One of my favorite things about a new Star Wars show is the rumors, theories, and fan interactions that come before the release of the episodes. We have all seen the Ahsoka trailers and the rumors and theories that spawned from them.
A theory that has been brought up recently and may have some validity to it questions whether Ezra Bridger turned to the Dark Side of the Force during his time away with Thrawn. Like the best speculation, this theory is set in some percentage of wishful thinking, and the rest is based on some level of fact. We wish for it because it would actually make for some compelling storytelling and great television experiences. We see that it’s based on some level of factual evidence when we consider the evidence surrounding the theory. But let’s be objective too.
Why it’s not a good theory
On the surface, it’s an exciting concept, but it also has its troubles too. Ezra Bridger is a Jedi by the end of Star Wars Rebels. His trials were fighting against Thrawn and Maul and learning the importance of finding family in those you chose. Ezra had to learn the value of sacrifice. That lesson was hard for Ezra, as his previous sacrifices weren’t voluntary. But his master, Kanan Jarrus, showed him the importance of family and sacrifice with a powerful object lesson during the explosion of the fuel depot and rescue of Hera.
Ezra deeply valued his relationship with Kanan, and although he struggled once again with the pain of loss, he was more interested in living up to the teachings of his master and protecting his found family like Kanan would have.
In addition, Ezra had already struggled with leaning toward the Dark Side. He was tempted by Darth Maul, the Sith Holocron, and the desire to know what happened to the people he loved. But he overcame that, and in the World Between Worlds, when tempted again by Emperor Palpatine and shown his mother and father, he walked away. That reality was within his grasp, and he chose to let it go.
For those reasons, Ezra Bridger will not give way to the Dark Side of the Force.
Why it is a good theory
The Dark Side tempted Ezra, and although he quickly walked away from the Emperor in the World Between Worlds, let’s keep in mind the timeline of that trial. It was almost immediately after the death of his master, and Ezra was feeling fiercely loyal to the memory of Kanan before that.
The Sith Holocron and his insatiable need for knowledge of what happened to his family nearly drove Ezra from the light to the dark. He was allowing the Holocron to guide and educate him, ignoring the teachings of his master. He saw Darth Maul as a friend and allowed the ex-Sith to influence his decisions. Maul was a dividing wedge between Master and Padawan, so much so that Maul began to call Ezra his Apprentice. That was when he had Kanan at his side to guide him. He has now been away on a ship with Grand Admiral Thrawn for how long? Thrawn is an evil genius and master manipulator. Ezra may not be prepared for the barrage that Thrawn will throw his way.
Couple all of that with the power of foreshadowing. Star Wars loves to foreshadow, and it loves symmetry in its storytelling. In season 2 of Star Wars Rebels, Kanan meets up with a Temple Guard inside a Jedi Temple who claims that darkness will consume Ezra and that the boy must be eliminated. Who was that temple guard? It’s the Grand Inquisitor that Ezra and Kanan fought several times. This Temple Guard lost his way and became an Inquisitor. It would be a great storyline for Ezra to give way to the darkness and become Marrok the Inquisitor, only to be saved and brought back to the light by Ahsoka, his friend. Let Ahsoka do for Ezra what she never could do for Anakin Skywalker. Symmetry.
I do believe this is fate, the path that Ezra must travel. He will give in to his pain, loneliness, and wanting more, only to find the Dark Side. He will become Marrok, and only find redemption and a path back to the light through his friend, Ahsoka Tano.
This is the way.