"A Fool's Hope" is the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. The episode premiered on March 5, 2018, right before the series finale "Family Reunion – and Farewell."
The episode opens with the Ghost flying to the planet Seelos. Rex contacts Gregor and Wolffe over the comlink, asking "Ghost to Joopa Base, do you copy?" The Ghost is directed to coordinates G782. The ship flies into Seelos' atmosphere and lands on top of Gregor and Wolffe's modified AT-AT walker, which now features a landing platform. When Hera Syndulla enters with Rex and the Imperial defector Kallus, Wolffe tells them that they were expecting them on the last rotation. Hera apologizes that they were delayed by the tough Imperial blockade.
Hondo Ohnaka replies that would be no problem with him. Hera and the others see Hondo and the Ugnaught Melch sitting on a nearby table. Hondo then climbs over the table and offers his services to Hera. Ketsu Onyo adds that he wasn't hard to find, and talks a lot for a smuggler. Hondo replies that he is a pirate, which he regards as more romantic than being a smuggler. Kallus then tells them that it is time that they discussed the mission. Hondo assumes that it is another smuggling run and asks how they are going to split the profits, before asking who they are liberating.
Wolffe remarks that Rebel Command never sent a briefing. Rex responds that this mission is not for the Rebellion. Hera explains that this mission is for Ezra and that they are liberating his homeworld of Lothal and need help. She appeals to all of them. Wolffe thinks that that they have little odds of prevailing against a planet full of Imperials. Hondo agrees, but recognizes that the boy has spirit and stands for a time when there was something you could still believe in. Ketsu points out that Ezra is a Jedi. Wolffe says he followed the Jedi into battle many times. Gregor is willing to give it another go. When Hera asks if they are in, Hondo takes off his hat and says that there is nothing he would not do for that boy.
Outside the Lothal cliff dwelling that serves as the Lothal resistance group and Spectres' base, Sabine Wren finds Ezra Bridger meditating outside the rocky mounds (where Kanan had his last meditation). When she checks on him, Ezra tells her that something has changed and that he has to talk to Hera. Cikatro Vizago informs Ezra that he has General Syndulla on the hologram and leads them into the command center. In the presence of the other rebels including Sabine, Mart Mattin and Ryder Azadi, Ezra announces that they must act now if they want to take Capital City from the Galactic Empire. Garazeb Orrelios responds that Ezra's plan is crazy, and questions the urgency.
Ezra tells them that the Emperor is bringing Grand Admiral Thrawn back to Lothal and that it is now or never. Ryder thinks that they don't stand a chance against Thrawn due to the failure of the last attack. He thinks that their best course of action is to lay low, reorganize, and rebuild their forces. Ezra tells Ryder to trust in him, but Ryder counters that they need an army to retake Capital City. Ezra counters that they don't need an army – just one person.
Later, at the "Dome", an Imperial officer informs Governor Arihnda Pryce that his forces have scanned the outer reaches but have found no sign of the rebels. Pryce switches off a hologram of Lothal, and fumes that Thrawn will execute her when he returns if she has failed to find the rebels. She threatens to execute the officer should he fail. The officer promises to commit more troops and takes his leave. Another officer bursts into the room to inform Pryce that she has received an incoming transmission on an old pre-Imperial frequency.
The transmission is from Ryder, which Pryce remarks is a bold move. When Ryder says that he does anything to survive, she curtly replies that strategy did not work for him. Ryder counters that he's still alive and offers to bring her "something that she needs". When Pryce asks if he has come to offer his head on a platter, Ryder tells her that he has come to betray the other rebels. When Pryce asks why he wants to betray them, Ryder claims that he doesn't want to return to an Imperial prison. Pryce offers Ryder an amnesty in return for bringing her Bridger, Syndulla and the other rebels. Pryce remarks that it is cowardly. When Ryder asks if they have a deal, Pryce tells him to send his coordinates. Ryder smiles and Pryce smirks.
The gunship assault
Later at the rebel camp, Sabine asks Ezra about his connection to the Loth-wolves. He admits that he can't explain it, but says that sometimes the connection is strong while other times he is on his own. Sabine remarks that she hopes his plan will work and that he can use the Force. The two notice the wolves are running away. The rebels in the camp, including Mart Mattin and Jai Kell, sense sudden movement. Sabine asks Ezra if he heard that. Ezra warns Zeb that they are coming just as six Imperial patrol transports approach the encampment. The gunships begin strafing the camp, and deploy several jumptroopers.
