- "We will squeeze Lothal until someone reveals the whereabouts of these traitors."
- ―Darth Vader
Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal is a one-hour long, two-part television movie that serves as the second season premiere of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. The television movie event was written by co-executive producer Henry Gilroy and directed by Bosco Ng and Brad Rau. The movie premiered on April 18, 2015 at Celebration Anaheim, and it made its television debut on June 20, 2015 on Disney XD.
The premiere continues the events of the first season, as the rebel crew of the Ghost adjusts to their new missions within the larger rebellion. After receiving a call for help from Minister Maketh Tua, who wants the rebels to help her defect from the Galactic Empire in exchange for vital Imperial secrets, the rebels return to Lothal only to find that they have entered an Imperial trap. With Lothal under Imperial siege and the Empire on their trail, the rebels must find a way to flee Lothal and return to the rebellion. Along the way, they have their first encounter with Darth Vader, the dreaded Dark Lord of the Sith.
The Inquisitor is dead. The Ghost crew has connected with other rebel cells. And a new ally named Ahsoka Tano has emerged. Despite these successes and developments, the fight against the Empire takes a deadly turn, as the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader comes to Lothal.
Not long after the events of "Fire Across the Galaxy," in which the rebels of the planet Lothal realized they were part of a larger rebellion against the Galactic Empire, the crew of the Ghost has become part of Phoenix Squadron, a rebel cell comprised of multiple corvettes and a squadron of A-wings under the command of Commander Jun Sato. Together, they undertake a mission to steal shield generators from the Empire to help defend the fleet. The Ghost, under the command of Captain Hera Syndulla, flies with Phoenix Squadron to carry out the mission. Also involved is the fleet of rebel blockade runners. The fleet attacks a group of Imperial freighters and knocks supplies loose from one of the vessels. The Ghost secures the cargo and the fleet jumps into hyperspace upon the arrival of two Arquitens-class light cruisers.
Plan to draw the Rebels back
- "If the rebels have left, then we must draw them back. And if they are here, we must draw them out."
- ―Darth Vader on his plans to capture the Ghost crew
On Lothal, Minister Maketh Tua and Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau discuss the steps that Tua is taking so the planetary government can locate the rebels. Though Tua has increased security and instituted a planetary curfew, she correctly believes that the rebels have already left Lothal and that such draconian measures will not be effective. Kallus counters that Tarkin wants results, given that his own personal Star Destroyer had been destroyed by the Rebels. The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor's top enforcer, who tells her that if the rebels have left Lothal then they need to be drawn back so the Empire can find them. Tua expresses reservations, and the Dark Lord tells her that she can relay her concerns to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, Governor of the Outer Rim Territories, who has commanded her to visit him and account for her failures. Tua is terrified, likely from the memory of Tarkin's execution of Cumberlayne Aresko and Taskmaster Grint, who had also failed on various occasions.
The crew of the Ghost returns to the command ship, Phoenix Home, where Commander Sato commends them for their work in securing fuel for the fleet in the raid; despite intelligence reports to the contrary, however, there were no shield generators aboard the Imperial freighter. The Ghost crew's astromech droid, C1-10P—nicknamed Chopper—arrives on in the command center carrying an urgent message. Kanan Jarrus, the crew's leader, purposefully ignores fleet protocol and orders Chopper to play the message, but Syndulla interjects and orders Chopper to mask their signal by only using one-way visual communication. The message is a holographic transmission from Jho, the Ithorian proprietor of a rebel safe haven on Lothal, who presents Minister Tua to the rebels. Tua believes her life is in danger and asks the rebels for help in defecting from the Empire, and she offers vital Imperial information in exchange for their assistance—including the names of rebel sympathizers on Lothal and nearby star systems, as well as intelligence regarding the Empire's true mission on Lothal, a mission ordered by the Emperor himself. There is some disagreement amongst the crew as to whether they should undertake the mission, but Ezra Bridger, Jarrus' Padawan, insists that they help her. Jarrus, Syndulla, and Commander Ahsoka Tano all agree, and Sato approves the mission.
Jarrus leaves the command center and is followed by Syndulla, who lectures him about the breach of protocol in the command center. He is bothered by the fact that their once-ragtag crew is now involved in a military operation and wants the crew to leave the rebellion, allowing the crew to return to their previous mission of robbing from the Empire and giving to those in need. Syndulla reminds him that they are fighting a bigger fight, but Jarrus, as a survivor of the Clone Wars and the ensuing Great Jedi Purge, does not want to fight another war after what the last one did to the galaxy. Unbeknownst to either of them, Bridger has overheard this exchange.
