The Musical Diversity of Ezra’s Theme
Today, I want to discuss something from Star Wars Rebels that snuck past me. Something that snuck past the first season. Snuck past the movie event “Siege of Lothal.” Snuck past all the way to the episode “A Princess on Lothal.” Music is a powerful tool. It can cause eyes to wet, with a rainbow of emotions. It can ignite sparks of memory. Triggering events surrounding the sounds into a collective story. This elusive beast that smacked me dead center in the face was Ezra’s theme.
Discovering Ezra’s Theme
In Star Wars it is common to include leitmotifs in the score (musical cues that relate to a character or idea). In the show Rebels, Kevin Kiner blends in the music of the Star Wars movies by John Williams, with his own spin. Kiner was involved, with the previous show, The Clone Wars, where he added so much to the music side of Star Wars. Because, of the vast amount of Williams score in Rebels, it took me awhile to notice Ezra’s theme. Take a listen to the Ezra and Leia theme here. The first 30 seconds is of Ezra’s theme.
Now let us dissect the moments it pops up in the very first episode/movie event, Spark of Rebellion.* Before the first time the theme plays, Ezra notices a group of thieves stealing crates from the Empire, he gets drawn to one of them (a roguish scoundrel named Kanan) and attempts to steal from the thieves. This leads Ezra to run away from the pursuing Empire on what he later found out is the Ghost ship, and ended up helping them deliver food to refugees hurt by the Empire.
Ezra’s Theme In Spark Of Rebellion
The first time we clearly hear Ezra’s theme is 15 minutes into the episode Spark of Rebellion. We see clearly on his face how exposed he feels. How out of his element. A loth-rat always looking out, for himself is surrounded by other Lothalians, struggling to survive. Surviving they do after the Ghost crew and Ezra offer up fresh food. In return, Ezra is gifted with praise and gratitude. Two things foreign to him. It is one thing to pull a con, but it is another to be so exposed. The look on his face is bewilderment. Confusion. Guilt! He doesn’t look like he deserves such attention. He only wants what is his… Yet he is still there. Pulling a crate to share his weight.
The second time Ezra’s theme plays is about 19 minutes in. While Ezra and part of the crew was giving out food, Kanan and the leader Hera, went off to sell the liberated goods (aka weapons). During that transaction, Kanan found out about Wookiee prisoners being being detained by the Empire. Flash forward to Hera and Kanan explaining the plan to save the Wookiees gets interrupted by Ezra badly eavesdropping. This version of the theme is a comical and playful rendition that is attune to laughing after hitting one’s funny bone. Or smiling after becoming one, with the floor in a swift fashion.
The Emotional Depth Of Ezra’s Theme
The third time Ezra’s theme plays is around the 25 minute mark. During the mission to save the wookiees, Hera and Ezra wait in the ship. Communication is jammed. It’s a trap. Only Ezra can warn them since Hera is the getaway driver. Ezra has chosen to fight against his instincts to run. His instincts to hide. He chose to get involved, with the Ghost crew. He went into an Imperial ship to warn them of danger. A trap was sprung, but the ghost crew made it out! Except… When Ezra’s theme plays… It is guilty. Sad. Zeb was the last member of the Ghost crew to escape, and he left Ezra to the Imperials, with ISB Agent Kallus firmly holding him back. The theme this time around knew that Ezra wasn’t there. Zeb had failed to save Ezra after Ezra saved them.
The fourth time Ezra’s theme plays is around the 39 minute mark. Ezra had been rescued by the Ghost crew, discovered where the prisoner Wookiees really were, and saved the day! Which only means one thing: the day is over. A day of heroics, with more than numero uno. All the adrenaline wore off, and a bittersweet stringed version plays after the last of the wookiees head to their ship. How swiftly the day went that a cold reality sweeps over Ezra that his time with them is over. Even Zeb feels the bitter taste of reality in his mouth. With a sad sigh, Kanan almost ends the scene until Ezra claims one last souvenir to take home: Kanan’s lightsaber.
The Climatic Use Of Ezra’s Theme
Lastly, around the 41-minute mark, Ezra is home. Home to an empty tower filled, with stolen mementoes: Imperial helmets. Only there is a new souvenir to remember him of this day, Kanan’s lightsaber. Except… It was too easy. A presence behind Ezra. Kanan followed him, but he didn’t come for his laser sword. An outstretched hand. An invitation. Ezra’s theme plays. A mystical rendition. A hopeful one. A majestic one as Kanan offers him the chance to join the Ghost crew on their journey. Join Kanan on the path to become a Jedi. Become more than a singular existence in a planet ravaged by the Empire. He accepts!
Now, this was only from the first episode! Almost every episode has Ezra’s theme. As I kept my ear attuned, each episode unlocked another understanding to his character. How his actions echo off the Ghost crew! I urge others to keep their ears perked to his theme! As season 3 of Rebels rolls around, I expect it to become more prevalent.
* The version of Spark of Rebellion used was from the Google play edition. The Blu-Ray/DVD version is split into two episodes.