Phoenix Cell, also known as Phoenix rebel cell, Phoenix fleet, Phoenix Group, and sometimes referred to as Phoenix Squadron, was one of the largest rebel cells that became part of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and fought against the Galactic Empire during the early rebellion that preceded the Galactic Civil War. The cell, was led by Commander Jun Sato and was allied with Senator Bail Organa, as part of Organa's efforts to coordinate the activities of the various rebel cells that opposed Imperial rule. It had a number of members and had a fleet comprised of CR90 corvettes and RZ-1 A-wing interceptors. Its command ship was the Phoenix Home until it was destroyed in an attack carried out by Darth Vader in 4 BBY.
Phoenix Cell took part in numerous missions and skirmishes against the Empire between 4 BBY and 2 BBY, including the Blockade of Ibaar, the Battle of Garel, and various encounters with Grand Admiral Thrawn of the Empire's Seventh Fleet. During a mission to Ryloth, the cell was aided by the Free Ryloth Movement as they stole an Imperial command cruiser that became the new Phoenix command ship, Phoenix Nest. In 3 BBY, Phoenix Squadron established Chopper Base on Atollon as its base of operations.
The cell joined the Rebel Alliance in 2 BBY after the Spectres, a group of Phoenix rebels led by Phoenix Leader Hera Syndulla, helped to protect Senator Mon Mothma after she spoke out against the Empire. The cell planned to attack Lothal and liberate it from Imperial rule with the help of Massassi Group, but Thrawn discovered Chopper Base and mounted a massive attack against the Rebels. Phoenix Squadron was left decimated, and those who survived the attack joined with Massassi Group at the Rebel Alliance headquarters on Yavin 4.
The Phoenix Squadron was part of a wider network of rebel cells known collectively as the rebellion. The rebel cell's assets included a group of RZ-1 A-wing interceptors, at least five CR90 corvettes and a Pelta-class frigate named Phoenix Home, which was used as a command ship, and later on 3 Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvettes. Phoenix Home was destroyed during an attack by Darth Vader. Following the rescue of Kanan Jarrus, the Phoenix cell was joined by the Spectres, a six-member cell which operated from a modified VCX-100 light freighter known as the Ghost. Some known leaders of the Phoenix cell included Commander Jun Sato, the former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, an unidentified Phoenix leader, and the Ghost captain Hera Syndulla, who became the new Phoenix Leader after the death of her predecessor during the Blockade of Ibaar.
Serving the early rebel movement
New allies and threats
The Phoenix Squadron was part of a loose network of rebel cells which fought the Galactic Empire several years before the Battle of Yavin. The Phoenix cell was known to maintain contact with Senator Bail Organa, who was a secret rebel sympathizer. Three CR90 corvettes participated in the rescue of the crew of the Ghost, who had just freed their comrade Kanan Jarrus from Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's Star Destroyer Sovereign in the Mustafar system. Phoenix's CR90 corvettes destroyed several TIE fighters and ferried the Ghost crew members into safety.
After learning that they were part of a wider rebel movement, the crew of the Ghost joined forces with the Phoenix rebels during a mission to steal Imperial shield generators. The Phoenix rebels and their new allies managed to jump into hyperspace shortly before Imperial reinforcements arrived. Later, Commander Sato and Ahsoka Tano authorized a mission by the Spectres to rescue the defecting Imperial Minister Maketh Tua from Lothal, which was being blockaded by an Imperial fleet. The mission proved unsuccessful due to Tua's death and the rebels barely managed to escape Lothal.
The crew of the Ghost managed to return to the Phoenix rebel fleet in a stolen Imperial shuttle. However, the shuttle had been fitted with a tracking device which allowed Darth Vader to track down the Phoenix cell. Piloting his personal TIE Advanced starfighter, Vader shot down several of Phoenix Squadron's RZ-1 A-wing interceptors and severely crippled Phoenix's flagship Phoenix Home; forcing Commander Sato and his crew to abandon ship. Despite their losses, the Phoenix rebels managed to flee into hyperspace before several Star Destroyers arrived to finish them off.
Fighting the Empire
Following the destruction of Phoenix Home, the Phoenix cell was on the run from the Empire. At the behest of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghost agreed to seek out an old friend on the desert planet of Seelos, who turned out to be the former Clone Captain Rex. After the rebels agreed to participate in a joopa hunt, Rex supplied them with a list of abandoned Republic and Separatist military bases and facilities in the Outer Rim Territories and Mandalore. After fighting off an Imperial attack, Rex agreed to join the Phoenix Squadron.
