Disney, Lucasfilm Animation, Reviews, Television, TV

‘Star Wars Rebels’ Series Finale Roundtable Review

Share on Pinterest

This is it. At long last, Star Wars Rebels has sadly come to a close. Last Monday saw the debut of the three part series finale, but where one door closes, another one opens, and the finale appears to be setting up an entirely new story! Whatever form that story takes remains to be seen, though we’re not really here to speculate on that today. (But you can in the comments below!) Right now, we’re here to talk about the mind-blowing, three-part finale of this amazing series!

As we’ve done all season, both Hannah Ortega and I will be giving you our reviews, roundtable style. We’ve been huge fans of Rebels, and we’ve loved sharing our thoughts this season. One last time, to the reviews!

Hannah Ortega

Three words: What just happened?!

I mean that statement in the best way possible. Dave Filoni and his crew always know how to throw in the best twists and keep the audience engaged, and only they could perfectly end a series while leaving the door open for more adventures.

In “A Fool’s Hope,” one of the two episodes’ many twists comes when Ryder Azadi betrays the rebels by revealing their location to Governor Pryce – only, as it turns out, his betrayal is a trick and all part of the rebel’s plan. His false treachery is honestly very convincing, as he’s been extremely pessimistic about the rebel’s chances in the war for a while now. If anyone was going to sacrifice the group in order to save their own skin, I figured it would be Ryder.

When Governor Pryce and the imperials arrive at the rebel base, they have a high stakes battle, and its level of danger is only emphasized by the fact that it’s taking place on basically a cliff face. The best moment of the fight comes when Ezra calls upon the loth-wolves, who tear into the stormtroopers after their glowing eyes beautifully appear in the darkness.

“A Fool’s Hope” is a wonderful episode, but “Family Reunion – and Farewell” is even better. Ezra leads the Ghost crew, Ryder, Rex and the clones, Ketsu, and Kallus on a daring mission to the imperial stronghold on Lothal with Pryce as their prisoner, but just when it seems that they’ve won, Thrawn opens fire on the city. Ezra then surrenders and delivers himself into Thrawn’s hands – against Hera’s pleas – so he can save his home world. It’s a sacrifice that illustrates how greatly Ezra, who was once a selfish kid on the streets, has grown, and how much Kanan, and Kanan’s death, has taught him about fighting for the greater good.

Aboard Thrawn’s ship, Ezra is taken to a hologram of Emperor Palpatine, who coaxes the young Jedi into a salvaged piece of Lothal’s Jedi temple. There, Ezra sees his parents, and Palpatine says he can open a door and be with them. But, with tears in his eyes, Ezra says he must let them go, bringing to light the “last lesson” he mentioned in “A World Between Worlds” – just like Kanan, Ezra must let go of the past and of himself in order to bring peace.

Later, Ezra continues to let go when the purrgils, after being summoned, trap both Ezra and Thrawn aboard Thrawn’s star destroyer. The star destroyer’s windows are broken and the purrgils prepare to jump into hyperspace, and Ezra knows he must see the mission through. With that, the purrgils take Ezra and Thrawn away to some unknown place, and they’re not seen again for the rest of the episode.

I kept waiting for Ezra to come back, however. I refused to believe that he was gone, and, luckily, Filoni confirmed in the episode’s Rebels Recon that both Ezra and Thrawn are alive. Now it’s just a matter of waiting until they return and their stories are fully closed.

Hopefully Sabine and Ahsoka will bring Ezra back, for at the end of the episode, they set off to find him. They actually depart soon after the battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, years after Ezra disappears. Sabine is older now, and it’s a relief to see that Ahsoka has returned from the Sith temple she descended into. Also revealed in this time jump forward is that Hera has a son. At first, I was heartbroken that Hera had met someone else, but then Sabine says Kanan is the boy’s father. That means Hera was actually pregnant around the time that Kanan died and it’s comforting to know that, even though Kanan is gone, Hera still has a piece of him in their son.

Star Wars Rebels has been an emotional and exhilarating rollercoaster ride, and I hate that it has to end. These characters mean so much to me, and I loved watching them develop over the four seasons. However, with Ezra still out there, it seems the rebels’ stories aren’t quite over, and I hope to see the Ghost crew again soon.

Jonathan North

The finale of Star Wars Rebels was everything I hoped it would be, nothing that I feared it would be, and so much better than I expected it to be! I knew I was going to enjoy it no matter what. I had already braced myself for Ezra’s death, and was expecting at least three casualties on the side of the Rebels. My money was on Ezra, at least one of the clones, and Kallus. (Though, if you’ve been following my reviews for the last couple of years then you already know how certain I was that he was going to die, and had been expecting it much earlier than the finale!) I knew that deaths were coming, and I knew that they would be handled well, so I’d already resolved to accept them.

