- "We have been called criminals, but we are not. We are rebels, fighting for the people, fighting for you. I'm not that old, but I remember a time when things were better on Lothal. Maybe not great, but never like this. See what the Empire has done to your lives, your families, and your freedom? It's only gonna get worse unless we stand up and fight back."
- ―Ezra Bridger
Several years before the Battle of Yavin, a group of rebels called the Spectres carried out an insurgency against the Galactic Empire on the Outer Rim planet Lothal and neighboring star systems. The rebels operated aboard the starship Ghost and carried out a number of attacks against Imperial forces. The rebels were led by Kanan Jarrus, a Padawan who had evaded the Jedi Purge; and Hera Syndulla, a Twi'lek resistance fighter. Other rebels included Padawan Ezra Bridger, Lasat Honor Guardsman Garazeb Orrelios, Mandalorian explosives expert Sabine Wren, and the astromech droid C1-10P ("Chopper"). The insurgency drew the attention of Imperial leaders and other rebels alike, and the rebels became part of a wider rebellion that included Senator Bail Organa and former Jedi Ahsoka Tano. After the Empire imposed a blockade on the planet and destroyed Tarkintown, the rebels decided to leave Lothal in order to avoid endangering the planet's population.
- Beck: "I don't mean we shouldn't fight. It's just that the time isn't right yet. The Empire will crush any open resistance..."
- Zare: "And when will the time be right?"
- Beck: "Soon. The more the Empire tightens its grip, the more people will feel the squeeze—and realize it's fight back or be crushed. A real resistance will emerge. And when it does, they'll need people on the inside, who can help them."
- Merei: "People who have the Empire's playbook."
- Beck: "Yes. Along with people who can scout the other team."
- ―Beck Ollet, Zare Leonis, and Merei Spanjaf discussing their motivations for resisting the Empire[src]
Following the end of the Clone Wars, the Galactic Empire occupied the planet Lothal. The Empire wanted to exploit Lothal's rich mineral wealth and to establish a new hyperspace route in the Outer Rim Territories. While Lothal's population initially welcomed the Empire, the population gradually grew more dissatisfied with the Empire's high taxes, corruption, the destruction of farms, and the pollution of Lothal's skies and waterways. Some unhappy residents like Ephraim and Mira Bridger made broadcasts criticizing the Empire. They were supported by the then-Governor Ryder Azadi. In response, the Empire imprisoned the Bridgers and Governor Azadi. As a result, the Bridgers' seven-year old son Ezra Bridger was forced to eke out a living on the streets of Lothal's Capital City.
As the Empire increased its mining activities on Lothal, the Imperial authorities began buying or seizing more farmland including several jogan fruit orchards in the Westhills. While some farmers like Beck Ollet's family agreed to sell their land, other farmers refused and insurgents began sabotaging Imperial mining equipment. About six years before the Battle of Yavin, Beck and his friends Zare Leonis and Merei Spanjaf (two recent migrants) were visiting a former orchard in the Westhills when they found that several unidentified individuals had planted detonators on several Imperial surveyor droids. The insurgents fled south before they could be identified. The youths contacted the authorities who sent an Imperial Troop Transport to pursue the saboteurs. However, Beck misled the authorities by telling them that the insurgents had fled north.
Later that year, Imperial forces led by Lieutenant Piers Roddance massacred a gathering of landless farmers who wanted to present a petition to Governor Arihnda Pryce. The Imperial HoloNet news presenter Alton Kastle claimed that the farmers had destroyed mining equipment and attacked Imperial surveyors; thus justifying the massacre. This incident was witnessed by Beck and Zare and had the effect of turning the two youths against the Empire. During the summer season, Beck later joined a three-member rebel cell that attempted to plant detonators on Imperial mining equipment. However, they were pursued by an Imperial Troop Transport and later captured by Imperial authorities, who had identified their landspeeder. Zare was also present during that incident and fired on the Transport.