Using Rex's information, the Phoenix rebels sent Garazeb Orrelios, Sabine Wren, Chopper, and Ezra Bridger to salvage medical supplies from an abandoned Republic medical station. However, they encountered two Inquisitors known as the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother. Following a skirmish, the four rebels managed to escape on the Phantom and warn their comrades that the Empire had more Inquisitors. Hera Syndulla and Kanan compiled a report on the encounter with the Inquisitors for Commander Sato.
Later, the Phoenix Squadron established a presence on the planet Garel, hiding within Garel City's spaceports. Commander Sato sent the crew of the Ghost and Rex to find fuel cells for the planet Rinn, which was experiencing an energy crisis. While cleaning the Ghost, Ezra and Chopper received a distress call from the Devaronian crime lord Cikatro Vizago. They departed on the Phantom and embarked on an adventure with the pirate Hondo Ohnaka. As a result of this adventure, Ezra and Chopper helped their Phoenix rebel comrades gain access to five power generators, which were then used to help the people of Rinn.
The Phoenix rebels then attempted to deliver food supplies to the planet Ibaar, whose people were facing a famine. The Empire had cut their rations and doubled their work quota. The first attempt failed due to an Imperial blockade around Ibaar and ended with the destruction of one CR90 corvette and the death of Phoenix Leader. However, the Phoenix rebels did not abandon their efforts to alleviate the Ibaarians. Hera managed to obtain a prototype Blade Wing starfighter from the Mon Calamari engineer Quarrie. The Blade Wing played an important role in breaking the Imperial blockade by destroying an Arquitens-class command cruiser; allowing the Ghost to deliver the supplies to the Ibaarians. As a result of her efforts, Hera was promoted as the new Phoenix Leader.
As Phoenix Leader, Hera assigned Sabine along with Ezra and Chopper to collect a courier from Garel City Spaceport and transport him to their other rebel contacts in Havoc Outpost. This courier turned out to be a GNK-series power droid called EG-86. Before Sabine and company could complete their mission, they were cornered by her former Imperial Academy classmate Ketsu Onyo, who had joined Black Sun and worked as a bounty hunter. She had also come to collect EG-86 but Sabine refused to surrender the droid. Following a skirmish with stormtroopers, Sabine, Chopper and EG-86 fled on a stolen shuttle but were pursued by Ketsu's starship Shadow Caster. The two Mandalorians subsequently reconciled after they were cornered by an Imperial light cruiser. Working together, they managed to escape their Imperial pursuers by blowing up the shuttle and escaping on the Shadow Caster. Sabine and Ketsu then delivered EG-86 to several rebel associates including R2-D2 at Havoc Outpost.
Following the disappearance of a rebel patrol in the Del Zennis system, Commander Sato and Ezra traveled there on the command ship Liberator to investigate. However, they were captured by the Imperial Admiral Brom Titus's Imperial Interdictor, a prototype warship equipped with gravity well projectors. In response, Hera sent Kanan, Rex, and Chopper to rescue their comrades. Disguised as stormtroopers, Kanan and Rex managed to find Ezra, who had freed himself, and subsequently freed Sato and his men. Meanwhile, Chopper sabotaged the Imperial Interdictor's reactor core; setting of a chain of events which ended in the destruction of the warship and her escort ships. The Phoenix rebels then took advantage of the destruction to escape on the Liberator into hyperspace.
During a mission to Takobo, Ezra accidentally revealed the location of the Phoenix rebels' presence on Garel to one of the Seventh Sister's ID9 seeker droids. Using this information, the Empire launched an attack on Garel. Imperial Star Destroyers and TIE fighters blockaded the spaceport in an attempt to prevent the Phoenix rebels from fleeing into space. Despite the Imperial blockade, several Phoenix starships managed to escape into space. At least one starship was hit by Imperial fire. Commander Sato's command ship Liberator was also trapped by the Star Destroyer Relentless. However, Hera managed to ram the Ghost's against the Star Destroyer's tractor beam projector; disabling it and providing the Phoenix ships with a window to escape into hyperspace.
