Star Wars: Ahsoka is coming to Disney+ in August, and this is the fifth installment in our series of prep notes here at Couch Soup. If you haven’t watched the animated Star Wars shows or just want a pre-show appetizer, these prep notes offer a quick glance at the Star Wars characters and lore in the backstory behind Ahsoka. In the previous installments, I’ve covered Ahsoka, Rex, Hera, Chopper, the Ghost, Thrawn, Pellaeon, and the Chimaera, Ezra, Kanan, and the purrgil. In this installment, I’m covering the notes you need for the other two Spectres from Star Wars: Rebels: Sabine Wren and Zeb Orrelios.
Besides the title character, Ahsoka Tano, the Ahsoka series includes Sabine Wren as a major character, portrayed by Natasha Liu Bordizzo. Sabine is a Mandalorian who is a passionate artist with both paint and explosives, a genius at designing and using weapons, and a badass fighter at any range. Code named Spectre-5, Sabine is in her late teens and entering her 20s during the events of Rebels. Sabine uses her artistry to leave behind a spray-painted phoenix symbol when the Ghost crew runs operations against the Empire. Most of Sabine’s history relevant to Ahsoka will likely be summarized in the first two episodes of the series. But here are a few notes that should further enrich your Ahsoka viewing experience.
Sabine is the daughter of Countess Ursa Wren, the leader of Clan Wren, a vassal clan of House Vizsla. Along with Ursa, Sabine’s father Alrich and brother Tristan appear in Rebels. Prior to joining the Spectres, Sabine spent time as a cadet in the Imperial Academy of Mandalore. There, she designed weapons for the Empire, believing her work would be used for peaceful defense of her people. Instead, Sabine’s brilliant weapons were turned against Mandalore, and she felt responsible. She left her family, clan, and people, all who saw her as a traitor. Sabine was plagued with guilt about this, and she kept that hidden from her Spectre family for a long time.
During Rebels, Sabine redeems herself with Clan Wren and Mandalore by uniting the clans against fellow Mandalorian Gar Saxon and his Empire-loyal Super Commandos. The resisters’ victory comes with the help of Bo-Katan Kryze and her warrior group, the Nite Owls. Sabine has a connection to the Nite Owls through Ursa, who was a Nite Owl during the Clone Wars and served by Bo-Katan’s side. Given the events of Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 3, Ahsoka is likely to explain why neither Sabine nor Ursa were by Bo-Katan’s side against Moff Gideon.
Equally important to note is Sabine’s history with the Darksaber. Clone Wars introduced the Darksaber, and Rebels mentioned its history as the blade of the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizsla. In Rebels, Sabine, Kanan, and Ezra find the Darksaber among Maul‘s stuff on Dathomir. With some reluctance, Sabine concedes to let Ezra and Kanan train her to use the Darksaber proficiently. Part of that training, though, was unlocking the guilt that was holding her back. Kanan helps her face that and move forward during this pivotal moment from Rebels, beautifully performed by Sabine’s Rebels actor Tiya Sircar:
Not feeling like she should be the leader of the Mandalorians, Sabine tries to give the Darksaber to Bo-Katan, who is already a respected leader and the sister of Mandalore’s late ruler, Duchess Satine Kryze. Bo-Katan refuses at first but later accepts the blade when multiple Mandalorian clans declare allegiance to her as the leader of an independent, reunited Mandalore. In The Mandalorian, Moff Gideon indirectly hints at Sabine’s handoff of the Darksaber when he mentions that Bo-Katan would only be a “pretender” wielding the Darksaber and leading her people without winning it in combat. It’s clear that Bo-Katan regrets not winning it in combat and sees that as a reason she was unable to stop the devastation of Mandalore by the Empire. That matter is resolved by the end of The Mandalorian Season 3, though, allowing Bo-Katan to unite Mandalorians under the Darksaber again (until Gideon destroys it).
Sabine’s training with the Darksaber and her occasional use of Ezra’s lightsaber has prompted the fan theory that Sabine is Force-sensitive. That would also be one explanation for Sabine referring to Ahsoka as “Master” in the latest Ahsoka trailer. However, I’m not setting up camp on either side of this theory. I’m just happy to see where Ahsoka goes with this.
One final note is that Ezra entrusted Sabine with his lightsaber after he left to take out Thrawn at the end of Rebels. She presumably received it from Chopper who Ezra had handed it off to before he left. In the epilogue of Rebels, Sabine says she had interpreted Ezra’s cryptic message to her (before he left) as a promise to find him and bring him home. In the meantime, the lightsaber is in her care, and (as we see in the trailer) it’s getting quite a bit of use! In Ahsoka, we’ll likely get the complete message Ezra left for Sabine along with a better sense of their feelings for each other. Do they still share a sibling bond, or was their closeness at the end of Rebels leading toward something romantic or just deeply connected through the Force.
Garazeb Orrelios, also known as “Zeb” or Spectre-4, is a Lasat who was captain of the Lasan Honor Guard before the Empire wiped out the Lasat people on their homeworld. Zeb has a formidable presence, being both tall and burly, and he can back up the physical presence with well-honed hand-to-hand combat skills and mastery of the bo-rifle, a versatile Lasat weapon. While much of Zeb’s presence in Rebels aligns with comedic moments in the series, Zeb is a no-nonsense brawler who plays a critical role in many of the Spectres missions. Zeb is like the curmudgeonly uncle of the Ghost family, often at odds with the mischievous Chopper and the reckless Ezra.
During Rebels, Zeb develops a particularly nasty grudge against Agent Alexsandr Kallus. That’s because Kallus has a Lasat bo-rifle, and he admitted to being part of the Empire’s mission to wipe out the Lasat people. When Zeb and Kallus find themselves stranded on an icy moon, though, the truth comes out about how regretful Kallus feels on a personal level about what he has to do to serve the Empire. The connection Kallus made with Zeb in that episode (“The Honorable Ones”) presents a turning point for Kallus, and he becomes an inside man feeding information to the rebels. The Spectres later help Kallus defect, after which he serves the Rebellion directly alongside other commanders and strategists.
When he happens upon two fellow Lasat survivors, Zeb helps them find a route to Lira San, a legendary world that the Lasat people considered a promised land. The journey to Lira San requires safe passage through a dangerous star cluster, and Zeb is skeptical that he can navigate it. However, an elder Lasat who is guiding him (Chava) directs Zeb to change the configuration of his bo-rifle. This change causes the bo-rifle to connect to the Ghost‘s systems and guide it safely through the star cluster. There, they find the planet Lira San with a thriving society of Lasat living in peace. Later, Zeb is able to take his now good friend Kallus to Lira San using the route stored within the Ghost‘s computer.
Zeb has already made his leap to live action in The Mandalorian Season 3, where he’s seen dressed as a New Republic pilot and talking to Carson Teva in a bar. The flawless CGI character was performed by Zeb’s original actor from Rebels, Steve Blum. Seeing Zeb in live action was a delightful surprise, and I hope we’ll see more of him in Ahsoka.
Look for my final installment of Ahsoka prep notes coming soon, with a few bonus notes from Clone Wars, Rebels, and even Star Wars Resistance that you might want to know going into Ahsoka.