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‘Star Wars Rebels’ ‘Wolves & A Door’ & ‘A World Between Worlds’ Roundtable Review

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Well, we’re down to the final week. Star Wars Rebels is on its way out, but it’s not going to be content to just end. No, Rebels is going out with as much fanfare as it can possibly muster! This past week’s episodes were so huge that they fueled discussions all over the internet, some even between people that may not have watched the episodes! The events of these episodes will have reverberations within the larger Star Wars universe for years to come! If the penultimate episodes were this big, I can’t wait to see what happens on Monday night’s finale!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, we still need to talk about this week’s episodes! As we’ve been doing this season, we’re doing this roundtable style with reviews from myself and Hannah Ortega.

Jonathan North

After the events of last week, the Ghost crew is investigating the Empire’s actions at the Jedi temple. When they arrive, they find a massive excavation project, ordered by Emperor Palpatine himself, looking for a way into the temple. There is obviously something there that the Emperor wants, and he’s not going to let anyone get in his way.

Sabine and Ezra sneak into the base to discover a massive mural with some very familiar faces. For those of us who watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the gods of Mortis were kind of a big deal. These three beings had gained mastery over the Force to such a degree that their powers were basically god-like. The Daughter embodying the principles of the Light Side, the Son, the Dark, and the Father, trying to keep the two in balance.

Using Sabine’s knowledge of art and symbols, and Ezra’s knowledge of the Force, the two of them figure out what the mural means, and that they can interact with it. When they are interrupted, Sabine distracts the guards, so that Ezra can stay behind with the mural. When the coast is clear, Ezra uses the Force and discovers… Something. The Loth-wolves depicted in the mural come to life and take him around the temple where they begin to run in a circle, opening up a portal. By this time Sabine’s distraction has run its course, and the guards are rushing his way. At the last second Ezra jumps through the wall and disappears.

On the other side of the portal, Ezra finds himself inside a massive, endless, space. A place outside Lothal, or any planet. It has a starry sky, but it’s not just above him, it’s all around him. He’s on a simple pathway, marked only by white lines on either side, and the path leads everywhere. All around him he hears voices from the past, some that he won’t recognize, but those of us who’ve seen the prequels will. But then there are also voices that are from the original trilogy, which if you’re paying attention, happened AFTER the events of Rebels! There are even voices from the sequel trilogy!

Ezra follows the path, and notices that no matter where the paths go, they all lead to different portals. Eventually he hears a noise, and discovers a familiar Convor perched on one of the portals. He recognizes it as a bird that was always nearby when Ahsoka was around.

Suddenly the portal beneath it activates, and through it, Ezra sees Ahsoka herself, in the past on Malachor, at the moment that he was separated from her during her duel with Darth Vader. Knowing that this was the last time he had seen her, and assuming that she had died in that moment, Ezra finds that he can reach through the portal, and he grabs her, pulling her out of the past, where they collapse unconscious below the portal.

When they come to, Ezra fills Ahsoka in on all that has happened since they last saw each other. Ahsoka speculates that the wolf in his dream was a manifestation of Kanan’s will. She tells him that there are ways for those who have died to guide and influence the living. Ezra realizes that if the wolf was Kanan, then he must have sent him there to save her, but not just her, he could save Kanan too!

He finds a portal leading to the moment of Kanan’s death, but Ahsoka points out that Kanan’s death made it possible for the rest of them to live. If Ezra takes him out of that moment, they would all die. Kanan had done what he needed to do in that moment for everyone. Ezra realizes that she is right, and that he needs to let go.

Ezra wants to bring Ahsoka back with him, but she tells him that she can’t. Before he can say anything, they are interrupted by the Emperor! He has found a way to see into this world, but he can’t physically enter it. He begins to shoot them with blue Force flames, but they manage to avoid them. Ahsoka tells Ezra to run, he can make it back. They both run in separate directions and jump through their respective portals as the Emperor yells in anger.

Ahsoka finds herself back on Malachor, where we last saw her at the end of season two, while Ezra finds himself in the middle of his friend’s escape. He tells them that he has to close the portal before they leave, but in doing so he triggers something that destroys the entire temple. They manage to get out in time, but the place where the temple once stood is completely sealed off, with no discernable way of reopening it.

As they look over the place where the temple was, Ezra tells Hera that he knows what they need to do now, in a way, Kanan showed him. They turn to leave, but Ezra sees one of the Loth-wolves, staring at him through the mist. “Goodbye Kanan,” Ezra tells it quietly, and turns to follow Hera.

These episodes were some of the best Star Wars content period. I would rank them right up there with any of my favorite films! The depth that they brought to these characters, the lore that they have added to the canon, not to mention the fact that after two agonizing years of waiting, we finally got to know what happened to Ahsoka!

I know there are some fans decrying the addition of ‘time travel’ to the canon, but honestly, the way they used it makes perfect sense with everything we’ve seen from this show and The Clone Wars before it. Star Wars is not hard sci-fi, it’s science fantasy, and I loved the way they used time travel here. Everything about the world between worlds was so cool, so visually interesting, while maintaining a definite minimalism, I just loved it. And while I don’t want this new location to become overused, I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this realm. One day it would be amazing to see it in live action.

