In this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, Sabine Wren helps hotshot Imperial cadets Wedge Antilles and Hobbie defect to the Rebellion.
Two classic characters make their debut on Star Wars Rebels in the newest episode from the third season of the series: “The Antilles Extraction.” Desperately in need of pilots, the Rebellion sends Sabine Wren on an undercover mission inside an elite Imperial pilot academy. Her mission: rescue a group of young pilots who have decided the Empire’s cruelty is not what they signed up for.
The episode opens on a supply run gone wrong. While on their way to deliver supplies to some needy galactic citizens, an entire squadron of rebel A-wing fighters and their defenseless cargo ship is obliterated by the Empire. When The Ghost crew and Commander Jun Sato hear of this tragic event back on Chopper Base, they decide they need to take action to recruit some new pilots. To this end, Commander Sato reveals that a new message has recently arrived from Fulcrum – the universal code name for the Rebellion’s secret informants. The message tells them that a group of cadets at an elite Imperial flight academy called Skystriker want to defect. But they need the help of the rebels to escape the Empire’s steel grasp.
It is decided, much to Ezra’s chagrin, that Sabine will lead a lone undercover mission to extract the cadets. Not only is Sabine the least recognizable of The Ghost crew and the most adept at changing her appearance, she has experience with Imperial academies as she was once an Imperial cadet herself. Ezra wants to be there to protect Sabine, but Sabine is perfectly willing and capable of taking care of herself.
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Armed with a fake identification card, a fake name, and a plain brown hairstyle, Sabine successfully infiltrates Skystriker Academy. Meanwhile, Ezra and Kanan wait nearby in a rebel ship for Sabine’s signal to extract her and the new recruits. Ezra again voices his anxiety about Sabine being on a mission alone, but Kanan instructs him to be calm. He also points out that while Ezra doesn’t like anyone else going on a mission by themselves, he is perfectly okay with heading out on his own solo missions.
Back on Skystriker Academy, Sabine meets a new friend, Wedge, on a simulated TIE fighter mission. At first, the young pilots are instructed to destroy some rebel A-wings, which makes sense because the A-wings are the ones shooting at them. But then, taking a cue from the unarmed rebel cargo ship the Empire destroyed earlier in the episode, the cadets are instructed to target a rebel cargo ship similarly undefended. Sabine questions the Imperial protocol of taking innocent lives, inciting her superior’s indignation. Suddenly, a new ship appears out of nowhere. It looks exactly like The Ghost. Caught off guard, Sabine and Wedge’s TIE fighters are destroyed by this new threat.
Outside, the simulation, Sabine is berated by both the Skystriker Academy director and one of the elite Imperial pilots currently stationed at the Academy. The cadets must learn to follow orders without question; otherwise, they could be killed like they were in the simulation. Even Wedge is salty towards Sabine, but more because he’s worried about what punishments such backtalk as hers could invite. He says he respects her sense of right and wrong but adds that most of the people in the Academy won’t.
Unbeknownst to Sabine, trouble of a different form has arrived at Skystriker Academy. Governor Pryce and Agent Kallus have flown into the Academy to investigate rumors of cadets planning to defect. Governor Pryce is clearly displeased with Kallus’s previous efforts to capture and interrogate insurgents. She says, “My hope is that I will teach you something today.” The great Agent Kallus of the ISB has fallen out of favor.
Back in the halls of the Academy, Sabine overhears Wedge talking to two other cadets about leaving the Empire. Wedge is frustrated because he doesn’t know how they can escape. Sabine talks to him alone and realizes he is one of the cadets who wants to join the Rebellion. She tells him her real name and asks him to get his friends ready to leave the Academy. When Wedge asks her what her plan is, Sabine says, “I’ll tell you when I figure that out.”
Back on the waiting rebel ship, Ezra is getting more and more anxious. Kanan reminds him that he can’t do anything to help Sabine. He also says that if Ezra trusts Sabine, then he should trust her to succeed in her mission. Ezra nods, finally resigning himself to the situation.
On Skystriker Academy, Kallus’s attempts at rooting out the defectors have proved unsuccessful. Governor Pryce decides to try a different tactic. She orders the Academy director to send the cadets into space in their TIE fighters for a test which should single out the traitors.