Following his arrest, Beck was tried by an Imperial Security Bureau tribunal and found guilty. He was subsequently enrolled in an experimental re-education program known as Project Unity. Meanwhile, Zare enrolled in Lothal's Academy for Young Imperials the following year with the intention of finding his sister Dhara Leonis, who had been kidnapped by the Grand Inquisitor for a secretive Imperial program known as Project Harvester. Leonis also wanted to wait for a resistance movement to develop so that he could help them bring the Empire down. Leonis' girlfriend Merei also agreed to help Leonis find his sister by hacking into the Imperial data network on Lothal. To accomplish this mission, she agreed to volunteer her services to the Gray Syndicate in exchange for obtaining three snooper programs.
The crew of the GhostEdit
- "Good people of Lothal, do not believe what the Empire tells you. We are on your side. We remember Lothal before the Empire came here. People could do and say what they liked, without fear. We want to free Lothal from the Empire."
- ―The Spectres, in a message to the people of Lothal
About five years before the Battle of Yavin, a rebel cell known as the Spectres that operated from the VCX-100 light freighter Ghost established a presence on the planet Lothal. This rebel cell consisted of the Twi'lek ship captain Hera Syndulla, the former Jedi Padawan Kanan Jarrus, the astromech droid Chopper, the Lasat warrior Garazeb Orrelios ("Zeb"), and the Mandalorian weapons expert Sabine Wren. After raiding Imperial targets on Ryloth, Christophsis, Kashyyyk, and Toydaria, the crew of the Ghost stopped on Lothal and decided to stay and help the planet long-term. During their time on Lothal, the crew of the Ghost harried the Empire by raiding Imperial supply convoys, attacking an Imperial airfield, assaulting Imperial stormtroopers, and shooting down Imperial TIE fighters. They also distributed food to the needy including the displaced inhabitants of Tarkintown.
The crew of the Ghost also accepted jobs from Cikatro Vizago, a Devaronian crime lord who also operated as an information broker. During a heist in Capital City, the rebels stole several crates containing food and blasters from Imperial forces. While executing their mission, the crew encountered Ezra Bridger, who attempted to steal several of their stolen supplies but subsequently agreed to come along with them. After escaping Imperial forces, the crew along with Ezra fled into hyperspace aboard the Ghost. The heist in Capital City attracted the attention of the Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus, who assessed the increased spate of rebel activities on Lothal as a sign that a rebellion was emerging on that planet.
The crew of the Ghost later returned to Lothal after the situation had calmed down. They visited Tarkintown where they distributed free food to the residents. Kanan and Hera also delivered the stolen blasters to Vizago, who paid them and supplied them with information about the location of several Wookiee captives. The rebels resolved to free the Wookiees from Imperial captivity. Together with Ezra, the Spectres traveled to Vizago's coordinates and encountered Freighter 651, a Gozanti-class cruiser where the Wookiees were allegedly been held. While boarding the vessel, the Spectres discovered that they had stumbled into a trap set up by Agent Kallus. The rebels apart from Ezra managed to flee back to the Ghost.
At Hera's urging, the crew of the Ghost hatched a mission to rescue Ezra by attacking Kallus' Star Destroyer Lawbringer. However, Ezra had managed to free himself and discovered that the Wookiees were being shipped to the spice mines of Kessel. Using this information, the rebels traveled to Kessel where they managed to free several Wookiee prisoners including Wullffwarro and his son Kitwarr. During the fighting, Kanan revealed his identity as a Jedi to Kallus and his stormtroopers. After transporting the Wookiee prisoners to an Auzituck anti-slaver gunship, Ezra agreed to join the crew of the Ghost and begin his Jedi training under Kanan. Following the Kessel skirmish, Agent Kallus reported his encounter with Kanan to the Grand Inquisitor; a Pau'an who served as the head of the Inquisitors, Dark Side agents of the Empire that were tasked with hunting down Jedi.
