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44. An infiltrator droid lands on Chopper Base
Episode: Season 3 Episode 14: Warhead
The Moment: A mysterious pod lands on the Phoenix Squadron’s rebel base of Atollon, which contains what appears to be a protocol droid. With the rest of Phoenix Squadron and the Ghost crew off base for missions, the two droids( Chopper and AP-5), as well as Zeb, are tasked with holding down the fort.
The visiting protocol droid ends up being an assassin modeled droid who was sent by the Empire to track down the many hidden rebel bases across the galaxy. Zeb and the droid, EXD-9, get into a physical altercation when the droid’s attack mode is activated. With the help of AP-5 and Chopper, as well as a warning from the mysterious Fulcrum, they are able to best the droid.
However; they are unable to wipe the droids memory and the self-destruct mode begins. The trio are able to fool the droid into retreating back to the Imperial base, destroying a Super Star destroyer in the process. Grand Admiral Thrawn is able to narrow down the location of Phoenix Squadron with his precise calculations, and the apparent victory ends up being a loss for these trio of rebels.
Why It’s Memorable: The standard focus of Rebels tends to showcase the Jedi and Mandalorian story arcs more so than not. So when there is a change of pace and we are given a fun episode featuring droids, it’s a welcomed treat.
The banter and sassiness of both AP-5 and Chopper are quite amusing, giving Rebels a little bit of what we get in the Star Wars films with R2-D2 and C-3P0.
This moment also displayed the leadership skills within Zeb, who is normally portrayed as the muscle of the group. His leadership and self-sacrifice displayed in this episode added much-needed growth for the character.
The EXD-9 droid was based on old Ralph Mcquarrie artwork for the original trilogy, which was drawn as the potential design for C-3PO, but never used. Dave Filoni’s nods to the Original Trilogy add a nice touch to Rebels, showing his appreciation for those who paved the way for him.