Over the past week, we have been exploring how the people around our favorite Star Wars characters help shape the characters themselves. In part 1, we looked at Luke Skywalker, while in part 2 we looked at Anakin. Now, in part 3, we look at the bridge between the two, Ezra Bridger.
Being the literal bridge (Bridger) between Anakin and Luke makes Ezra an intriguing character, even moreso when considering the poetic nature of Star Wars. Is he more like Luke, surrounding himself with strong models, or Anakin, who surrounds himself with poor models?
The simple answer is both.
The more complicated answer starts with the Ghost crew, who are the positive influences on his life. The “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” idea would dictate that Ezra would be a lot like the Ghost team (Kanan, Hera, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper…. 5).
The forerunner for this is Kanan, his Master. Originally hot-headed and a bit braggadocios, Kanan has evolved into a calm cool, and collected Jedi Knight. Ezra has grown in the same manner, starting as a defensive through his quips in the same way as Kanan. Now both seem to be more enlightened and willing to learn from their mistakes, as is very clearly seen in the recent season finale “Zero Hour.”
If Kanan is Papa Bear, Hera is definitely Mother Bear. That mothering, with respect to her always watching out for those she loves (“Don’t mess with my droid!”) has made Ezra turn a 180. As an orphan, scrounging to survive, it is no wonder Ezra had walls up. But, like Vader, the glimmer of hope was always there. In the junior novel Ezra’s Gamble, Ezra teams up with Bossk, initially for the money Bossk promises for his help. While on the surface Ezra is always focused on getting the money, the dramatic irony is that the reader can see more in him. There is a deeper desire to belong to something, and that something turns out to be the family of the Ghost. Orphan Ezra would never risk his neck for someone else, but son Ezra has time and again done things to save his family, some rash and some very logical, that put him in danger. The result may not always be there, but, just like Hera, the heart is.
As the “siblings” (and “pet” I guess) I think Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper should all be looked at as a gestalt. The parts are greater than the whole. For Sabine’s part, she has taught Ezra how to reach for a higher purpose; Zeb has shown him how to loosen up a bit and enjoy life; Chopper has shown Ezra that loyalty is not detrimental. When all of this comes together, we see a wiser and more mature Ezra Bridger.
It is fortunate that he is wiser and more mature because the dark side is lurking, namely in the shape of Maul. Considering the “average of 5 people” rule, it would seem that Maul has no place in the Ezra equation. However, his presence looms so large it defies logic (which Maul seems to have a reputation for…). Maul’s singular focus, overcoming the demons of his past, has very much become a part of Ezra. For Ezra, it is all about destroying the Sith.
Maul may seem like a case of the ends justifying the means. However, the ends have not ended so well (Maul is dead, the Rebellion is on the run, Thrawn is more of a threat than ever), so one has to ask if the means are justified. This is something Ezra has to deal with as he grows from a boy to a man, With Maul’s death, a gap opens for the Ghost crew to push Ezra more to the light. It will be interesting to see how deep Maul’s plague runs.
In the end, we all have to become the best version of ourselves we can be. If Star Wars shows us anything, it is that this is impossible if we are not around people who are trying to do the same.