Which Star Wars Rebels hero is most valuable to the team? Two StarWars.com writers debate!
One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. In this installment, StarWars.com asks which rebel brings the most to the Ghost.
Chopper is the most essential member of the Ghost crew, says Amy.
Droids serve multiple functions across the Star Wars universe, but it seems to me their number one duty is saving the skins of those around them. We've seen it with R2-D2 and BB-8, and we see it in almost every episode of Star Wars Rebels with C1-10P, a.k.a. Chopper. The orange and yellow astromech may grumble when he's called to a task -- okay, he's probably going to grumble and wave his arms around in frustration – but he takes care of business and gets his teammates out of trouble on a consistent basis. Because of this, he is by far the most essential member of the Ghost crew.
Chopper's skills with talking to computers allows him access the other crew members can't match. Since the Empire apparently never uses any sort of firewalls to block out unfamiliar droids, Chopper's able to plug in and get information, manipulate operational systems, and generally be more useful than just about anyone else.
And on top of his skills with machinery, he can blend in where humanoids cannot. The Empire is less likely to suspect an extra droid than an extra body (one of their many weaknesses), and with a change of paint, Chopper can melt into Imperial ranks and gather intel. His programming might be the sassiest, but he probably won't cause a scene like another member of the team would if they got overly emotional during a mission -- I'm looking at you, Ezra.
Let's consider the services Chopper provided in just the Season Three premiere. He was responsible for busting open the door to get Hondo Ohnaka out, he went after the dismantler droid even though it was many times his size, and he helpfully pointed out the ships they stole from the Empire didn't have working hyperdrives. He probably could have shared that last piece of information before they took off in the ships, but hey, he just got completely fried by a dismantler droid.
Looking outside a single episode, Chopper is why the rebels have a secret base. They spent much of Season Two searching for safe place to gather supplies and forces. It's hard to develop an insurgency, period, and much more difficult when you have no place to hide and have to continually coordinate while on the move. Because of Chopper helping AP-5, the rebellion found Atollon. The group is arguably stronger because of it.
Finally, Chopper is loyal in a way humans can't be and not just because of his programming. I don't think droids are without feelings, and he's stuck with Hera ever since she found and repaired him during the Clone Wars. He's been by her side since she first acquired the Ghost and knows it as well as she does. He might roll his eyes at her and the rest of the crew on a regular basis, but he's always there keeping them safe.
Remember the sweetness of Chopper holding Kanan's hand in the Star Wars Rebels Season Two finale? That part of his personality combined with his ability to access information no one else on the crew can makes him special and irreplaceable.
Hera is the most essential member of the Ghost crew, says Dan.
There's no denying Chopper's importance to the Ghost crew -- and the greater rebellion, for that matter. He's a risk taker, he has guts, and, as Amy points out, he's loyal. He's definitely a key member of the team, and probably underrated, but he's not the member of the team. The member of the team, meaning the most essential, is Hera, and I think the reason is simple: without her, they'd probably fall apart.
While everyone on the crew brings something valuable to the mix, they're all at different stages in life, all dealing with their own issues. Sabine spent time in the Imperial Academy and as a bounty hunter -- elements of her past she's eager to forget -- and has taken issue with being kept in the dark on certain issues. Ezra is growing up in the age of the Empire and, as a result, lost his family; now, he struggles to find his way as a Padawan, flirting with the dark side. Kanan spent years hiding his true self, and has dragged his feet when it comes to training Ezra, joining a larger rebellion, or accepting greater responsibility. Zeb carries the weight of his people's near-extermination at the hands of the Empire. And Chopper is Chopper.
Hera is the leader. Hera is the heart. Hera is the calm center. It's her levelheadedness that keeps the team together, that understands why others get upset about something, that provides some sense of security. Hera definitely has her own issues (more on that in a bit), but she keeps them at a distance. When there's a tough call to be made, Hera will make it. When things are going wrong, Hera will take the time to figure out the best option and the best course of action. Time and time again, it's Hera swooping in (sometimes with a flock of tibidees) to save someone. Time and time again, it's Hera offering words of wisdom, a hug, or a smile to comfort her friends when they need it.
There are lots of moments that speak to Hera's intelligence, both emotional and street. She knew to give traitorous senator Gall Trayvis an uncharged blaster, and then delivered a nice knockout punch when he tried to use it against the team. She was there for Kanan when he lost his sight and when he needed to reassure Ezra that it wasn't the boy's fault. She put up with Lando Calrissian.
But one moment that really showed how invaluable she is came in an encounter with her estranged father -- the legendary Cham Syndulla. Hera's in the family business, but she views rebel success differently than her father. When they were forced to work together, she stuck with her convictions -- that the larger rebellion is more important than justice for Ryloth, her father's obsession -- and never wavered. She never budged, even though it was obvious that their strained relationship was heartbreaking for her, even though she was under enormous pressure from a famous father to fall in line with his view. And in the end, she convinced him. That's real strength on a thousand different levels.
There's also the issue of Hera's piloting skills. She is, bar none, one of the galaxy's best pilots. Hera has outrun Imperials, pulled off crazy stunts, and test-piloted the B-wing prototype. The Ghost needs a great pilot, and no one else can handle that job like Hera.
The Ghost crew would not be the same without any of its members. At this point, they're a family, and it wouldn't feel right without all of them there, going on adventures, bickering, and learning from each other. But Hera stands out. She is the anchor. She is essential.
What do you think? Is Amy right? Did Dan call it with Hera? Or is someone else the most essential? Let us know in the comments below!
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer and editor of the StarWars.com blog. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.