- "There really is no other character quite like her. And to quote The Force Awakens' Lor San Tekka, 'She'll always be royalty to me.'"
- ―Dave Filoni, about Princess Leia
"A Princess on Lothal" is the twelfth episode and winter premiere of the second season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. It is the twenty-seventh episode of the series overall. The episode, which aired on Disney XD on January 20, 2016, marks the debut of Princess Leia Organa on the series.
While Ezra grapples with the news about his parents, the rebels make plans with Senator Bail Organa to secure three much-needed cruisers. Leading the mission is an agent hand-picked by the Senator: his daughter, Leia.
A royal visit
Following the events of "Legacy," a white Loth-cat watches Kanan Jarrus talk with Hera Syndulla via hologram about his, Ezra Bridger, and Chopper's recent adventures on Lothal. While Ezra learned that his parents Ephraim and Mira Bridger had died, the rebels had been able to find a new ally in the form of Ryder Azadi, the former Governor of Lothal. Hera informs Kanan that Senator Bail Organa has heard about Phoenix Cell's recent losses on Garel, and is sending an agent to deliver them more ships.
Above the planet Lothal, three unidentified cruisers drop out of hyperspace and are intercepted by a light cruiser. Imperial Lieutenant Yogar Lyste demands to know the identities and purpose of the cruisers, due to rebel activity on Lothal forcing a planetary lockdown. The cruisers respond by declaring they are delivering relief aid to the people of Lothal, and are identified as Alderaanian when their landing permit comes through. Lyste is irritated at yet another "meddling delegation from Alderaan," and gives them instructions to land at the Jalath City depot for processing. The leader of the Alderaanian delegation, Princess Leia Organa, thanks Lyste, and after the Imperial officer signs off, states that "there's no turning back now."
Back at Ryder Azadi's hideout, Kanan tells Ezra about the rendezvous, and asks Ryder to come with them. He refuses, stating that he doesn't want to be involved in rebel activity for fear of being captured and thrown in prison again. Ryder does, however, let Kanan and Ezra take his speeder bike. When Kanan and Ezra, disguised as a stormtrooper and an Imperial cadet respectively, arrive at the garrison, the Hammerhead corvettes are just landing. Leia disembarks from one of the ships, and Ezra asks where her commander is. Kanan and Ezra remove their helmets and introduce themselves, and Leia tells them she knows who they are, and that since the deck officer is approaching, they had better put their helmets back on and keep their mouths shut. The deck officer tells Leia he has to scan her ships for contraband, and after he leaves Kanan tells Leia that things are off to a great start. Leia states that things are going perfectly, and asks where the rest of their team is. When Kanan tells her that they'll be there, Leia tells them that when they are, the rebels can steal her ships. Kanan and Ezra are surprised.
Seeing Lyste's shuttle landing, Leia tells Kanan and Ezra that she has to deal with the Lieutenant now. She adds that they should follow her lead, and Ezra asks Kanan why she gets to give orders when he doesn't. Kanan asks Ezra if he ever listens to himself, and Ezra replies that he does, and he's very interesting. Lyste tells Leia that he is aware that Alderaanian ships have a tendency to be "stolen" by rebels, and reassures her that he will make sure that doesn't happen this time. Several stormtroopers begin attaching devices to the fronts of Leia's ships, and the princess states that gravity locks are hardly necessary. Lyste insists, adding that he has stationed an extra detachment of stormtroopers around the area. A Gozanti-class cruiser flies in and deposits two All Terrain Armored Transports, as the final piece of Lyste's extra security. Leia assures the lieutenant that all of this is unnecessary, but he insists on doing so. Since her ships are grounded, Leia demands Lyste's Sentinel-class landing craft so she can start on her relief work, ordering the disguised Kanan and Ezra along.
