"The Protector of Concord Dawn" is the thirteenth episode of the second season of Star Wars Rebels. It is the twenty-eighth episode of the series overall. It was released on January 27, 2016 on Disney XD.
Looking to secure a new hyperspace route to Lothal, the rebels head to the Mandalorian-controlled Concord Dawn to negotiate safe passage for their fleet. The warrior Protectors of the system prove to be less than welcoming, however, and it's up to Kanan and Sabine to turn this group into friends...or enemies.
With the Empire countering the Rebellion’s travel at every turn, the Rebels agree to consider new hyperspace routes in and out of the Lothal sector. Sabine suggests the Concord Dawn system, which hosts a Mandalorian colony. The system is guarded by elite warriors called the "Protectors", and according to Captain Rex the Mandalorians of Concord Dawn once helped train Clone Troopers during the war. Sabine leaves open the possibility that they could ally with the Rebellion against the Empire. Believing that diplomacy with Mandalorians would be impossible, Commander Sato suggests sending a military force, but Hera and Kanan insist on giving diplomacy a try. Moving the Rebel fleet through the Concord Dawn system could also lead to recruiting the Protectors into the Rebellion, thus strengthening the rebel forces. Sato had reservations about the diplomatic approach, but he allowed Hera to take the mission.
Led by Hera and accompanied by Sabine, Phoenix Squadron arrived at Concord Dawn. They encountered three Mandalorian Fang Fighters. They came alongside, and the leading pilot, Fenn Rau, the Protector of Concord Dawn, demanded to know why they were in his system. Hera explained they were seeking safe passage, but after she mentioned they were with the Rebellion Commander Rau ordered an attack on Phoenix Squadron, as he served the interests of the Empire. In the ensuing dogfight, Phoenix Squadron fighters evaded their attackers, and two Phoenix pilots Phoenix Three and Four were shot down. Hera ordered a retreat and led Rau on a chase in order to give Sabine and the surviving Phoenix pilot a chance to escape before being shot down. As Rau and his fighters chased Hera, Phoenix Two escaped but Sabine refused to leave without Hera. Sabine is ordered to leave, however, with Hera saying she would be right behind her despite taking heavy fire. Sabine made it back to the fleet and so did Hera moments later, but emerged with her ship heavily-damaged.
Gravely injured, Hera was taken back to the fleet for medical attention. Although she was alive and recovering, Sabine felt guilty for leaving her behind and vowed to seek justice against the Protectors. During the debriefing, Sabine's report on Commander Rau brought back memories for both Rex and Kanan. According to the two he was a fighter pilot instructor for the grand army of the Republic, and also served at the battle of Mygeeto which Kanan was a part of. Since negotiations were no longer an option, Sabine recommended destroying the Protectors' fighters so they no longer posed a threat to the Rebel fleet. She had tracked the fighters to the third moon of Concord Dawn, where she believed there was a base. Kanan suggested they infiltrate the base and destroy the Fang fighters before approaching with the fleet. Commander Sato approved the mission, but Kanan planned to go alone because he did not want to risk anymore of his crew members. He chose only Chopper to accompany him and took the Phantom to Concord Dawn.
Upon arriving, Kanan discovered that Sabine had stowed away, determined to seek justice for what the Protectors did to Hera. Sabine also learnt that Kanan still intended to seek a diplomatic solution with the Mandalorians. They approached the surface of Concord Dawn’s third moon, and Chopper dropped them off near the Protectors' Camp before flying the Phantom away from the base. While performing reconnaissance on the outskirts of the camp, Kanan and Sabine found that the base had eight ships in total, including the ones that attacked Phoenix Squadron. Each one of them were spread out, so it would take Sabine a while to plant explosives on them. An Imperial shuttle soon landed to provide supplies for the Protectors, and the two Rebels witnessed Rau accepting them from the Imperials and reporting his encounter with the Rebels. With a clear link between the Protectors and the Empire, Sabine doubted that Kanan's plan will work. Nonetheless, they proceeded with the plan to seek diplomacy and only use hostilities as a last resort. Soon after the shuttle left, the Rebels approached the base, and Kanan followed Commander Rau to a food shack while Sabine began planting her explosives. Commander Rau noticed his presence, and before deciding whenever or not to gun him down he allowed Kanan to reveal himself. After revealing his identity as a Jedi, Kanan brought up Rau’s involvement in the third battle of Mygeeto, and how he and his squadron flew into the Separatists’ fire to give him and his master cover when they were pinned down by droids. Rau remembered, and recalled being young and reckless, but failed to see what the battle had to do with Kanan infiltrating his base. Kanan offered him to join the Rebellion, but Rau showed no interest in siding against the Empire. In his mind, the Rebellion stood no chance of victory so he had no reason to join a losing side. Kanan argued the point, but Rau remained uninterested in fighting another losing war with the Jedi.
