- "You're like your mother. She was once a dreamer, too."
"But I learned to be a leader by watching you."
- ―Cham Syndulla and his daughter, Hera
Cham Syndulla, nicknamed The Hammer of Ryloth for his heroics during the Clone Wars, was a Twi'lek male who dedicated his life to being a resistance fighter and revolutionary leader during the Clone Wars and the early days of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Syndulla started as a political revolutionary who opposed the corruption of Ryloth's senator, Orn Free Taa, but the invasion of Ryloth by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars saw him turn his attention towards rebellion. He formed the Twi'lek Resistance and fought alongside Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di and the Grand Army of the Republic in their initial attempts to repel the Separatist warlord Wat Tambor and the Separatist Droid Army, but the Republic's initial assistance was limited and the Twi'leks were vastly outnumbered. Though Syndulla was reluctant to trust the Republic again and feared a Republic military occupation of Ryloth, Syndulla ultimately allied himself with Jedi General Mace Windu and, together, they liberated Ryloth from the Separatists.
His concerns over the Republic were eventually confirmed when, at the end of the Clone Wars, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine declared himself Emperor and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Even though Syndulla initially hoped for peace, Ryloth fell under Imperial Military occupation, and his wife Eleni Syndulla was killed by the Empire. Ultimately, Syndulla formed the Free Ryloth Movement to fight back. He and the movement hoped to strike a crippling blow to the Empire by attempting to assassinate the Emperor and his apprentice, Darth Vader, when they visited Ryloth, but the plot failed. In reality, it was a trick by the Emperor to lure the Free Ryloth movement into a trap. Many of the movement's members were killed, but Syndulla managed to escape.
Syndulla's wife Eleni was killed at some point during the Twi'lek rebellion and also had a son who died young, so Syndulla fully dedicated himself to his cause and cared only about liberating Ryloth. This created strain in Syndulla's relationship with his daughter, Hera, who left Ryloth to fight the Empire on other worlds. In the third year before the Battle of Yavin, Syndulla partnered with Hera and her rebel forces in order to capture an Imperial carrier over Ryloth for the rebel fleet. The elder Syndulla briefly betrayed the rebels in an attempt to destroy the carrier, hoping to use its destruction as a symbol to rally the people of Ryloth to the cause of his resistance, but he ultimately helped the rebels capture the carrier. In the process, an Arquitens-class command cruiser was destroyed, giving Syndulla the symbol he hoped for. The events led him to reconcile with Hera and see the virtues of fighting the Empire beyond just Ryloth. By the time of the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War, Cham had become a grandfather to Jacen Syndulla, a male human-Twi'lek who was the son of Cham's daughter Hera and the Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Political revolutionary
- 1.2 The Clone Wars
- 1.3 Age of the Empire
- 1.4 Legacy
- 2 Personality and traits
- 3 Skills and abilities
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Sources
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 External links
Cham Syndulla hailed from the planet Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi'leks. Syndulla became a political revolutionary and opposed what he saw as the corruption in the Galactic Republic. For Syndulla, the corruption had no greater face than that of Orn Free Taa, the senator of Ryloth. The distrust that Syndulla felt towards the senator was mutual; Taa considered Syndulla to be a political radical, one who was unpredictable and sought to gain power for himself. In actuality, Syndulla's goal was the freedom of his people, which he fought for throughout his life. Syndulla married a Twi'lek woman named Eleni, and they had a daughter, Hera, together. Hera was inspired by his leadership amongst their people.
The Clone Wars
Fall of Ryloth
- "I promise you, Cham, the Republic will not abandon Ryloth."
"I've heard enough of your promises, Jedi. The fact remains, if we stay here without reinforcements, we're all going to die."
