Warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Homecoming.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
Star Wars Rebels gave us a Hera-centric episode earlier in the season that said it was about presenting her backstory, however, it didn’t go deep. The story mostly focused on her love of being a pilot and her incredible proficiency as one. “Homecoming,” however, gave us pieces of information about Hera’s past we’ve been dying to hear–or at least, fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars having been waiting for. We knew her father Cham was the leader of the resistance movement on Ryloth during the Clone Wars. He tried to protect his planet from both sides but especially Separatist exploitation. His role as a freedom fighter was further explored in Paul S. Kemp’s Lords of the Sith. He and Hera share the trait of wanting what is just, so they should get along wonderfully, right? Not so much.
It’s made obvious from the beginning of the episode Hera and Cham have an uneasy relationship. We learned she hasn’t spoken to her father in years. She only turned to him for the sake of the Rebellion and because they needed his help to acquire an Imperial carrier. I would never have expected them not to get along considering their shared ideals, and it was an intriguing twist to explore.
Before we examine Cham’s disapproval of his daughter, let’s discuss how cute it was to watch Kanan introduce himself to Cham. The usually confident Jedi met the Twi’lek for the first time and fell all over himself. Lucasfilm hasn’t officially called Hera and Kanan a couple, but the show has hinted at their status repeatedly. Many fans of the show call them #spacemarried, and I would agree. If I had any doubt before “Homecoming,” Kanan’s reaction to meeting Cham would have changed my mind. It totally had the awkwardness of someone trying to impress a significant other’s family member, and it was the very definition of endearing. Ezra’s confused reaction and the expression on Zeb’s face during the encounter added to the charm of the scene.
The animation team often does a tremendous job adding emotion and depth with expression and movements, but I noticed those touches over and over again in this episode. The weight of the conflict with her father seemed to push Hera down. When she explained their troubled relationship to Ezra, her posture conveyed how defeated she felt about it. Later, as Cham accepted Hera’s decisions, the expressions on her face were radiant.
Cham reluctantly agreed to assist Hera. We discovered he’s still focused on protecting Ryloth and trying to free the planet from Imperial control. As mentioned, this storyline was introduced on The Clone Wars and Cham wasn’t the only familiar face. He was accompanied by Gobi and Numa. The latter was only a small child when we saw her in The Clone Wars. Her parents were killed by Separatists, and when the Galactic Republic came to free them, two clone troopers discovered Numa in rubble and took care of her. You can see her wearing clone trooper armor pieces. Awww.
Hera wanted the Empire’s light carrier to use for the Rebellion, but Cham wanted to blow it up in order to send a message of hope to the people of Ryloth. They clashed, but Cham agreed to Hera’s plan after chiding her. The source of their conflict boiled down to Hera leaving to fight for the Rebel Alliance. Cham thought Ryloth was more worthy of her attention. It sounded like he believes the Rebellion is a pointless organization, one that will never be successful. Cham was way too harsh. He firmly believes in what he’s doing, sure, but to be ticked with Hera? It’s not like she’s vacationing on a sunny beach. She’s still fighting the Empire. His disappointment was sad and hard to understand.
Cham delivered another surprise when he turned against the crew of the Ghost at the last possible minute. He used them to get aboard the Empire’s carrier. Once Hera and company came to after being knocked out by Cham’s team, the mission got interesting. Not only did our rebels have to fight Imperials, they also had to defend themselves from people they believed to be allies. The action included Kanan pulling a fastball special of sorts by Force-pushing Ezra through blast doors into stormtroopers. The different tactics and use of a mouse droid to deliver an explosive made the action on the carrier some of my favorite in the series thus far.
Things went awry when more Imperials showed up, and eventually, Cham and his team rejoined the side of the Ghost crew. Hera pointed out all she’s doing is fighting for freedom from the Empire just like Cham (duh) and he inspired her to do so. I wouldn’t say Hera and Cham are going to start exchanging daily holo-vids or anything, but they came to an understanding. It was like Cham finally saw her daughter and her role in the big picture for the first time.
Given the way he felt about Hera’s current activities, I’m didn’t expect to see Cham act so warmly towards Kanan and soeak so highly of the Jedi. He saw firsthand what they were capable of during the Clone Wars, but he also saw them fall. I’m happy his bitterness didn’t extend to the Order, but I fully expected him to have more of a “Jedi are useless” attitude. Cham was full of surprises.
This is the sort of character exploration I want. The interactions between Hera and Cham and what she shared with her crew mates told us so much about Hera’s past. It went beyond her saying, “Flying’s the best!” or hearing Sabine say, “I’m from House Vizsla.” We saw part of what made Hera the way she is and how her past has influenced her current behavior. I want more backstory along this line, please.
Finally, Star Wars Rebels often has original trilogy nods—it’s the era the series is closest to after all—but I particularly recognized some musical connections. “Luke’s Theme,” which is the main theme, was present and so was a bit of “The Imperial March.” The strongest tie was the final shot. The pan out to show the group facing the camera mirrors the ending of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
- “You hold onto the wrong things.” – Cham
- “I am part of something bigger.” – Hera
- “On second thought, I don’t like your father anymore.” – Kanan
Do you think it’s fair of Cham to criticize his daughter for assisting the Rebellion? Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments or come talk to me on Twitter.
IMAGES: Disney XD