"Droids in Distress" is the third episode of the first season of Star Wars Rebels. It is the first "regular" episode in the series, being a follow up to the Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion film. It premiered on October 13, 2014, on Disney XD, although Disney XD WATCH members were able to view the episode a week before its television premiere.
After a near getaway from TIE Fighters and an Imperial Star Destroyer during a failed salvage mission, the Rebels find themselves low on everything, food, explosives, fuel and unless they can find some money they will be out of business. Kanan already has a suggestion which involves a theft of Imperial shipment for crime-lord Cikatro Vizago. The Rebels are unsure about doing a job for Vizago after their last job, but due to their current situation, it appears to be the only option they have.
They return to Lothal and posing as individual passengers, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, Chopper and Sabine board a passenger ship along with Imperial Minister Maketh Tua and Amda Wabo, accompanied by the two droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. Soon after take-off, Chopper causes enough trouble to get himself and the two other droids sent to the back by the pilot RX-24. This gives Sabine the chance to step in and pose as an Imperial Academy Student who pretends to help Minister Tua translate for Amda Wabo.
They soon arrive on Garel and head for Hanger Bay Seven where they discover the Shipment to be much to Zeb’s horror, T-7 ion disruptors: Weapons that were banned by the senate as they were capable of short-circuiting an entire ship but to Zeb that was not the reason why they were banned.
Meanwhile, thanks to Sabine's faulty translation, Minister Tua and Amba Wago, along with the two droids and Stormtroopers find themselves at Hanger Bay Seventeen. Eventually, Minister Tua figures out they had been tricked and knowing someone else is stealing their shipment, orders the troops to Bay Seven, despite Chopper’s best attempts to stall them. The Rebels try to move fast but they are soon caught by the Imperials and hold Ezra and Zeb at gunpoint. As the troopers approach to inspect the crates, Zeb engages them in a physical confrontation, giving themselves a chance to get away with the shipment. At the same time, R2-D2 and C-3PO hitch a ride.
With the disruptors in their possession, Zeb feels uneasy about selling them to Vizago because according to Hera, those weapons were once used by the Imperial’s against Zeb’s people when they cleared his home planet, few barely survived and none remained on Lasan. The Rebels soon arrive back at Lothal and deliver the disruptors to Vizago. However, thanks to C-3PO, Agent Kallus and the Imperials find the Rebels and launch a ground assault while Vizargo and his men retreat without paying the Rebels. Not wanting to let the disruptors end up in the hands of the Empire, Kanan gives Sabine the task of destroying the weapons and with R2-D2’s help, rigs the disruptors to overload.
An Imperial Transport ship launches two Walkers and a squadron of Stormtroopers against the Rebels and Kallus himself engages Zeb in a vicious Bo-Rifle duel, where he admits that he was the one responsible for the usage of the disruptors against Zeb’s people. Kallus quickly overpowers Zeb and just before he could finish him off, Ezra force-pushes him away, saving his life. With the disruptors destroyed and the Imperials defeated the Rebels retreat to their ship and take-off.
After Kanan promises Ezra on starting his Jedi training, the Rebels return R2-D2 and C-3PO to Senator Bail Organa where after departing, reveals that he sent the two droids to investigate the Rebels.
- Taylor Gray as Ezra Bridger
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan Jarrus
- Steven Blum as Garazeb Orrelios / Amda Wabo / Stormtrooper Commander
- Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren
- Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
- Paul Reubens as RX-24
- Kath Soucie as Maketh Tua
- David Oyelowo as Alexsandr Kallus
- Keith Szarabajka as Cikatro Vizago / Dispatcher Imperial Officer
- The final shot of the episode is a reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which features a nearly identical scene.
- The yellow speeder seen near Cikatro, is the same model as the one Owen and Beru Lars owned in Episode IV.
- The droid RX-24 was originally part of Disney park's Star Tours attraction and voiced by Paul Rubens. Rubens reprised the role for this episode as one of the guest voices.