On the landing craft, Leia states she wasn't expecting this much security, wondering how the rebels will be able to "steal" the ships now. Kanan tells her it's not her fault, and she explains that it is, because she came up with the plan. Ezra asks why the cruisers weren't just handed off to the rebels in deep space, and Leia tells him that if they did, the Empire would realize Alderaan was supporting the rebels, so they would be charged with treason and lose their seat in the Imperial Senate. If the rebels steal the ships on a planet controlled by the Empire, Alderaan won't be suspected of helping the rebel cause. Just then, they receive a distress call from Chopper. Returning to Ryder's hideout, they find a group of stormtroopers arresting Ryder and Chopper. Landing, Leia ask if those are friends of theirs, and Kanan remarks they won't be for much longer. He tells Leia that this time, she follows his lead. Disguised as a stormtrooper, Kanan tells the commander that he's taking the "princess ambassador" on a scouting trip for possible refugee relocation. The commander states that this area is unsafe due to a high level of rebel activity. Kanan offers to take the prisoners back to base and the commander refuses, stating that he has orders to execute one of them immediately. Leia intervenes, saying that as a representative of the Imperial Senate, she demands to know what Ryder has done to merit execution. The commander states that Ryder escaped from an Imperial prison, and again advises Leia to leave because, "Where you find one rebel, there are usually more." Chopper suddenly starts spinning around wildly, signalling to Kanan and Ezra that their friends are close.
On cue, the Ghost appears and shoots at the Imperial transports, and Leia asks Kanan if these are more friends of his. He confirms it, stating that he's a "likeable guy." Garazeb Orrelios and Sabine Wren disembark, and a firefight begins. Chopper rolls toward the ship, and Sabine tells him he can't board because he has to get the Phantom. Kanan grabs Ryder and pulls him behind a toppled Imperial Troop Transport, along with Ezra and Leia. Ryder comments to Kanan that his friends might shoot him wearing that armour, and Kanan, having an idea, tells Ryder to take the princess "hostage." When the former governor protests, Leia tells him that he has to take her prisoner so she doesn't blow her cover. Ezra signals Sabine to let her and Zeb know the stormtrooper and cadet on their left are their fellow rebels, and that they've got two incoming. Ryder shoves Kanan onto Ezra, then grabs Leia by the wrist and they run for the Ghost, Leia pretending to scream for help. Passing Zeb and Sabine, Ryder tells them that Kanan and Ezra are coming, and that Kanan said to "make it look good." The other stormtroopers move in, but Kanan tells the commander that Leia is his responsibility, so he'll get her back. Kanan and Ezra run to the ramp, where Zeb knocks out Kanan with his bo-rifle. When Ezra attempts to tell Zeb that the "stormtrooper" is Kanan, Zeb knocks him out as well, says "I know," and drags the unconscious duo onboard. Two of the fighting stormtroopers are surprised, and wonder if the rebels are now starting to take prisoners. Meanwhile, Chopper, piloting the Phantom, destroys Lyste's shuttle and follows the Ghost.
Aboard the Ghost, Kanan and Ezra, upon waking up, are not happy with Zeb for hitting them so hard. Kanan demands to know where the princess is, and Zeb tells him she's in the cockpit. Ryder thanks Hera for saving his life, and she tells him it's the least they could do. The others have learned about what happened to Ezra's parents, and offer their condolences to him. Ezra goes off to the nose gun to be by himself, and Kanan tells Leia that it's been hard for him, and he could use a friend. Leia talks with Ezra, telling him that she heard his broadcast, and he tells her about how his parents inspired many to resist the Empire's rule. Ezra asks Leia why she's fighting, since she's royalty, and she explains that since she can fight, she feels she has to, for those who can't. She thinks that Ezra might be the same way. At the base, Lyste is notified that Leia and the "cadet" were kidnapping and, horrified, orders an immediate search around the nearby area to find the rebels. Meanwhile on the Ghost, the Spectres wonder how they can get the cruisers, given the increased security. Leia motivates the team by explaining it's not a matter of why they can't get them, it's a matter of how they will. They quickly formulate a plan to get the ships, and Sabine suggests using explosives to blast off the gravity locks. Ryder chimes in, explaining that explosives won't be able to disable the gravity locks, which he knows because he had to build them in prison. Kanan asks if Ryder is finally helping the rebels, and he states only for the one time, since he's realized he can't stay on Lothal.