Sabine vows to handle the flyers while the rebels exchange fire with the gunships. Governor Pryce orders her men to be ready to take the "Jedi boy" alive since they don't want to disappoint their Emperor. Jai shoots at the gunships, while Sabine flies her jetpack after the jumptroopers. One of the patrol transports land and disgorges the Noghri tracker Rukh and several stormtroopers. Sabine runs circles around the jumptroopers and takes out a patrol transport with a jet rocket, causing the stricken gunship to crash.
Ezra tells Chopper to warn Hera they are under attack before deflecting Rukh's electrostaff bolts with his lightsaber. He cuts down two stormtroopers. Rukh ambushes Ezra from above and fires a salvo at him. Ezra narrowly manages to avoid by jumping out of harm's way. Armed with his electrostaff, Rukh duels with Ezra. Chopper is pursued by a stormtrooper and jumps down a ledge. He then uses his mechanical arm to drag the stormtrooper down.
While traveling through hyperspace, Hera and Kallus receive Ezra's transmission. As they exit hyperspace above Lothal, Hera tells them to be ready to power down as the Ghost approaches Thrawn's Seventh Fleet. Kallus thinks that they weren't detected. Hera tells Hondo that it is time to join the Rebellion. He tells her to move towards a hyperspace lane. When Hera protests, he responds that it is technically outside a hyperspace lane and that their plan is to latch on to an arriving cargo ship. Kallus thinks Hondo is mad, and warns that the ship will crash into them. Hondo explains that as a pirate he is prepared to take that risk in order to help Ezra. He reassures them that he has done it many times, but is coy about his failures.
Back on Lothal, Sabine takes out another jumptrooper. She then flies through two patrol transports and shoots at the stormtrooper gunners. Ezra fights with Rukh, whose reflexes prove a match for the boy's Force powers. Rukh falls over a roof and Ezra moves away. However, Rukh manages to cling to the rock face and scurries up the cliff. Meanwhile, the other rebels have taken a defensive position on top of the former Mining Guild ore crawler. Pryce orders her troops to storm the crawler. Zeb grabs a mortar and charges at a landing gunship, taking out several stormtroopers. He shoots at the gunship, causing it to fall off the top of the crawler. However, two more gunships land on top of the crawler and outflank the rebels. With his mortar out of juice, Zeb hurls it at the stormtroopers. Ezra then arrives and joins the fight. He wonders where Hera is.
Back in space, Rex warns Hera they can't sit there and doubts that Ezra can hold out for much longer. Hondo counsels patience, and reassures them that the Empire runs shipments to Lothal all the time. Shortly after, an Imperial cargo ship exits hyperspace behind them. The rebels take their chance, with Hondo telling Hera not to power up until they have latched onto the ship. Hera tells Rex to stand by with the magnetic clamp. At Hera's command, they latch onto cargo freighter EF-75. The Ghost rides the cargo ship through the Imperial blockade. When the Imperial authorities clear the freighter for passage, Hondo celebrates. Hera tells her crew that as soon as they enter orbit she'll give Ezra the signal.
Back on Lothal, Sabine leads a pair of jumptroopers on a chase and causes them to crash into a ledge. The rebels soon find themselves surrounded by stormtroopers, and begin to suffer casualties. Zeb cries out that there are too many Imperials. Rukh roams through the camp, with Ryder taking care not to shoot him to perpetuate the ruse that he is a traitor. As the Imperials encircle them, Vizago says he is going to regret the day he met Ezra. Ezra counters that the day is not over yet as an older rebel is shot down.
Governor Pryce watches the battle from her gunship and orders her crew to target the ore crawler. The patrol transport fires a volley of missiles that destroy the middle of the crawler, causing the front and rear sections to collapse. The rebels and Imperials abandon the stricken freighter, with the latter on gunships. Mart leaps to safety while several stormtroopers fall into the flaming wreckage. Ezra tells Sabine to take Vizago, while he and Zeb jump from the stricken crawler onto a platform. They climb onto the platform only to discover that stormtroopers have already captured and disarmed the others.
