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Hera Syndulla May Be One of the Best Star Wars Characters Ever

Image: Disney XD
Image: Disney XD

Last night was the midseason finale of Star Wars Rebels season four, and while it was light on mythology and mystery, it did establish that Hera Syndulla may be one of the best Star Wars characters of all time.

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Now, Hera was already pretty amazing. A fearless leader, ace pilot, and amazing strategist. But she took things to a whole other level in this recent episode.

Illustration for article titled Hera Syndulla May Be One of the Best iStar Wars /iCharacters Ever
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Let’s go down the list of amazing stuff Hera did in last night’s episode, “Rebel Assault.” She led her very own Phoenix Squadron of X-Wings into battle. She single-handedly took out the elusive TIE Defender with a move that required her to fly through a Star Destroyer. She survived a crash landing. She beat the crap out of the very powerful assassin, Ruhk. She took down an Imperial walker and, ultimately, sacrificed herself so that a friend could get away.

That feels like enough heroism and awesomeness for a whole season, let alone a single episode. We’re talking top-level, tier one Star Wars-ing.

Besides being Hera’s episode through and through, “Rebel Assault” was kind of the Rebels season four equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back. Our heroes are on the run, someone is captured, and now a Jedi must save his friend from the clutches of an evil villain.

And while I admit to being a little let down by the lack of major revelations in the first nine episodes of this season, the focus of the story is very, very clear: The destiny of these characters is on Lothal. And, as long as they have Hera as an ally, things will probably be okay.

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Star Wars Rebels now takes a little hiatus before picking up the back half of its final season in 2018.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

Hera and Sabine are the only Rebels characters I really like. The others never did much for me. I feel the first season underutilized its female leads, but they’ve made up for it since then.

Another impressive thing about Hera: She’s probably the first Star Wars character to ever use realistic space physics in a fighter battle. SW and most space movies/shows usually portray space fighters following the same physics as aircraft: having to keep their nose pointed in the direction of travel and banking in order to turn in a wide arc. But Hera’s maneuver to defeat the TIE Defender involved rotating her X-Wing around its center of mass to fly sideways/backwards so she could shoot at a target behind her, and that’s something that should be perfectly normal for spacecraft, with no air resistance, lift, or drag to worry about and only momentum determining your direction of motion.

Of course, that was the only bit of realistic space physics in that battle, which also involved the common Rebels trope of crippled capital ships in airless, weightless space somehow sinking downward (and billowing smoke upward).