Motherhood does not define Hera Syndulla. For the pilot, leader, freedom fighter, rebel, and eventual general, becoming the mother of Jacen Syndulla is a small part of her story. But long before the end of Star Wars Rebels, Hera proved she was the maternal force that the Ghost crew, the Rebellion, and, yes, those of us watching at home, needed.
From the start, Hera was a powerful role model for the youngest members of her crew. Estranged from her own blood family on Ryloth, she built herself a family, sometimes literally, in her trusted team.
She pulled Chopper from the wreckage of a crashed Y-wing and cared for and tended to the troublemaking droid for years. When Kanan sacrificed himself, it was Chopper who offered comfort with a small mechanical claw slipped into her empty hand, and stayed by her side as she grieved.
For Zeb and Sabine, she provided a stable home and support for two people who had lost their own tribes. In a galaxy at war, she proved that you could fight for what you believed in and still have each other’s backs without abandoning one for the other.
When the rest of the crew dismissed Ezra as a thief, she saw an orphan in need of nurturing. By advocating for the Force-sensitive boy to join them and be trained by Kanan, her partner and counter-balance in all things, she saw an opportunity to help her crew, aid the suffering residents of Lothal, and teach Ezra a lesson in living for someone besides himself for once. “If all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing,” she said. And she was right.
Hera tried to protect her found family by giving them little information in the early days of the rebellion, but eventually grew to see them as equals. She advocated courage despite desperate odds, encouraging Sabine and Ezra in particular to learn to trust her as their leader and to find their own paths. She was caring, but knew when she needed to withhold information, even when it left Sabine feeling like she was again blindly following orders. Hera also knew when to let the youngest members of the Ghost family explore their own journeys, supporting Sabine’s trials with the darksaber and her eventual return to Mandalore to rejoin her clan. And Hera was clearly proud of Ezra and Sabine and the warriors they became.
In the face of the staggering loss of Kanan, she persevered. She already knew all too well what it was like to lose her family and her planet to the devastation of war. Her mother was killed in the resistance on Ryloth, but that only empowered Hera’s quest to follow in her mother’s footsteps and fight for the greater good. And she somehow remained hopeful for the future.
Nurturing and wise, kind and compassionate, strong and resilient, capable of defending herself and her family, by the time Jacen was born Hera had already essentially raised Ezra and Sabine, Chopper and Zeb.
“My home is my crew and family,” she said. They fought for each other and for what was right.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.
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