I’ve been re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars over the past few days when something suddenly clicked in the back of my mind. It happened during the twenty-first episode of the first season, “Liberty on Ryloth.” In this episode, Mace Windu seeks the aid of freedom fighter Cham Syndulla in order to save the capital city of Lessu from Separatist forces. There is an exchange of dialogue between Syndulla and Windu that really caught my attention.
Windu: You have provided well for your men–all your people–so why won’t you help me free them from this occupation?
Syndulla: I don’t trust Senator Taa and his plans for our world after the war.
Windu: The Republic will help you rebuild. We won’t abandon you.
Syndulla: Your troops will stay for security?
Windu: For a while, to keep the peace.
Syndulla: Another armed occupation is not a free Ryloth. How long before I am fighting you, Master Jedi?
In the episode’s featurette, supervising director Dave Filoni had expressed that Syndulla’s final line in this conversation was one of his favorite lines of season one. He describes Cham Syndulla and the other Twi’leks under his command as resistance fighters, “These are the Ryloth soldiers that are fighting against the occupation, trying to free their planet.” We’ve seen this theme throughout The Clone Wars series, especially during the Onderon arc in season five.
How does this relate to Star Wars Rebels? It might or it might not, but it alludes to a minor detail that was revealed in the NYCC description of the Star Wars Rebels panel, “What happens when the Galactic Empire takes over a planet? What if Imperials took interest in your world, and garrisoned Stormtroopers and TIE fighters to maintain order?”
Isn’t that exactly what Cham Syndulla and Mace Windu discussed? Troops stationed to keep order and peace, but from the perspective of the resistance or rebel fighters, the troops are just another army prohibiting a free world from carrying out its own autonomous government. There’s really nothing new about the theme, since we consistently saw the Separatists occupying territories throughout the Clone Wars. However, now we’re going to see the once proud army of the Republic become the means by which the Empire will instill fear and control over others. All of this makes me wonder what planet or planets will we be seeing throughout Star Wars Rebels and which individuals rise to the occasion in order to unravel the thread in the Empire’s dark veil over the galaxy.
Featured Image Credit: CGCG, Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, Lucasfilm.