- "How Jedi choose to win, the question is."
- ―Yoda, to Ezra Bridger
"Shroud of Darkness" is the eighteenth episode of the second season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. It is the thirty-third episode of the series overall. Matt Lanter, James Earl Jones, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, Jason Isaacs, and Frank Oz guest-starred. The episode, directed by Saul Ruiz and written by Henry Gilroy, premiered on March 2, 2016 on Disney XD.
Duel with the Inquisitors
On the mountainous world of Oosalon, with lightning crackling all around them, the Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his Padawan, Ezra Bridger, duel the two Inquisitors who have pursued them for months: the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother. The two Jedi, along with the astromech droid Chopper, who is nowhere to be found, traveled to this world to see if it was a suitable place to build a base for the rebellion. The arrival of the Inquisitors, however, means it is not suitable for the rebellion. As the duel continues, Ezra is nearly knocked off a cliffside by the Inquisitors, but Kanan grabs his ankle, keeping him from falling. The two are able to escape when Ezra uses the Force to bring a tibidee to their aid. The two jump off the cliff and land on the creature, which flies away and leaves the Inquisitors behind. Chopper soon arrives with the Phantom, and the Jedi jump aboard it and fly away.
Once the ship is in hyperspace, Ezra and Kanan talk about how the two Inquisitors pose a clear and present danger to the survival of the rebellion and their ability to establish a base. So long as the two Jedi are with the rebellion, the rebels are in danger. While en route to the Ghost, Kanan asks Captain Hera Syndulla to meet them alone in deep space, without the rest of Phoenix Cell, so as to not further threaten the rebel fleet.
Upon returning to the Ghost, Kanan and Ezra are greeted by Garazeb Orrelios, who is repairing his bo-rifle, and Hera Syndulla. When Hera asks Ezra how the Phantom is, Ezra tells her to ask Chopper, who was flying it. When Zeb asks the Jedi whether they'd found a new base, Ezra reports that they ran into two Inquisitors. Zeb replies that that is nothing new. Hera tells Kanan that "she" is waiting. When Hera asks Kanan why he told them to meet them away from the fleet, Kanan replies that he and Ezra's presence is attracting the Inquisitors. Kanan fears that the threat of the Inquisitors will make it hard for the Jedi to help the rebellion establish a base.
Ezra finds Ahsoka Tano in Kanan's cabin, where she is watching a holographic recording of Anakin Skywalker, who is teaching different tactics for lightsaber combat. Ahsoka explains that Anakin was the Jedi Knight who taught her. Ezra says Kanan told him that Anakin was the greatest warrior the Jedi Order had during the Clone Wars, and that he has been studying Anakin's holocron recordings in order to become a better duelist. Ahsoka agrees about Anakin; she says he rarely lost a battle and was a kind Jedi who cared about his friends and always looked out for them. Ezra wonders what happened to him, but she does not know for sure. She explains that the last time she saw him was when Anakin rushed off to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, after which the Jedi were hunted down and killed for their so-called treason, and the Galactic Empire came to power.
Kanan enters the cabin, where he shares his fear that the Inquisitors will continue to be a threat to the rebellion. Ahsoka agrees, and she recounts how Anakin used to turn to the wisdom of Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda in times of crisis. That gives Kanan an idea: to return to the Jedi Temple on Lothal, where Kanan and Ezra once spoke to Master Yoda from afar. The three of them leave the Ghost aboard the Phantom without telling the crew where they are going, in order to keep everyone safe. Hera, along with Zeb and Sabine Wren, watch the Jedi and Chopper depart into hyperspace. When Sabine asks where they are going, Hera replies that it is sometimes better not to know.
The trio arrives at Lothal and journeys to the Jedi Temple. When they land, Ahsoka learns that Ezra is from Lothal. Recalling their last visit to the Jedi Temple, Kanan and Ezra know that they must use the Force in order to levitate the great stone and reveal the entrance that is hidden deep underground. Ezra suggests that Kanan and Ahsoka open it, but Ahsoka says she cannot: because she left the Jedi Order, she is no longer considered a Jedi. Ezra joins his master in opening the temple, but instead of stopping at the entrance that they used before, the temple opens further and reveals a new entrance. Chopper stays outside with the Phantom, and Kanan tells him to keep a lookout.
Once inside the temple, the door closes behind them. The three gather together and begin meditating, recalling that Kanan and Ezra's last visit led them to communicate with Yoda only after meditating. As they do so, Kanan spots a bright white light emanating from a doorway, but the others do not see it. Knowing it is calling to him and that it is a path he must take alone, Kanan passes through the doorway and finds himself within a dojo. Inside is the Sentinel, a Jedi Temple Guard adorned in guardsman armor and a helmet. The Sentinel had wondered when Kanan would return, and Kanan tells him that he seeks the means to stop Darth Vader and the Inquisitors. The Sentinel claims that fighting is futile and would lead to the fall of the rebellion, as well as something much worse: Ezra's fall to the dark side of the Force. Unwilling to allow Ezra to become an agent of evil, the Sentinel activates his hinged double-bladed lightsaber, intending to kill Ezra. Kanan ignites his own lightsaber, and the two engage in a lightsaber duel.