Harrying the EmpireEdit
- "The attack at the Academy, and now Empire Day. No one will say it, but these are not just isolated incidents. There's a pattern behind it–something dangerous. Dangerous to commerce, and authority, and the social order"
- ―Leo Leonis
Following the rescue of Wookiee prisoners, the crew of the Ghost accepted a job from Vizago to steal an Imperial weapons shipment on Garel. This shipment turned out to be T-7 ion disruptor rifles, weapons which had been banned by the Imperial Senate following the Siege of Lasan. The Empire planned to re-start production of T-7 rifles on Lothal and had sent the Imperial Minister Maketh Tua to obtain them. During the mission, the crew managed to steal the rifles but took two hitchhikers, the droids C-3PO and R2-D2; who had been sent on a secret mission by Senator Bail Organa to prevent the weapons from falling into Imperial hands. The rebels returned to Lothal to sell the weapons to Vizago. Before they could complete their transaction, they were attacked by Imperial forces led by Agent Kallus. During the battle, the rebels managed to fight off the Imperials and destroy the rifles with the help of R2-D2. Following the mission, the rebels returned the two droids to Senator Organa; who paid them enough Credits to cover their fuel and living expenses.
While buying groceries in Kathol to stock up the Ghost, Ezra and Zeb tried to steal a crate of meiloorun fruits but were pursued by Imperial forces. During their pursuit, the two rebels managed to steal Baron Valen Rudor's TIE fighter. Meanwhile, Supply Master Yogar Lyste seized Morad Sumar's farm and arrested him, his wife Marida, and their Aqualish helper. While flying their TIE fighter, Ezra and Zeb came across Sumar's burning farm. At Ezra's request, Zeb agreed to fly the TIE fighter to search for the Imperials and their captives. Following a skirmish, the rebels managed to free the farmers and steal a crate of meiloruun. After hiding the TIE fighter, they returned to the Ghost. A subsequent HoloNet report by Alton Kastle distorted Ezra and Zeb's rescue of the farmers by claiming that the rebels had used a stolen TIE fighter to attack a transport carrying workers.
As the Spectres' activities escalated, the Empire made several attempts to capture the rebels. With the help of the secret Imperial agent Senator Gall Trayvis, the Empire planted information about the fallen Jedi Master Luminara Unduli being imprisoned at the Spire, a secret prison in the Stygeon system. Unknown to the rebels, it was a trap set by the Grand Inquisitor, a Jedi hunter who served the Sith. The rebels encountered the Grand Inquisitor but managed to escape Stygeon Prime.
Following the encounter with the Inquisitor, the crew of the Ghost undertook a mission to intercept and destroy an Imperial convoy transporting a large powerful kyber crystal. In order to gain access to a decoder containing the coordinates of the convoy, Ezra Bridger infiltrated the Imperial Academy in Capital City. There, he befriended a rebel sympathizer named Zare Leonis, who helped him to steal the decoder from Agent Kallus' office. Using the decoder, Hera and Kanan were able to destroy the Imperial convoy and the crystal. After using the decoder, the rebels passed the device to Leonis' girlfriend Merei Spanjaf, who subsequently discovered that Leonis' sister Dhara had been forcibly inducted into Project Harvester, a program for screening Force-sensitive cadets.In addition, Ezra and Zare helped another Force-sensitive cadet named Jai Kell to escape the Academy. However, Zare chose to stay behind in order to find his sister.
Working in tandem with the mysterious rebel leader known as Fulcrum, the Spectes later attacked an Imperial convoy. Following that raid, the rebels disrupted the Empire Day celebrations being held in Lothal's Capital City to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the Empire's formation. The rebels bombed a prototype TIE Advanced v1 starfighter that was to be flown by Baron Rudor. In addition, the rebels also managed to evacuate the Rodian fugitive Tseebo, who was wearing an AJ^6 cyborg construct containing vital information on the Empire's operations on Lothal and the Outer Rim. Despite a planetary lockdown, the rebels managed to escape into space and move Tseebo into hiding with the help of Fulcrum.
In response to the Spectres' activities on Lothal, Governor Arihnda Pryce ordered a planetwide crackdown on dissent and sedition. Agent Kallus was placed in charge of the crackdown with the Imperial government on Lothal pledging the support of all its ministries. As part of this crackdown, military personnel including Imperial cadets and stormtroopers were used to round up suspicious–looking individuals, probe neighborhoods for illegal activities, and to place the children of fugitives into "protective custody." Some Imperial officers like Lieutenant Piers Roddance sought to register all trade on Lothal and even regarded questioning orders as amounting to sedition. The broad scope of the purge even resulted in some cadets like Nazhros Oleg being expelled from Imperial service for having relatives who were involved in smuggling.
