Star Wars Rebels: What are the Emperor’s plans for Ezra?


What true intentions does Emperor Palpatine have for Ezra Bridger in Season Four of Star Wars Rebels?

"Ezra Bridger, mine at last!"

Emperor Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious is back and better than ever — stealing the show in the latest trailer for Star Wars Rebels, with Ian McDiarmid returning to voice the iconic character. If the reclusive Emperor is leaving his luxurious Imperial Palace on Coruscant, the stakes must be at an all-time high. It also spells doom for Ezra Bridger and any Rebel scum which gets in his way.

Why is the Emperor obsessed with Ezra? What does he mean by saying that he is “mine at last”? We have a few ideas, sinister ones, which do not bode well for the young Jedi Padawan.

Option one: He destroys Ezra

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

On the surface, this idea seems vaguely dull and predictable, but, Dave Filoni and his crew could use shades of nostalgia from times past if they go this route. Imagine Ezra Bridger, in the Emperor’s throne room. With the Emperor. Darth Vader. A choice. And like Luke Skywalker, he likely refuses the advances of the Emperor.

We know that choice is a deadly one, where the Emperor would no doubt lash out with all of his anger and hatred, killing the young Jedi Learner with his numbing Sith lightning. Unfortunately, we know that only Luke is capable of awakening Anakin Skywalker within the deep soul of Darth Vader so that Ezra would be straight out of luck.

Now, this option would be full of nostalgia and excitement, but it’s doubtful that Filoni will take such a familiar route. We should expect the unexpected in Star Wars Rebels Season 4, especially with Ezra.

Option two: He allows Darth Vader to destroy Ezra

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

At the end of Star Wars Rebels Season 1, Kanan is (nearly) taken to Mustafar – where Jedi go to die. What if, the Emperor aids in capturing Ezra for Vader to torture the young Jedi? Seeing Darth Vader destroy a Jedi on Mustafar would be must-see T.V. Unfortunately, Rebels has a Youth-7 parental ranking, so its unlikely things will get too dark and dire.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

Option three: The Emperor intends to replace Darth Vader with Ezra

It’s no secret within the Star Wars canon that the Emperor is always one step ahead of his Apprentice, Darth Vader. Following the events of A New Hope, Darth Vader builds a secret set of resources behind the Emperor’s back. Naturally, his Master knew of his plans all along, but encourage such treacherous behavior.

There’s no doubt that the Emperor knew of Darth Vader’s plans to join Forces with Luke, to overthrow him. That becomes (kyber) crystal clear when he instructs Luke to take his father’s place at his side. Darth Vader became a disappointment to his Master.

Darth Vader’s failure on Mustafar against Obi-Wan planted such seeds of failure, which the Emperor cannot and will not tolerate. The Emperor also blames Darth Vader for the destruction of the first Death Star, holding him personally responsible.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

Once we reach the events of the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor has had enough of Darth Vader’s missteps. In the novel Aftermath: Empires Endwe flashback to the throne room, where the Emperor drops this bombshell on one of his servants about Darth Vader:

"“I have greater plans for the one on the shuttle—whether he will be a demonstration of my power or a slave to replace the one who has failed me, I cannot say. That remains unclear. But we are led to a moment in time, a moment of grave uncertainty. All things flow toward this moment.”"

Luke was meant to replace the one who failed the Emperor, that one is Darth Vader. But, was that the first time the Emperor intended to do away with his trusted right-hand man? Actually no. Not in the slightest. He even sought out replacements for Darth Vader, but the savvy Dark Lord passed those tests with ease, destroying them all in the process.

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To this day, the fate of the Inquisitors is unknown, but it’s highly likely that  Darth Vader destroyed them once they fulfilled their purpose. Treachery is the ways of the Sith. In the latest Vader comic, he destroys a device containing all of the Force-sensitive younglings in the galaxy. Vader knew, deep down, that he was irreplaceable.

Which brings us back to Ezra Bridger, where the raw, untamed power of the Jedi would catch the attention of the Dark Side of the Force. Maul even noticed that same potential in Ezra, but the young man resisted his advances.

It’s probable that Ezra’s Jedi Master, Kanan, will meet his demise soon, opening up an avenue for him to join the Dark Side. The Emperor would intend to replace Darth Vader with Ezra, which is nothing new. But, as we know, Darth Vader is around during the events of the Original Trilogy and Ezra is not, so something somewhere has to give.

But, expect Emperor Palpatine to seek out Ezra, seducing him with the Dark Side of the Force. But, will Ezra be able to withstand, or even be left standing. Probably not, unless Ahsoka comes to his rescue. Things are about to get real and get real quickly, with only a handful of episodes left.

Next: We dissect the Rebels final trailer in our screencap breakdown

Star Wars Rebels returns on Disney XD, February 19.