Who is Jai Kell? The Ahsoka Character Exposes a Harsh Star Wars Truth

A minor character is suddenly a big deal, and that could be a bad sign.


Star Wars: Rebels filled in one of the most important segments of the Star Wars timeline, and with that came a slew of new characters, from the critical, like Ezra Bridger, to the weird, like Azmorigan. But among the huge variety of people our heroes encountered, only a couple have made it to live-action in Ahsoka so far: Ryder Azadi, reprised by Clancy Brown, and Jai Kell, once voiced by Dante Basco and now played by comedian Vinny Thomas.

In Ahsoka Episode 1, Azadai gives a speech to the people of Lothal, then introduces Kell to do the same, leading those who haven’t seen Rebels to wonder what his deal is. The answer reveals one of the biggest flaws of the New Republic... one that may lead to its downfall.

Jai Kell (center) in Episode 6 of Rebels, “Breaking Ranks.”


Jai Kell was introduced in the early days of Rebels. As a student in the Imperial Academy, he was training to become part of the new Empire’s growing military. When Ezra went undercover in the Academy he befriended Jai, and was surprised when both he and Jai suddenly gained interest from the Grand Inquisitor. That meant Jai was Force-sensitive.

Ezra was able to escape and save Jai from becoming an Imperial soldier, which forced Jai into hiding. Four years later, he re-emerged as one of Ryder Azadi’s rebels on Lothal, helping Ezra in one of the last chapters of Rebels.

Years after his first appearance, a grown Jai appeared on Lothal as a Rebel.


Now, suddenly, Ryder is a governor and Jai is a senator. But... why? It appears that Rebel leaders found themselves in crucial positions after the New Republic was established, but leading and rebelling are two very different skills. Jai Kell’s one scene even highlights how unprepared he is to think on his feet and give an unexpected speech, which doesn’t suggest that he handles the rest of his important job very well.

Elsewhere in Ahsoka, we see a shipyard still rife with corruption and Imperial sympathies, and the bureaucracy seen in The Mandalorian Season 3 is muddled and ineffectual too. Years after the Empire collapsed, the New Republic is still trying to figure out how to run a state. These little cracks will eventually lead to the rise of the First Order, but for now they’re evidence that you shouldn’t make a young man a powerful senator just because he was really good at guerilla warfare.

Ahsoka is now streaming on Disney+.

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