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Recap / Star Wars Rebels "Spark of Rebellion"

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Careful where you point that thing, Ezra...
"When the Empire's operations are targeted on an ongoing basis, it could signify more than the theft of a few crates; it could signify the spark of rebellion. Next time they make a move, we'll be waiting for them — to snuff out that spark before it catches fire."
Agent Kallus

Set fourteen years after the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire, we are introduced to Ezra Bridger; a fourteen year old Force-sensitive orphan living in an abandoned communications tower on the Outer Rim planet Lothal. Upon witnessing a group of rebels led by Kanan Jarrus, a former Jedi Padawan who survived the destruction of the Jedi Order, hijacking a small Imperial speeder convoy, Ezra decides to help himself to some of the supplies being stolen. After being pursued by Imperial troops and TIE fighters, and with more Imperials closing in, Kanan offers Ezra a chance to escape aboard the rebels' ship, the Ghost. Ezra accepts, a choice that ends with him becoming part of the rebel crew as they are trying to rescue Wookiee slaves that are being taken by the Empire to the spice mines of Kessel, and brings him into the crosshairs of Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Without knowing what he's doing, and without even trying, Ezra manages to open a Jedi holocron and pull off a Force Jump.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Rebellion Begins expands on the events leading up to and behind the scenes seen in this episode. Not only does it give insight on what characters are thinking during the scenes, but it also includes scenes such as:
    • The Ghost crew coming across the aftermath of the Wookiees' abduction and how they need to talk to Vizago again back on Lothal, giving some background on how the crew knew about the Wookiees and Vizago.
    • Ezra doing a job for Slyyth (an original character not seen in the show) stealing a shipment of Imperial helmets, but accidentally stealing a shipment of holopads with Imperial propaganda instead.
    • Kallus' arrival on Lothal and his Establishing Character Moment by performing an Awesomeness by Analysis blackmail on an Imperial officer.
  • Air Vent Escape: Played with. When Ezra tries this on the Ghost, they can hear him shuffling around in the vents and catch him easily. On an Imperial Star Destroyer, he's able to move around freely.
  • Arc Symbol: Not really a symbol, but whenever the story takes place on Lothal in the novelization, the green of the grass and the grass itself are continuously brought up, in relation to Ezra's Character Development from being cynical and hopeless to finding hope and a brighter future throughout the episode. Kallus also mentions he's going to make Lothal's grasslands bleed red when he eliminates the rebels, obviously referring to the bloodshed and law he will carry out in the name of the Empire.
  • As You Know: Given that this is the first canonical depiction of the Inquisitorius, Darth Vader giving the Grand Inquisitor instructions to capture or kill those with Force abilities makes sense from the perspective of the audience. However, the Grand Inquisitor has been doing this for over fourteen years at the time when the episode takes place, making Vader's instruction appear somewhat redundant in-universe — particularly since Vader frequently worked alongside him. It may be justified if the Grand Inquisitor had previously been asked to hunt down specific Jedi Knights, as it appears it was his priority, and he is now being tasked with seeking out Force-sensitives who are not yet Jedi instead.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Ezra rhetorically asks Hera who would risk everything to save others at no benefit to themselves, while in the middle of a mission to do exactly that. Hera of course replies, "We would."
  • Bad Boss: Kallus kicks off a stormtrooper hanging onto the pole beneath him for wisecracking about Kanan making Kallus look like an idiot.
  • Beginner's Luck: Ezra manages to tap into the Force several times. Likely he's always been doing this, but this is the first time he's ever encountered a Jedi holocron or been in such a dire situation that he'd need to do a Force throw.
  • Bookends:
    • The ABC cut begins with the Inquisitor being given his mission and ends with Kallus calling him.
    • In the novelization, Ezra's prologue begins with him noting the green grasslands of Lothal, and how he's never going to go off-world. After Kanan talks to him in his tower and leaves, Ezra notes that the green daisies are in full bloom.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Ezra says his name is Jabba the Hutt and later claims the Emperor is his uncle.
