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Star Wars: The Untold Truth Of Sabine Wren

Before Pedro Pascal brought Din Djarin to life on Disney+, another Mandalorian warrior captured the imagination of Star Wars fans. No, not Boba Fett; he's never claimed that heritage, despite the armor. Sabine Wren was a young Mandalorian and one of the stars of Star Wars: Rebels, an animated series set in the years just before the events of Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, when the Empire had subjugated the galaxy and the flames of rebellion were just beginning to spark.

As the title implies, the show followed a group of rebels as they struck against the Empire, gradually finding themselves part of a much larger movement. Sabine Wren was the most colorful member of the team, both figuratively and literally. With her custom-painted armor and punky dyed hair, she was simultaneously reminiscent of previous Mandalorian characters who had appeared on Star Wars: Clone Wars and unlike any Star Wars character fans had ever seen before.

Star Wars: Rebels ended a few years back, but Sabine's still out there, and fans keep expecting her to show up on The Mandalorian or elsewhere in Disney's expanding Star Wars universe. So let's take a look back at her history, and get to know Sabine Wren a little better.

Scion of Clan Wren

Sabine is human, like most Mandalorians, and comes from Clan Wren, which is a part of House Vizsla. The head of that House during the Clone Wars was Pre Vizsla, founder of Death Watch. This was in an era when Duchess Satine Kryze, the ruler of Mandalore, instituted reforms that restructured the historically warlike Mandalorian culture into a peaceful one, with nary a T-shaped visor in sight. 

Pre Vizsla and his followers vehemently opposed these changes, and attempted to preserve and rebuild the warrior culture of Mandalore. They also used terroristic tactics in an attempt to take over Mandalore by force. As a member of House Vizsla, Sabine's mother Ursa Wren was a member of Death Watch and believed in their cause. Not all Death Watch members were part of House Vizsla, however. In fact, Duchess Satine's sister Bo-Katan Kryze was also a prominent member of the faction.

In their efforts to take control of Mandalore, Death Watch allied themselves with the Sith Lord Darth Maul, a compromise that some members, including Bo-Katan, found unacceptable. Ursa Wren helped Bo-Katan and her allies, including Ahsoka Tano, retake control of Mandalore from Maul and the corrupted Death Watch. Before long, however, the Republic became the Empire and Mandalore was under its heel. Gar Saxon, a former ally of Maul, became Imperial Viceroy of the planet, and an Imperial Academy was established there.

A dedicated Imperial Cadet loses her faith

Ursa Wren married an artist named Alrich, and Sabine Wren was their first-born child. Growing up on Imperial occupied Mandalore, Sabine found no reason to question the Empire. She took after both her parents, a warrior and an artist, but since the warrior within her was more valued by both Mandalorian and Imperial culture, she enrolled in the Imperial Academy. The more she learned, however, the more her thinking expanded beyond what was acceptable to the Empire. She found herself inspired by leaders like the Twi'lek revolutionary Cham Syndulla and Fenn Rau, a leader of the Mandalorian Protectors.

Before she lost faith in the Empire, however, Sabine gave them a deadly weapon to use against her own people, something she would soon regret. A brilliant and creative mind, she designed an Arc Pulse Generator that reacted with the beskar steel of a Mandalorian's armor, incinerating it and disintegrating the warrior inside. Mandalorians in particular viewed such a weapon as an abomination because they consider their armor sacred, and Sabine's innovation turned their armor against them. As a guilt-racked Sabine watched the Empire use a weapon she built against her own people, she realized she could no longer be a party to such evil.

Disowned by her family

Sabine spoke out against the Empire and destroyed the arc pulse generator (although the Empire was able to build another one using her previous research). Sabine's parents, as well as her younger brother Tristan, sided with the Empire and cast Sabine out of their house. Sabine and her friend Ketsu Onyo deserted the Imperial Academy and fled the planet Mandalore. This made things worse for her family, even though they had chosen the Empire over her. Her father was taken hostage by Viceroy Saxon to secure her mother's continued cooperation, and Tristan was conscripted into Saxon's Imperial Super Commandos.

As for Sabine and Ketsu, they became bounty hunters and partners in crime, hoping to work their way into the criminal organization Black Sun. The underworld is no place for maintaining friendships, however, and they ultimately parted acrimoniously, with Ketsu choosing profit over her friend's life, and leaving Sabine for dead. In time, Sabine came to realize that it wasn't enough to not be an active part of the Imperial regime — she needed to actively work against it.

