i think i’m in the mood for a little bit of Kanan and Hera analysis so here goes nothing.
let’s call this “a study of Kanan, and how Hera impacted him.”
(based purely off rebels and a new dawn, since i have yet to read any comics)
alright so lets talk about the dume to drunkard transformation here. now i have seen i think it was kanan # 1&2, so i know the comics go more in depth here, but because i don’t know them extensively this is going to be a bit vague (fell free to add if you’d like).
at the beginning of a new dawn, we see a glimpse of padawan Caleb, who is depicted as inertly curious and vocal about it. he’s still got a bit of that childhood innocence and “i want to be a hero” thought process which, to me, was adorable.
that was, of course, until order 66, and the fall of the order. then we have the timeskip, and are introduced to one Kanan Jarrus, who emits the roughneck gunslinger vibe who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. he’s just there for the party and to have a little fun, and doesn’t really seem to think much about others or “helping people”. to be expected, from a jedi on the run. he was forced to develop this “i don’t give a kriff unless its fun” attitude to stay under the radar of the empire. all and all, it works well. you no longer see the hopeful innocence of Caleb Dume, and the part that longs to help others is suppressed almost completely, save a few incidents where he went against his new found rules.
you could say, around here, that Kanan has lost his hope. he doesn’t believe that anything is going to change, doesn’t believe that jedi exist anymore, and doesn’t believe they could ever return. not under the empire, that has already proven it could exterminate the entire order with a flick of the wrist. fear becomes a driving force for him, not getting caught, his main mission.
so he adapts. he stows his lightsaber in favor of a blaster, and tries to suppress the force, going as far to wishing it would just go away so he could stop living in fear, so he could just be normal and stop running. his live has been hopping from one planet to another, never staying long enough to connect to anyone, never interacting above buying someone a drink and shameless flirting or finding a safe place to sleep for the night.
any number of things could have driven him to drinking. the overwhelming sadness of feeling like you don’t have a place in the galaxy anymore, of wondering why, why do you even exist? why are you even alive? the inescapable grief of loosing everything, everyone you’ve ever known, of having your entire life ripped away from you in an instant. the agonizing loneliness. not having anyone to relate to, to have stupid conversations with, to have a real friend to rely on, somebody who he could actually talk to. someone he could tell about all the pain and the grief he’s gone through, to actually release the feelings that are instead bottled up and forced away through the stupor and numbness provided by the bottle.
he becomes dependent, because he doesn’t want to think about anything. no one cares about him enough to want to make him stop anyway, so what does it matter? he figures he’s a drifter who no one would miss, so he can do whatever he wants to do, nothing would matter anyway.
that loneliness, the kind that just eats at him, was probably soothed a bit by Okidiah, but only slightly. he still could never tell the old man anything. its also probably why he stays on Gorse longer than anywhere else. he’s spent his entire life trying to escape that loneliness, so the momentary somewhat reprieve was welcome.
now, enter one Hera Syndulla. a beautiful, smart young women who immediately intrigues Kanan because what in the world was she doing on Gorse? she meets him maybe not at his lowest, but at a point in his life when most people wouldn’t give him a chance. hell, she originally doesn’t intend to give him one, she’s not there to recruit, and Kanan was playing his part so well that she didn’t think he would be useful. that is, until, she gets a glimpse of that wit and intelligence hidden under rough speech and womanizer facade, and although she doesn’t want to admit it, she’s curious. because she’s seen him stand up and help people, but that just doesn’t quite fit with the persona he’s trying to pull off, and it makes her wonder.
Kanan, just as intrigued with her as she was starting to become with him, thinks oh, what the hell since he was leaving anyway, and she was interesting, not to mention absolutely striking, so he’d run along with her for now and see where it would lead. she triggers something in him that maybe he wouldn’t see until much later, a sense of… something.
it leads, seemingly, to almost dying and trouble with imperials, which is not what he signed up for, because maybe he didn’t care all that much about his life, but the instinct to survive has been ingrained in him since the rise of the empire, and he figures he’s not about to forsake it now for a pretty face, despite the way every bone in his body is disagreeing with him walking away. the same way he always has. always running.
then the moon explodes, and all Kanan can think is, Okidiah is up there. The man who maybe Kanan couldn’t tell everything to, but had given him shelter, alcohol, a job, some good times, friendship, and a lack of judgment, and Kanan would be damned if he repaid his friend, who was in a way a sort of odd parent to him the last few years, by letting him die on that moon. to rescue Okidiah, he needed Hera.
it was a strange feeling, to know that he actually needed someone after such a long time of being on his own, out for himself, but he doesn’t have time to dwell on it because they’re working to rescue the team off the moon.
when Okidiah dies, Kanan feels lost all over again, and he really shouldn’t, he was planning on leaving anyway, but this was different. there was no choice in the matter. for the first time in a while, he thinks that the people who did this shouldn’t be allowed to do this, to hurt people, to kill people without care. he thinks something needs to be done, and not in a vengeful type of way, but the jedi sort of way, the doing what’s right sort of way.
he looks to Hera, with a crazy plan, and instead of telling him he’s insane, she nods and goes along with it, with this determination in her eyes that he hasn’t seen in such a long time. it gives him… hope. he finally realizes what she’s instilled in him, something that he lost so long ago, that he thought he’d never find again. she comes into his life with a glint in her eyes that said she was going to make what she wanted to happen happen, and he believed her. he believed that she could make anything happen, he believed that the rebellion could just maybe, maybe, make a difference in the galaxy.
they save the moon, and Kanan’s secret is reveled, for the first time in years, somebody knows. and he can’t bring himself to be upset about it, because he’s just glad she’s alive, they’re both alive, and he has hope. she doesn’t know the whole truth, but Kanan’s not quite ready to have that conversation, and he’s relieved when she doesn’t press it, and elated when she agrees to take him along, because while he’s not ready for another war (and maybe never will be), he doesn’t want to loose that hope she gave him again.
it’s Hera that stops his drinking.
it’s Hera that gives him a home.
It’s Hera that gives him a listening ear.
it’s Hera who he finally, finally tells about his past, and..
it’s Hera who gives him a purpose. who gives him hope. who gives him the will to move forward, and, eventually, the will to fight back against the empire. and it’s Hera who teaches him how pick up a lightsaber again, to be a jedi again, a different kind of jedi, who matches the day and age of the empire. the order has been destroyed, but Hera shows him the jedi are not dead.
because of her, Kanan survives, Kanan lives.
she brings out the best in him, and vice versa. they know each other inside out. she convinced him to train Ezra, she soothes his insecurities about being a teacher. he in turn, pushes her to be a leader, to fulfill and exceed her own potential, to be better. they help each other, support each other, and that is why i 100% support Kanan and Hera. because without each other, neither of them would be who they are now.
tl;dr Hera gave Kanan hope after he lost it all when the jedi fell, and the two of them going forward together and helping each other improve give me life.