Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Mise-en-scène (French: [miz. ɑ̃. sɛn]; "placing on stage") is the stage design and arrangement of actors in scenes for a theatre or film production, both in visual arts through storyboarding, visual theme, and cinematography, and in narrative storytelling through direction.
We get to see the Syndulla family home that Hera grew up in in the season 3 episode “Hera’s Heroes,” where the crew of the Ghost is on Ryloth, and Hera and Ezra break into Hera’s old home- which is now overtaken by the Empire- in an attempt to rescue her kalikori, a Twi’lek cultural heirloom. Though Thrawn and his cronies have disgraced what was once a clearly beautiful house, we can still see glimpses of what it once was- and can examine how the Empire has taken it over.
We can see that the place Hera grew up is very large- but not only that, but the exterior is very naturalistic with the rest of the planet. In the article in this series about Lothal’s Capital City, I wrote about how the architecture of the Lothali buildings were similar in style to the natural lands of Lothal. Ryloth takes it to a whole other level- this home looks like it very well could’ve been simply carved out of naturally occurring rock. Which makes sense- in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, Cham Syndulla has a lot of pride and love for Ryloth, so it only makes sense that he and his people would extend that to a respect for its natural environment.
This naturalistic style of the home is in the interior as well. If you look, you can see that the stone balconies don’t have the crisp straight edges we’d expect from say, Imperial architecture, but rather slightly keep the suggestions of the rock’s original shape. This also suggests that the house may have been built more by hand than simply droids, implying that the home is very old and has been owned by the Syndulla clan for generations.
Another thing we can see within the Syndulla home is a value of art, beauty and culture. We see ornate patterson the walls and floors, potted plants and small lights adding decorations to the building. It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into making the house beautiful by whoever built it, and however long ago. It’s a good look into the way that Hera grew up- Hera herself doesn’t seem to put much time into decorating- her room in the Ghost is rather plain, as is the cockpit. It’s interesting to see that she grew up in a place so decorated. Perhaps she never bothered to decorate herself, because she never had to at home.
Beyond simply the beauty we see of the original Syndulla home, we can also see the damage that the Empire has inflicted in its takeover of it. The portrait of a young Hera and her parents has blaster marks over it, indicating that there was a struggle when the Empire first attacked.
We can also see how the Empire has really taken over the home. They’ve added harsh white lights, equipment that they’re surely using to try and hunt down the Twi’lek rebels that once lived in this home, and stacks of crates and weapons. The Empire clearly doesn’t care that this was once a home where families lived and grew. And though the home was unfortunately destroyed by Hera in her escape, I’m still glad we got to see the Syndulla residence in a way where we could guess at its former glory.
Next week, for the finale of the Mise-en-Wren series, we will look at our other Rebels heroine’s family home.