Despite what some might have you believe, Ahsoka is the furthest thing from a standalone project. The show’s two-episode premiere works hard to (re)introduce the title hero, her enemies, and her allies to casual audiences. But with 15 (!) years of ground to cover, some things inevitably fall through the cracks. That’s especially apparent with key characters from Star Wars: Rebels, like Sabine Wren (who’s apparently Ahsoka’s padawan now?) and New Republic general Hera Syndulla. But things get even more complicated with the mention of Ezra Bridger, a key figure in the Galactic Rebellion who’s missing in action by the time Ahsoka begins.
Ezra was last seen during the Battle of Lothal, a skirmish that freed the planet from Imperial rule and defeated Grand Admiral Thrawn. But for the citizens of the Star Wars universe, the details of this battle seem pretty murky. Hera believes Thrawn perished in the fight, while his loyal disciple Morgan Elsbeth is earnestly searching for him in the far reaches of space. Meanwhile, Ahsoka believes that finding Thrawn could be the key to finding Ezra, too.
If that all sounds complicated, well, it is. Ahsoka does its best to explain just enough while also setting up an intruiging new mystery. But if you’re looking for answers right now, you can find them in the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels. And if even that sounds like too much work, we’re here to tell you exactly what happened to Ezra Bridger in the lead-up to Ahsoka.
Warning: Technically this article could be considered an Ahsoka spoiler. But it’s nothing you can’t learn by watching Rebels for yourself.
Who is Ezra Bridger in Star Wars?
Ezra Bridger is one of the last surviving Jedi in the Age of the Empire. He’s introduced in Rebels as a street urchin and later joins the Galactic Rebellion as a padawan to Kanan Jarrus. Throughout the series, Ezra and his rebel cell — known as the Spectres — travel across the galaxy on odd jobs, teaming up with pirates, reformed clones, and former Jedi to take down the Empire.
He also grows pretty strong in the Force, eventually mastering the ability to connect and communicate with animals. This comes in handy when Ezra and the Spectres encounter the purrgil, a race of sentient space whales capable of lightspeed travel. Despite his varied adventures, however, Ezra always goes back to his home planet, Lothal. Over the years, it’s become a key Outer Rim outpost for the Empire, and their colonization has pushed the planet to the brink of extinction.
Ezra and the Spectres help to establish a rebel cell on Lothal, eventually attracting the attention of Thrawn. The occupation of Lothal becomes Thrawn’s newest obsession, which leads to countless skirmishes and, eventually, one final battle for control of the entire planet.
What Happened to Ezra? (The Battle of Lothal, explained)
After several years of conflict with Thrawn and his cronies, Ezra and the Spectres are ready to drive the Empire off Lothal for good. Ezra hatches his final plan in the Rebels series finale, “Family Reunion — and Farewell,” and it hinges heavily on his importance to the Rebellion. He essentially allows himself to be captured by Thrawn, while the Lothalian rebels face off with his Imperial forces.
Thrawn takes Ezra aboard his Imperial flagship, the Chimaera, but he and his fleet are shortly ambushed by a school of purrgil. With their help, the rebels are able to defeat Thrawn’s forces and send him into exile in the Unknown Regions when the purrgil make a hyperspace jump with the Chimaera in tow. Unfortunately, this means Ezra disappears too. He sacrificed himself to ensure the Lothalian rebellion went off without a hitch — and as we see in Ahsoka, it totally paid off.
It may seem weird that nobody on Lothal actually knows what happened to Ezra (though they clearly see him as a hero and even a martyr). However, the thing about secret plans is that they need to stay secret. So it makes sense that most of the characters in Ahsoka are confused about Ezra’s fate at the start of the show.
Could Ezra play a bigger role in Ahsoka?
Ezra’s significance in the larger fight against the Empire can’t be overstated. He’s one of a very select group that has accessed the World Between Worlds, a gateway to infinite moments in time and space. Ezra’s proficiency in the Force also made him a target of Emperor Palpatine — his sacrifice during the Battle of Lothal wasn’t just about taking Thrawn off the board, but in making sure the Emperor couldn’t use him to further his evil plot.
While the Empire is dissolved, the fight isn’t quite over. With whispers of Thrawn returning, Ezra could be more important. Hopefully, Ahsoka and Sabine can rescue him from the Unknown Regions, but his fate is irrevocably tied to Thrawn. Where one goes, the other could follow, and that spells trouble for the galaxy either way.