- ―Generals Ima-Gun Di and Cham Syndulla
During the Clone Wars, twenty-two years before the Battle of Yavin, Emir Wat Tambor of the Techno Union led the Separatist Droid Army in an invasion of Ryloth. As Hera and Eleni fled underground, Syndulla turned his political revolution into an armed resistance movement and formed the Twi'lek Resistance to combat the Separatist Alliance and liberate his world. Syndulla and his freedom fighters were the first to battle the Separatist forces on Ryloth. Eleni joined her husband's effort. They were soon aided by a garrison from the Grand Army of the Republic, under the command of Jedi General Ima-Gun Di and Clone Captain Keeli. With their help, Syndulla mounted a defense of a Twi'lek refugee encampment, where the resistance fighters' families dwelled, against an army of battle droids.
Along with his friend and fellow soldier Gobi Glie, Syndulla commanded the resistance against the approaching battle droids. The situation turned dire as the resistance forces began running low on food, water, and ammunition as a result of the Separatist blockade of Ryloth. General Di attempted to find more supplies by sending a message to the Jedi High Council through the orbiting Republic fleet, but the fleet was destroyed and the Republic supply lines were completely cut off. Without the Republic's re-supply efforts, the Republic and resistance forces lost more ground to the droid army and became trapped in the cliffs where the refugee village had been established.
The dire situation tested Syndulla's faith in the Grand Army of the Republic, and it seemed that the survival of the resistance was a lost cause. General Syndulla felt betrayed by the turn of events; he and his people were promised Republic assistance, and the Republic did not deliver. Di, however, came up with a plan to save the refugees and the resistance fighters. To do so, they would use their remaining gunship as a bomb that would collapse an adjacent pass, cutting the Separatists off from the resistance fighters and their families. Once the pass collapsed, Di and Keeli would cover the Twi'lek retreat.
Once the plan was in motion, Syndulla and Glie prepared their forces and their families to leave, while the Republic began their distraction. Syndulla successfully led his people to safety, but Di and Keeli were killed while providing cover for the resistance. Their sacrifice, however, was not a lost cause; the Twi'lek Resistance lived to fight another day, and the Republic—with the help of Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan and the King Katuunko of Toydaria—sent re-supply ships through the Separatist blockade. With the Republic able to slip through, the resistance fighters and their people acquired the food and medical supplies they so desperately needed.
- "I was wondering when you'd find me, Master Jedi."
"General Syndulla, I've come for your help."
"What makes you think you'll get it?"
- ―Cham Syndulla meets Mace Windu
After escaping, the resistance forces continued to engage the Separatist Droid Army in the hopes of liberating Ryloth, though Syndulla no longer had any desire to see assistance from the Republic that had failed to help them before. The Separatists pursued Syndulla's forces and slaughtered many Twi'leks, littering the plains of Ryloth with the bodies of Twi'leks who stood against them. The freedom fighters set up refugee camps underground, which they maintained while engaging droid patrols.
Despite their initial losses, the Republic mounted a major offensive to retake Ryloth from Wat Tambor and the Separatists, scoring a number of victories against the Droid Army. Jedi General Mace Windu traveled to Ryloth with the intention of taking the capital of Lessu from the droids, and the Republic suffered losses in a failed attempt to retake the capital. Windu sought out Syndulla in the plains, where the general surrounded the Jedi as Windu explained he and his forces, including ARF troopers Stak and Razor, had come to enlist Syndulla's help in liberating Ryloth. Syndulla brought the Jedi into his camp, where he found that Glie had been injured and urged him to tend to his wounds so he could return to the fight. After seeing to his friend, Syndulla offered Windu food and drink. Supplies were short, but Syndulla honored the traditions of Twi'lek hospitality.
Syndulla was reluctant to trust Windu for a number of reasons. Not only had the Republic already abandoned Ryloth once, but Syndulla also feared what would happen after the liberation of Ryloth—to the freedom fighter, a Republic military presence on Ryloth, supported by Senator Taa, was simply another armed occupation, and Ryloth could not truly be free under such conditions. Once Syndulla learned that the Separatists had begun bombing Twi'lek villages, however, Syndulla agreed to speak with the senator. Though the conversation between the two was tense and full of bickering, Windu focused them on the matter at hand. As they spoke, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker reported that his clone forces engaged the Separatists that were bombing the Twi'lek villages. Syndulla and Taa came to realize that Tambor knew his defeat was imminent and was choosing to destroy whatever he could not have. To put aside their differences, Taa promised that the Grand Army of the Republic would not occupy Ryloth, while Syndulla agreed that he would not seek political power. With those promises, Syndulla was officially allied with the Republic and rallied his freedom fighters to finish the fight with the Separatists.
