jedi.
  • Wham Shot: "Fire Across the Galaxy" has two. First, the reveal of Fulcrum, naturally - Ahsoka Tano climbing down the ladder and facing the Ghost crew. The second is after Kallus informs Tarkin that there is unrest spreading over Lothal because word leaked of what happened at Mustafar. Tarkin replies not to worry as the Emperor has sent an alternative solution for the Lothal problem. Cue that familiar Vader Breath sound as the Imperial March starts up in all of its dark glory and Darth Vader proceeds to walk down the shuttle's ramp behind Tarkin.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Kanan destroys the Pau'an Inquisitor's lightsaber in "Fire Across the Galaxy".
  • Wolverine Publicity: R2-D2 and C-3PO appear in "Droids In Distress" even though any other two droids could serve the same purpose in the story.
    • Well, any of Bail Organa's droids, maybe. Their appearance wasn't just a random chance meeting: Senator Organa had heard rumors of a local rebel cell operating around Lothal, so he sent the droids to surreptitiously scope them out to see if they were worth recruiting into the larger rebel cell network he's setting up.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Zeb and Kallus get into a staff-to-staff duel. Kallus is ultimately victorious in spite of fighting an alien with greater physical strength using a weapon designed specifically for the latter's species. This is partially thanks to Kallus playing on Zeb's past tragedy to unbalance him, though Kallus is legitimately skilled regardless.
    • Kanan's first duel with the Pau'an Inquisitor is pretty one-sided, due to the Pau'an Inquisitor's status as a Knight of Cerebus. He and Ezra are lucky to escape. While Kanan does get better in subsequent duels, he's still outclassed.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • In the "Property of Ezra Bridger" promo short, we meet Baron Valen Rudor, the pilot of a crashed imperial TIE fighter. He fires on Ezra with his ship's guns after Ezra has stolen his helmet. An imperial naval officer, bringing anti-vehicle grade guns to bear on a teenager. Fortunately, Ezra has a Force-sense moment and handily dodges.
    • In the series proper, a Wookie child is sent to the spice mines, and Kallus has no problem with killing Ezra for being a Jedi, even though Ezra is only a Force-sensitive just now getting clued in.
    • The Pau'an Inquisitor is perfectly willing to murder Ezra if he refuses to join the Empire. Darth Vader explicitly says that his task is to hunt for "Children of the Force", pretty explicitly stating that the target's age is not an issue for the Empire.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ezra has indigo hair, despite being an "ordinary" human.
  • You Have Failed Me: Tarkin has two of his officers beheaded in his office for this reason, and as an example to the other Imperials on Lothal.
    "From now on, failure will have consequences."
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Imperials on Lothal actually refer to the local rebel cell as "insurgents" more than they call them "rebels". The "Rebel Alliance" hasn't officially formed yet so it isn't a common term in Season 1 (though the formal name is actually "The Alliance to Restore the Republic"). When he arrives, Tarkin calls them both terms interchangeably. Also his arrival marks a shift, as he's the first to inform the local Imperials that there are other "rebel cells" bubbling up around the galaxy on the local level, plus the larger scale actions by multiple rebel cells in the Season 1 finale. They gradually shift to calling them "rebels" as the scale of the threat they pose to the Empire increases.
  • Zorro Mark: When she strikes, Sabine always leaves the phoenix-symbol (starbird) of the Rebels on walls of the scene, either as graffiti, or using her blasters. Beware, the graffiti ones might explode (she makes them out of combustible materials). Actually, the organized "Rebel Alliance" doesn't exist yet, but apparently this is a symbol that has been circulating around their pop culture as an anti-Empire symbol. In "Idiot's Array" she explains to Lando that she was "inspired" by a similar symbol used in the protest paintings of one "Janyor of Bith".