As a member of Ryloth's nobility, Cham opposed the policies of the Galactic Republic and Ryloth's senator Orn Free Taa. When the Clone Wars began and the Separatists invaded his world, Cham formed a group of freedom fighters to combat the invading droid army. When the Republic came to Ryloth to free the world from the Separatists, he formed an alliance with Jedi Master Mace Windu and his Clone Troopers to liberate the capital city of Lessu. The liberation of Lessu ended the battle for Ryloth and saw the capture of Separatist leader Wat Tambor.
After the Clone Wars ended, the Republic was replaced by the Galactic Empire and Ryloth was occupied by the new government who planned to use its resources for its own military production. Cham opposed the Imperial presence on Ryloth and formed a new group of freedom fighters to disrupt Imperial military targets in the system. When his wife was killed during the resistance, Ryloth's freedom became more important to him than his own family. His relationship with his daughter became difficult when she left to join the Rebellion against the Empire. Despite having ignored her, he preferred to have Hera by his side in Ryloth's fight for liberation rather than fighting offworld.
Cham's relationship with his daughter become a difficult one, especially when she chose to leave and fight in the Rebellion against the Empire. For several years they hardly stayed in touch, but were reluctantly brought together again for a mission to steal an Imperial carrier and use it to house the Rebellion's starfighter. However, Cham had other plans for the carrier. He wanted to destroy it to symbolise the strength of Ryloth and his people. Accompanied by two of his best warriors, Numa and Gobi Glie, They were successful in boarding the carrier with help from the Rebels. But then he turned against them and proceeded with his plans to destroy the ship, only to be stopped by Hera. Listening to his daughter's wise words of how he became an inspiration to both her and their people, Cham abandoned his plan and assisted the Rebels in getting the carrier to the Rebellion. Following their victory, Cham showed new loyalty and respect for the Rebellion and for his daughter.
- Cham Syndulla has a supporting role as the opposition to Palpatine and Darth Vader in the canon novel Lords of the Sith by Claudia Gray, which takes place after the events of The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. In the novel, Vader and Palpatine personally head to Ryloth to quell his rebellion against the Empire, eventually leading to Syndulla's defeat, going into hiding and eventual participation in the events of the second season of Star Wars Rebels.