In the season 3 premiere of Star Wars Rebels we return to our crew after a period of time has passed since the events on Malachor at the end of season 2. Ezra has noticeably aged–he has grown, cut his hair, and acquired a new lightsaber. As the episode unfolds it becomes clear that as Kanan has retreated inward and isolated himself after his injury by Maul, a void has been left for Ezra for instruction that he has turned to the Sith holocron to fill.
Master Yoda famously cautions Luke that “once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” This admonition is both a caution against about how strong a pull the Dark Side holds once you embrace it as well as a recognition that acts committed on the dark path have a lasting effect an impact that will be with you forever.
Ezra’s interactions with the “Presence” within the Sith holocron are well-practiced and familiar. The siren song of certainty and power whispers in his ear and he likes what he hears. He clearly has been consulting with the holocron for some time now. Additionally his crewmates are beginning to notice a change in his personality and behavior that are not usual for Ezra.
The new edge to Ezra is apparent in his actions in the episode; his callousness towards collateral damage like Terba and his willingness to so easily kill Imperials should be sounding massive warning bells. His dismissal of his crew’s concerns during missions and overconfidence in his own abilities display an ego perhaps out of control. But most concerning of all is a statement of love. Ezra reveals the reason he wants power and that is to prevent his friends from ever being hurt again. This urge, while seemingly noble, is an inescapable event horizon of the Dark Side. There can never be enough power to prevent any harm from coming to his friends, so he will be pushed to gain more and more power in a futile attempt to control things that no individual can control. This quest for power will be all-consuming and force Ezra to make decisions and take actions that will stain his soul.
The parallels between Ezra’s fall and Anakin’s are abundant. Both come from remote worlds, both had painful separations from their parents, both were older than normal when discovered and began training, both were thrust into the middle of war at a young age, both faced the death of a parent or parents once they had begun training, both were trained by well-meaning if not fully competent and prepared masters, both had malevolent outside mentors, both developed attachments beyond the normal Jedi constraints, and both were heroes.
Can Ezra reverse course or is it too late? As the Bendu says, “Only you can change you.” We will have to wait to see if Ezra will make the choice of Luke or the choice of Anakin. One thing is for sure and that is the Dark Side will dominate Ezra Bridger’s path in Star Wars Rebels Season 3.