Meanwhile, as the rebels prepare for their operation, Tua leaves her office in the Imperial complex in Capital City. Agent Kallus, suspecting her treason, orders a probe droid to follow her and record her movements.
Return to Lothal
The rebels board a Star Commuter 2000 shuttle that is docked with the rebel fleet, choosing to leave the Ghost behind under the assumption that the Empire can track it after it was involved in a battle with the Empire over the planet Mustafar. While en route to Lothal, they discuss their plan to rendezvous with Minister Tua in Capital City, where she is scheduled to leave on a shuttle to meet with Governor Tarkin. The rebels soon arrive on Lothal, and the Star Commuter shuttle is given clearance to pass the heavy presence of Star Destroyers in orbit. Bridger notes the increased number of Star Destroyers once they land, having never seen so many Imperial warships in the skies above Capital City in his many years of living on the planet. Garazeb Orrelios and Chopper are ordered to stay behind with the Star Commuter in case the rebels need to make a quick exit.
The crew makes their way towards the rendezvous point, where a number of Imperial stormtroopers are guarding the shuttle. In order to distract the stormtroopers, Jarrus assaults one of the soldiers and steals their armor, allowing him to blend in as one of the Imperials and walk right up to the landing bay. Jarrus waits in position while Syndulla, Bridger, and Sabine Wren head to the rooftops, where they can attack the Imperials from above. Tua soon arrives along with Kallus, who says that Darth Vader ordered him to escort her to the shuttle in the interest of her safety. The rebels attack the Imperial troops and Tua runs for the shuttle, followed close behind by the rebels. Once she is aboard, however, the shuttle explodes, sending the rebels flying backward. Kallus, whose probe droid is recording the entire incident due to Empire knowing the shuttle was going to explode, accuses the rebels of killing Tua. High above the landing pad, Darth Vader observes the scene; he leaves just as the rebels begin their escape from their failed rescue mission.
Fleeing from Imperial forces, the rebels board the Star Commuter 2000 after Chopper and Orrelios arrive. As the shuttle flies away, it is shot down by an All Terrain Defense Pod and crashes in the city street. In the Imperial complex, Vader receives a transmission from Agent Kallus, who reports what happened. Vader orders him to lay siege to Lothal, preventing any travel offworld in order to prevent the rebels from escaping. The Empire also sends out a report via HoloNet News about Minister Tua's death, publicly implicating the rebels as assassins. The crew watches the report in one of their safe houses, the former home of Ezra Bridger and his missing parents. The Empire soon finds them, prompting the crew to escape just before the stormtroopers set off a thermal detonator and destroy the house.
Under the assumption that the forces in the Imperial complex will be stretched thin due to deployments searching for the rebels, the crew hatches a plan to sneak in and steal a shuttle, as to the lockdown prevents them from finding a civilian ship. Jarrus retains his stormtrooper disguise and Bridger impersonates an Imperial cadet, allowing them to enter the facility with crates containing the rest of the crew. Along the way, Ezra attempts to perform a mind trick on an officer, but fails, forcing Kanan to do it instead. Once the rebels are safely inside the complex, they make their way to the complex's starport and find a shuttle to steal. They also find a number of military-grade shield generators, much like the ones that they were searching for during the attack on the Imperial freighters, and steal them. However, before they can escape, Jarrus and Bridger both feel a sudden chill; realizing what it means, they turn to see Darth Vader entering the hangar, flanked by stormtroopers.
Duel with the Dark Lord
- "Your Master has deceived you into believing you can become a Jedi."
- ―Darth Vader taunts Ezra Bridger, using the Force to push Bridger's own lightsaber against his neck
Igniting his lightsaber, Vader advances on Jarrus and Bridger as the stormtroopers move to flank the other rebels. Wren and Orrelios get in a firefight with the stormtroopers to cover Hera and Chopper as they load the shield generators onto the shuttle and prepare to take off. Meanwhile, Jarrus and Bridger engage Vader in a lightsaber duel, but they are easily overpowered. When Jarrus is knocked out of the fight, Bridger attempts to fight Vader alone, but Vader uses the Force to pin him against a wall and bring Bridger's own lightsaber toward the Padawan's throat. The Dark Lord taunts him, saying that Jarrus deceived Bridger into believing he could become a Jedi. Before Vader can kill Bridger, Jarrus returns to the fight and engages Vader, only to be driven back and slashed on the shoulder by the Dark Lord's counterattack. Wren and Orrelios then throw thermal detonators onto some nearby AT-DP walkers, scattering the stormtroopers and distracting Vader; seizing their chance, Bridger and Jarrus use the Force to knock the Dark Lord of the Sith off-balance as the walkers crash down on him. The rebels believe that Vader is dead, but he uses the Force to lift the burning walkers into the air, with not even a scratch on him. A shocked Bridger rhetorically asks "If that doesn't kill him, what will?!"; Jarrus simply replies "Not us. Run!" As Bridger and Jarrus retreat to the shuttle, Wren opens fire on Vader to try and delay him; however, Vader deflects the blaster shots back at her, scorching her chest-plate and helmet. Mere steps ahead of Vader, Bridger and Jarrus leap aboard the shuttle as Chopper flies it away from the Imperial complex. A stormtrooper offers to mobilize the Empire's fighters to pursue the shuttle, but Vader refuses, explaining that the rebels will not leave Lothal yet. His plan is still in motion.