Finding a way into the capital city proved to be a particular challenge, as the only entry point was a plasma bridge that was controlled from within the city itself. Making matters worse was that Tambor moved the city's population to sit on the outside of the city, which prevented the Republic from launching a direct attack lest there be civilian causalities. The allied forces soon discovered a way in, however, when the resistance discovered Separatist Multi-Troop Transports that were traveling along a cliff overlooking the city. Syndulla informed Windu about the transports and how they were carrying treasures for Emir Tamor. Windu, Stak, and Razor infiltrated one of the transports and made it across the bridge, while Syndulla and his forces engaged the Separatists to give Windu time to activate the plasma bridge.
Once the bridge was activated, Syndulla led the charge into Lessu, where the resistance fought against the Droid Army. Windu, meanwhile, captured Emir Tambor. When he was captured, the leader of the Separatists, the Sith Lord Count Dooku, ordered Separatist bombers to destroy the city. The city was saved, however, by the arrival of General Skywalker and his Padawan, Commander Ahsoka Tano, flying Jedi starfighters. With the capital secure, Tambor formally surrendered to Syndulla, and the resistance leader thanked General Windu for his assistance. He later joined Windu, along with Senator Taa, to watch a parade that celebrated the liberation of Ryloth. The liberation of Ryloth and Syndulla's leadership over the resistance was remembered in songs which celebrated the Battle of Lessu.
Age of the Empire
Balancing family and Ryloth
Dawn of the Free Ryloth Movement
The liberation of Ryloth was short-lived. At the end of the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine—who in actuality was Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith—transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Ryloth fell under Imperial Military occupation and had its resources plundered, so Syndulla organized and led the Free Ryloth Movement in order to liberate his homeworld. Though his fears about the Republic were proven true, Syndulla nonetheless held the Jedi in high regard. He told Hera stories about how the Jedi fought in the Clone Wars, and he remained fond of Jedi Master Windu, who was killed during the fall of the Jedi Order at the end of the war.
Despite his concerns, Syndulla hoped to support the Imperial presence on Ryloth, wanting his daughter to grow up in peace instead of another war. While his friend Captain Howzer, a clone trooper who had transitioned into Imperial service, felt that it was the right viewpoint, Gobi Glie began establishing a resistance effort. Nevertheless, during a public gathering he held with Senator Taa, Syndulla tried to calm the public's concerns about the Empire. Later, however, Taa informed Vice Admiral Rampart about Syndulla's influence over the public, and Hera was captured by Imperial forces for helping Glie's resistance. Syndulla, his wife Eleni, and several soldiers raided the Imperial convoy to rescue her, Glie, and his soldiers. However, Imperial Commander CT-9904 "Crosshair" shot Taa, giving the Empire the chance to frame Syndulla for the act.
Leader of the Ryloth resistance
- "Not a terrorist, but a freedom fighter. Not a terrorist, but a freedom fighter."
- ―Cham Syndulla, to himself
At some point during the resistance against the Empire, Eleni was killed. The death of his wife left Syndulla totally devoted to the cause of his rebellion, and he prioritized the liberation of Ryloth as his most important duty. This strained his relationship with Hera, who believed all her father cared about was his mission. Unlike her father, who only believed in fighting for the liberation of the Twi'leks, Hera hoped to see the whole galaxy freed from the Empire. She left Ryloth and set out to organize her own rebel movement, one that would ultimately become part of a larger rebellion against the Empire. Despite the strain in their relationship, Syndulla was heartbroken that his daughter left Ryloth. The two would not speak for several years, though Syndulla did hear stories about Hera's rebel crew, including the Jedi Kanan Jarrus. She also considered her father to be her greatest inspiration; though it was her mother that the elder Syndulla believed to have taught her how to be a dreamer, Hera said it was her father who taught her how to be a leader.
