Fair warning, this article will contain spoilers on the final season of Star Wars Rebels.
Rebels has become an important player in the new Star Wars cannon bridging the gap between The Clone Wars and A New Hope. Fitting between these two revered Lucas/Disney properties has its benefits but has a few drawbacks. Rebels’ executive producer Dave Filoni is well known within the fan community for his open banter about the animated world of Star Wars. One thing Filoni has freely talked about is the challenge he faces with Rebels regarding fitting in with continuity of A New Hope.
One of the best features of Rebels is how the series incorporates Star Wars Legends material leading to exciting villains like Thrawn and the Inquisitors. The Grand Inquisitor, the first major villain in the series, bridged the gap from Clone Wars to Rebels leaving the ways of the Jedi and becoming Empire’s attack dog. Serving as the main connection to the Empire he provided the Ghost crew with a major challenge that tested the fledgling resistance fighters. While met with decent fan approval, Filoni was forced to get rid of this branch of the Sith Order to fit in with A New Hope. In an interview with io9 back in 2016, Filoni reasoned to the Inquisitors disappearance:
“But we are getting ever closer to the time period of A New Hope, and I’ve trying to live a little bit more by the rules you see in that film. And there isn’t a mention of Inquisitors in that film. It might be something you see less and less of.”
Flashforward to the final season, Filoni is still facing the same problem of continuity and with the only a few episodes remaining there is a pressing need to tie up loose ends. In the episode “Jedi Night,” Kanan died while protecting Hera, Sabine, and Ezra as fan speculation accurately predicted. Kanan was the biggest threat to overarching continuity, as Obi-Wan would not be the “only hope” if he were to survive the series end. It should be noted that Kanan’s death is a homage to his master’s, Depa Billaba, death during Order 66. In the episode “DUME” Kanan appears to have become a giant Loth-Wolf appearing to Ezra offering guidance on how to move forward.
As the series progresses, it is important to keep an eye on what Filoni decided to do with Ezra. There is major foreshadowing starting with Thrawn who admits the boy will fall apart without the presence of his master. As Kanan, in Loth-Wolf form, speaks to Ezra he notices fear within him as Ezra is sobbing over losing the loss. Also, during the discussion with Kanan, Ezra admits that “I am afraid” and everything seems hopeless.
Throughout the entire series, the idea of Ezra turning to the dark side has been toyed with especially during the Darth Maul arc. Could Ezra’s fear be predicting this fall as his emotions seem to be similar to Anakin’s when first arriving on Coruscant? As Yoda stated, “Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” The mid-season trailer revealing that Darth Sidious will meet face to face with Bridger in the next few episodes. However, there are more paths that Ezra can go down and many fans believe, including me, he will not turn his back on the light.
There has been a concerted effort to bring Rebel characters into the live action films through Easter eggs. In Rouge One, it is shown that Hera has risen up the ranks becoming a general in an easy to miss intercom announcement. “Chop” Hera’s right-hand droid made the journey across mediums as well standing out in the loading dock. Meanwhile, in Return of The Jedi Captain Rex has been retconned into the Battle of Endor. While this doesn’t mean the rest of the Ghost crew will make the jump as well they will likely not be killed off. This is due to Lasats and Mandalorians not showing up in the original trilogy and not having an impact on the events that follow. In the end, it is likely that Zeb and Sabine will likely return to there respective homes and people.
Rebels has been a fun series that has provided much to the overarching property of Star Wars. From incorporating Clone Wars and Legends history Rebels has created interesting characters that have been entertaining for four seasons. However, being handcuffed to A New Hope has led to some disappointment of character fates in order to keep up with continuity of the original films. With the last few episodes set to air in the upcoming weeks, it will be interesting to watch how the events unfold.
What has been your favorite part of the Star Wars Rebels series?