Following the debacle on Garel, Senator Bail Organa sent three Hammerhead corvettes as reinforcements to supplement the Phoenix rebels' forces. Under his direction, his adopted daughter Princess Leia Organa traveled to Lothal under the pretext of carrying out a mercy mission. As part of the plan, the crew of the Ghost would steal the vessels. This ruse was done to avoid exposing Alderaan's covert assistance to the Rebellion. The Phoenix rebels encountered a new obstacle when the local Imperial Supply Master Yogar Lyste fastened gravity locks to the corvettes in order to deter thieves. Captain Syndulla traveled on the Ghost to Lothal, where she rendezvoused with Ezra, Kanan, Chopper, Leia, and Ryder Azadi, the former Governor of Lothal and a rebel sympathizer. With the help of Ryder and Leia, the rebels managed to infiltrate Lyste's compound and steal the Hammerhead corvettes. Having accomplished their mission, the crew of the Ghost rejoined the Phoenix fleet with their new acquisitions.
With the Empire hunting the rebels throughout the Outer Rim Territories, the rebels needed to find another route into the Lothal sector. Commander Sato dispatched Phoenix Leader Hera, Sabine and Several other rebel pilots on a mission to negotiate for safe passage with Fenn Rau, the leader of a Mandalorian faction known as the Mandalorian Protectors. The Protectors had a colony in the Concord Dawn system, which was still not controlled by the Empire. However, Rau had aligned the Protectors with the Empire and attacked Hera's mission; seriously wounding Hera and killing at least two Phoenix pilots. In retaliation, Kanan, Hera, and Chopper infiltrated the Protectors' encampment on the third moon of Concord Dawn and destroyed the Protectors' Fang fighters. They also managed to capture Rau himself who agreed to allow the rebels safe passage through the Concord Dawn system in return for keeping his capture a secret from the Empire.
During a mission, Phoenix Squadron was pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer and sustained the loss of one starfighter. Facing attrition and needing a place to land their remaining starfighters, Commander Sato suggested that Hera and Kanan steal an Imperial Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier that had been orbiting Ryloth, the Twi'lek homeworld. Hera and the crew of the Ghost made contact with the Twi'lek Resistance and their leader Cham Syndulla, her father. Together, the rebels hatched a plan to steal the carrier. However, the mission was complicated by Cham's own agenda to destroy the carrier. After a struggle with both Cham's resistance fighters and Imperial reinforcements, the crew of the Ghost managed to capture the fighter carrier for the rebellion.
Running low on fuel, Commander Sato dispatched the Spectres on a mission to steal fuel from an Imperial depot at Horizon Base at the recommendation of Ketsu Onyo, Sabine's friend. The crew of the Ghost managed to steal the supplies but Chopper got stranded on Horizon Base. The rebels returned to the Phoenix fleet in time to find their comrades under attack from Imperial forces led by Admiral Konstantine. After refueling, the rebels prepared to depart for the Yost system. However, Chopper had befriended an Imperial inventory droid named AP-5 who informed them that the Empire had set a trap in the Yost system. AP-5 and Chopper instead relayed the coordinates for Atollon, a planet that lacked any Imperial presence.
Following the discovery of Atollon, the Phoenix Squadron established a base on the planet called Chopper Base. While the fleet remained in orbit, rebel personnel under Phoenix Leader Hera Syndulla and Rex supervised operations to establish the base. Sensor beacons were planted at the base's perimeters to safeguard it from intruders. One rebel named Lieutenant Dicer was taken by large spider-like creatures called krykna while planting a sensor marker at Chopper Base's northern perimeter. Shortly later, Rex and the Spectres fought and managed to escape a nest of krykna. In the end, the rebels managed to secure the base site by erecting a fence of sensor markers to ward off the creatures.
The shadow of Thrawn and Maul
Following the events on Malachor, Ezra led a mission to rescue Hondo Ohnaka from the Imperial prison on Naraka. By rescuing Hondo, the Phoenix rebels gained intelligence that the Empire was dismantling BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bombers at Reklam Station on the planet Yarma. Commander Sato promoted Ezra to Lieutenant Commander and placed him in charge of a recon mission to Reklam Station. Once there however, Ezra disregarded Sato and Hera's orders and proceeded on a recovery mission.
