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12 Hera Syndulla Facts To Prepare Star Wars Fans For The Ahsoka Series

Having made her debut as a main character in the animated world of "Star Wars," Hera Syndulla's profile has only continued to rise. Among the many great pilots of the Rebellion, she is widely regarded to be the best, making her a surefire bet for any scenario in which the Alliance needs someone to pull off some life-or-death aerial maneuvering. Yet, if that's all there was to Hera, it's unlikely that she'd have the level of fan support she's amassed in a comparatively short time. On top of being a prodigy in the pilot's seat, she is a sympathetic leader and a proud believer in the need to rise against the Empire. As such, she's at her best when rallying the troops and inspiring her crew by living according to her own moral code.

Set to make her first live-action appearance in summer of 2023's "Ahsoka," Hera's likely to become an even more prominent figure in a galaxy far, far away. Previously played by voice acting greats Nicole Oliver ("LEGO Star Wars") and Vanessa Marshall ("Rebels"), Hera is portrayed by genre legend Mary Elizabeth Winstead in "Ahsoka." The stars are quite literally the limit for where we might see Hera popping up after "Ahsoka," be it in follow-up seasons or unannounced film roles. One thing is for certain, Hera has come a long way, making her one of the most compelling characters in the "Star Wars" franchise.

She made her debut in Rebels

Taking place 14 years after Anakin's infamous turn to the dark side in "Revenge of the Sith," "Star Wars Rebels" focuses its attention on the Galactic Empire ruthlessly hunting down and destroying the remaining Jedi. While this is a bleak time for the galaxy, it also includes the formation of the Rebellion that gains momentum until the events of the original trilogy begin with "A New Hope" five years later. This is where we meet a Twi'lek pilot named Hera who first appears via a short series of mini-episodes released in advance of the "Rebels," starting with "The Machine in The Ghost."

In this early Hera appearance, the pilot and her then-current second-in-command, former Jedi Kanan Jarrus, take on a squadron of TIE fighters as her droid friend Chopper grouses while helping them through it. These three are major characters throughout the series, with Hera and Kanan ultimately having a son together. "Rebels" ran for four seasons, but Hera's animated appearances don't end there. She also shows up in "Forces of Destiny" and "The Bad Batch," with the latter going into greater detail about her experiences during the Galactic Empire's occupation of her home planet of Ryloth.

The history of Twi'leks is wild

If you know anything about Hera's people, the Twi'leks, chances are it has something to do with the galactic-level exploitation committed against them by various factions of the "Star Wars" mythos. After apparently existing peacefully for most of their history, the discovery of their home planet by the Old Republic made them suddenly vulnerable to interplanetary colonization. Their lack of flight and firepower placed them in a poor position among more technologically advanced peoples. As their planet's primary export became the coveted Ryll spice, used in the manufacturing of drugs, the Hutts took over Ryloth and countless Twi'leks were sold into slavery. As a result, many Twi'leks in "Star Wars" weren't born on Ryloth and are deprived of a connection to their home planet or their people's customs.

Still, visits to Ryloth have shown the Twi'leks to be a fascinating species, better defined by their unique society and physiology than by the many attempts to rob them of autonomy. Though stories featuring the Twi'leks haven't always possessed the sensitivity one would hope for, the Twi'leks remain immensely popular in "Star Wars" fandom. There has been greater care in their depictions over time, as some of the most intriguing and self-possessed characters in the comics, novels, and spin-off TV series have been Twi'leks. Their story is still being told, but there's little denying that Twi'leks play a seriously pivotal role in both the history of "Star Wars" and its future.

Family has always been a big deal for her

While many Twi'leks are not born on Ryloth, Hera is part of a long line of Ryloth-based resistance fighters. Though the history of the Syndulla Clan hasn't been explored very deeply, from what we see of her parents in the animated sphere, it's safe to say that Hera's belief in living her life in service to a greater cause is something that runs in the family. Her father Cham Syndulla led the Free Ryloth movement, which directly opposed the Empire's occupation of Ryloth after the Clone Wars. It also led to Cham and Hera's mother Eleni getting arrested by Vice Admiral Rampart, which led to a young Hera contacting Clone Force 99 for help in freeing them in "The Bad Batch" episode, "Rescue on Ryloth."

Though they are able to free Cham and Eleni, Hera's mother is later killed, and Cham devotes his entire life to his cause. A rift forms between him and Hera after she chooses to align with the larger Rebellion rather than centering her struggle with the Twi'leks as her father has done, as seen in the "Rebels" episode, "Homecoming." Despite this, they eventually reconcile. Family in all its forms, be it by blood or otherwise, has always been a primary motivator for Hera. Her relationship with Kanan is forged through countless hours spent working together and growing to depend on and trust one another. Their son Jacen has the benefit of growing up with a fiercely protective, incredibly loyal mom in his corner.