As Kanan and the Sentinel fight, Chopper detects incoming Imperials and flees just before the two Inquisitors arrive at the Jedi Temple. The Fifth Brother believes that the Jedi are gone, but the Seventh Sister can sense that they are still there. She deploys a parrot droid to scan the structure and realizes that this is a Jedi Temple, and that their prey are inside. Meanwhile, Ezra asks Ahsoka about Yoda, saying that Kanan described him as a small, green, and wise Jedi Master, but that he did not know what he was like. Ahsoka recalls how Yoda, who taught all the Jedi younglings at one time or another, was once happy, but the Clone Wars filled him with a deep sorrow. As she speaks, Ezra disappears and finds himself in the same chamber where he previously spoke to Yoda. This time, he sees Yoda face-to-face, though Yoda is communing to him from afar. Ezra can now see him because of his growing powers, a power that Yoda says will come with great danger.
Kanan and the Sentinel continue their duel. The Sentinel is surprised by how little Kanan knows about the art of lightsaber combat, but Kanan says he learned enough and continues the duel. After the Sentinel knocks him back, Kanan grabs one of the many lightsabers hanging on the wall. To his surprise, the lightsaber has a red blade, as he now wields two blades against the Sentinel. The Sentinel, now flanked by two other Temple Guards, says that Kanan will never be strong enough to protect Ezra from the dark side. For his failure, the Sentinel says that Kanan will perish.
Now alone in the temple chambers, Ahsoka continues to meditate and hears the voice of Anakin Skywalker calling to her. This manifestation of Anakin, who appears behind her, asks her why she left when he still needed her. She tells him that she made a choice. He berates her for being selfish, but she says that is not true. Anakin, in his anger, says that she abandoned and failed him and asks if she knows what he has become. It is then that the image of Anakin becomes that of Darth Vader. A tearful and tormented Ahsoka ignites one of her lightsabers and spins around to find nothing, but she must now admit the truth: Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.
Ezra asks Yoda if the Jedi Master has the power to destroy Vader and the Inquisitors. Yoda tells him that there were once thousands of Jedi, before they chose to join the Clone Wars. Yoda shows him a vision of clone troopers preparing for battle and Jedi fighting in combat, explaining that, in the Order's arrogance, they joined the conflict too quickly. Fear, anger, and hate gripped the Jedi Order, and the Jedi were consumed by the dark side. Ezra asks if it was wrong for the Jedi to fight or if it is wrong for him to protect his friends. Yoda says that he too fought for many years, because he was consumed by fear. Ezra is surprised that Yoda was once consumed by fear, but Yoda explains that it is a lifelong challenge to avoid bending fear into anger. Suddenly, the chamber begins to shake, and Yoda says that the enemy has found them. Outside, the two Inquisitors use the Force to lift the giant stone out of the ground and reveal the entrance.
Knighthood and escape
Kanan and the Sentinel continue their duel in the dojo until Kanan is finally knocked to the ground. The Sentinel tells him that the servants of the dark side have come for Ezra, and that Kanan cannot fight forever. Kanan agrees that he cannot protect Ezra forever, even from himself, and can only train the boy as best as he can. The Sentinel raises his blade and Kanan prepares for death, but instead the Sentinel performs a knighting ceremony and says that, by the right of the Jedi High Council and the will of the Force, Kanan may stand. Kanan asks what it means, and the Sentinel removes his helmet to reveal a familiar face: that of the fallen Grand Inquisitor, who died in the duel with Kanan. The Sentinel says it means that Kanan is what the Sentinel once was: a Knight of the Jedi Order. With the temple falling, the Sentinel tells Kanan to flee and that he will delay the enemy. Kanan, shocked by both revelations, eventually nods and runs out of the dojo.
Ahsoka, in the main chamber, stands up and declares, "There's always a way," before running through a doorway. Ezra, not yet willing to leave, asks Yoda how the rebels are supposed to win if they do not fight back. Yoda says the real question is how the Jedi choose to win, and Ezra says they have already chosen to fight. Reluctantly, Yoda tells Ezra to find Malachor, disappearing as Ezra asks who Malachor is. Outside, the Inquisitors have finished opening the temple and enter it, ready to claim the secrets of the temple for themselves. The Inquisitors find themselves in the main chamber and are confronted by the Jedi Temple Guards. The Fifth Brother is astonished that the Sentinel has the face of the Grand Inquisitor, and the Temple Guards surround them. Ezra, Kanan and Ahsoka meet up again, and Ezra attempts to tell Kanan and Ahsoka what he just learned, but Kanan cuts him off as there is no time.
Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka run through the temple catacombs to find an exit. While running, Ahsoka stops after sensing a familiar presence: Yoda, who appears behind her and waves to his old friend. Ahsoka smiles and then continues onwards. The trio manages to exit the temple and return to the Phantom, which flies away as soon as they are aboard. Ezra tells the others that Yoda told him to find Malachor and again asks who Malachor is, but Ahsoka corrects him and reveals that Malachor is not a person, but a place. Back on Lothal, Darth Vader arrives at the Jedi Temple and says that the Emperor will be pleased by its discovery. The Fifth Brother tells his master that the Jedi are growing in their power, but Vader assures them that it will be the Jedi's undoing.
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Notes and references
- According to A Princess on Lothal" is "set roughly three years before the events of A New Hope. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of A New Hope to 0 BBY, "A Princess on Lothal" must take place in 3 BBY. Because Dawn of Rebellion states the events of "The Mystery of Chopper Base" occur three years before the Battle of Yavin, it takes place in 3 BBY. Since "Shroud of Darkness," is between these two episodes, it must also be set in 3 BBY. , "
- Shroud of Darkness on Disney XD's official schedule