With Hondo's help, Ezra recruited the Ugnaught labourers and convinced them to help them steal the Y-wings in return for their freedom. Despite stealing the Y-wings, the starship Phantom was lost during the destruction of Reklam Station. The Phoenix rebels managed to obtain five Y-wings which were then transferred to General Jan Dodonna's unit. For disobeying orders and endangering his team, Ezra was relieved of his duties as Lieutenant Commander. However, Ezra reconciled with Kanan after the latter rescued him on Yarma. The Phoenix rebels' activities attracted the attention of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the commander of the Seventh Fleet. He allowed the Phoenix rebels to escape so that he could hunt down and destroy the rebellion.
Later, the former Sith Maul attacked the crew of a rebel Hammerhead corvette. He then lured Hera, Zeb, Sabine, and Chopper into a trap and took them prisoner aboard the Ghost. Maul used his hostages as a bargaining chip to force Kanan and Ezra to bring them Kanan's Jedi holocron and the Sith holocron they had found earlier on Malachor. After recovering the Sith holocron from the Bendu, the two Jedi confronted Maul at Vizsla Keep 09. Maul then made Ezra help him combine the two holocrons in order to see visions of the future. Meanwhile, Kanan freed the other Ghost crew and together they managed to convince Ezra to stop the ceremony. However, Maul managed to escape.
A Phoenix transport ship carrying food, accompanied by six A-wings, later traveled to the planet Teralov, which was facing a famine. On the way, the convoy was ambushed and destroyed by Imperial TIE/IN interceptors led by Captain Vult Skerris. Later, Sabine took part in a successful mission to rescue the defecting Imperial cadets Wedge Antilles and Hobbie from the Skystrike Academy with the help of Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper. Meanwhile, Hera and Zeb led a second aid convoy to Teralov. Following the mission to Skystrike Academy, Commander Sato formally welcomed Wedge and Hobbie into the rebellion.
Later, the Phoenix Squadron lost contact with the Protectors in the Concord Dawn system. In response, Hera convened a war room meeting. While Commander Sato believed that the Protectors were setting a trap for the rebels, Rau reassured Sato and Hera that something bad had befallen his men. At Rau's request, Hera allowed Rau to return to the third moon of Concord Dawn to investigate but sent Sabine, Ezra, and Chopper to escort him there. During the mission, the rebels and Rau discovered that the Imperial Viceroy Gar Saxon had decimated the Protectors. As a result, Rau decided to join the rebellion.
After receiving intelligence that the Empire was planning to impose martial law on Mykapo, Commander Sato dispatched the Spectres, Rex, and elements of Phoenix Squadron to evacuate rebel sympathizers. The Phoenix rebels encountered an Imperial advance patrol and destroyed it with the help of a local rebel cell called the Iron Squadron, which was led by Commander Sato's nephew Mart Mattin. Despite the pleas of Hera, Ezra, and Sabine, Mart refused to abandon the Mykapo system. After Imperial reinforcements led by Admiral Konstantine attacked the system, the Spectres, Iron Squadron, and Commander Sato mounted a rescue mission. They managed to rout Konstantine's forces and narrowly escaped Grand Admiral Thrawn's Star Destroyer, the Chimaera.
The Phoenix Squadron later decided to attack the Imperial Armory Complex, which manufactured vehicles for the Imperial Military. The rebels also received intelligence from the disaffected Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus that the Empire was developing a new weapon. Commanding the operation from Chopper Base, Hera and Commander Sato dispatched Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper to Lothal to solicit the help of Ryder Azadi's cell in stealing the plans for the weapon. During the course of the mission, Ezra's team made contact with Kallus and discovered that Thrawn was developing a new starfighter that was equipped with deflector shields.
Using the information obtained by Chopper, Ezra and Kanan, Hera made plans to launch an attack on the Lothal Imperial factory. She decided to deploy a small part of the Phoenix Squadron and assigned Ezra leadership of the mission. Hera was forced to relieve Ezra of is duties after he succumbed to dark side attacks from Maul. At Kanan's urging, Hera left with the rest of Phoenix Squadron while Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine followed Maul to the planet Dathomir. There, they learned that the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi held the key to destroying the Sith.
Commander Jun Sato later loaned Hera's crew and Rex on a mission to rescue Saw Gerrera, who had lost contact with Rebel Command during a mission to investigate the disappearance of the Geonosian species. During the course of their mission on Geonosis, the rebels found Saw and a deflector core, encountered the Geonosian survivor Klik-Klak who was the guardian of a Geonosian queen egg, and discovered evidence that the Empire had perpetrated genocide against the Geonosians. Sato regarded the group's mission as a success since they rescued Saw and obtained a new deflector core.
