Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women and nonbinary folks who inspire us. These characters are prime examples of empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
Hera Syndulla (voiced by Vanessa Marshall; portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a Twi’lek who grew up on Ryloth. In Star Wars Rebels, she’s the captain and pilot of Ghost, a freedom fighter and a rebel leader. She also owns Chopper, an astromech droid. Hera was introduced to the cruelty of the Empire during her childhood. Her parents were taken prisoner (her mother was eventually killed), and she barely escaped Ryloth unscathed. She also met the Bad Batch, a motley crew of clones that comprised Clone Force 99, and Omega, an enhanced human clone.
After leaving Ryloth, Hera joined the Rebel Alliance to combat the Empire. She piloted Ghost with Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, C1-10P, Garazeb Orrelios and eventually Jacen Syndulla (her son with Kanan) as her crew. Inevitably, the small rebel cell on Lothal became embroiled in the larger Rebellion. At one point, Hera was taken captive by Imperial forces. Unfortunately, Kanan died trying to save her.
Later, Hera and the Ghost crew liberated Lothal from the Empire’s iron grip and ostensibly defeated Grand Admiral Thrawn. Five years after Lothal’s liberation, Hera fought in the Battle of Endor alongside General Lando Calrissian and Admiral Ackbar, among others. Her son, Jacen, who she gave birth to at that point, harbored his mama’s love for flight.
In the first two episodes of Ahsoka, we learn Hera is now a general in the New Republic. She suggests Ahsoka Tano have Sabine unlock a certain map that leads to Thrawn’s location (and potentially Ezra’s). After Sabine is attacked and Shin Hati steals the map, Hera and Ahsoka visit a shipyard on Corellia to examine Morgan Elsbeth’s belongings. Hera and Ahsoka prevent a small uprising from Imperial loyalists. Hera chases Shin Hati’s ship, which carries an old hyperdrive core, while Chopper plants a tracking device on it.
The Real Deal:
Hera is the real deal. She’s a no-nonsense commander in Star Wars Rebels who also doles out orders from a place of love. She knows how to effectively communicate with every member of her crew, curating her communication style depending on who she’s interacting with. Hera is immensely intelligent and a wellspring of compassion. She also has a knack for details. Her innate warmth and kindness allow her to see the good in everyone. As for her versatile skillset, she’s not only a talented pilot but a sharp markswoman and kickass fighter.
She’s a motherly figure to the Ghost crew and is the beating heart at the center of it all. She’s the glue that holds them together. Hera possesses the perfect qualities for leadership; her levelheadedness under pressure is second to none. She’s experienced so much trauma, from losing her family, Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, to enduring the horrors of war and an oppressive regime. Despite that, she forges ahead undeterred and keeps fighting the good fight like the selfless hero she is.
Why She Matters:
Why does she matter? Hera is a symbol of the Resistance. She’s the pinnacle of rebelling against tyrannical rule and how vital it is to do the right thing. She fights for something greater than herself. Hera’s contributions to the Rebellion are countless. Her efforts help bring peace to the galaxy and usher in the New Republic (even though that’s plagued with Imperial problems of its own).
So, be like Hera. Love with every fiber of your being. Be a light to those around you. Never give up, even when the odds seem insurmountable. Keep a cool head under pressure. Don’t let anyone prevent you from soaring among the stars. Oh, and down with the Empire.
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