Ahsoka Series Prep Notes: Ezra, Kanan, and the Purrgil

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| July 18, 2023

Star Wars: Ahsoka is coming to Disney+ in August, and this is the fourth installment in our series of prep notes here at Couch Soup. If you haven’t watched the animated Star Wars shows or just want a pre-show appetizer, these prep notes offer a glance at the Star Wars characters and lore in the backstory behind Ahsoka. In the first two installments, I covered Ahsoka, Rex, Hera, Chopper, and the Ghost. We looked at our antagonists in the third installment covering Thrawn, Pellaeon, and the Chimaera. Now I introduce Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and the space-faring creatures known as the purrgil.

This continues my notes for the Spectres, another name referring to the Ghost crew based on their code names for each other. Even though Hera is the first of the Spectres to own and use the Ghost, her code name is Spectre-2, while Chopper is Spectre-3. By the end of Star Wars: Rebels, there are 7 Spectres total, and I’ll make sure you get notes on how each one could come into play in Ahsoka

EZRA BRIDGER

When the Spectres first meet Ezra, he cleverly runs off with their loot from the Empire. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

Ezra Bridger is a Force-sensitive human born on Empire Day, the day Emperor Palpatine formed the Galactic Empire. Portrayed in Rebels by Taylor Gray, Ezra is the only child of a family that grew up on the Republic-aligned Outer Rim planet Lothal. When he was 7, Ezra’s parents were arrested and sent to an Imperial prison for making guerilla broadcasts speaking out against the Empire. Ezra learned to steal and survive on his own until, at age 14, he met the Spectres during the events that kick off Rebels.

Throughout the four seasons of Rebels, spanning the five years leading up to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (5 BBY to 0 BBY), Ezra evolves from being a selfish, reckless adolescent to being an integral part of the Spectres and the growing rebellion. As Spectre-6, Ezra brings his wit, nimbleness, and street smarts to help the Spectres on their missions. At the same time, his new mentor, Kanan Jarrus, teaches him about Jedi philosophy and how to use a lightsaber and the Force. Ezra has a powerful innate ability through the Force to communicate with animals, and Kanan frequently marvels at how Ezra can apply this and other Force skills beyond what he could have imagined possible. After the Spectres start operating with the rest of the Phoenix Cell, Ezra proves himself worthy to command some small-scale missions.

Ezra unwittingly taps into the dark side of the Force for the first time when anger overwhelms him, and he directs a large fyrnock to attack the Grand Inquisitor. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

As his Jedi powers grow, Ezra starts getting attention from beyond the Spectres. While Ahsoka works with the Spectres, she helps Kanan get over some sticking points in Ezra’s training. She’s also able to provide words of wisdom to Ezra that are unique to her experience, and he respects her and trusts her guidance. Recall from my first prep notes that Ezra saves Ahsoka from Darth Vader. It’s likely Ahoska will be returning that favor as she aids Sabine in searching for Ezra in tandem with her search for Thrawn.

Unfortunately, Emperor Palpatine takes an interest in Ezra and tries to recruit him to serve him and embrace the dark side. Ezra does flirt with the dark side after encountering Maul and a Sith holocron. But after witnessing Maul’s selfish and destructive nature, Ezra resolves to reject the dark side and not become twisted by it. Fans are curious as to whether Ezra has been able to hold to those values by the time Ahsoka and Sabine find him many years later.

A more experienced Ezra collaborates with the loth-wolves on Lothal to lure in and overwhelm Imperial forces. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

We know that Ezra will be in Ahsoka, portrayed by Eman Esfandi. Ezra’s story is currently confined to the narrative told in Rebels, so this is the first hint we get about Ezra since he and the purrgil pulled Thrawn into hyperspace. We also know that Sabine is seeking out Ezra, following through on the holo message he left for her saying that he was “counting on” her. To Sabine, Ezra is family. She is about two years older than Ezra and was like his smarter big sister when he first joined the Spectres. By the time he left, there may have been more going on between them emotionally, too. I’ll cover more about this relationship and why it’s significant to Ahsoka in my next prep notes covering Sabine.

KANAN JARRUS

Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume just after Order 66 (left) and as his new identity Kanan Jarrus revealing himself as a Jedi to Imperials (right). (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

Kanan Jarrus, codename Spectre-1, is the tactical leader of the Ghost crew and both a business and romantic partner to Hera. At the time of Order 66, Kanan was a Jedi Padawan named Caleb Dume under master Depa Billaba. We see Caleb living through that experience during the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Caleb then cut off his Padawan braid, changed his name, and stopped using the Force for many years, instead using his knowledge and wit to make a way for himself in the galaxy, a story told in the Star Wars: Kanan comics.