During the time of the Empire, Syndulla had become known as "the liberator of Ryloth." His tactics in defeating the Separatists were taught at the Imperial Academy on Mandalore, and Syndulla took pride in the fact that the Empire had still not figured out how to beat him. Syndulla also claimed responsibility for an explosion at a reservoir near Kala'uun that washed an Imperial hover-train away.
A dangerous gambit
By 14 BBY, Cham had become the leader of the Free Ryloth Movement; which embarked on a guerrilla war against the Imperial protectorate and the puppet Senator Orn Free Taa. Under Cham's leadership, the Free Ryloth rebels built a network of informants, hidden bases, and storehouses. They launched raids on Imperial forces and disrupted Ryloth's spice trade. Cham was aided by the Imperial Colonel Belkor Dray, who supplied the Free Ryloth movement with intelligence in order to subvert his superior, Moff Delian Mors.
After losing his friend Pok and his team during a mission to hijack an Imperial weapons shipment at Yaga Minor, Cham decided to seek vengeance against Darth Vader and the Emperor for the deaths of his comrades. An opportunity to move against the Sith leadership arose when Cham received intelligence that the Emperor and Vader decided to travel with Senator Orn Free Taa and his entourage to Ryloth. Cham informed his lieutenant Isval about the news and the two decided to contact Belkor in order to ascertain that this was not a trap. Cham desired to kill Vader and Sidious in order to bring an end to the Empire.
Later that night, Cham and Belkor secretly met in Ryloth's cave network. Cham quickly ascertained that Belkor was not aware about the Emperor and Vader's visit and decided it was safe to proceed with the mission. When Belkor threatened to end their relationship by leaking a datadisk containing the Free Ryloth movement's bases and leadership in the event of his death, Cham put him in his place by threatening to disclose all their recorded communications to the Imperial authorities; exposing Belkor as a traitor. In the end, Belkor reluctantly agreed to supply intelligence to Cham's rebels in return for Cham using Taa's assassination to discredit Moff Delian.
For the next nine days, Cham and his lieutenants Gobi Glie, Xira, and Kallon set a trap for the Emperor's Imperial Star Destroyer Perilous which included space mines and a swarm of former Separatist vulture droids. When the Perilous entered the Ryloth system, Cham activated the first wave of mines which damaged the Star Destroyer. After Vader deployed V-wing starfighters to combat the mines, Cham detonated a second wave of mines which drained the Perilous's shields. Gobi then deployed the Vulture droids and their buzz droids cargo which proceeded to devastate the Perilous.
Cham then launched his third attack wave which involved getting Belkor to send Twi'lek repair crew to board the ship. The Free Ryloth movement had infiltrated three teams of operatives among the repair crew including one led by Isval. When Belkor threatened to walk out from Cham's conspiracy, the Twi'lek rebel leader threatened to expose his dealings with the rebels to the Empire. Despite the efforts of the Free Ryloth boarders, Vader and the Emperor managed to escape in a shuttle to Ryloth's equatorial forest before the Perilous blew up in space.
While Isval and her team continued their hunt for the Sith Lords, Cham deployed two dozen droid tri-fighters to harass the Imperial V-wings. He then got Belkor to transmit the ship IDs of the Emperor's shuttle and Moff Delian's ship. Isval's stolen ship and the Emperor's shuttle crash-landed following a brief dogfight. Cham still kept in contact with Isval and her team of hunters. Following the destruction of the Perilous, Cham and his surviving Free Ryloth forces retreated to the night side of Ryloth to plan the next stages of their operation. While Cham had depleted most of his forces in taking down the Perilous, he vowed to continue his mission to assassinate the Emperor and Darth Vader.
