STAR WARS REBELS Series Finale Review – Could Not Have Ended Much Better
Star Wars Rebels began way back in 2014 and has since captured the hearts of Star Wars fans as it introduced a new fantastic group of characters to the universe as well as bringing back some old favourites here and there. But now with the arrival of the series finale it’s all over and personally I think this ending was handled exceptionally well and I love how Dave Filoni and the creative team at Lucasfilm managed to tie everything up nicely and tease what’s to come. It’s hard to believe that this animated series at a number of points featured storylines and major connective events to other Star Wars films that were more exciting that what we’re getting in this new film trilogy…. but it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, I love most of the story that is being told in this new trilogy, but as far as connecting to the wider Star Wars universe and just telling more exciting stories Rebels did it better.
Lets get into the episode though which from beginning to end was non stop, the pace was extremely fast even from the beginning of the penultimate episode which led right into this one. Between the battles with Governor Pryce, Rukh, and Thrawn it didn’t give you even a single moment to breath which was a fantastic way to execute this finale and close out the story on a high. All of the stuff with Governor Pryce was great because finally we get to see her meet her end after all of her annoying failed attempts at eradicating the rebel forces. She has proven herself to be one of the most incompetent members of the empire and to see her go out in flames is a fitting end for the character. Speaking about character ends, the moment Ezra leaves his crew and goes to face Thrawn I knew he wasn’t going to be coming back and whatever happened on that ship would be the last we saw of the young Jedi.
After a brief discussion with Thrawn we see Ezra come face to face with a projection of Palpatine voiced here by the legendary Ian McDiarmid, except he is projecting himself as his younger self probably because smiling old man is more inviting than hideous shadowy robed Sith. This is a great moment for both Ezra and Palpatine as it shows another of Palpatine’s conniving tricks and shows the maturity of Ezra since earlier seasons. Palpatine is very clearly trying to get Ezra out of the way by luring him with what he desires most but Ezra doesn’t fall for it after learning through Kanan’s death that sometimes sacrifices need to be made. While all this is unfolding we have the confrontation with Rukh and some imperial troopers against the rebel soldiers led by Zeb and this is another intense sequence because of the looming threat of tragedy. I thought Zeb was a goner in this sequence, before this I even thought he was a goner in the previous episode but quite the opposite happens as Zeb comes out on top. We get a fun final battle between Zeb and Rukh, the latter is a character who has almost died more than anyone else in this series but frustratingly he keeps coming back. But not this time as he gets fried when the city’s defence shields come back online and we never have to see the well designed yet frustrating character ever again.
One thing I love about the finale is the way Filoni makes everything feel contained within this series and rather than connecting to the external films directly brings back assets from earlier seasons that were previously considered filler. One thing being the surprise return of the purrgil aka, the space whales from season 2. These creatures became sort of like a joke when they were featured in the plot of a single episode of season 2 but now you have to wonder whether their use in this episode was planned way back when they were first introduced. Personally I like that they appeared here because it harkens back to Ezra’s connection with animals whether that be the loth cat, loth wolfs, or even the fyrnock all the way back in season 1. This bond has been a depiction of Ezra’s growth over the years so it’s great to see this all come full circle. And then we get to the moment we all knew was coming, the scene that would explain what happens to Ezra and why he isn’t present during the events of A New Hope. In a moment of sacrifice he understands that he must go far away in order for the rebel alliance to prevail, so he uses the ability of the purrgil to travel through hyperspace to transport himself to an unknown location far away from the reach of the empire, quite possibly in the Unknown Regions.
Rebels also uses Ezra’s departure to explain why Thrawn isn’t around and I like the fact that they didn’t kill either character as they will most definitely both be featured again in the future, whether it be in a novel or a series. I like to imagine Ezra and Thrawn setting aside their differences and setting up a small antiques shop on a distant planet embracing the retired life…… Ezra’s departure is great because it leaves the responsibility of protecting Lothal to the rest of the Ghost crew who are more than capable of accomplishing great things without him. So they protect the people of Lothal by blowing up the large dome in the middle of the city which as it turns out is a giant ship… who knew… And then everything is tied up nicely with a happy ending that would then lead into the events of Rogue One and A New Hope fairly seamlessly. I love how all of this played out and wouldn’t really change anything. As the Ghost flew off into the distance I was satisfied because it ended on a nice note and I believed we’d see characters like Sabine again in the future but I wasn’t immediately excited…… that is until the final few INCREDIBLE minutes… and here is where I completely geek out.
So the screen fades back in on Lothal and we see Sabine who looks a little older now with a new haircut and appears to have been living on and protecting Ezra’s home planet this whole time. She starts narrating as we see the Capital City has grown into a massive beautiful place since the empire’s forced departure, and one thing we learn instantly is that these scenes are all taking place after Return of the Jedi. We learn a lot about the main characters in a short amount of time and where each of them ended up after the battle of Endor. First we learn that Zeb and Kallus went to Lira San where they lived with the remaining Lasat who forgave Kallus and accepted him as one of them. We then learn and get confirmation that Hera and Rex both fought in the battle of Endor, we knew both characters were alive at the time but so it’s nice to get some confirmation of their involvement. Then we surprisingly find out that during the events of season 4 of Rebels, Hera and Kanan found time to get busy which led to Hera having a baby named Jacen Syndulla…. obviously a reference to the legends character Jacen Solo.
And then the holy shit moment happens where we actually see Ahsoka Tano again who is looking very Gandalf-like come to Lothal and meet with Sabine. I think for now can we start calling her Ahsoka the White? That would be cool. So after all this time it looks like she is finally coming out of hiding possibly for the first time since descending into the remains of the Sith temple on Malachor. And this is where we get the cliffhanger setup for another animated series which would see Ahsoka and Sabine joining up to search the galaxy for Ezra, just as he told Ahsoka to in the world between worlds. It was obvious that this entire finale was setting up Sabine for another animated series but now it’s clear that we will most likely be seeing these two again on another series of adventures set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. If Lucasfilm throw a curveball and tell the story in a novel I’ll still read it but be disappointed that I can’t watch it.
I cannot wait until we see these characters again and will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next animated series but until then I’ll cure my Star Wars fix with the upcoming yearly films and novels.