She played a huge role in the Resistance

One of the most interesting things about Hera is that she and her ship, the Ghost, seem to be ubiquitous, popping up in cameos and Easter eggs often in recent years. The fan following for the whole "Rebels" crew is nothing to scoff at, but Hera specifically seems to always be in the center of the action, even if she's not the focus of it. After leaving her home planet, she quickly becomes an agent of Bail Organa, joining a rebel network led by the enigmatic Fulcrum (later revealed to be none other than Ahsoka Tano). During the Gorse Conflict, she and her team help thwart Count Vidian's nefarious plot to destroy Cynda. This would be a fine place to accept a medal and retire for most heroes, but for Hera, it's only the beginning of her participation in the Resistance.

Hera, Kanan, and Chopper then form the Spectres, soon to be joined by the rest of the "Rebels" crew. After that, Hera rises in the ranks of the Resistance to nearly unprecedented importance, standing shoulder to shoulder with major players like Leia Organa in the fight against the Empire. Among her many accomplishments, Hera was promoted to Phoenix Leader, and the title persists even after the Phoenix Squadron is disbanded. We know she was present and fighting during major conflicts like The Battle of Endor, among many others. It's safe to say that Hera has remained one of the MVPs of the Resistance since her early days as a freedom fighter.

Her people skills are unmatched

Although she has no scarcity of interpersonal conflicts, Hera's people skills are as well-honed and beneficial to her team as her prowess as a fighter pilot. In her backstory, much is made of her disagreements with her father, but there is something to be said for the unique sense of care with which Hera handles their frustrations with each other. Hera is able to see that, deep down, her father sees too much of her mother's optimism in her, and it makes him afraid that he'll lose her, too. Similarly, while he fights with a very specific goal in mind, Hera fights for what's right across the galaxy, a minor difference that causes major issues between them. Regardless, there is no question that she cares for her father deeply, and their reconciliation is a testament to Hera's devotion to setting things right.

As a leader, Hera commands with kindness and works to keep her people safe while knowing that they've all signed up to take heavy risks. When Kanan feels he has no future after the Purge, he's revitalized by a meeting with Hera. She also works as a mentor for Sabine and Ezra, guiding them to trust themselves in times of stress. Perhaps most notably, Hera's devotion to Chopper, who's regularly dismissed by others as more trouble than he's worth, shows that once Hera is in your corner, she's going to stay there.

She and Ahsoka go way back

Ahsoka is one of Hera's earliest alliances in the Rebellion, although they initially interact when Ahsoka is in disguise as Fulcrum. This is a name that many different Rebel informants used over the years with Ahsoka being the primary among them. Using an avatar of a mysterious cloaked figure, Ahsoka guides Hera and the Spectres by providing key intel and advising them when and how to approach highly dangerous situations. Though Hera and Ahsoka don't always agree, they always respect one another and recognize themselves as kindred spirits. Despite the early subterfuge of their encounters, Hera has always shown a great deal of trust and care toward the former Padawan of Anakin Skywalker.

As for what this backstory might mean for the development of "Ahsoka," all signs point to the relationships between Ahsoka, Sabine, and Hera being central to the plot. In a recent interview with Screenrant, Ahsoka actor Rosario Dawson commented on the complexity between the three women, noting that they're all true believers who have been run to the point of exhaustion by the constant conflict of their lives. "It's the history that they have and the trust that they have with each other and being able to count on each other now that they've got something overwhelming to strategize against," said Dawson. "I think it's really nice to see how these folks come back together again, and what that means for them to do so."

She was one step ahead of Lando

If there's anyone who matches Hera on charm, it's Lando Calrissian, even if his unique brand of flattery is generally in service to a long con. These two cross paths when Zeb and Kanan lose Chopper in a not-so-friendly game of sabacc with Calrissian. Infuriated, Hera is forced to take on a job in order to get Chopper back, which is, of course, what Calrissian wanted all along. However, in true Hera form, she's able to see right through his attempts to manipulate her crew. As Hera sternly notes, "You think by setting us against each other, you'll keep us off-balance enough to get what you want. But what you want depends on my crew working together in sync. Is that clear?"

In classic Calrissian form, this turns into a wild mission involving a puffer pig and a mining scheme, and no one is particularly surprised when a crime lord shows up demanding the immediate return of his illegal cargo. However, the crew doesn't hand Calrissian over; instead, they part on relatively good terms with a man who actively conned them into risking their lives for no pay. Chopper manages to make off with a few of Lando's fuel canisters, and they call it a day. Hera's leadership is reliant on being able to see through deception, and she does so with aplomb in this relatively low-stakes adventure.

Darth Maul almost took her out

Possessed of all the cunning of Lando and none of the roguish charm or ultimately good intentions, we have Darth Maul. Short-lived in the film franchise, Darth Maul got a second chance in the animated sphere where he repeatedly pops up as a major threat in "The Clone Wars" and "Star Wars Rebels," among other shows. In "Rebels," he deftly organizes a trap to ensnare Kanan and Ezra, taking the crew of the Ghost when Hera chooses to respond to his fake distress signal. He then begins negotiations with Kanan and Ezra, assuring them that if they hand over the holocrons they're currently in possession of, he'll free their friends.