Hunting the Sith Lords
After consulting with Isval, Cham ordered Belkor to allow Isval's escort ship to attack the Equatorial Communications Hub in order to create a communications black-out to hamper the Imperial rescue efforts. In return, Belkor convinced Cham to transmit the trajectory of Delian's ship in order to eliminate his rival. Following the communications blackout, Cham kept in touch with his rebel operatives as they scoured through Ryloth's dangerous equatorial forests for the Sith Lords. Cham flew a shuttle which served as his mobile headquarters. However, Vader and the Emperor and their surviving royal guards proved more resourceful and adept at eluding the rebels and the dangerous fauna.
Later that night, Cham learned that the Sith Lords had survived their crash-landing from Isval. After re-establishing contact with Belkor, Cham ordered him to eliminate Moff Delian by telling the Imperial forces searching for the Sith Lords that Delian was a traitor and that her ship was to be destroyed on sight. The two also conspired to order the Imperial V-wings to bomb the Emperor and Vader after they had located them. After learning that the Sith Lords had slaughtered an entire lylek hive, Cham issued orders for his forces not to directly engage Vader or the Emperor.
Cham and his rebel comrades eventually tracked the Emperor and Vader down to a remote Twi'lek village. Meanwhile, Cham and Belkor's plans began to unravel when Moff Delian managed to convince the Imperial forces that she was not the traitor and that Belkor was the true traitor. She also countermanded Belkor's orders to attack the village by issuing new orders to transmit their coordinates to her. As the Free Ryloth forces converged on the quarry outside the village, Cham ordered his lieutenant Kallon to initiate an evacuation into the mountains to preempt an Imperial crackdown on Ryloth should the mission fail. He also ordered the Free Ryloth movement to disperse into their cells.
Prior to the assault on the Twi'lek village, Cham ordered his men to fire warning shots so that the civilians could retreat into the mine shaft. Cham then ordered Belkor to get the V-wings to strike the village; unaware that Delian had already reasserted control over Belkor's forces. After Delian's V-wings destroyed Belkor's recon ship, Cham realized that his plan was beginning to crumble. Unwilling to abandon his plan to destroy the Sith Lords, Cham ordered his forces to storm the village. However, they were outflanked by Delian's stormtrooper reinforcements who arrived in two ships. From their position, Cham and his men fired at Vader and the Emperor.
However, their blaster bolts missed their targets. Vader then climbed the quarry and pursued Cham and his fighters. Cham and his comrades managed to escape but Isval stayed behind to delay Darth Vader. Isval was subsequently captured and executed by the Sith Lords along with the surviving Free Ryloth soldiers and the villagers. Despite the defeat, Cham comforted himself with the knowledge that he still had a living daughter Hera Syndulla.
A difficult alliance
After several years of having no contact with his daughter, Hera unexpectedly contacted her father Cham by hologram. Hera and her fellow rebels wanted to steal an Imperial Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier to provide a safe refuge for the rebellion's Phoenix Squadron, which piloted A-wing starfighters. This same cruiser-carrier orbited Ryloth and housed several TIE/sa bombers which frequently bombarded Ryloth. Seeing an opportunity to destroy the Imperial cruiser-carrier, Cham and two of his followers Numa and Gobi traveled on a Nu-class transport to rendezvous with Hera's starship Ghost in deep space.
After exchanging pleasantries with Hera and her crew, Cham and Hera settled down to business. During a briefing session, his daughter advocated hijacking and stealing the Imperial cruiser-carrier. As part of her plan, Hera advocated using a hijacked TIE bomber to infiltrate the Imperial warship. Wishing to destroy the Imperial starship in order to demonstrate the strength of the Free Ryloth movement, Cham disagreed with Hera. In response, his daughter contended that her father would have already destroyed the starship if they had the means to do it. Since this was not the case, Hera urged her father to compromise and work with fellow rebels for a change. After Hera's lover, Kanan backed her up, Cham reluctantly agreed to support Hera's plan but nodded to Numa and Gobi.
Following the briefing, Cham visited Hera to have a private talk with his daughter. Cham recognized Hera's astromech droid Chopper as the same droid she had rescued during the Battle of Ryloth. Still unhappy with his daughter's life choices, Cham reprimanded Hera for not devoting her life to freeing Ryloth and derided Chopper as a "second rate junkpile," triggering an angry response from both. Hera responded by reiterating that the rebellion was fighting for everyone's freedom including Ryloth. Before storming out of the room, Cham remarked that outsiders could not be trusted and stressed that Ryloth was his most important cause.
On the way to Ryloth, Cham and his followers ingratiated themselves with Hera's crew. Cham regaled Kanan with stories of his exploits during the Battle of Lessu, including his assault on the plasma bridge. Unknown to the Spectres, this was only a ruse for Cham to proceed with his original plan: destroying the Imperial cruiser-carrier. After exiting hyperspace, the two rebel factions exited Cham's shuttle and boarded Hera's stolen TIE bomber. Hera managed to trick the Imperials into allowing their bomber to land by arranging for two A-wing fighters to attack the bomber.
Having landed aboard the cruiser-carrier, Cham and his followers then put their true plan into action. While Num and Gobi stunned Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, and Garazeb Orrelios, Cham knocked out Kanan and Chopper before handcuffing Hera to the cockpit to ensure that she did not interfere with their mission. Cham and his followers then overpowered an Imperial officer and a stormtrooper patrol that had been sent to the hangar bay. While Numa and Gobi headed to the munitions racks to plant their detonators, Cham proceeded to disable the ship's hyperdrive.
After disabling the hyperdrive's couplings on the third and fourth generators, Cham headed to the bridge to confront the captain and crew. However, Hera and the Spectres by then had freed themselves and taken Numa and Gobi prisoner. With both sides deadlocked, Cham and Hera argued. Following a lengthy argument, Hera managed to sway her father over by telling Cham how he had inspired her to join the rebellion. Upon learning that the Empire had marshaled reinforcements to retake the cruiser-carrier, Cham and his fellow Ryloth rebels decided to join forces with the Spectres in resisting the Empire.
When several TIE bombers damaged the cruiser-carrier's stabilizers, Cham and Hera joined forces to stabilize the ship. After instructing Chopper how to repair the ship's hyperdrive, Cham helped the other Spectres to destroy an approaching Imperial light cruiser by shoving a TIE bomber adrift into space. Cham then fired upon the bomber, triggering an explosion that also engulfed the nearby light cruiser. Having eliminated the Imperial forces, Cham and the Spectres took the cruiser into hyperspace.
By working together, the Ryloth and Spectres succeeded in galvanizing Twi'lek resistance against the Empire. With more Twi'leks joining the resistance, Cham reconciled his daughter whom he praised for sharing his wife's leadership qualities. After bidding their rebel allies farewell, Cham and his followers departed into space on their Nu-class transport.
Recovering the Kalikori
Following the events above Ryloth, the Free Ryloth movement forged closer ties with Hera's rebel cell and the rebellion. Two years before the Battle of Yavin, a new Imperial commander named Grand Admiral Thrawn was sent to Ryloth. Studying Twi'lek culture, art, history, and philosophy, Thrawn was able to decide successful counterinsurgency tactics which led to the Imperial occupation of Tann Province, the home of the Syndulla clan. Cham was forced to flee his family home, leaving behind many artifacts including his late wife's Kalikori heirloom.
Cham and Numa rode blurrgs to rendezvous with his daughter Hera, who was on a supply run. However, they were pursued by several scout troopers on speeder bikes and an Imperial Troop Transport. Hera arrived with the Ghost and managed to scatter the Imperial forces. Cham and Numa along with their blurrgs escaped aboard the Ghost. One of the scout troopers tried to follow them but was knocked out and had his armor stolen by the Spectres. Once aboard, Cham informed his daughter about the plight of the Free Ryloth movement.
When Hera vowed to recover the Kalikori, Cham along with Numa, Gobi, and the Spectres volunteered to help. As part of the plan, Cham, the Ryloth rebels, Kanan, Sabine, and Zeb staged a diversionary attack on Imperial forces in Tulara Ravine while Hera, Ezra, and Chopper infiltrated the Syndulla household. Despite destroying a troop transport and an AT-DP walker, the rebels were unable to stop the advance of a second AT-DP walker; which managed to blast through rock. Later, the rebels were contacted by Thrawn's subordinate Captain Slavin who issued an ultimatum. Slavin offered to spare the lives of Hera and Ezra if Cham surrendered to the Empire. If not, he threatened to execute the prisoners.
Despite Gobi's pleas, Cham reluctantly complied out of fatherly love for his daughter. He traveled with the other rebels aboard the Ghost to Syndulla house to surrender. However, Hera and Chopper had devised an escape plan which involved igniting bombs throughout the house. Despite his shock at the sudden destruction of their home, Cham, Hera, Ezra, and Chopper took advantage of the resulting chaos to escape aboard the Ghost. Thrawn allowed the rebels to escape because he believed they had earned their victory. Back aboard the Ghost, Cham apologized for underestimating his daughter and emphasized his love for her. Despite failing to recover the Kalikori from Thrawn, Hera recognized that her father and her crew were her true family and home.
- "We are a free world now. Thanks to the Twi'lek resistance. Thanks to Cham Syndulla. And thanks to the likes of you, too."
- ―Tekku Aylay to Yendor
Eventually Ryloth was freed from Imperial rule in 5 ABY, when the Empire abandoned its bases on the planet. Tekku Aylay, an elderly Twi'lek male thanked Cham, the Twi'lek resistance and individuals such as Yendor for freeing their homeworld.
Personality and traits
- "I only want to see my people free, Master Jedi. I give my word. I believe in democracy."
- ―Cham Syndulla, to Mace Windu and Orn Free Taa
Cham Syndulla was a political revolutionary who opposed corruption and fought for Ryloth's freedom throughout his life. He was regarded as an extremist by the establishment Senator Orn Free Taa. While distrustful of the Jedi and the Galactic Republic, Cham came to respect the Jedi for their role in liberating Ryloth from a Separatist invasion led by Emir Wat Tambor. Despite the scarcity of food during the Clone Wars, Cham still respected the tradition of hospitality and offered Master Windu food. Cham's respect for Master Windu persisted years after the liberation of Ryloth. Cham was a courageous fighter who often led his men into combat. His accomplishments as a leader led him to be nicknamed "The Hammer of Ryloth," a moniker that also referred to the Battle of Ryloth itself.
While Cham's suspicions about the Republic were proven right when it was transformed into the Empire after the Clone Wars, Syndulla still maintained his respect for the Jedi. Cham told his daughter Hera stories about the valor of the Jedi during the Clone Wars. As a patriot, Cham was solely devoted to achieving Ryloth's freedom from outsiders. This led him to neglect his daughter Hera, who found a friend in the form of her astromech droid Chopper. Despite their mutual love and respect, Cham and Hera later parted company after the two disagreed on the matter of whether Ryloth's freedom was linked to the galactic rebellion against the Empire.
As leader of the Free Ryloth movement, Cham was willing to use violence to achieve Ryloth's freedom from Imperial rule. Despite his suspicion of offworlders, Cham was still willing to work with the Imperial Colonel Belkor Dray, who supplied Cham with information on the Empire in order to discredit his boss Moff Delian Mors to boost his own career. Cham knew that Belkor could not be trusted since he was helping them for his own selfish gain. Thus, Cham recorded all of his meetings with Belkor in order to blackmail the colonel should he betray them to his Imperial superiors.