As part of the crackdown, Imperial forces also massacred the entire Gray Syndicate for purportedly kidnapping Merei, the daughter of Jessa Spanjaf, a leading Imperial information-security investigator. Jessa had been investigating a data breach at the Transportation Ministry's headquarters. Unknown to Jessa and the Imperial authorities, Merei had perpetrated the breach in an attempt to find information on Zare's sister Dhara. After becoming indebted to the Gray Syndicate's leader Yahenna Laxo, Merei framed him for her kidnapping in an attempt to break free of Laxo and to obstruct the Imperial investigation.
Despite the crackdown, the Spectres still managed to visit and leave Lothal. On one occasion, they helped the smuggler Lando Calrissian to smuggle a stolen puffer pig into the planet. During that attempt, the Ghost was pursued by several TIE fighters after Ezra and Zeb accidentally deactivated the ship's signature modulator. Calrissian planned to set up an illegal private mining operation using the puffer pig to sniff out minerals. While assisting Calrissian, the rebels were involved in a skirmish with the crime lord Azmorigan.
Later, Agent Kallus devised a plan to trap the Spectres using the dissident Senator Gall Trayvis. While Trayvis was known as a staunch critic of the Empire on HoloNet, he was actually an Imperial agent who helped ferret out rebels from hiding so that they could be eliminated by the Empire. With the help of Trayvis, the Imperials lured the Spectres to the Old Republic Senate Building. However, the rebels gained early warning of the trap due to the Imperial cadet Zare Leonis, who warned Ezra that the Empire was staging a massive operation there. The rebels managed to flee into the sewers and left Trayvis behind, after he exposed himself as an Imperial operative.
The "Senate Building" incident marked the latest in the Lothal Imperial authorities' string of failures to apprehend the Spectres. In response, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, the Governor of the Outer Rim Territories visited Lothal to put an end to the "insurgents." After berating Kallus, Tua, and the Grand Inquisitor for their failure, Tarkin ordered the execution of the incompetent Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko and Taskmaster Myles Grint. The two Imperial officers had recently responded to an attack by the Spectres on an Imperial convoy near Jalath and failed to capture the rebels. Through this action, Tarkin demonstrated that the Empire would no longer tolerate failure.
Under Tarkin's orders, Kallus dispatched probe droids to every known location of rebel activity. After learning that the Ghost crew planned to hijack the Imperial Communications Center at Jalath, Tarkin set a trap for the rebels. Working together, Kallus and the Grand Inquisitor succeeded in apprehending Kallus. However, they failed to capture the other rebels, who succeeded in taking control of the tower and broadcasting a message to Lothal's people. In response, Tarkin ordered the destruction of the main communications tower and blamed it on the insurgents.
Following the destruction of the Imperial Communications Center, the Imperial authorities intensified their crackdown and tightened offworld travel. As a result of the Imperial investigations into the Transportation Data Breach, Merei's friend Jix Hekyl, who had put her in touch with the Gray Syndicate, was arrested. Realizing that the writing was on the wall, Merei fled to Garel with her family, the dissident poet Holshef and the Leonis family; who were now aware of the true circumstances behind Dhara's disappearance. Later, with the help of the Spectres, Merei managed to rescue Zare and Dhara from Arkanis.
Continuing the StruggleEdit
Despite the loss of Kanan, the Spectres refused to give up. With the reluctant help of Vizago, the rebels learned that the Empire was transporting all offworld communications on courier droids. Hoping to find information about Kanan's location, the rebels disguised Chopper as a courier droid and sent him to infiltrate an Imperial light cruiser. There, Chopper discovered that Kanan was being held on Tarkin's Star Destroyer Sovereign, which was scheduled to travel to the Mustafar system. After failing to break the Jedi, Tarkin hoped that Mustafar would have a desired effect on Kanan.
After stealing a Gozanti-class cruiser, the Spectres traveled to the Mustafar system where they used a stolen TIE fighter to infiltrate the Sovereign. Once aboard, the rebel TIE fighter emitted a massive electro-magnetic pulse that disabled the entire Star Destroyer. In the midst of the black-out, the rebels managed to rescue Kanan and defeat the Grand Inquisitor, who plunged to his death in the Star Destroyer's reactor core rather than face another failure. The rebels then managed to escape on two TIE fighters before the Sovereign exploded.