Meanwhile, Sabine managed to plant her explosives on seven of the eight fighters, but got caught. Held at gunpoint, she revealed she was a member of Clan Wren, part of House Vizsla, and sought justice through single combat against Commander Rau. They reported to Commander Rau that Sabine invoked the Mandalorian code to seek combat, and the two Mandalorians confronted one another. Kanan implored Sabine to stand down and not make an enemy of the Protectors, but Sabine refused. Holding steady in a standoff, it was only a matter of time before one of the two Mandalorians made the first move. Rau was the first to draw his weapon, but his blaster got shot out of his hand by Sabine, who then triggered her explosives, destroying all seven fighters. Unfortunately, Rau's fighter was still intact and Rau took it to attack the Rebel fleet. Kanan hitched a ride and held on as it flew into the sky. Kanan was able to critically damage the fighter, grab Rau from the cockpit, and leap into the pursuing Phantom.
As they journeyed back to the fleet, Rau's forces made contact with word that they were organizing their reserve fighters to pursue the Rebels. Knowing that a fight with the Rebels would bring the Empire into their territory, Rau ordered his men to stand down and keep his capture a secret from the Empire. As a result, the rebels were allowed to pass through the Concord Dawn system. Upon returning to the fleet and handing over Commander Rau, Kanan and Sabine visited Hera, who had just regained consciousness and was pleased with the outcome of their mission.
- Taylor Gray as Ezra Bridger
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan Jarrus
- Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla / Phoenix Four / 2-1B Surgical Droid
- Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren
- Steven Blum as Garazeb Orrelios / Phoenix Two / Wingman #1
- Keone Young as Jun Sato
- Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex / Imperial Officer / Wingman #2
- Kevin McKidd as Fenn Rau
- Dave Filoni as Phoenix Three
- Although the Grand Inquisitor used Depa Billaba's name twice in season 1, Kanan hadn't said his master's name until this episode.
- In both the Expanded Universe and in Canon, Concord Dawn was related to various iterations of Boba Fett's backstory (as it was the homeworld of his father, Jango Fett), or the Mandalorians in general.
- Kanan's story of how he first encountered Fenn Rau during the "Third Battle of Mygeeto" is fully depicted in the tie-in comic Star Wars: Kanan, issue #10: "First Blood: The Mesas of Mygeeto". The comic itself was released the same day this episode premiered, January 27, 2016.
- One of the A-Wing pilots killed in this episode is female. The Original Trilogy actually avoided depicting female Rebel pilots—to the point that in Return of the Jedi, A-Wing pilot Red Three (Sila Kott) was played by a female actor, but dubbed over with a man's voice, so the character was presented as a man. It was believed that seeing female Rebel pilots die in the line of duty would upset audiences..
- The writers clarify in the Rebels Recon featurette for this episode what the exact relationship is between a Mandalorian "Clan" and "House", when Sabine says that she is "Clan Wren, House Vizsla": "Houses" are the major political factions among the Mandalorians, and "Clans" rank below them in the social pyramid. Thus Clan Wren is part of House Vizsla, because they are sworn to the House, without actually being related to the Clan "Vizsla" family itself.
- Also in the Rebels Recon featurette, Sabine's voice actress Tiya Sircar relates that the writers gave her a list of specific episodes from the prior Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series for her to watch which focused on the Mandalorians (which formed a major running subplot throughout that series), given the impact they had on Sabine's background.