You already know what I’m going to say. This is the series finale of Star Wars: Rebels.
S P O I L E R W A R N I NG
I’ll only say it once.
1. Bringing It All Together
And so it comes to this. The end of Star Wars: Rebels. What a journey this show has been on. From a show that, to me, started off as this weird, little, disconnected show that pivoted towards a more kid friendly storytelling and art style in the wake of the cancellation of The Clone Wars to, for my money, one of the most enjoyable Star Wars stories I’ve ever experienced. I was, I’ll admit, pretty cold on Rebels in its first season and while I managed to get on board with the Siege Of Lothal, it still took me a while to find the flow of the show.
What’s most frustrating about these episodes is just how good they are. The Lucasfilm team clearly put a lot of money and a lot of effort, going above and beyond, to make sure these episodes were the best of the show and they damn well might be. By frontloading the Rebels’s last stand against the Imperial invasion in “A Fool’s Hope,” and turning that on it’s head in the opening parts of “Family Reunion And Farewell” will the Rebel assault on Lothal, Filoni and co. made sure that this three parter had some of the show’s best action so far.
It was a wild trip that brought back faces from the show’s entire run to cement the Ghost crew as a connected force to the wider Star Wars galaxy.
2. Ezra In The Spotlight
Just as it took me a while to come around on Rebels as a whole, it took me even longer to come around on Ezra Bridger. As the archetypal orphaned farmboy with hidden Force sensitivity who is trained in the ways of the Jedi by a way by a wayward master, I had a similar reaction to Ezra as certain sects of the Star Wars fandom did to Rey. I never bought him as a protagonist or as an important part of the Star Wars saga and started to resent the show for placing him in the same loop of trusting people who eventually let him down.
This last half of the season has certainly gone a long way in turning me around on Ezra, though. From the loss of his master to his experience in the Force realm and his attempt to save Ahsoka to him coming into his own as the figurehead of the attack on the Empire on Lothal, I finally feel like Ezra is the character I’ve waited four seasons for him to become. A self-assured Jedi who combines the best qualities of his empathetic nature and his streetrat wiles to undermine the authority of the Empire with unexpected plans that rely on chaos.
I’m glad the show finally brought him to this moment in order to understand the importance of him finally letting go. After being confronted with the chance to return to his parents by Palpatine, he says no. He lets go of the family he lost because he needs to save the family he gained. And he saves the family he gained through his empathetic nature, through his ability to do the unexpected. He seemingly sacrifices himself (yes, I know he survived, but still) to take Thrawn out of the equation and leaves Lothal and his newfound family with a better future to protect.
It’s been a long, tumultuous road to get there, but I finally cried for Ezra Bridger. I’m proud of this boy.
3. Triumph On Lothal
As I mentioned, this episode pulled out all the stops to make you care about this final battle of Ghost crew. While they all went on to different fights and different loves in the galaxy, this was their last stand against the Empire. This was the liberation of Lothal, a liberation that would stand until the Empire’s defeat over Endor.
Lothal was always a weird element of the show for me. A backwater planet that was constructed for the show who existed as a stand-in for the Empire’s galaxywide occupation. It’s a shorthand to show the cruelties of the Empire and while it may have worked in it’s kid-focused first season, I never quite… cared. I knew there were other planets and other peoples out there that were also oppressed so what made Lothal any different than all the others?Continued below
The truth is, there isn’t. Lothal is like any other planet in the galaxy under the grip of the Empire. The only difference is in seeing how Ezra cares for his people and their freedom and how that expanded to his crew and his friends and allies to culminate in this rebellion. Not an alliance, not a massed uprising across the galaxy. One rebellion.
I never knew why the show decided to focus on such a small band at first or why it only showed one planet we’d never seen before, but now I do. Because after four seasons, the Ghost crew really does feel like family, really does feel like home. And their triumph is our triumph. Their hope is our hope.
One rebellion. Let’s make it stick.
4. Fate Of The Rebels
I didn’t know how this show could wrap everything up without leaving loose ends. Where would Hera end up in the Rebel Alliance? What would happen to Thrawn? How could they keep Luke feeling important to the original trilogy if Ezra and Ahsoka are both out there? Thankfully, Dave Filoni is a genius and wrapped things up sublimely with a “Where are they now?” montage that really tugged at the heartstrings.
From the confirmation that both Hera and Rex fought at the Battle of Endor (Rex confirmed) to Hera’s son, Jacen, to Zeb introducing his boyfriend, Kallus, to his family back home to the most important thing to ever happen to Rebels.
Not Maul’s death.
Not Ahsoka’s return.
Sabine’s lesbian haircut. What a look. So controversial, yet so brave. And with the knowledge that Sabine and Literal Force Angel Ashoka Tano are out searching the galaxy for Ezra and Thrawn’s whereabouts? I feel comfortable saying goodbye to the Ghost crew. For now.
5. Where Now From Here?
Look, I’m not one to tell Dave Filoni what to do, but the Rebels crew showed a massive growth in technical and storytellng fidelity this season. This was the best the show has ever been and ended the story of the rebellion on Lothal on an incredibly strong note. The characterisation, the animation, the music, the action, the saga-spanning drama. This was a stepping stone from what was started in The Clone Wars to something beyond that. Not only did Rebels do an awful lot in setting up pieces that would domino into Rogue One and the Original Trilogy, but it left a legacy that could go beyond that.
I would love for another animated series headed by Dave Filoni to explore the galaxy in the wake of Return Of The Jedi. Ezra’s still out there. Thrawn’s still out there. The story of the Ghost crew doesn’t have to end here.
But I would be okay if it did.