A rebel finds her place

Although she was still in her teens, Sabine soon became part of a rebel cell on the planet Lothal. The team, known as the Spectres, also included the Twi'lek captain Hera Syndulla (daughter of Cham, who Sabine had studied in school), a former Jedi Padawan named Kanan Jarrus, an astromech droid nicknamed Chopper, and the Lasat warrior Garazeb Orrelios. The Spectres used Hera's ship, a modified freighter named the Ghost, as their mobile base of operations. Although they were not yet part of an organized Rebel Alliance, the Spectres ran missions of their own, sabotaging Imperial operations wherever possible as well as stealing and redistributing their supplies.

While on a mission to liberate a group of enslaved Wookiees, the Spectres encountered a young pickpocket from Lothal named Ezra Bridger, who quickly got entangled in their conflict with a squadron of Stormtroopers led by Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus. Ezra quickly became infatuated with Sabine, although she did not return his interest. Kanan also took an interest in the boy's natural talent with the Force, and Ezra soon joined the Spectres, taking up the Rebel cause.

Designs of an influential artist

In addition to her technical skills and battle savvy, Sabine also gained a reputation as a graffiti artist. On one mission with the Spectres in Lothal's Capital City, Sabine was given the job of creating a diversion so the Ghost could escape. She snuck onto a TIE fighter landing platform and spray-painted a stylized purple starbird on the vertical wing of a TIE fighter. When a group of stormtroopers caught sight of the masked Mandalorian vandal, she set off a paint bomb, creating an explosion of color and splattering the stunned stormtroopers with paint. From that day on, the stormtroopers of Lothal called Sabine "The Artist," and considered her a wanted fugitive for the havoc she'd caused.

As for that starbird symbol she'd painted on the TIE fighter, longtime Star Wars fans will quickly guess that it evolved in time into the official insignia of the Rebel Alliance, eventually becoming the upright symmetrical version that appears on the front of Luke Skywalker's X-Wing helmet, among other places. Sabine's artistic influence began to spread after the Spectres became part of a larger organization of Rebels led by Ahsoka Tano, the former Jedi Padawan who had worked with Sabine's mother years earlier.

An Imperial Cadet once more

Before long, Sabine found herself once more in the uniform of an Imperial Cadet, but this time working undercover for the Rebels. Using the name Ria Talla, she infiltrated Skystrike Academy, where the Empire trained its most elite pilots. The Rebels had been alerted to some cadets who were looking to defect, and Sabine soon connected with the trio of Wedge Antilles, Derek "Hobbie" Klivian, and Rake Gahree, who were indeed looking for a chance to escape to the Rebellion. Unfortunately, Imperial Governor Arihnda Pryce and Agent Kallus arrived soon after, to investigate reports of spies and defectors.

Governor Pryce flushed out the dissidents by arranging a combat simulation in space, which she knew would look too much like a perfect opportunity to pass up. When Sabine and the three cadets took the bait, Pryce disabled their TIE Fighters and had Rake's destroyed to set an example. She then interrogated the other three, trying to determine which one was the Rebel infiltrator. She was ready to torture Wedge when Sabine confirmed that it was her. This led to a fight between Sabine and Pryce, who accidentally activated the torture device and stunned herself unconscious. Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie escaped with the help of Agent Kallus, who had become sympathetic to the Rebel cause.

The Darksaber and the liberation of Mandalore

During an encounter with Darth Maul on the planet Dathomir, Sabine found the Darksaber, an ancient Mandalorian weapon that Maul had taken after killing its previous wielder, Pre Vizsla, during the Clone Wars. She took the weapon upon leaving the planet, although at the time she was reluctant to use it, feeling alienated from Mandalorian traditions because of her estrangement from her family. Soon, however, she was persuaded to begin training with Kanan, who had already been teaching Ezra how to fight with a lightsaber. Sabine was also given other Mandalorian weapons by the Mandalorian Protector Fenn Rau, who had become an ally of the Rebellion.

Sabine, Fenn, Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper went on a mission to visit Sabine's family and see if they could be recruited into the Rebellion. At first that seemed hopeless, and in fact Sabine's mother was ready to turn the entire group and the Darksaber over to Imperial Viceroy Gar Saxon. Saxon, however, quickly proved himself to be without honor and was ready to slaughter Clan Wren, but his forces were routed and he was defeated in personal combat by Sabine. When she refused to kill him according to Mandalorian tradition, he renewed his attack on her but was shot by her mother. Thus Clan Wren became allies of the Rebels, and a civil war began on Mandalore. After Clan Saxon was defeated, Sabine passed the Darksaber and rulership of Mandalore to Bo-Katan Kryze.

