Unconventional, charming, and precocious, ENFPs make for some of the most compelling characters in fiction. They draw us into their stories much like they draw the characters around them into the causes they’re passionate about.
There are several ENFPs in Star Wars, and Ezra Bridger is one of them. This young man from Lothal starts out as a thief living on his own and grows to become a powerful Jedi, a leader among the Rebel Alliance, and an important member of the Ghost crew family.
From the moment we meet Ezra there’s evidence that he uses Extroverted Intuition as his favorite mental function (click here for a quick guide to functions in Myers-Briggs® theory). He’s constantly exploring, pushing boundaries, defying tradition, and acting independently. To quote Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge, this mental process drives you to “mess with your environment in order to figure out how things work.” (p. 64-65). NP types are button-pushers who ask tons of “what if?” questions. Witt and Dodge nickname this function “Exploration,” and it’s a key aspect of Ezra’s character.
Extroverted Intuitive types are often seen as rebellious because of their need to mess with the environment. They’re driven to upset established patterns, try to spot new patterns, and figure out how things work. It’s also a rapid, flexible function that lets types like ENFPs easily adapt to a changing environment.
Just take the opening episodes of Rebels as an example. Ezra is quick to notice Imperial activity and concocts a plan on the fly to help a local seller escape imprisonment. He immediately spots the Ghost crew, figures out their plan, and jumps right into the middle of it to steal what they’re stealing. He quickly gets in over his head, and when he runs out of options he takes the first solution presented — helping the people he’d just stolen from. He can make his own way because he adapts quickly and has a talent for getting out of trouble as quickly as he gets into it.
It’s interesting to note that Extroverted Intuition is not a function that Kanan (an ISTP) has in his function stack. This can help explain why he and Ezra initially have such a hard time understanding each other. Their preferred methods for seeing the world simply don’t work in the same way and they struggle to see things from the other’s point of view.
On top of that, Extroverted Intuition is a function that becomes bored very easily. Personality Hacker notes, “Repetitive tasks can become mind-numbing and maddening, and an Exploration user may change a perfectly workable system just to prevent their own boredom” (p.65). Kanan’s not exactly a stickler for tradition himself, but Ezra is a little more frustrating than he’d bargained on and he has his own insecurities he’s dealing with.
The two work things out eventually and find ways to encourage each others’s strengths. Ezra turns his natural ENFP curiosity to figuring out how the Force works. He builds an unconventional blaster-lightsaber hybrid and discovers how to tap-in to his strongest gifts. For Ezra, this includes a deep connection with the Force in other life forms. I often see FP types talking about how well they connect with animals, and Ezra has a Force-amplified version of this so that Beast Taming/Animal Friendship becomes one of his strongest powers.
ENFP Under Stress
When we first meet Ezra, he’s young and alone. There hasn’t been much opportunity for him to focus on personal growth, and he’s an immature example of the ENFP type. An ENFP’s co-pilot process is Introverted Feeling, but he’s been ignoring that for the most part and using his tertiary Extroverted Thinking instead. Here’s another quote from Personality Hacker, this time from their podcast: “When an ENFP bypasses their copilot and goes to the 10 year old they can become exploitative. Taking harmful short cuts. Te is not sustainable – just fast. [It can] trample over other people.”
Ezra is out to survive. He only fights for himself (or claims to — we’d already seen him put himself at risk to help someone in his hometown escape Imperial arrest). He doesn’t expect anyone to help him out and is shocked when the Ghost crew returns to rescue him after he’s captured while they’re doing a job. He also has the exploitative streak that Personality Hacker talked about — stealing Kanan’s holocron and lightsaber and later in the series taking jobs with pirates.
He’s also inclined to take harmful shortcuts. Our tertiary process isn’t all that strong or reliable for us, but we can get stuck in a “loop” with it and our dominant function, especially when we’re under stress. Just look at how reckless and violent Ezra becomes after Kanan loses his eyesight. Ezra feels abandoned, guilty, and unsure of himself so he turns to the Dark Side for quick answers. His actions are not typical behavior for a healthy ENFP, but they aren’t unusual for an ENFP who’s stressed out.
Under stress, ENFPs also go to their inferior Introverted Sensing function. In her book Was That Really Me? Naomi Quenk says that some of the most common expressions of this inferior function are withdrawal, depression, and obsessiveness. We see all this in Ezra at the beginning of season 3 as he pushes others away and becomes obsessed with finding answers to defeating the Sith.
Reluctant, Idealistic Hero
We see Ezra’s exploitative and “anything it takes to get ahead” traits less and less as the story progresses. He’s a dynamic, interesting character who grows and develops over his four years with the Ghost crew. His Jedi training with Kanan gives him the tools to slow down and tap into his Introverted Feeling co-pilot. At the same time, the relationships he’s building with his crew mates gives him a support structure and an opportunity to feel sympathy. Now, we can see the potential he shares with other ENFPs to be an inspiring leader.
Introverted Feeling is a function that makes decisions based on, “Does this feel right to me?” The book Personality Hacker says, “the archetype of the reluctant hero fits well with the Authenticity function” (p. 71-72). Ezra doesn’t set out to be a hero, but in spite of all his brash talk deep down he believes that helping other people is the right thing to do. It’s a value he learned from his parents; one he tried to turn his back on after their convictions got them arrested and killed.
After spending some time with the Ghost crew, though, Ezra quickly rediscovers his idealism. He becomes a powerful voice for the Rebellion and ends up leading the liberation of Lothal. He also becomes a powerful Jedi, in-tune with the Force and comfortable with its ambiguities much like another ENFP Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn.
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