Rukh orders Ezra and Zeb to drop their weapons. Rukh informs Governor Pryce that the rebel base is secured and that they have the boy. Pryce arrives with the three remaining gunships. She greets Ezra, Sabine, Zeb, and Ryder Azadi. She tells Ryder to stand up and thanks him for "bringing peace" to Lothal. Sabine feigns anger at Ryder, who remarks that the rebels were never going to win without an army. Pryce praises Ryder for his wise choice. Ezra counters that he knew that she would fall for their ruse, unlike Thrawn. Pryce responds that they both took a gamble but that she won.
Turning the tables
At that point, Ezra's wrist comm buzzes. Ryder then reveals that this was a trap to lure Pryce to them. Pryce is unperturbed, and thinks that their rebellion is over. Rukh gazes up just as the Ghost descends on the camp and destroys Pryce's gunship. Ezra tells the rebels to get down as Hera strafes the stormtroopers. Hondo mans the front turret while Ketsu serves as co-pilot. Melch uses the rear turret to shoot down another patrol transport and cheers. The remaining stormtroopers continue fighting while Rex, Gregor, Wolffe, and Kallus charge down the gangplank to join the fight.
Sabine tells Chopper to jam the Imperials' transmissions, disorienting the stormtroopers. The Imperials still have two gunships, which pursue the Ghost. Despite reinforcements, Vizago points out they are still outnumbered. Ezra tells them to fall back to the cave. Believing the rebels are fleeing into a dead end, Pryce tells Rukh to bring her Bridger and orders the stormtroopers to eliminate the others. Rukh leads the stormtroopers into the cave, where they find Ezra shrouded in darkness. Rukh asks the Jedi where is his army.
Ezra responds by igniting his lightsaber, just as three Loth-wolves, including the white Loth-wolf, emerge from behind. Rukh turns to retreat as the Loth-wolves attack the Imperials. The white Loth-wolf grabs Rukh and drags him outside. Rukh fights back, but the creature flings him off a cliff. The Loth-wolves drive away or maul the remaining stormtroopers. Ezra and the rebels emerge to see the wolves driving the Imperials away and the Ghost pursing the gunships. Melch shoots down one of the gunships, and Hondo admits that his friend is a better gunner... when directed by Hondo.
Hera rams the Ghost into the remaining gunship, causing it to crash. The rebels watch as the Loth-wolves rip through the remaining stormtroopers. Gregor jokes to Wolffe that he's now gotten his "wolfpack" back. Wolffe remarks that they fight just like his old squad. One of the wolves tosses a stormtrooper down a cliff, while Wolffe and Gregor exchange laughs. The remaining stormtroopers raise their hands and surrender. Zeb orders them to drop their weapons as the rebels disarm them. The white Loth-wolf carries a frightened Pryce in its jaws. Pryce pleads with the rebels not to let the wolves eat her as the creature drops her in front of Ryder, Rex, and Kallus.
Ezra gives Ryder the honor of cuffing Pryce as she bows her head in defeat. After the battle, Ezra meets up with Hera, Hondo, Melch, and Ketsu. Hera praises Ezra for his victory despite the odds. He replies that he could not have done it without her help and the rest of the Lothal resistance. Hondo praises Ezra and asks if he can take his leave. Ezra responds that he wishes it was over but stresses that "their struggle is not over until they drive the Empire from Lothal and show the galaxy they can be defeated."
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Notes and references
- The epilogue of the Star Wars Rebels episode "Family Reunion – and Farewell" occurs after the end of the Galactic Civil War, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 5 ABY, while Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition establishes that the Liberation of Lothal occurs prior to the Battle of Yavin, which marks the end of 0 BBY, according to Galactic Atlas. Lothal's liberation takes place between the Star Wars Rebels episode "Wolves and a Door" and the "Family Reunion – and Farewell" epilogue, between which Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy establishes there is a five-year gap. Therefore, in order to maintain the aforementioned five-year gap that ends no earlier than 5 ABY while still preceding the Battle of Yavin, the Liberation of Lothal must take place in 0 BBY. As the episode "A Fool's Hope" takes place prior to "Wolves and a Door," it must also take place around the same year.