The Freedom Fighters, also known as The Rebels, were a group of partisans and revolutionaries comprised of Earth Kingdom refugee teenagers and children under the leadership of Jet, who aimed to rid the world of firebenders, even if it meant killing innocent people.
They were all skilled woodsmen who communicated with bird calls to avoid detection and planned their attacks from a secret treetop hideout. Ever since the Fire Nation took over the nearby village of Gaipan, the Freedom Fighters had been cutting off Fire Nation supply lines and using all available means to sabotage their occupation. They were all wanted by the Fire Nation.
In the woods
Avatar Aang and his friends first encountered the group when they accidentally walked into a Fire Nation camp. The Freedom Fighters saved them in a swift ambush against the firebenders and welcomed the gang to their treetop hideout. Jet took a liking to Katara, who admired his skills and sympathized with the loss of his parents to the Fire Nation. Sokka, however, was not fond of Jet, fearing that there was more to the warrior than met the eye. Later the gang helped the Freedom Fighters to remove the Fire Nation from the group's locale, a little village called Gaipan, which was situated in a small valley. Unbeknownst to Aang and Katara, Jet planned to liberate the village by blowing up a nearby dam and thereby flooding it, killing both the Fire Nation soldiers and the villagers. However, Sokka discovered the plot, and he was able to evacuate the village before Jet succeeded in tricking Katara and Aang into flooding the village. The gang subsequently abandoned the Freedom Fighters for their unjust actions.
In Ba Sing Se
The Freedom Fighters had apparently broken up since this engagement. Jet, Smellerbee, and Longshot all traveled to Ba Sing Se to put their misdeeds behind them and start a new life. Jet was captured by the Dai Li after a failed attempt to expose Prince Zuko and Iroh as firebenders when they fled to the city. Jet was killed by Long Feng when he attempted to help Team Avatar to free Appa from captivity, who was being held by Long Feng in Lake Laogai. The gang forgave Jet for his past crimes after this redemption.
After Ba Sing Se fell, Pipsqueak and The Duke ran into the Avatar's gang and joined the invasion force for the Day of Black Sun. The two had abandoned their earlier rebel activity months before and proved to be valuable assets in the invasion. However, when the invasion was foiled by Princess Azula, Pipsqueak stayed behind with the adult forces to surrender to the Fire Nation and was imprisoned, while The Duke fled with Aang to the Western Air Temple.
While at the Western Air Temple, The Duke quickly befriended fellow fighters Teo and Haru and became a temporary member of Aang's gang. He spent his free time exploring the temple's many features with his two new friends. When the Fire Nation attacked the Western Air Temple, The Duke fled the scene with his friends and allies while Aang and his group escaped on Appa.
After the Hundred Year War ended with the defeat of the Fire Nation, The Duke returned to the Fire Nation Capital with his friends and was finally reunited with Pipsqueak, who was released from prison.
One year later, Smellerbee became their new leader, reorganizing the Freedom Fighters, which included Sneers, Longshot, and several others. They were present at Yu Dao to protest the Fire Nation's continuing occupation of the province. The group supported Aang upon his arrival, but Smellerbee issued an ultimatum to the Avatar saying that he must have the Fire Nation out of Yu Dao within three days to prevent the Freedom Fighters from devising their own solution.
When their deadline was up, Aang pleaded for more time, but Smellerbee refused to wait any longer. They assaulted Yu Dao's main gate with a stone battering ram, however, Aang quickly destroyed it with his own earthbending. The stone debris rained down on the protesters, and a large rock threatened to crush Smellerbee. She was saved by Aang and expressed guilt over effectively diverting the Avatar's attention away from the drilling machine that breached the wall a few meters further.
The Freedom Fighters entered the city through the makeshift door, though quickly stumbled upon the Yu Dao Resistance of which Sneers was a part, much to Smellerbee's annoyance. Kori and Sneers attempted to make negotiations to convince the Freedom Fighters to refrain from enforcing the Harmony Restoration Movement, but these were interrupted when a protester instigated a fight. Aang broke up the skirmish by removing the Freedom Fighters from the city with his airbending. However, outside the city's wall, the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation armies had arrived, driving up the tension between all parties. When the battles commenced, the Freedom Fighters supported the Earth Kingdom soldiers, and Smellerbee and Longshot once again clashed with Sneers and Kori, only to be broken up by Sokka soon after.
Aang eventually entered the Avatar State and used earthbending to separate Yu Dao from the battleground, effectively denying the Freedom Fighters and other combatants access to the city. When Katara brought Earth King Kuei down to see the lives he would be affecting by continuing to fight and to talk to Aang, the Freedom Fighters chanted for him to commit to the Harmony Restoration Movement and ignore any propaganda talks that he would hear, though the King ordered them to be quiet.
Known members and relations
- The Freedom Fighters mirror the historical Freedom Riders, a band of American citizens who sought to eliminate segregation of public facilities. Like the Freedom Riders, the Freedom Fighters wish to correct social injustices.
- They are also similar in ideology and behavior to The Lost Boys from Peter Pan, particularly the 2003 film adaptation but also throughout Disney's portrayal.
- The Freedom Fighters also share similarities with Robin Hood and his Merry Men, a group of outlaws who fought against the unjust government of medieval Britain.