    • Kanan and Sabine attempt to pass off Zeb as a "rare, hairless Wookiee."
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Ezra imitates Supply Master Lyste's space-English accent over Aresko's stolen comlink in order to lure Aresko, Grint and their stormtroopers away from an innocent fruit vendor they were arresting.
  • Butt-Monkey: Several stormtroopers on Lothal get run over by Ezra. One of them gets back on his feet — and then Kanan knocks him back down.
  • Characterization Marches On: Agent Kallus casually kicks one of his own men to his death for making a joke. This doesn't really mesh with his later characterization as a Noble Demon who genuinely believes that what the Empire is doing is right and generally treats his men much better than the likes of Vader or Tarkin.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the novelization, Ezra hears a complaint from a cadet how Lyste threatened to get them transferred to the spice mines of Kessel if they screwed up again.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Hard as it is for him to believe, Ezra keeps finding himself pulling heroic rescues.
  • Closest Thing We Got: The crew's plan calls for a Wookiee, but since they don't have one on their crew they try to pass Zeb off as a "rare hairless Wookiee" instead. It's unclear if they could have talked the stormtroopers into buying it, although Kanan probably could have, because as soon as they question it Zeb breaks character and attacks them.
  • Crapsack World: Lothal really went to hell after the Empire marched in and took over.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: During the attack on the Kessel spice mine, Ezra sees one of the younger Wookiees fleeing into the mines, pursued by a Stormtrooper, but ignores it. Later, as the Ghost's crew and the Wookiees are being evacuated, the pleading cries of the young Wookiee's parent get to Ezra and he rushes off to rescue it.
  • Continuity Nod: Nine years after the release of Revenge of the Sith, we finally hear Obi-Wan's warning to the surviving Jedi he placed in the Jedi Temple.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Kanan brandishing that lightsaber when extricating the Wookiee prisoners basically says "HELLO IMPERIALS I AM A JEDI HUNT ME DOWN". Even the Wookiees look on in awe when the saber lights up.
    Ezra: Care to let me in on the secret?
    Kanan: Kid, I'm about to let everyone in on the secret!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After getting knocked off a bridge, Kallus finds himself clinging to the supports alongside a stormtrooper.
    Stormtrooper: First Jedi you've ever seen, sir?
    Kallus: [kicks the man in the head, sending him plummeting to his death]
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tarkintown, a shanty town named for a contemptible political leader during a time of economic downturn.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • When Ezra escapes into the Ghost's vents, his motion around the ship is inconsistent with its layout as established in the rest of the show. This is best demonstrated when he somehow manages to fall out of the vent into the nose gunner's turret, even though the position he lands in would only be possible by having fallen out of the cockpit itself, directly above and open to the turret.
    • Given the reveals about the Cleansing of Lasan and Kallus' involvement in it in the next episode, it's strange that Kallus doesn't react to Zeb's presence, especially during the scene where he captures Ezra. It's also odd that Kallus doesn't use his bo-rifle, particularly given that in the scene just before he boards the transport ship, he can be seen carrying it on his back.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Ezra puts on a 'buckethead' just in time to tune into a report on where the Wookie prisoners are really being taken. Unfortunately Kallus realises what has happened, and heads for the spice mines of Kessel to intercept the Ghost.
  • 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.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Hera does this to Zeb when he's being evasive about what happened to Ezra.
  • Funny Background Event: In Kallus' first scene, after he tells Aresko that "You're not the first on Lothal hit by this crew", Aresko says in response "That's a relief", and the stormtrooper behind him turns towards him with somewhat surprised body language.
  • Good Feels Good: As an Accidental Hero who didn't intend to help anyone when he stole the crates, Ezra is confused by the feels he gets when the people of Tarkintown thank him for the food he helped deliver.
    Ezra: But... I didn't do anything.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Ezra tricks two stormtroopers into thinking he is sick, causing them to come into the cell while he's hiding behind the steps. He then runs out and locks them in. They have difficulty explaining to their superior exactly how he escaped.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Ghost does this twice — the first time, saving Ezra on Lothal; the second time, saving the Wookiees on Kessel.
