The STAR WARS History of Clancy Brown’s Heroic AHSOKA Character Ryder Azadi

We knew Star Wars Rebels heroes like Hera Syndulla and Sabine Wren would play big roles on Ahsoka. We also expected some surprise animated characters to make their live-action debuts on the new Disney+ show. And yet, one figure from Star Wars‘ past we did not predict would make the crossover was Lothal’s Governor Azadi. Not only did Governor Azadi appear in Ahsoka‘s first episode, the live-action version of the character was once again played by the great Clancy Brown. Why was Ryder Azadi unexpected appearance on Ahsoka such a highlight for Rebels‘ fans? Because Ryder Azadi is not just another politician in the galaxy far, far away. Azadi is a hero of the Clone Wars who rose to the occasion when his home world needed him.

Who Is Star Wars Rebels‘ Governor Ryder Azadi?

The white-bearded Governor Azadi on Star Wars Rebels

The cunning Ryder Azadi is a native of the Outer Rim planet of Lothal, the homeworld of Jedi Ezra Bridger. The imposing, white-bearded politician made his Star Wars debut during Rebels second season and Azadi played an important role on the show until its finale.

During the outset of the Galactic Empire, Azadi served as Governor of the Lothal sector. He even held the rank of Moff. But the Empire arrested Azadi for treason when it learned he was complicit in underground anti-Imperial broadcasts aired by Ezra’s parents, who also ended up in prison with the Governor.

How Did Azadi Escape an Imperial Prison?

After many years, the Bridgers heard a transmission from their son, now a part of the Spectres Rebel cell. Ezra’s rallying cry for Lothal to fight the Empire galvanized his parents in prison. It inspired them to lead an escape, which Azadi and other prisoner joined. Sadly, the Bridgers died during the breakout, but Azadi reached freedom and returned to Lothal to tell Ezra about his parents.

Why Did Governor Azadi Join the Rebellion on Star Wars Rebels?

The white-bearded Governor Azadi on Star Wars Rebels in a hat running at night by ships with Chopper

Shortly after encountering them, Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus and Ezra invited Azadi to join them to meet Senator Leia Organa. Azadi refused because he feared going back to prison. But while the Jedi were gone, stormtroopers found and arrested the former Governor. Fortunately, the Spectres rescued him before the Empire could execute him. Thankful for what they’d done, the former Governor then helped them with a plot involving Princess Leia. She’d brought three cruisers meant for the Rebel cause. Azadi helped free them thanks to the knowledge he gained working on Imperial locks while in prison.

During their ensuing skirmish with stormtroopers, Azadi learned Kanan was a secret Jedi. That, combined with his renewed vigor found while fighting back against the Empire once more, led Azadi to forget his worries about prison. Instead, Azadi joined Star Wars‘ Rebellion and led a Rebel cell from the outskirts of Lothal’s Capital City.

How Did Azadi’s Rebel Cell Fight the Empire?

The new Rebel cell on Lothal focused on sabotaging Imperial ships being built there. They also answered the Spectres call to help destroy the Empire’s new TIE-factory on the planet and assisted in other major operations, just as the Spectres often aided Azadi’s pleas for help as the Empire’s presence and strength grew on the planet. Azadi even traveled with the Spectres through Star Wars‘ World Between Worlds thanks to the planet’s native loth-wolves (though none of them had any memory of the trip).

Azadi served bravely during the years leading up to the Galactic Civil War. He and his cell members risked death during many daring missions and raids, all while living in hiding. They did so even though the Rebellion could not provide the help Azadi often sought. But he persevered, and the former Governor’s greatest moment came during the battle that liberated his home.

What Did Azadi Do During Star Wars‘ Battle of Lothal?

An Imperial officer looks at a hologram of a bearded man while another officer stands in front of her desk.

With Kanan Jarrus dead and the Spectres grieving Ezra Bridger came up with a plan to free Capital City, now fully under Imperial control. Azadi disagreed with the plan and said they’d need an army to take it. Instead, he wanted the Rebels to lay low and regroup.

Ezra asked Azadi to trust him and said they didn’t need an army, just one person. Azadi was then seen contacting Lothal’s current Governor, Imperial officer Arihnda Pryce. In exchange for his safety and freedom Azadi revealed the location of the Rebel base on Lothal.

The white-bearded Governor Azadi on Star Wars Rebels with Ezra Bridger

The plan worked. Azadi was the person Ezra needed for his plan to work. He used the brave, cunning Azadi as a ruse to lure Pryce in. With Pryce in custody the Rebels were able to break into the Empire’s Dome, a structure being used to control Lothal. Ryder’s ability to impersonate voices even helped trick the entire Imperial garrison force to evacuate the planet.

When Ezra Bridger used purrgil to take away himself, Thrawn, and Thrawn’s ship blocking Lothal, the Rebels then sent the Dome into the sky and blew it up. Thanks in part to Ryder Azadi’s heroics Lothal was free of the Empire.

Clancy Brown’s Ryder Azadi in Ahsoka

Clancy Brown as The white-bearded Governor Azadi on Ahsoka

As Ahsoka revealed, during the early days of the New Republic, Azadi reclaimed his position as Governor on Lothal. He didn’t forget the Rebels who helped him liberate his world, either. He paid tribute to Ezra Bridger on the anniversary of the Jedi’s sacrifice. Ryder couldn’t have been that surprised when a surviving Spectre, Sabine Wren, living in Ezra’s old home on Lothal, didn’t show up for the occasion, however.

Clancy Brown as The white-bearded Governor Azadi on Ahsoka talks to Sabine

Thanks to his long history with the Rebellion, he knows what she’s like as well as anyone. It’s why Azadi also knew Sabine would want to listen to their old friend and fellow Rebel Ahsoka Tano when she returned to Lothal.

How Many Star Wars Characters Has Clancy Brown Played?

Savage Opress wields his lightsaber next to a red, horned Burg on The Mandalorian

Ryder Azadi isn’t Clancy Brown’s only Star Wars character. In addition to playing Lothal’s Governor on both Star Wars Rebels and Ahsoka, Brown also voiced Dathomirian warrior Savage Opress on The Clone Wars animated series. And Brown made his live-action Star Wars debut during The Mandalorian‘s first season when he played the devilish Devaronian mercenary Burg.

Of the three only, Ryder Azadi does not have horns, More importantly, he is the only one who is a true hero to the galaxy far, far away.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter and Bluesky at @burgermike. Also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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