At the garrison, Lyste and his soldiers see the Phantom touch down. Lyste has his troopers put their guns on stun in case rebels are aboard, only to be met by Leia, accompanied by Kanan and Ezra in disguise. Leia tells Lyste that Kanan saved her life, and that he should be given a medal. While Lyste and his soldiers are distracted, Ryder, Chopper and Sabine disable one of the gravity locks. Sabine goes inside to pilot the cruiser, signalling for their air support, while Ryder and Chopper move on to the next one. Lyste tells Leia that her ships are still safe, and the princess responds that if he's trying to impress her, he's doing a miserable job of it. The lieutenant turns around to see one of Leia's cruisers flying away, and he immediately orders his soldiers to stop the rebels. The stormtroopers see Ryder and Chopper disabling a gravity lock, and begin firing at them. In response, Sabine, piloting her corvette, fires on the troopers, knocking them over. Kanan and Ezra then knock Lyste and his two soldiers out cold. One of the AT-ATs attacks the ship, and the Ghost swoops in and fires proton torpedoes at the walker, temporarily disabling it by causing it to kneel. Ezra suggests that it's time they got out of there. Leia says she doesn't think so, pointing at the AT-AT getting back to its feet, preparing to fire at Ryder and Chopper. Kanan tells Ezra to secure the third ship, and that he'll deal with the walker, and runs off as the princess wonders how he plans to do that. Ryder, seeing a stormtrooper running towards him, prepares to fire, but Chopper sees Kanan pull out his lightsaber and stops Ryder. Kanan, running past, tells Ryder to finish disabling the gravity lock, before igniting his lightsaber, to Ryder's considerable surprise. Still in stormtrooper armor, Kanan charges the AT-AT and severs two of its legs, causing it to topple.
Leia, witnessing Kanan's feat, excitedly asks Ezra if he saw it. Ezra, seeing two stormtroopers threatening Ryder and Chopper, tells the princess to watch him, Force pulling the troopers' blasters from their hands. He catches one, but the other hits him in the head. Leia grabs the fallen blaster and shoots the approaching troopers, before telling Ezra that it was "mostly" impressive. Ryder and Chopper disable the second gravity lock, and he tells Kanan to get in and pilot it. The Ghost continues to harry the other AT-AT, but is having little effect. Realizing that the rebels need help, Ryder goes aboard the third ship while telling Chopper to disable the gravity lock. Imperial reinforcements arrive, and tell the other AT-AT to take out the ships. Leia tells the officer not to kill them because of the ships, but the officer tells her that they can't let them fall into rebel hands. Ryder guns the ship's engines, straining against the gravity lock. Once Chopper finishes disabling the lock, Ryder uses the corvette's thrusters to topple the second AT-AT.
Ezra hurries up the ramp of Ryder's corvette, and Leia approaches. They say goodbye to each other, saying that they'll see each other again soon. Before they go, Leia tells Ezra to stun her to avoid suspicion. Ezra does so just as Lyste and the other stormtroopers regain their senses, which prompts him to go see if she is all right. Meanwhile, Chopper takes off with the Phantom, following the rebel ships. Leia tells Lyste she is fine, but all three of her ships have been stolen by the rebels. She threatens to blackmail Lyste unless he pays for her lost ships, which he quickly agrees to. When the princess demands another transport so she can return home, Lyste offers her his ship, only to realize that it's gone missing.
In deep space, the rebels are pleased that they managed to get all three ships. Ryder, now realizing that what Ezra's parents started has become even larger then he thought, offers to help the rebel cause for both them and their son's sake. The screen pans out as the growing rebel fleet moves out of the Lothal system.
- "The Empire sees her as a privileged princess who runs mercy missions to wayward worlds, but in truth she is much stronger and more dangerous than they imagine."
- ―Dave Filoni, regarding Princess Leia
"A Princess on Lothal" aired on Disney XD on January 20, 2016, marks the debut of Princess Leia Organa on Star Wars Rebels. According to Dave Filoni, executive producer of the show, the creative team felt that they had an opportunity to show Leia before she became the leader seen in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. As she is a younger character from when audiences first met her, it allowed the team to experiment with her personality before she became more resolute in the original film. One of the challenges of bringing Leia onto the show was that audiences would have to be reminded that she is part of the Empire at this point in her life, and while she believes in the ideals of the rebellion she has to act the part of a loyal Imperial. The Empire itself views Leia as a privileged princess who undertakes mercy missions, but, according to Filoni, Leia is actually "much stronger and more dangerous than they imagine."
Leia's appearance in this episode is her only appearance in the second season. She is voiced by Julie Dolan, who also provides the character's voice in the video game Star Wars: Uprising and the Disney theme park ride Star Tours. Her outfit is based on concept art by Ralph McQuarrie for A New Hope.
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