Before getting into their TIEs, Sabine meets Wedge’s friends: Rake and Hobbie. Sabine plans on using this opportunity of being in space to rendezvous with Ezra and Kanan. She tells the cadets they must trust her, and they reluctantly agree. On takeoff, Sabine turns on the comlink directly connected to Ezra and Kanan and hopes they pick up her signal.
“Do you trust her?”
“Of course I trust her.”
“Good. Then trust she’ll succeed” – Kanan and Ezra
In space, the cadets are told through their comms that their ships’ lasers have been set to stun. Their goal is to practice attacking other fighters by attacking each other. Sabine, Wedge, Rake, and Hobbie scratch off with the rest of the cadets. When Ezra and Kanan’s ship finally pulls out of hyperspace, Sabine leads the other three cadets toward them. Unwittingly, she plays right into Governor Pryce’s hands, as now the Imperial knows who the traitors are. The wings of the rebels’ TIE fighter’s are suddenly disengaged; their ships were rigged from the beginning to prevent escape. Meanwhile, fully armed TIE Interceptors move to attack Ezra and Kanan’s ship. Along the way, Pryce orders them to destroy one of the defectors’ TIEs. The cadet inside is Rake. With Sabine and her cadet friends out of reach and their ship being torn apart, the rebels have no choice but to escape into hyperspace.
The TIEs then move onto Ezra and Kanan’s ship. With Sabine and her cadet friends out of reach and their ship being torn apart, the rebels have no choice but to escape into hyperspace. Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie are now at the mercy of the Empire.
Back at the Academy, Governor Pryce herself has undertaken the task of interrogating the defectors. She demands to know which one is the rebel spy. Sabine remains silent until Pryce orders Wedge to be brought up to a torture bed equipped with an electrocution device. Wedge then blows Sabine’s cover by saying her real name in protest to her revealing herself as the rebel. With the instigator identified, Pryce orders Kallus to take Wedge and Hobbie to a separate prison cell. Sabine will remain to be interrogated.
In their prison cell, Wedge feels guilty about getting Sabine into this mess. He wants to come up with a plan to rescue her but doesn’t know how to proceed. When Hobbie asks him what the plan is, Wedge tells him the same thing Sabine told him: “I’ll tell you when I figure it out.”
Governor Pryce quickly discovers Sabine’s full identity as a Mandalorian and a former Imperial cadet. She orders her to be brought to the torture bed, but Sabine isn’t going to let that happen. She takes out the stormtroopers without much trouble and then prepares to face Governor Pryce herself. Both are well-trained in hand to hand combat, but Sabine barely manages to win the fight by shoving Pryce onto the torture bed. Pryce is electrocuted into unconsciousness, and Sabine is able to take up one of the stormtrooper’s blasters and walk out of the interrogation cell unhindered.
Sabine finds Wedge and Hobbie, who are still discussing how to rescue her, and the three start to make their way out of the Academy. They find themselves trapped in a corridor by blast doors, only to come face to face with Agent Kallus. Surprisingly, Kallus tells them not to shoot, and instead of shooting them himself, he instructs them on how to get to the docking bay without running into trouble. Sabine asks him why he is helping them. Kallus’s only answer is to tell her to let Zeb Orrelios know they are now even.
Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie make their way to the docking bay without being stopped and then hop into a tub of an Imperial starfighter to escape. They are pursued by the elite Imperial pilot whom they met outside the simulated mission earlier. Wedge, despite being a great pilot himself, can do little in the way of maneuvering in their ungainly vessel, and they are quickly overcome by their attacker. Fortunately, Ezra and Kanan arrive once again in their rebel ship to save the day; they may have had to escape for awhile to recover, but they didn’t go far. They lock onto the cadets’ ship and jump back into hyperspace. The rebels escape once again. Back on Chopper Base, Commander Jun Sato welcomes Wedge Antilles and Hobbie to the Rebellion.
That’s it for “The Antilles Extraction.” What did you think? Are you excited to see Wedge and Hobbie back in Star Wars? We’ll be on the lookout for them to reappear in every new episode now, starting with next week’s “Hera’s Heroes.”