Before the Spectres could be destroyed by Imperial TIE fighters, they were rescued by Fulcrum and Senator Organa, who had dispatched several CR90 corvettes to their aid. Once they had been evacuated to safety, the Spectres met Fulcrum in person, who revealed herself to be the former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, a veteran of the Clone Wars. Hera then informed her fellow rebels that they had been part of a wider rebellion that was fighting a galactic struggle against the Empire. In response to the setbacks on Mustafar, Emperor Palpatine dispatched his apprentice Darth Vader to deal with the rebel insurgency on Lothal.
Following the events on Mustafar, the crew of the Ghost joined the Phoenix Squadron. Seeking to ferret out the Spectres, Darth Vader imposed a lockdown and blockade of the planet. After the disillusioned Minister Tua contacted the Spectres to facilitate her defection to the rebellion, Agent Kallus saw an opportunity to lure the rebels back to Lothal and to capture them. Arriving on Lothal, the rebels attempted to rescue Tua but she was killed during the escape attempt. Kallus then framed the rebels for her murder and sent Imperial forces to hunt them down. The rebels managed to evade capture by fleeing into the Imperial Complex only to be confronted by Vader.
After a difficult struggle, the Spectres managed to escape the complex in a stolen shuttle. In order to demoralize the rebels, Vader ordered Kallus to raze Tarkintown to punish the locals for accepting help from the rebels. After witnessing the destruction of Tarkintown, Ezra and Kanan resolved that the rebels would not return to Lothal in order to avoid endangering its people. With the help of Lando Calrissian, the rebels managed to outfit the shuttle with sensor buoys that enabled them to slip through the Imperial blockade. However, Vader had secretly outfitted the shuttle with a tracking device in order to destroy the Phoenix rebel fleet. Vader then launched an attack on the fleet and inflicted considerable casualties on the rebels. Despite sustaining serious losses, the rebels managed to escape into hyperspace.
While the Empire's crackdown and subsequent Siege of Lothal failed to capture the Spectres, it convinced them to end their presence on the planet in order to avoid endangering its inhabitants. After escaping the Siege, the Spectres resolved to join the greater rebellion against the Empire. Despite leaving Lothal, Ezra's actions inspired his parents Ephraim and Mira Bridger to stage a revolt at an Imperial prison prison. While the Bridgers were killed during the escape attempt, they managed to free numerous prisoners including Ryder Azadi, the former Governor of Lothal. Following a Force vision, Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper revisited Lothal. There, they encountered Azadi, who informed Ezra of his parents' death and sacrifice. As a result, Ezra was able to make peace with the past.
The Imperial blockade of Lothal created substantial hardship for the planet. In 3 BBY, the Alderaanian Princess Leia Organa visited Lothal under the pretext of conducting a relief mission. However, her relief work was a cover for her plan to deliver three Hammerhead corvettes to the rebellion. Since Alderaan could not be seen directly aiding the rebellion, Princess Leia had arranged for the Spectres to steal the ship on Lothal. With the help of Leia and Azadi, the Spectres managed to steal the ship from an Imperial depot and deliver them to the rebellion.
By 2 BBY, Ryder Azadi had started another rebel cell which specialized in sabotaging vehicles at the Imperial Armory Complex in Capital City. This rebel cell consisted of Ryder, the former farmer Morad Sumar, his wife Marida Sumar, and the Ithorian bartender Jho. Their activities attracted the attention of Grand Admiral Thrawn who ordered a lockdown of the factory. Despite the lockdown and Morad's death, Ryder's cell and the Spectres managed to steal plans for a new fighter initiative.
Behind the scenesEdit
While the insurgency on Lothal has never been officially named in any Canon source, several Imperial characters (namely Minister Maketh Tua, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Supply Master Yogar Lyste) alluded to the existence of an insurgency on Lothal in the Star Wars Rebels episodes "Call to Action" and "A Princess on Lothal'". The Lothal insurgency forms the basis for the plot of most of the series' first season before terminating in the television movie Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal; which marks the start of the second season.
- Star Wars Rebels: Fight the Empire
- Star Wars Rebels: Rebel Power!
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas