- "The simplest gesture of kindness can fill a galaxy with hope."
- ―Bail Organa
"Droids in Distress" is the third episode of the first season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels and the first episode following the premiere TV movie Spark of Rebellion. It is the third episode of the series overall.
The episode was released on iTunes as a free download and on WatchDisneyXD.com on October 3, 2014, and made its television debut on Disney XD on October 13, 2014. The episode was written by series executive producer Greg Weisman and directed by Steward Lee. Anthony Daniels guest-starred in the episode as C-3PO.
The episode features the crew of the Ghost intercepting a shipment of weapons intended for the Galactic Empire. Along the way, they inadvertently pick up C-3PO and R2-D2, who are on a secret mission from Senator Bail Organa to prevent the weapons from falling into Imperial hands. The rebels continue to be chased by Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau, while Garazeb Orrelios deals with grief over the near-extinction of his people. In the end, R2-D2 provides Organa—who will become one of the founders of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—with information about the rebels and their activities.
Low on food and fuel, the Ghost crew agrees to steal an Imperial weapons shipment for crime lord Cikatro Vizago. During the mission, they encounter a familiar droid duo -- and find that the weapons in question are more deadly than they'd realized.
In need of a job
The Ghost is being chased by a squad of TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer, fresh from a failed heist. After the ship jumps to hyperspace, Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren argue over the former's assertion that they would get away from the failed theft with the Imperial shipment they had attempted to steal. Hera Syndulla notes that the crew is low on food and fuel, and Ezra Bridger complains that there's been no time for his promised Jedi training. Kanan knows about another job, though, from the crime lord Cikatro Vizago. Garazeb Orrelios is not happy about the Spectres being arms dealers again, but the crew agrees to take the job, so they're off to the Lothal City spaceport.
At Lothal's main spaceport, Ezra and the astromech droid Chopper board Star Commuter 2000 shuttle ST-45, which is leaving for Garel. Aboard the shuttle, they pass by fellow rebels Sabine and Zeb, also disguised as passengers. Shortly after, the shuttle is boarded by Imperial minister Maketh Tua and Aqualish arms trader Amda Wabo, who sit in front of Zeb and Sabine. Wabo speaks to Tua in the Aqualish language, and Tua demands to know where her translator is: the protocol droid C-3PO, who boards the shuttle accompanied by the astromech droid R2-D2. C-3PO's services are necessary because Tua and Wabo cannot communicate directly. Just before the shuttle departs, they are joined by Kanan, boarding at the last minute. The various members of the Ghost crew (Zeb and Sabine, Ezra and Chopper, Kanan) are pretending not to know each other.
After the shuttle enters hyperspace, Ezra and Chopper stage a fight, prompting Kanan to demand that the RX-24 droid pilot send Chopper to the back of the craft. In response, Ezra demands that C-3PO and R2-D2 be transferred to the back as well, referring to both droids as astromechs. C-3PO takes insult at being called an astromech, stressing that he is a protocol droid, and Tua tells the pilot that the two droids are accompanying her, and she is on Imperial business. The droid pilot informs Tua that Imperial regulations require all droids (save for himself) at the back of the craft, and 3PO begrudgingly heads to the back, followed by R2. With Tua bereft of a translator, Sabine then volunteers her services while posing as an Imperial Academy student. Sabine quickly learns that Tua's weapons shipment is located in Bay Seven of Garel City Spaceport. However, she misleads Tua into believing that it is in Bay Seventeen. C-3PO, in the back, sniffs that Sabine can't possibly take his place as translator. When R2-D2 attempts to find out what Tua and Wabo, with Sabine translating, are talking about, C-3PO tells him that it hardly matters to him what they're saying, and Chopper, believing R2 to be an Imperial droid, bumps into him to prevent him from listening. 3PO tells R2 that he could stand to learn some manners from Chopper.
Upon landing on Garel, Minister Tua, C-3PO, R2-D2 and a contingent of stormtroopers depart for Bay Seventeen. Meanwhile, the Spectres make their way towards Bay Seven. To enter the cargo bay, Ezra climbs through a ventilation duct to the roof, using Force jumps across the distant rooftops to Bay Seven's roof. While making his way up the duct, Ezra complains to Kanan via comlink about the delay in his Jedi lessons and that stealing to survive is already something he knows. In response, Kanan replies that the crew need the credits. After entering Bay Seven, Ezra opens the bay door from inside to let in Kanan, Zeb, and Sabine, and Kanan opens the outer bay door to the opposite landing bay, where Hera lands the Ghost. Upon examining the cargo shipment, they discover that the crates contain T-7 ion disruptor rifles, weapons that had been banned by the Galactic Senate. Zeb is particularly upset by the discovery.
Meanwhile, Minister Tua, C-3PO, R2-D2, and her stormtroopers discover that Bay Seventeen is empty. C-3PO deduces that Sabine probably confused the Aqualish word for seven with seventeen. Chopper, keeping an eye on the Imperials, contacts Hera and informs her that Tua and Wabo are on their way to Bay Seven. Ordered to stall them, Chopper picks a fight with R2-D2, but Minister Tua recognizes Chopper as the troublesome astromech droid from the shuttle and orders her men to hurry to Bay Seven. Before the rebels can finish loading the last of the disruptor rifles onto the Ghost, they are confronted by Tua and her stormtroopers. Following a brief gunfight, the rebels manage to flee Garel and set course back to Lothal.
The crew of the Ghost are accompanied by two stowaways, C-3PO having been led aboard by the insistent R2-D2. Kanan orders Sabine to fit them with restraining bolts. Zeb calls Kanan aside and suggests they just take the T-7s out of circulation and not sell them to Vizago; they don't notice R2 eavesdropping over from where he's standing, as he makes sure he can hear them. Returning with the bolts, Sabine notes that at least the Empire doesn't have them: she learned from her translation that the Empire was planning to use the shipment as prototypes for mass producing the ion rifles on Lothal. As they could really use the money, she also suggests offering R2 and 3PO for sale to Vizago for extra credits.
Not really reassured about the rifles, the despondent Zeb kicks Ezra out of their cabin and locks the door. Hera calls Ezra to the cockpit and asks him to cut Zeb some slack. She reveals that the Empire had used T-7 rifles to violently clear the Lasat homeworld of Lasan. Zeb was one of the few Lasat who survived the genocide, and none of his people are currently on Lasan. Ezra agrees to cut Zeb some slack. When Hera learns that Kanan hasn't started training Ezra, with a frown she resolves to take up the matter with Kanan. Meanwhile, Minister Tua reports her recent encounter with the rebels on Garel to the Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus, who takes an interest in the Lasat Zeb. When Tua states that she didn't think there were any more Lasat left in the galaxy, Kallus responds that there are only a few.
Upon landing at the rendezvous point with Vizago on Lothal, the crew of the Ghost meet in the cargo hold to unload the rifles, with Hera agreeing to put off the topic of Ezra's training only for the moment. Sabine announces that R2 told her that his mission was to keep the T-7s out of Imperial hands, and that his master will pay handsomely for the two's return; Kanan agrees to consider it. Zeb is still not comfortable with selling the rifles, but as long as it's not the Empire, Kanan is fine with going ahead with the deal he already made with Vizago. Believing that the crew of the Ghost are criminals, thieves, and outlaws, C-3PO sneaks into the cockpit while the crew is busy with the cargo and sends a distress signal to Governor Pryce, but as she is away it's rerouted to Agent Kallus, who promises that "help is on the way."
Meanwhile, Vizago agrees to buy the T-7s and ordered his IG-RM droids to load the crates onto two speeders. Before they can complete the transaction, they spot an Imperial freighter carrying two All Terrain Defense Pod walkers on its way. Vizago and his droids quickly flee with four of the seven crates without paying the Ghost's crew, stating that he doesn't pay for partial shipments or trouble with the Empire. Kanan is left shaking with anger.
Kanan resolves not to let the disruptors fall into Imperial hands, and orders Sabine to destroy them. She starts heading to the ship to get explosives, but is surprised to see R2 leading the other two droids to the crates, saying he's helping the crew. He explains that they can just overload the T-7 disruptors, causing them to explode. While the others get the crates together and open them so Sabine and R2-D2 can get to work, Kanan destroys one of the advancing AT-DP walkers with a T-7 rifle but is knocked to the ground by a laser blast from the second walker. Hera then distracts the second walker by leading it on a chase around the surrounding stone circle and orders Chopper to prep the Ghost for takeoff. Shortly after, Agent Kallus and a contingent of stormtroopers disembark from the Imperial freighter and exchange fire with the crew.
During the fighting, Agent Kallus challenges Zeb to a duel and battles the Lasat with a stolen bo-rifle he had taken from a member of the Lasan High Honor Guard he personally killed. Kallus also goads Zeb by claiming to have ordered the use of the T-7 rifles in the pacification of Lasan. Sabine and R2-D2 finish with the rifles, and the others use one crate to destroy the walker, and the other two to scatter the stormtroopers. The powerful detonation throws both Kallus and Zeb off balance, but Kallus recovers a hair faster and stuns Zeb in the chest, leaving him defenseless. Before he can finish off Zeb, Ezra instinctively Force pushes Kallus so hard he's thrown back, tumbles along the ground and slams into a rock, knocking him out. Gathering up Zeb and C-3PO and R2-D2, the crew of the Ghost flee into space. Kallus comes to in time to watch the ship depart. On board, Zeb thanks Kanan for saving his life, only to corrected that it was Ezra, and Zeb nods his thanks. Kanan also informs Ezra that his formal Jedi training will start the following day. Even so, after saying this Kanan's smile drops off to a quiet look of concern about the weight of promising to be a teacher.
Later, the crew of the Ghost return C-3PO and R2-D2 to their rightful owner, Senator Bail Organa, docking with his CR90 corvette the Tantive IV. Senator Organa, without revealing his identity, pays Kanan very generously for the two, simply saying that he's very fond of them. On Kanan telling him that the crew, in that case, is glad to be able to return them, Organa notes that "the simplest gesture of kindness can fill a galaxy with hope," which the confused Kanan recognizes as a Jedi saying. Organa, however, doesn't give him time to dwell on it too hard, smoothly bidding him farewell with a smile. With Kanan out of earshot, Organa checks with C-3PO that he did not mention his name and gives him permission to shut down in order to rest from a hectic day. He also asks R2-D2 to show him everything he had recorded about the Lothalian rebel cell, making a copy of it.
"Droids in Distress" marked the first appearance of Senator Bail Organa, R2-D2, and C-3PO on Star Wars Rebels. Organa, who was seen in the episode using R2-D2 to find out information about the Spectres, was one of the founding members of the Rebel Alliance. R2-D2 and C-3PO were introduced as members of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
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