  • Hair Flip: How Sabine introduces herself to Ezra.
  • Hope Bringer: Kallus' metaphor for the Ghost crew, a "spark of rebellion", is this...
  • Hope Crusher: ...And describing the Empire's power that will "snuff out that spark" is a metaphor for this. If anything, in the novelization, after his little speech to Aresko about it, he drills in the point by stepping on a piece of smoldering metal, crushing it to ash.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Darth Vader appears as this to the Inquisitor.
  • Human Shield: Kallus uses Ezra as one, preventing Zeb from Shooting the Hostage Taker.
  • Jaw Drop: Kallus' reaction to Kanan breaking out his lightsaber, complete with brief Stunned Silence.
  • Kick the Dog: Aresko in the beginning who harasses a vendor, then arrests him for "treason" when he complains. Luckily, Ezra distracts him and his men with a fake distress signal.
  • Last Note Nightmare: As the episode closes, we hear the quietly hopeful Star Wars theme/Force theme from the end of Revenge of the Sith, accompanied by Obi-Wan's reminder to trust in the Force — and then the music gets dark as Kallus makes his report to the Inquisitor.
  • Love at First Sight: Ezra looks annoyed when Sabine yanks him out from the controls of the Ghost's gun turret... until she removes her helmet, at which point his eyes light up and he (much to her annoyance) tries flirting with her while she's trying to shoot down the attacking TIEs.
  • Magnetic Hero: It takes Hera only a few minutes to talk Ezra into risking his life for the Ghost's crew. The fact that Kanan saved his life helps.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: Subverted. Kallus thinks Ezra is a Jedi apprentice. Ezra has no idea what he's talking about, but Kallus did just see him do a Force jump. And by the end of the episode, he's right; Ezra is Kanan's apprentice.
  • Mood Whiplash: Ezra marveling at the fact he's in space... and then panicking as he sees a squadron of TIE Fighters coming right at him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Zeb, when he unintentionally causes Ezra to be captured by Imperials and is forced to leave him behind. His guilt is written all over his face.
  • My Parents Are Dead:
    Hera: We'll get you home now. Your parents must be worried sick.
    Ezra: I don't have parents.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling:
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The gang tries to pass off Zeb as a "rare, hairless Wookiee". Zeb's design was based on unused concept art for our favorite Wookiee, Chewie.
    • Obi-Wan declares that one day, a new hope will emerge to triumph over the Dark Side.
    • Kanan’s description of the Force is word-for-word how Obi-Wan will one day describe it to Luke.
  • No Gravity for You: Sabine and Chopper disable the gravity on a prisoner transport to trip up some stormtroopers.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Kanan, avoiding blaster fire when he reveals he's a Jedi.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • Subverted at first when the Imperials grab Ezra and Zeb tries to shoot them before deciding to close the airlock so the Ghost can escape. Double Subverted when this then leads to an argument about whether or not to go back for Ezra, and they decide to do so.
    • Played With again during the Wookiee rescue when Kanan tells Hera to pull the Ghost away from the firefight to give herself maneuvering room.
      Hera: I am not leaving you behind!
      Kanan: (sees a cargo container) No, you're not. We're running a 22-pickup.
    • Ezra leaves the main group to save the Wookiee child.
  • No-Sell: Kanan, as he reveals himself to be a Jedi. Rather than acting like a normal person and hiding from the blaster fire, he stands up and starts walking through it. No fancy Jedi acrobatics for him: he just... shrugs to the side.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The only time Kallus shows any sign of fear or hesitation is when Kanan reveals he's a Jedi.
      "All troopers, focus your fire on... on the Jedi!"
    • He does have a similar moment when he discovers Sabine's graffiti and realizes it's about to explode.
      [sniffs the graffiti] "TAKE COVER!"
  • Perspective Reversal: In the novelization's original scenes (which are part of the prologue), Ezra's POV starts off by noting that Lothal is said to be known for its green grasslands, but he wouldn't know himself, as he's never been off-world (yet). The next part of the prologue takes place from Kallus' POV, which ends with Kallus noting Lothal's green grasslands, and that to eliminate the rebels on Lothal, he's going to make those lands bleed red.
