Why The Rebellion Leaders Need to be in Rebels


Season 1 of Star Wars Rebels didn’t pull any punches when it came to raising the stakes. The season finale, “Fire Across the Galaxy,” changed the landscape of the show in several ways. It killed off the Inquisitor, setting the stage for Darth Vader as the new Big Bad of the series. It revealed Ahsoka Tano as Fulcrum, Hera’s contact in the nascent Rebellion, and established her as a recurring character. Most important, however, was the return of Bail Organa (in hologram form), in which he informed the crew of the Ghost that they were, indeed, their very own Rebel cell.  

Released in 2012, the Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry took on the monumental task of making sense of all the battles, wars, and military power in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Fry took all the stories about the formation of the Rebel Alliance and streamlined them into one comprehensible narrative. Included in that section was the above picture, featuring Admiral Ackbar, Garm Bel Iblis, Mon Mothma, and Bail Organa examining schematics of the X-wing starfighter, which would become the backbone of single-person space combat in the Alliance. The narrative also established the following:

The three [Mothma, Organa, and Bel Iblis] continued to meet secretly in bolt-holes across the galaxy and in 2 BBY they signed the Corellian Treaty, which established the Alliance’s goals and structure. The Rebellion barely survived its own birth, as the three leaders needed help to escape an Imperial raid. Organa resigned from the Senate and returned to Alderaan, replaced by his daughter, Leia; Bel Iblis resumed command of his Corellian militia; and Mothma became the Alliance’s Chief of State, releasing a public Declaration of Rebellion.

The specifics of this tale are all Legends now, of course, but given the events of Rebels and Marvel Star Wars I’d say it’s safe to assume that Bail Organa and Mon Mothma have remained the Rebel Alliance founders in the Story Group era canon. Admiral Ackbar’s backstory in Legends paints him as Grand Moff Tarkin’s slave before escaping and joining the Rebellion. However, we saw a younger Captain Ackbar in The Clone Wars and he’s present on Yavin in the Princess Leia comic, so whether his background as a slave stays canon is yet to be seen. He’s definitely a leader in the Rebellion at the time of Yavin, so placing him as a founder of the Rebellion also seems obvious.

Less obvious is Garm Bel Iblis, who was created by Timothy Zahn in Dark Force Rising as one of the early Rebel leaders before having a falling out with Mon Mothma and returning to Corellia to fight the Empire on his own. He hasn’t shown up in the new canon, but if any character is able to make the jump from Legends, I think Bel Iblis has a good shot. His character stands on his own and could represent one of the most well-known planets in Star Wars, Corellia (that still hasn’t appeared onscreen). And his inclusion would be a great nod to Legends fans without bringing along tons of baggage.

Whether or not Bel Iblis makes the cut, I want to see a meeting of the early Rebel leaders on Rebels. (They can even include newly created characters if they want!) I mean, it’s right there in the show’s title, right? REBELS. The Ghost crew started off small on Lothal. Now they’re in cahoots with Bail and Ahsoka and know they’re just one of several Rebel cells fighting against the Empire. As time goes on and they move away from Lothal, it only makes sense that they meet more and more Rebels, including Bail’s Senator friends. And you know what would make a great episode arc? The Specters delivering the X-wing schematics, or testing out the new starfighters, or working with an X-wing squadron on a mission. A-wings and B-wings are nice, but X-wings are better.

As time moves forward on the show, I also want to see the Declaration of Rebellion, and I want Mon Mothma to be the one who does it. She hasn’t shown up on Rebels yet, and she’s a character who needs to show up. As Chancellor of the Rebel Alliance (per Star Wars), it makes the most sense for her to be the one to unite all the Rebel cells (with Bail at her side, of course). We barely saw Mon Mothma in Revenge of the Sith and she guest starred in only a few episodes of The Clone Wars, and the leader of the Rebellion deserves much more screen time. Especially in a show called Rebels.

Take another look at the photo above and tell me it’s not amazing. Now imagine seeing it play out on screen, and the implications it would have for Rebels moving forward. It would preserve a great bit of Legends lore while also solidifying Hera and the Ghost crew as key players in the formation of the Rebellion. It’s a win-win situation all around.