While most of the Phoenix rebels were taking part in a training exercise, Zeb along with Chopper, AP-5, and a communications officer stayed behind to guard the base. Zeb, Chopper, and AP-5 managed to disable the Imperial E-XD-series infiltrator droid EXD-9 which had infiltrated the base. They then turned the infiltrator droid into an improvised bomb which destroyed a Star Destroyer. Despite their efforts, Grand Admiral Thrawn was able to narrow his search for the Phoenix Squadron's base down to 94 systems.
At the urging of Fenn Rau and the other Spectres, Sabine agreed to learn how to wield the Darksaber, an ancient Mandalorian symbol of power and leadership. Hera and Fenn Rau believed that Sabine could use the Darksaber to rally the Mandalorians over to the rebel cause. After overcoming her own doubt and fears, Sabine learned how to wield the weapon under the tutelage of Kanan and Ezra. Sabine and her rebel comrades then traveled on a mission to Krownest to seek the support of Clan Wren. Despite considerable difficulty, the Spectres and Fenn managed to win Clan Wren's leader Ursa Wren over after the two factions joined forces to defeat Viceroy Gar Saxon. While Clan Wren had not fully committed to the rebellion, the Phoenix rebels gained a new tentative ally.
Joining the Alliance
Escorting Senator Mon Mothma
Phoenix Leader Hera Syndulla and her Spectres later escorted the former Senator Mon Mothma, her crew, and Gold Squadron through the dangerous Archeon Nebula. During the mission, the rebels escaped a trap set by Grand Admiral Thrawn involving his prototype TIE Defender and two Star Destroyers, After reaching Dantooine, the Spectres watched as Mothma gave a speech announcing the formation of the Rebel Alliance. Short later, the Phoenix Squadron's capital ships jumped into hyperspace join the burgeoning Rebel fleet at Dantooine.
Stealing clearance codes on Killun 71
Later, Hera dispatched AP-5, Chopper, and Wedge Antilles on a mission to the Imperial Security Bureau station on Killun 71 to steal clearance codes for the Squadron's planned attack on Lothal. Though AP-5 managed to steal the codes, the mission was complicated after Chopper was hijacked by a team of Imperial slicers. Hera and the Spectres managed to stop the hijacked Chopper from transmitting Chopper Base's location to the Empire. After restoring Chopper's original programming, Hera use a data overload to destroy the slicers' listener ship.
Finding Obi-Wan Kenobi
After Ezra received messages from Kanan's Jedi holocron and the Malachor Sith holocron hinting that the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi's life was in danger from Maul, the Phoenix Squadron had a emergency meeting in the command center. The meeting was attended by Ezra, Kanan, Chopper, Hera, Rex, and Commander Sato. Kanan was unsure while Rex opined that Kenobi had perished. Hera then urged Ezra to remain at Chopper Base and to prepare for the upcoming attack on Lothal. Ezra and Chopper departed on an errant mission to Tatooine, but returned after Kenobi defeated Maul in combat.
As part of the planned attack on Lothal, General Dodonna's Massassi Group rendezvoused with the Phoenix Squadron above Atollon. Before the two rebel cells could launch their attack, Grand Admiral Thrawn's Seventh Fleet entered the Atollon system and blockaded the planet; trapping the two rebel fleets. Thrawn's forces inflicted heavy casualties on the two rebel units. Phoenix Squadron lost numerous ships and starfighters including Commander Sato's flagship Phoenix Nest.
In an attempt to facilitate Ezra and Chopper's escape on the Gauntlet, Sato rammed Admiral Konstantine's Interdictor vessel. The remnants of Phoenix Squadron and the Massassi Group later fought a ground battle against Thrawn's walkers and stormtroopers. After Mandalorian reinforcements led by Ezra, Sabine, and Fenn Rau destroyed the second interdictor cruiser, the remnants of Phoenix Squadron and Massassi Group fled to Yavin 4. Due to heavy casualties inflicted during the Battle of Atollon, Phoenix Squadron had ceased to exist as a military unit.
Even though the squadron had largely been decimated, the remaining members of Phoenix Squadron went on to join the Massassi Group.