Having barely escaped with their lives, the rebels catch their breath aboard the shuttle—luckily, Wren and Jarrus's armor saved them from permanent injury. Bridger wonders if Vader is an Inquisitor, like the one they faced in the past, but Jarrus believes that he is actually a Sith Lord, the ancient enemies of the Jedi Order. Bridger asks how they could fight Vader in the future, but Jarrus incredulously tells him that they were lucky to even survive the encounter with their dangerous new foe. Knowing that Vader will have a blockade in orbit waiting for them, the rebels decide they have to smuggle themselves off Lothal, and Syndulla suggests someone who could help them: Lando Calrissian, much to Bridger and Jarrus's dismay.
Getting off of Lothal
- "Fear has driven them to ground. There is a refugee camp the rebels have provided aid to in the past."
"Yes, "Tarkintown" they call it. You suspect the rebels are in hiding there?"
"No, but I want you to burn it."
- ―Vader tells Kallus to burn down Tarkintown to spread fear on Lothal
While the rebels prepare to contact the smuggler, Kallus meets with Vader and informs the Dark Lord that the rebels have not yet left Lothal. In order to draw the rebels out, Vader orders Kallus to destroy Tarkintown, a refugee settlement that the rebels provided assistance to in the past.
Syndulla and Jarrus contact Calrissian, who is offworld when they call, and explain their situation. Calrissian thinks helping them will be a risk, one that could endanger the mining operation he set up on Lothal, but is willing to help them for a price. They agree to give him three of their shield generators, and Calrissian tells them to go to his farm where his droid, W1-LE, will assist them. W1-LE greets them upon their arrival, at which point Bridger notices the smoke from Tarkintown. He grabs a speeder and heads in that direction, where he finds the charred remains of the settlement. Jarrus arrives moments later and says the citizens have likely been taken into Imperial custody. All Bridger can sense is evil, and his master tells him that the city was destroyed in order to spread fear on Lothal. He feels that things are getting worse, much like they did during the Clone Wars; and back then, there were ten thousand Jedi protecting the galaxy. Now, Jarrus and Bridger are two of the only Jedi known to still be alive, facing off against an entire Empire. Jarrus is skeptical that they can make a difference, but Bridger believes that they can fight the Empire, declaring that he isn't afraid of them—in turn, Jarrus mutters "That's what I'm afraid of." as his Padawan walks off.
The two Jedi return to Calrissian's farm, where Wren explains that she and W1-LE have created sensor buoys that will replicate the signal of the shuttle and scatter Imperial forces when they try to track them. The rebels, who resolve not to return to Lothal due to the impact their rebellion has had on the planet, leave the farm and make their way towards orbit, casting the decoys into the atmosphere as they head for space. The Star Destroyer Relentless, under the command of Admiral Kassius Konstantine, tracks the signals, and the Imperial crew falls for the diversion. The rebels successfully make it past the blockade and into hyperspace, with a course set for the rebel fleet.
Back at the Imperial Center, Konstantine contacts Vader and Kallus to report his failure, but Vader simply orders that his ship be prepared for launch. Noting Konstantine's confusion, Kallus explains that the shuttle used by the rebels contains a tracking device, which Vader himself plans to use to track the rebels to his true objective: the rebel fleet. It is revealed that Vader allowed the crew to escape from Lothal specifically for this purpose; even the gap in the garrison defenses was intentional.
Attack on the fleet
- "There's something familiar about him him. I feel...cold. I think I know who it is. Back on Lothal I felt something - Kanan did too. The fear, the anger, the hate; it's the Sith Lord we faced!"