As I mentioned in my notes for Hera, Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller tells how Kanan and Hera met. Set 6 years before Rebels (11 BBY), the novel also includes Kanan cautiously reconnecting with the Force to save Hera and others. Following the novel timeline, Zeb and Sabine each join the Ghost crew, and they’re a solid team working together by the time Rebels begins. However, Kanan is still using the Force only in secret until he meets Ezra, and only the Spectres know that secret.

Kanan pushes Sabine to face what she’s fighting within herself that’s holding her back in her Darksaber training. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

Kanan reveals himself to Imperial forces as a Jedi as part of showing Ezra his potential if he chooses to train as a Jedi. Ezra is impressed and eager to learn, but he’s also impatient when he struggles to use the Force the way Kanan is teaching him. After visiting a Jedi Temple, working with Ahsoka, and handling several crises that test them through the Force, both Kanan and Ezra evolve as Jedi. Both together and separately, Kanan and Ezra are integral to the success of the Rebellion.

I don’t want to spoil all the details of Rebels, but since we’re going into Ahsoka, you’ll soon learn that Kanan does not survive to see the Rebellion succeed in its endeavors. However, the actor behind Kanan, Freddie Prinze Jr., brought Kanan’s voice into Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker as one of the Jedi speaking to Rey through the Force. 

There are two ways that Kanan’s spirit lives on that are important to know for Ahsoka

Jacen – Jacen Syndulla, dubbed Spectre-7, is Kanan’s son with Hera, born after Kanan died. Jacen briefly appears in the Rebels epilogue as a young kid. Recently, Lego announced its upcoming Lego set of the Ghost from the Ahsoka series which includes a Jacen minifigure. Given that, fans are now certain we’ll be seeing Jacen during Ahsoka, and he will likely be around 9 years old. In the Rebels epilogue, Sabine suggests that Jacen is showing aptitude as a pilot like his mom, but we don’t yet know if he carries Force sensitivity like his father.

DumeLoth-wolves are large canines connected to the Force in ways that Rebels keeps delightfully mysterious. The extra-large loth-wolf named Dume is presumed to be Kanan’s spirit living on as one of them. Besides bearing Kanan’s original surname, Dume bears a mark above its eyes that resembles the trident-shaped mark that Kanan wore on his armor. In the epilogue of Rebels, loth-wolves follow Sabine as she rides a speeder bike, so it’s possible she’s been connected to them during her post-rebellion stay on Lothal. If so, there’s a reasonable chance we’ll see loth-wolves in Ahsoka.

A young Jacen Syndulla (left) and Dume revealing himself to Ezra (right). (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

THE PURRGIL

The purrgil (pronounced “gill,” not “Jill”) are enormous, highly-intelligent creatures that live in space and travel through hyperspace using their biological processes. They resemble a whale in the front but have squid-like tentacles instead of a tail. Their skin also has a blue flashing light pattern before jumping into hyperspace. The creatures were introduced in Rebels in an episode that included Ezra connecting to them through the Force. As covered in my notes about Thrawn, Ezra uses that connection to the purrgil later to pull himself, Thrawn, and Thrawn’s flagship into hyperspace, heading toward some unknown destination in the galaxy.

The purrgil that Ezra helped summon to Lothal surround Thrawn’s flagship, the Chimaera, and prepare to pull it into hyperspace. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

It’s possible we will see the purrgil in Ahsoka given their role in the disappearance of Thrawn and Ezra. If we do, it won’t be the first time we’ve seen them in live action. In Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 3, Din Djarin and Grogu fly through hyperspace in their tricked out N1 starfighter. Grogu sees images of the creatures moving alongside them in space. No doubt, if you were watching that scene with a Rebels fan, you probably heard them shout “Purrgil!” and point wildly at the screen. Or was that just me?

While cruising through hyperspace, Din Djarin and Grogu in their N-1 starfighter are surrounded by purrgil, seen only by their silhouettes surrounding the ship. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

If you want to know more about Ezra and Kanan, your best option is to make time to watch Star Wars: Rebels. If you’re worried about it looking like a “kids’ show,” I’ll just say that I was in my early 40s when I watched it, and I enjoyed it tremendously. It may be family-friendly, but it’s not dumbed down, and it doesn’t shy away from dark, heavy, emotional moments. In that way, I thought it was on par with Jedi: Fallen Order

Next week, look for my notes on Sabine Wren, Clan Wren, and the Darksaber.

One of my favorite lightsaber battles in all Star Wars is Kanan and Ezra facing off against the Grand Inquisitor during Season 1 of Star Wars: Rebels. (Lucasfilm, Disney+)

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