Ezra Bridger is loved by some fans and maligned by others. His detractors have bandied about terms such as “Space Aladdin”, noting his street rat-like resemblance to the character animated by Disney. Some have drawn comparisons between his behavior and that of the iconic Anakin Skywalker. While the characters certainly have their differences, there is a lot that is shockingly similar between the two Force-users. With Star Wars: Rebels in the midst of what’s shaping out to be a memorable and exciting giant-sized episode final run to end the series, it seemed like a good time to take some inventory and see how Ezra compares and measures up to the Chosen One, another character that is a divisive point of love-hate among fans of the GFFA.
Force-users whose potential is uncovered later in life.
Both Ezra and Anakin discovered their connection to the Force much later on in life than your typical Jedi. Normally, children with such massive Force potential as these two would have been visited by the Jedi much sooner and indoctrinated into the order while still very young. However, in the case of these two, they had already been using the Force subconsciously for some time. This led to both young Force-users developing attachments that normally would have been repressed earlier by the Jedi Order’s teachings. In Anakin’s case, he developed a deep bond and love for his mother. In Ezra’s, he had a strong sense of commitment to his parents. This created a predisposition for both of them to let their emotional attachments inform their actions more than would be typical of a Jedi.
Another side effect of beginning Padawan training later in life was that both of these talented youngsters had a propensity for questioning their masters’ decisions. Both can be repeatedly seen either directly going against their masters’ wishes or strongly doubting their way of doing things. Both Ezra and Anakin have shown a willingness to deviate from normal Jedi conduct in order to protect or save a loved one. Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, in fact, boils down to his willingness to abandon his principles in order to try to save Padmé. Ezra appeared more than ready to delve into some Dark Side teachings from the Sith Holocron in order to help out his rebel friends. However, when the moment of truth came, Ezra was able to turn away from the darkness. Anakin, as we all know, wasn’t able to resist the pull.
Born on backwater planets, discovered by unorthodox Jedi, only to play important roles at a young age in galactic events to come.
While Anakin was living the slave life on the sandy backdrop of Tatooine, Ezra was scrounging together a life for himself on the streets of Lothal. They both had difficult upbringings and their childhood was either cut short or didn’t have much of one to begin with. Neither likely had any idea the important roles that would take in galactic events to come.
They were both discovered by Jedi who fall outside of the “standard way” one of the order might normally carry themselves. Qui-Gon Jinn, who discovered Anakin, was considered more compassionate than the average Jedi. He liked to focus more on the present, whereas a large portion of his fellow masters focused on the future. Qui-Gon was known to go against Jedi principles when he felt they conflicted with the will of the Force. Kanan was the antithesis of “not your everyday Jedi”. He never formally completed his training, although he was dubbed a Jedi by Yoda in a vision in the Lothal Jedi Temple. He was an alcoholic for a period of time and had a budding romance with Hera that surely would have been a no-no had he still been part of the order.
Anakin probably envisioned a life of servitude. He however went on to become the youngest general in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Despite his youthfulness, Anakin was among the most respected leaders to the clones. Ezra went from losing his parents to worrying about how he will feed himself on a given day to being an influential part of an effective rebel cell. He also garnered much respect from his comrades in arms, even though he is likely one of the youngest members of the Rebel Alliance.
Difficulty controlling emotions.
There is no doubt that both Ezra and Anakin are impulsive in combat. Neither one is particularly great at listening to their teachers and both often outright question them at times. In addition to countless examples where both have talked back to their trainers, they have also gotten themselves nearly killed when unwisely rushing into a fight. Anakin lost his arm to Count Dooku on Geonosis after rushing into a duel with the Sith, ignoring Obi-Wan’s pleas to wait and formulate a strategy to take on the Sith lord together.
Quite similarly, Ezra went head on into a fight with two Inquisitors, despite Kanan’s warnings to wait and enter the fray together. Fortunately for Ezra, one major difference between the two is that Ezra didn’t lose a limb in this instance (or any other as of yet). These examples are only two of uncountable impulsive moments where emotion overrode good logic. In general, both young Force-wielders let their feelings influence their decision-making and actions.
Desired apprentices of Dark Siders.
While Palpatine had dark designs in mind for Anakin for a long time, Ezra Bridger was also coveted by the former Sith, Maul. This one is more of a divergence, actually, than a similarity. Although it is true that both were sought out and seduced towards the darkside, Anakin went all in in hopes of saving Padmé. Even though he came back to the Light Side much later, Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side was much more than just a minor flirtation with it. Ezra, on the other hand, was able to feel the Dark Side’s pull, yet ultimately not give in. He shunned Maul and continued his Jedi training.
Awkward with women.
While this may be the least important comparison, it is still something that is inherent in both characters. Anakin’s flirting with Padmé often comes off as very cheesy and awkward. Ezra’s advances on Sabine may have been less eye-roll inducing than Anakin’s, however, the cheese is still strong with this one. Whereas Anakin’s attempts at courtship eventually led to fruition, Ezra has seemed to have all but given up on a romantic future with Sabine. Either way, the cheesy flirting is strong with both of them.
In the end, despite the rather large amount of similar traits apparent in both of them, they do seem to diverge mainly in how they deal with the darkness. The genesis of that darkness is generally the same, a vision of a loved one being hurt leading to abrupt decision-making. Although they are both impulsive and strong-willed, Ezra seems better prepared to turn away from the darkside. For the time being, Ezra has achieved which many have not, tasting the Dark Side and choosing to shun it. However, after seeing the trailer for the final run, it does appear that this story element isn’t done and dusted. In the trailer, we can see Palpatine up to his normal deceitful practices. It appears that Ezra will also be offered something he desires greatly. The question now is what Sheev will offer him and whether or not the young Force-user will be able to resist. Only then will we fully be able to assess just how similar these characters truly are. For all their behavior and background converging along a similar path, this potential divergence is key to a true comparison.
What do you think? Will Ezra follow in Anakin’s footsteps and take “the offer he can’t refuse” or will he instead allow the Force to guide him on the path of the Light Side? Will he sacrifice himself for his friends or sacrifice his principles as a means to an end? Let us know in the comments section and on The Cantina.