Lothal liberated in turn

After the victory on Mandalore, Sabine and her allies journeyed to Yavin IV, where they were finally welcomed into the full Rebel Alliance and met its leaders Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and General Jan Dodonna for the first time. After proving themselves on a mission to disrupt the Empire's ability to track the Alliance, they briefly worked with the extremist Saw Gerrera, but found his disregard for civilian life to be at odds with their own ethical code.

Not long after, the Spectres returned to Lothal, where their own rebellion had begun, to liberate it from the Empire. Lacking the resources to take Capital City directly, they lured Governor Pryce and her forces to their own base, where Sabine trapped Pryce by pretending to be captured by her. With Pryce seized, the Rebels were on the verge of taking Capital City and expelling the Imperial forces from Lothal. But then the tide seemed to turn when Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn arrived with a Star Destroyer. Victory was still within reach, but it would require Ezra Bridger to do something drastic.

The search for Ezra Bridger

On an earlier adventure, Ezra had formed a psychic connection with a group of Purrgil, massive semi-sentient space whales with the ability to travel through hyperspace under their own power. As he confronted Thrawn aboard the Star Destroyer above Lothal, Ezra called out to his Purrgil friends. The creatures pulled Thrawn's ship, with both the Grand Admiral and Ezra aboard, through hyperspace to an unknown destination.

In a previously recorded holo-message, Ezra told his friends that he had planned all along to remove the threat of Grand Admiral Thrawn from his home planet of Lothal. In the message he also told Sabine, "I'm counting on you." With Lothal liberated, Sabine elected to stay on the planet, figuring Ezra was depending on her to protect it. The Rebels expected Imperial forces to retaliate and attempt to retake Lothal, but the anticipated attack never came. The Empire was distracted by this point, as the Rebellion had grown and begun to score major victories across the galaxy, including those depicted in Rogue One and the original Star Wars trilogy.

After the Empire fell, Sabine began to think that Ezra might be counting on her for something besides defending his homeworld. She joined Ahsoka Tano, and the two of them set out to search the galaxy for their friend, knowing that Ezra Bridger was alive out there somewhere.

What does the future hold?

So far, we don't know what became of Sabine Wren after the epilogue of Star Wars: Rebels, or how her search for Ezra Bridger went. When Ahsoka Tano showed up on The Mandalorian, a series set a few years later, she was searching for Grand Admiral Thrawn. That certainly might be a step along the way to finding Ezra, but Sabine was nowhere to be seen. Is it possible their search is still ongoing, and Sabine Wren was following another lead while Ahsoka liberated the city of Calodan? Or have they split up entirely, either because their mission to find Ezra is over or due to some other reason? Those are questions with no definite answers, although we'll likely learn more in the future.

One good rule of thumb for an ongoing multimedia franchise is that popular lead characters rarely die offscreen. So it seems likely that either Ezra Bridger is still out there somewhere waiting to be found in the era of The Mandalorian, or he's already with Sabine having further adventures. With Disney bringing more and more Star Wars to the big and small screens, these threads will surely be picked up in time.

Sabine Wren in live action?

Although it would have seemed unthinkable in the pre-Disney era, several Star Wars characters have now made the transition from animation to live action. Saw Gerrera, who had been voiced by Andrew Kishino on Star Wars: Clone Wars, was played by Forrest Whitaker in Rogue One. Whitaker then voiced Gerrera for his appearances on Star Wars: Rebels. Ahsoka Tano, voiced by Ashley Eckstein in Clone Wars and Rebels, was played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian. And of course Bo-Katan Kryze was played by Katee Sackhoff across all three shows, in both animation and live action.

Sabine Wren has yet to appear in live action, but there's every reason to believe she might. On Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine is voiced by Tiya Sircar, who is only a little older than Sabine would be in the time of The Mandalorian, and she has the petite build and quirky charm that the character requires. What's more, Sircar has expressed interest in bringing the character to live action. Her complexion might be a bit darker than Sabine's animated look, but that would not be a legitimate reason to deny her the role.

With Rosario Dawson set to star in an Ahsoka series, and the ongoing storyline of The Mandalorian growing more Mandalore-centric with the introduction of Bo-Katan and the Darksaber, Sabine Wren showing up in one of these shows (if not both) feels inevitable. And with Tiya Sircar available and excited to don that colorful armor, how can Disney resist?