As Kanan and Ezra go to retrieve one of the holocrons, Maul forces Hera to reveal the location of Kanan's Jedi holocron hidden deep inside the Ghost. Kanan and Ezra go to hand over the other holocron in hopes of freeing the rest of the crew, but naturally, Maul is not to be taken at his word, and he attempts to kill Kanan and keep Ezra around as an apprentice. Miraculously, Kanan gets loose and saves the others. Maul's plan very nearly works, as he forces Ezra to combine powers in order to use the holocrons, but ultimately, he flees after Ezra ends the ritual. Frankly, this was all a little too close for comfort, but the Spectres make it out in the end (if barely).

Her Twi'lek accent comes out when she's upset

As fans know, Twi'leks native to Ryloth speak in a French accent, which has caused some confusion as Hera's accent has come and gone depending on the time period and where she's at physically. According to a StarWars.com interview with voice actor Vanessa Marshall, there was a bit more nuance to this choice than you might expect. The actor, already fluent in French, was asked by Dave Filoni if she felt that being on Ryloth would change the way that Hera spoke. Marshall replied that if she was angry, the combination of emotions running high and being back home could naturally lead to her accent reemerging.

Marshall went on to say, "It seemed to me, in that area where Cham's pressing Hera's buttons, triggering her childhood issues, this is perhaps what Hera's childhood sounded like!" Marshall makes it clear that this wasn't just a one-off choice and took a surprising amount of thought to implement. She added that this new element helped inform audiences of a more subtle aspect of Hera's character. She said, "I think it did work, and I think it showed a kind of vulnerability in Hera that we haven't seen yet."

She might have been around for Rise of Skywalker and Rogue One

Hera has yet to make an appearance in any "Star Wars" films, but there have been a few Easter eggs and hints dropped that indicate we could be gearing up for a big-league movie appearance at some point down the line. In the 2016 film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Hera is never seen, but her name is called over an intercom at the Yavin 4 base. Additionally, her constant companion, the droid known as Chopper, makes a very brief cameo as he drifts by in the background of a scene in which Mon Mothma is being alerted about the battle at Scarif. Likewise, her ship, the Ghost, is seen several times during a massive battle sequence over Scarif, as well as among the Rebel fleet.

Adding to her impressive resume of near misses on the big screen, Hera might appear in "Rise of Skywalker," though if she does it's through piloting the Ghost once again. Eagle-eyed fans noted a suspiciously Ghost-like craft among the enormous wave of ships swooping in to help the Resistance against the Final Order. There has been a fair amount of speculation as to who might have been piloting the ship, with alternative options being Cham or Jacen Syndulla. In the end, the appearance is a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things, but it's always nice to see the Ghost in action.

She's got a pretty strong presence in the Legoverse

While "LEGO Star Wars" doesn't share the same continuity as the comics, novels, TV shows, and live-action films, fans of Hera Syndulla will be happy to know that she's had a fairly strong showing in that realm of non-canonical "Star Wars" stories. Appearing in "Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures," "Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales" and more, this has helped familiarize Hera for people interested in the "LEGO" franchise, giving her star power another boost. The Hera Syndulla mini-figure has been on the market since right around the time of the launch of "Rebels," and fans will be happy to know that the LEGO Microfighters take on the Ghost comes with a Hera figurine.

As for her role in the stories, Hera isn't a main character in series like "The Freemaker Adventures," which revolves around three siblings as they salvage and repair ships and accidentally end up in the middle of the conflict between the Empire and the Resistance. However, the classic good intentions and charm of Hera are front and center in episodes like "The Embersteel Blade," which sees her stepping into a skeptical but supportive role in helping the Freemaker siblings secure the credits needed for the titular blade. She has a bigger role in "LEGO Star Wars Rebels Movie Shorts," which shows her tapping into her ingenuity as a team leader.

She appears in a lot of comics, novels, and games

Beyond being a major player in "Rebels" and "Ahsoka" as well as various other appearances across the "Star Wars" galaxy, Hera Syndulla has a lot of also-canonical appearances in novels and comics. Perhaps the most significant to continuity is "A New Dawn," a novel written by John Jackson Miller that details the early alliance between Kanan and Hera. We see that the traumatized Kanan is unable to build stability following the Great Purge that killed so many Jedi, but Hera's determination and belief allows him to once again feel hope for the future as they team up on a dangerous adventure. Both Hera and Kanan have been the focus of various mini-series and one-shots, with Hera making appearances in everything from the main "Star Wars" series from Marvel Comics to the excellent original run of "Doctor Aphra" comics.

Hera has also appeared in several of the "Star Wars" video games, perhaps most notably in "Star Wars: Squadrons." The game shows her stepping up as general of the Starhawk Project, granting her a pivotal part in this relatively new addition to "Star Wars" lore. Her ability to make lightning-fast decisions under pressure shines, making this a fun bridge between the last episodes of "Rebels" and her pending appearance in "Ahsoka."