Cham cared for his followers and sought to avenge the death of his lieutenant Pok at the hands of Darth Vader. After learning that the Emperor and Darth Vader were visiting Ryloth on a surprise trip, Cham engineered a trap for the two Sith Lords and their Star Destroyer Perilous. Despite his careful planning, Cham underestimated the resourcefulness and bold cunning of his Sith adversaries. As a military commander, Cham also took steps to safeguard his rebel movement by dispersing them into hiding. Despite losing his opportunity to kill the Sith Lords and topple the Empire, Cham never gave up his devotion to the rebel cause. While ruthless in combat, Cham was unwilling to endanger civilians and took precautions to evacuate them before the fighting.
Despite his distrust of the rebellion, Cham and his followers Gobi and Numa were willing to help his daughter Hera and her rebel cell to take out an Imperial fighter carrier that had been bombing Ryloth. Disagreeing with Hera's plans to steal the fighter instead of destroying it, Cham used his guile and charm to ingratiate the rebels and lull them into lowering their guard. Cham and his followers then proceeded with their plan to destroy the fighter carrier. However, Hera managed to sway him over by telling him that he had inspired her to join the rebellion. Due to their joint venture, Cham and his followers became more sympathetic of the rebellion.
Despite his skills as a guerrilla commander, Cham underestimated the capabilities of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who led the pacification of Tann province. Cham's love for his daughter Hera later led him to assist her in a plan to recover a family artifact, the Kalikori, from Thrawn. Thrawn and Captain Slavin attempted to exploit his love for his daughter by forcing Cham to surrender himself in return for sparing the lives of Hera and her rebel comrade Ezra Bridger. Though Hera destroyed their ancestral home during an escape attempt, he still respected her for her ingenuity and creativity.
Skills and abilities
- "Master Windu spoke highly of your heroics at the Battle of Lessu."
- ―Kanan Jarrus, recalling tales of Syndulla's efforts as a freedom fighter
Cham Syndulla was a passionate revolutionary and skilled military commander. He knew how to ride a blurrg and how to wield blasters and other weapons. A capable leader, Cham organized the Free Ryloth movement into an efficient fighting force backed by a network of informants, supply bases, and storage depots. Despite being outgunned, Cham was a resourceful commander who was adept at laying ambushes. On one occasion, he used space mines, Vulture droids, and disguised fighters to attack an Imperial Star Destroyer. Cham was also skilled at planning military operations and knew when to retreat.
Cham was a capable warrior who often took part in the fighting. He was also familiar enough with the workings of starships to disable their hyperdrives. While zealous in his goals, Cham could also listen to reason and be a team-player. Cham was also skilled at outrunning pursuers while riding on his blurrg.
Behind the scenes
Cham Syndulla first appeared in the 2009 Star Wars The Clone Wars episode "Liberty on Ryloth," where he was voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. One of the episode's writers, Henry Gilroy, explained in an interview with the Aggressive Negotiations podcast that the character's first and last names are derived from the words "charm" and "sin," respectively. This was done as a way of hinting that Syndulla could be either a protagonist or an antagonist.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Supply Lines"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Liberty on Ryloth" (First appearance)
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Mentioned only)
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Devil's Deal"
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Rescue on Ryloth"
- Lords of the Sith
- Lords of the Sith audiobook
- "Mercy Mission"—The Rise of the Empire (Mentioned only)
- A New Dawn (Mentioned only)
- A New Dawn audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Homecoming"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Hera's Heroes"
- Star Wars Rebels – "An Inside Man" (Picture only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Trials of the Darksaber" (Indirect mention only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt (Mentioned only)
- Aftermath: Life Debt audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Victory's Price (Mentioned only)
- Resistance Reborn (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Liberty on Ryloth"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle!
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Lords of the Sith
- Star Wars Rebels – "Homecoming"
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Devil's Deal"
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Rebels – "Wings of the Master"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Supply Lines"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Innocents of Ryloth"
- A New Dawn
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- (Episode Gallery Slide Six)
- Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Star Wars Rebels – "Hera's Heroes"
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.
- Dawn of Rebellion