However, I was also afraid that some of the casualties were going to be among my favorite characters. Mainly Ahsoka, my absolute favorite Star Wars character, period, but I was also worried for Sabine and I was kind of feeling 50/50 on the odds of Zeb making it all the way too. But I was shocked to realize by the end that, not only had only had literally everyone (except Gregor, RIP) made it through to the end, they all survived the events of the original trilogy. Ezra’s fate was written perfectly, so as not to conflict with the original trilogy and still have him survive!

There was so much going on in these final three episodes that I’m not even going to try to recap everything, but I do want to touch on some of the standout things that I loved in them. The first thing was the use of the wolves. I absolutely loved how much the fate of Lothal depended on the wolves and Ezra’s connection to them. The wolves have so far been more of a mystical, Force-based presence in the story, affecting the actions of the Rebels, but not playing that big of a role in actively fighting the Empire. Until now! The scenes with the wolves absolutely demolishing the Empire’s forces are some of the best action scenes in the whole series!

One of my minor pet-peeves with Rebels is how tame it has been in the action/violence area, at least when you compare it with how dark some episodes of Clone Wars got. That is not to say I wanted graphic violence, dismembering, beheadings, etc., but I wanted things to feel like the stakes were as high as they were supposed to feel. A perfect example is last season during the death of Maul, who, in that moment, I hadn’t even realized had been touched by Obi-Wan’s lightsaber. I thought he’d just given up, until he actually died. I then rewound to re-watch the scene and realized how it had been edited to show as little as possible.

The action in these episodes, the scenes with the wolves in particular, was perfect. They dialed it up just enough so that the stakes felt so much more real, but they kept the violence PG enough that it was still fine for airing on Disney XD. My one complaint is that I REALLY wanted to see Rukh’s demise and I was disappointed at how much they went out of their way to NOT show it. (I swear I’m not usually this bloodthirsty, but I really hated that guy and I really wanted to see his comeuppance.) However, overall, I thought the action in these last three episodes was amazing.

One of my favorite things about Rebels has been the creatures. Ezra’s connection to the animals of Lothal, and all over the galaxy, has been consistently one of my absolute favorite things about the show and about Ezra as a character. I have always loved the creatures in Star Wars and I have really loved how big a role many of them have played in the different episodes. It all culminated in, not only that epic wolf scene, but also with the return of the purrgil!

I have loved the concept of whales in space for years, so purrgil instantly became one of my favorite Star Wars creatures when they debuted. I’ve hoped that we would see them again, whether in Rebels or some other Star Wars story, so I was so excited to have them return, and to have them play such a critical role in the liberation of Lothal!

The last thing I want to talk about is the end. What an ending! I did not think there was any way that Rebels could end in a way that I would find completely satisfactory. Rebels is simply a prelude to a prelude, and their story couldn’t end, (without a bunch of deaths) when the larger story was just beginning! How wrong I was! It didn’t even cross my mind that Ezra could just ‘go missing’ during the events of the original trilogy! (The same with Thrawn for that matter.) It didn’t even cross my mind that Ahsoka would just simply not show up until after everything had gone down! It didn’t even cross my mind that they might end this series with a massive time jump, bringing them forward to the end of the original trilogy’s war!

I absolutely love it when I am so utterly and completely wrong about everything I’ve speculated beforehand! It happened with The Last Jedi, and now it’s happening with Star Wars Rebels. Sometimes it’s just too easy to get caught up in the internet’s speculation culture, to the point where you’ve practically written your own movie/tv show in your head. For some people, the realization that they are completely wrong about where a story is going make them angry, causing a reaction like the one we saw after the release of The Last Jedi. For others, like me, it’s a relief! I hate thinking that I’ve spoiled a movie for myself, so I love it when I’m completely wrong! Especially when I’m fully expecting the deaths of half the cast! I love getting a story that I never expected, and I love being shocked at the directions that a story takes.

I am so glad that (almost) everyone survived the series! I am so glad that (almost) everyone got a happy ending! And I am so glad that the end was obviously a new beginning! There is no doubt in my mind that they have plans for these characters! Personally I’m hoping for a future show featuring an Ahsoka/Sabine team up, traveling the galaxy searching for Ezra. Although, I would also be happy with a sitcom following the zany pirate adventures of Hondo and Melch. (Seriously, I loved those guys in these episodes!)

Whatever happens in the future, I am just thankful that these characters are in good hands. Dave Filoni is one of my current favorite storytellers, and he and his crew at Lucasfilm Animation have proven themselves time and again as amazing and creative writers, artists, animators, and world-builders. I just can’t wait to see what they do next.

What did you think of the finale? What do you want to see in the future?

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

Share on Pinterest

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 Podcast and YouTube channel, where he reviews animation, movies, TV, or whatever else his guests feel like talking about. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @jonjnorth.