- ―Ezra realizes Vader is piloting the TIE attacking Phoenix Home
En route to the fleet, Jarrus wonders if they should return to the rebellion at all, still unsure as to whether he wants to be part of their fight against the Empire. The crew debates the issue amongst themselves, in order to resolve the question of where to go. Wren suggests they take the Ghost and lay low, while Orrelios likes fighting with Phoenix Squadron and knows that the other rebels are counting on them to return. Bridger casts the deciding vote, and the crew continues on their way towards the fleet. Upon their arrival on Phoenix Home, Chopper discovers that the transmitter has been activated. The crew rushes to the command center to inform Sato and Tano about the transmitter just as a lone starfighter, Vader's TIE Advanced x1, enters the area to engage the fleet.
Phoenix Squadron is deployed to fight the Dark Lord, but Vader—knowing that the rebels would underestimate a lone fighter—easily shoots many of the Phoenix forces down. As Vader attacks Phoenix Home, the Ghost crew joins the fight aboard their ship. Jarrus and Tano, who went with the crew aboard the Ghost, sense the Force is strong with the pilot of the TIE fighter and attempt to learn more about him through the Force. As they do so, Bridger begins to sense the same darkness that he felt on Lothal, realizing that the TIE pilot is the Sith Lord they fought. Tano, who feels something about Vader through the Force that terrifies her, screams and falls unconscious. She and Vader have sensed one another, and Vader realizes that Tano—who was his Padawan when he was still known as the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker—is still alive.
As the battle nears its end, Star Destroyers enter into the fray, with the lead ship commanded by Admiral Konstantine. Vader orders them to prevent the rebel fleet from leaving, as he wants this group alive. At the Ghost crew's urging, Sato and his crew abandon the critically-damaged Phoenix Home, evacuating to the rest of the fleet. The Ghost keeps Vader occupied during the evacuation before flying towards the Star Destroyers, Vader still on its tail—the crew questions this, but Syndulla has a plan for escaping. While the blockade runners jump into hyperspace, Syndulla pilots the Ghost between two Star Destroyers, which activate their tractor beams in order to trap the ship. The ship jumps into hyperspace just in time, leaving Vader's TIE fighter to be captured by the tractor beams in its place. Upon hearing of this mistake, Admiral Konstantine tells the tractor beam operator that "It wasn't your fault...but Lord Vader won't know that," implying that he intends to blame the operator for his failure to capture the rebels.
- "I believe the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker lives...and is in league with these rebels."
"Are you certain?"
"It was her."
"This is an opportunity we cannot let pass. Skywalker's apprentice could lead us to other lost Jedi."
"Such as Kenobi."
"Perhaps, if he lives. Be patient, my old friend. For now, dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt them down."
"As you wish, my Master."
- ―Vader and Sidious discuss the sudden appearance of Skywalker's former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano
The Ghost meets up with the rest of the fleet and begins to repair the damage from the battle. Jarrus and Bridger speak to Tano, who asks them about their confrontation with Vader in Capital City. Jarrus tells her that he hasn't sensed a presence as evil as his for many years—since the Clone Wars, as Tano interjects. Bridger asks her if she knows who the Sith Lord is, and Tano, somewhat unsettled about the topic, denies any knowledge of his identity. She does know, however, that he and the rest of the Empire will be coming for the rebels again in an effort to destroy them. Whether or not they choose to fight Vader and the Empire, the Ghost crew tells Tano that they will stand together.
Aboard the bridge of a Star Destroyer, Vader sends a holographic transmission to the Emperor. Vader tells his master that he has broken the rebel fleet, but the Emperor senses that there is more to Vader's victory than his disciple has let on. Vader says that he has discovered that the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker is still alive and that she is in league with the rebellion. The Emperor is pleased by this news and believes that Tano could lead them to other lost Jedi—including, perhaps, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Emperor urges Vader to remain patient in finding his old Jedi Master—for now, he orders him to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt the rebels down.
As with Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, this episode was originally split into two parts when it was aired and made available on DVD, but was released as one uninterrupted episode when it became available for purchase on digital video storefronts, such as iTunes. The digital video version of this episode removes the brief birds-eye view shot of the Imperial airfield that starts this episode's second part and changes the timing of the music that plays during Ezra and Kanan's duel with Darth Vader.
Production Services Provided by CGCG, Inc.
Dialogue Recording Services by The L.A. Studios, Inc.
Post Production Sound Services Provided by Skywalker Sound, a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company, Martin County California
Rights and clearances by Entertainment Clearances, Inc., Cassandra Barbour, Laura Sevier
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