  • Pilot Movie: A one-hour special to kick-off Star Wars Rebels.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Ezra only considers joining the Ghost crew after Kanan saves him during their first meeting and then the crew comes back for him after he's captured by the Empire.
  • Recut: ABC's airing of the movie added a scene involving the Inquisitor and Darth Vader.
  • Rescue Introduction: Ezra first meets the Ghost crew when he steals some items they were in the process of stealing from the Empire's garrison on Lothal, and is subsequently rescued from the Empire by the crew.
  • Rousing Speech: Downplayed as it doesn't really rouse anyone to action, but Obi-Wan left a message for his fellow Jedi to persevere in the darkness.
    "This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen, with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place. This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi: Trust in the Force. Do not return to the Temple. That time has past, and our future is uncertain. We will each be challenged. Our trust. Our faith. Our friendships. But we must persevere, and in time, a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you, always."
  • Secret Test of Character: Kanan suspects Ezra is Force-sensitive and allows him to steal his Jedi Holocron as a test to see if he can open it (as only Force users can do so). When Ezra hands it back to him and it's opened, Hera even comments that Ezra "passed the test". It's only after this that Kanan offers to train Ezra as a Jedi.
  • Shout-Out: Kanan calls Ezra a "street rat", kinda like another Disney character who steals to survive life on the streets (due to also being orphaned as a kid).
  • Sick Captive Scam: Ezra pretends to be sick so he can escape his cell on the Star Destroyer.
  • The Slow Walk: Kanan does this when he's about to bust out the lightsaber on Kallus and his troopers in the Kessel battle, complete with a Nonchalant Dodge as a blaster bolt whizzes just past his head.
  • Spark of the Rebellion: It's right there in the title.
  • Spider-Sense: Ezra and Kanan briefly sense each other on Lothal and are basically drawn to each other (implied through the Force) despite being strangers. Ezra notices Kanan but ducks out of sight when Kanan turns to also look, causing Kanan to dismiss the feeling. Ezra later senses the Holocron and Kanan's lightsaber and finds both hidden items (which were "calling" to him), which Kanan was counting on (as he's implied to realizing Ezra is Force-sensitive). He also senses that something's coming right before a Star Destroyer drops out of hyperspace.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kanan manages to show up behind Ezra at his tower without being seen, then disappear while Ezra's talking to him near the end of the episode.
  • Stock Scream: Ezra manages to flip a stormtrooper over a railing with his slingshot and gets the trademark Star Wars Wilhelm Scream.
  • Stunned Silence: Kallus is briefly rendered speechless when Kanan ignites his lightsaber. As is everyone else.
  • Tempting Fate: While they're on the transport ship, as Kanan's planting the detonator on the door controls of the room where the Wookiee prisoners are being held, Zeb comments "At least things seem to be going smoother than our last op." At which point Ezra runs up to tell them it's a trap, and the door opens to reveal a squad of stormtroopers.
  • Think Nothing of It: The "I really don't deserve it" variant, when Ezra stands by the crates of food the Ghost crew brought to Tarkintown. The locals genuinely thank him, and he's uncomfortable as he did nothing to deserve it.
  • Title Drop: Early in the episode, Kallus states that if the attacks on Imperials are allowed to remain unchecked, it could trigger a spark of rebellion.
  • Try Not to Die: As they prepare to rescue the Wookiees, Zeb tells Ezra, "Try not to get dead. Don't want to carry your body out."
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kallus is perfectly willing to shoot Ezra when he thinks the boy is a Jedi (and he's kind of right as the boy is Force-sensitive). There's also a child among the Wookie slaves on Kessel.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Hera immediately grasps that Ezra is a hero in the bud, even if he doesn't believe it.
    Ezra: No! It's too late for them, Hera! We should run now, while-
    Hera: You don't mean that!
    Ezra: I do! I swear I do! [Beat] Which is why I can't believe I'm doing this! [Runs to warn the others]
    Hera: I can.