Anyway, that’s enough gushing from me. As you can tell I loved these episodes. Even the stuff I didn’t go into detail on, Minister Hydan, the Emperor, the 2D animation on and around the mural/portals, this episode had so much interesting and amazing stuff in it! I am absolutely pumped for the finale!

Hannah Ortega

Star Wars Rebels has presented many crazy but cool things: mystical loth wolves, flying whales, Maul still alive. But now, there’s time travel.

Both “Wolves and a Door” and “A World Between Worlds” were mind-bending episodes, especially in the former as Sabine and Ezra try to figure out the temple slab left by the wolves. When the meaning is discovered and Ezra is able to open the temple door, the 2D animation of the gold-outlined wolves and the Father, Son, and Daughter is gorgeous and something we haven’t really seen from the show.

However, it took painstakingly long for Ezra to finally enter the temple, especially since he was about to be caught at any moment like Sabine. Speaking of Sabine, it’s always a delight to see her sass imperials (“I’m smarter than you”). The other characters– Hera, Zeb, and Chopper– don’t have much screen time, but there’s one particularly bittersweet moment where Hera reaches to her shoulder to hold the hand of force ghost Kanan.

The design of the temple Ezra enters is gorgeous, as it appears to be infinite blackness dotted with stars and cross-stitched with floating paths, which honestly reminded me a bit of a Mario Kart track in the best way possible. It’s in this world between worlds that the greatest part of the two episodes happens– Ahsoka returns! I’ve been waiting so long for this moment, and Ezra is able to save her through one of the time and space portals.

I said in the last episode review that Ahsoka was definitely needed in this dark time, and this proved to be true when Ezra struggles with not saving Kanan through a different time and space portal. As much as I wish Ezra could’ve brought Kanan back, I knew it wouldn’t happen, as Kanan’s death was not just the end of Kanan’s story, but a motivator for the closure of Ezra’s arch. His death was a “last lesson” for the padawan. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m still a little unclear on what this “last lesson” is. However, we’ll probably receive more clarity in the series finale.

These episodes packed in a lot of mystical lore, and I wish some of it was explained more, like why the Father, Son, and Daughter specifically were on the wall and if the convor actually is the Daughter or just one of her spirit guides. Still, it was an intriguing episode that answered some important questions. However, many other questions still exist, as I’m not sure if the world between worlds really is gone, what happens to Ahsoka now, and, as I said, what the “last lesson” truly is. Here’s to hoping everything will be tied up nicely in the series finale.

The 90 minute series finale of Star Wars Rebels airs Monday March 5 at 8:30 pm on Disney XD.

What did you think of these episodes?
What do you think will happen in the finale?

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About Jonathan North

Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his YouTube channel, where he reviews all manner things, including (almost) every version ever of Alice in Wonderland. His favorites are the 1999 version starring Tina Majorino, and of course, the 1951 Disney version. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, @jonjnorth.
  • My jaw dropped along with everyone else when these episodes aired. At last we come to the pinnacle of Ezra’s journey and the value of Lothal in the Star Wars universe. Even back in season one, Minister Tua was about to confess that the Empire was doing something on Lothal besides the mining and TIE factory and we get it here: something cosmic and worthwhile building up to over four seasons.

    I’m glad you pointed out that SW is sci-fantasy because the way time-travel is shown here still feels more “magical” than a sci-fi vibe I’d get from “Star Trek” or “Back to the Future”. Those genres use tangible devices to travel through time such as cars and spaceships. Using the Force to open portals in time feels less tangible, more mystical. Using time-travel can definitely be overdone or a cliched deus ex machina. But I trust the writers won’t use this often AND they didn’t just bring Ahsoka back for “the fun of it”. She was needed to help Ezra grasp his last lesson and I’m sure her story will continue elsewhere in the SW universe. There’s already a YA novel about her and I hope Ahsoka will show up in some of the comics.

    I recall reading about one of the best cartoon shows ever, “Batman: the Animated Series”, and one of the directors said if you give a team of talented people the time and freedom they need to write, direct, and animate a story, they can do an outstanding job. This is why I prefer “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” to “Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”; not just because you can do things in 100% animation that could be distracting when half live-action half-CGI (that too) but because you have the time to expand upon characters, give them a variety of scenarios, and explain the motivations behind their actions.

    This is why Ezra Bridger is my favorite SW character right now: we had four seasons to watch him grow in his role. Some people dislike him and point out his many mistakes, which is understandable because he constantly blunders along the way. Yet I see his mistakes as life-lessons; *because* he made many errors, he had a chance to learn something new each time and consequently didn’t fall to the Dark Side. The words you’ll hear him say constantly in the show are “I’m sorry” after he messes up and “thank you” after someone helps him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that’s his strength and weakness. The Emperor knows this and tried to manipulate Ezra by showing him his master’s death; thankfully Ahsoka was there to remind Ezra of the significance of Kanan’s sacrifice.