*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Wings of the Master”
Following up on the promise to provide more background information on characters not named Ezra, the creators of Rebels shift gears from the previous two episodes and give us our first truly Hera-centric adventure. The Twi’kek pilot has often been utilized as little more than a glorified supporting player for the majority of the series run to this point, but she firmly moves to the forefront in this week’s “Wings of the Master.”
It’s also important note that this week’s episode gives yet another example of why the Rebellion is fighting against the Empire. In the same way that earlier episodes showed the direct oppression of the people of Lothal through examples like Tarkintown, “Wings of the Master” shows an Empire purposely starving its constituents–in this case, the people of Ibaar. For the crew of the Ghost and their allies, the mission is simple: supply food to the needy. But unfortunately, an Imperial blockade led by Agent Kallus is dead-set on keeping this from happening.
So when the mission to bring supplies to the Ibaarian people results not only in failure but the destruction of an important transport ship and the loss of Phoenix Leader, alternative measures must be taken. The newest crew member of the Ghost, Captain Rex, steps forward with a possible solution. A Mon Calamarian engineer named Quarrie has designed a new type of starfighter and may be willing to share it with the Rebels–provided someone comes to him to discuss the matter.
Desperate for any help the Rebels can get, Hera begrudgingly accepts Kanan’s nomination to go on this quest and makes the journey to Shantipole, a planet on which it is notoriously dangerous to land. But Hera’s successful arrival on Quarrie’s landing platform is simply the first of several tests the Twi’lek captain must pass in order to take possession of the new starfighter.
The starfighter in question is the B-wing, first seen in Return of the Jedi. “Wings of the master” reveals not only this unique starfighter’s origin but also a justification for its name. For unlike the A-wing, X-Wing, and Y-wing, the B-wing is not named for the letter of the alphabet that corresponds to the ship’s design. Rather, it is an abbreviation of “Blade-wing,” and with this episode serving as part of Hera’s own burgeoning Campbellian hero’s journey, the starship-as-talisman metaphor is quite fitting.
Ultimately, Hera passes all of Quarrie’s tests as a pilot (including a nerve-wracking dive off the landing platform that quickly turns into a triumphant ascent and excellent example of apothesis), but it is her revelation of the reason behind her choice to be a pilot that first convinces the Mon Calamarian that she is the right one for his ship. Hera relates that the first inspiration for her to become a pilot began during the Clone Wars. As a child on Ryloth, she witnessed Republic ships flying over her in an attempt to liberate her world and this sparked in her a desire to join them in the sky and help others in that way whenever she could. Now, despite any danger, Hera feels that the cockpit of a starship is where she belongs and that it is her destiny to fight for freedom. With this in mind, Quarrie now feels confident that he has found the right pilot for his ship and he ultimately agrees to donate its plans to her cause as well.
Finally ready to wield the B-wing, Hera returns to the Ibaarian blockade and clears the way for Kanan and Ezra to drop off the supplies for the starving people. Another test is passed and–due to Kanan’s recommendation–the Twi’lek pilot ascends to Phoenix Leader. Hera has returned from her quest with renewed purpose and confidence. One part of her journey is over, but now she must share what she has learned with a squadron that is eager to follow their new captain.
Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis of this episode.
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