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Cham Syndulla began his career as a Twi’lek freedom fighter by opposing corruption in the Republic, typified by Ryloth’s own senator, Orn Free Taa. But when the Separatists invaded Ryloth, Syndulla and his resistance movement joined Jedi General Ima-Gun Di and the Republic’s clone troopers in defending the planet against Separatist battle droids.
The Republic’s defense failed, and many of Syndulla’s people died. Embittered, Syndulla retreated and began a campaign of guerrilla resistance against the Separatist occupation. When the Republic regained a beachhead on Ryloth, Mace Windu sought out Syndulla and eventually convinced him to join the fight.
The combined forces led by Syndulla and Windu stormed the city of Lessu and captured Separatist emir Wat Tambor. Ryloth had been freed, and Senator Taa and Syndulla put aside their differences long enough to celebrate their planet’s liberation.
Mace Windu and Senator Taa had bargained in good faith, but neither could have predicted that the Republic would soon be replaced by the Empire – or that Imperial forces would subject Ryloth to a brutal occupation. Syndulla reactivated his resistance, and hatched a plot to destroy Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice, Darth Vader.
After the Clone Wars, Syndulla formed a resistance movement against the Imperial occupation of Ryloth. By this point, he was legendary, and proving to be a formidable foe for the Empire -- but he had yet to see value in the other pockets of rebellion throughout the galaxy. His estranged daughter and rebel leader, Hera, contacted him to collaborate on a mission: stealing the Quasar Fire-Class Cruiser-Carrier stationed over Ryloth. Cham agreed, but once they arrived on the ship, he and his soldiers betrayed Hera and the rebels; obsessed with protecting Ryloth after his wife was killed by Imperials, Syndulla wanted to destroy the ship, not steal it. Hera was determined to stop Cham, however, and eventually convinced her father in the greater good of the rebellion. They worked together to steal the ship, and Cham still got his wish: when a Star Destroyer arrived, he and Sabine filled a stolen TIE bomber with explosives, sent it in the direction of the Imperial battleship, and destroyed it over Ryloth.