Throughout its run, Star Wars Rebels has given us some awesome episodes of television. Moreover, I would contest that some of those episodes rank amongst the best Star Wars content we have had the pleasure to experience. Clearly, Season 2’s ‘Shroud of Darkness’ and ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’ come to mind as does Season 3’s ‘The Holocrons of Fate’ and ‘Twin Suns’. While we have had some great episodes of Star Wars Rebels in Season 4, nothing has blown me away to the extent that the aforementioned episodes have.
My Thoughts on ‘Wolves and a Door’ and ‘A World Between Worlds’
However, this final season of Star Wars Rebels has now provided us with an episode which, in my eyes, is the best this show has ever given us. ‘A World Between Worlds’ has changed the game and it blew me away with how well it binds the Star Wars universe together. Still, before this episode, we had ‘Wolves and a Door’ to experience which itself was a very good episode of Star Wars Rebels.
I will argue though that, on the whole, ‘Wolves and a Door’ was an episode designed to setup ‘A World Between Worlds’. We saw our heroes, still reeling from the death of Kanan in ‘Jedi Night’, travel to the Jedi Temple on Lothal, with some help from the Loth-wolves, to uncover what the Empire was doing at this location.
One scene during this journey actually felt like a video game interlude/loading screen which was weird but it worked. Everything in ‘Wolves and a Door’ was leading up to something more important which we would eventually see in ‘A World Between Worlds’. Nevertheless, the events in this episode provided us with some really cool moments. We certainly got a lot of satisfying connections to the wider Star Wars universe.
For one, The Emperor, voiced by Ian McDiarmid, made his first physical appearance in the show which was cool to see. Moreover, we saw artwork which directly linked to Mortis and the Force Gods, i.e. The Ones, which was all first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Mortis Arc was one of the best arcs in that show so to have it reintroduced in a big way in ‘Wolves and a Door’ was great.
Time and Space
Yet, the real meat of what we experienced in these episodes was in ‘A World Between Worlds’ which was exceptional. I have already stated that it is the best episode of Star Wars Rebels we have ever had. So, let me explain why I fell this way. Ideally, I want the mythology of Star Wars to be expanded through bold storytelling and well-executed, original ideas that still keeps the mystery of Star Wars intact.
A reason why I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi, among many, is that it does the near impossible task of achieving all of these lofty ideals. A reason why I do not like the Prequel Trilogy, among many, is that the execution of the ideas and story fell completely flat, particularly in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Moreover, things that did not need to be explained, like The Force, were and in a poor way that was a complete betrayal to the essence of the Original Trilogy.
Thankfully, ‘A World Between Worlds’ works on all fronts when it comes to the expansion of Star Wars mythology. A good amount of this episode was spent with Ezra after he entered the portal which led to the World Between Worlds. This place was a pathway between all time and space. In this mystical plane, everything is in flux; time does not matter and you can witness and influence the past, present and future.
Restore Past, Redeem Future
As such, during our time at this place, we hear moments from the Original Trilogy, the Sequel Trilogy, Rogue One and Star Wars: The Clone Wars which really tugged at the heartstrings. It was so much to take in but in the best possible way. While I was less enthused to hear moments from the Prequel Trilogy, it was still nice to have that connective tissue.
Besides, in recent years, whenever the events of the Prequel Trilogy have been referenced in Star Wars content such as the films, books, comics, TV shows and/or the video games, they are usually extremely general references. This means that I can block out the terrible execution and just appreciate the references as vague, mysterious call-backs which I can interpret in my own way. In this sense, hearing moments from the Prequel Trilogy did not lessen my enjoyment of ‘A World Between Worlds’.
Still, while the references to known Star Wars moments were one of the great ways ‘A World Between Worlds’ united the Star Wars universe, it was not the highlight of the episode. In ‘DUME’, Ezra was told by the Loth-wolf Dume to travel to the Jedi Temple on Lothal to “restore past, redeem future”. After watching this episode, it seemed to me that this meant saving Ahsoka Tano.
Yes, in this episode, we get a definitive answer to the fate of Ahsoka Tano. As we saw in ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’, the outcome of her duel with Darth Vader was left ambiguous. While it is heavily implied that she survived, we did not know the specifics of what truly happened until now. The World Between Worlds has many portals and, through one of these portals, Ezra sees the continuation of Ahsoka’s fight with Vader.
I previously mentioned that one can influence the past, present and future in the World Between Worlds and Ezra does this. Just as Vader is about to strike down Ahsoka, Ezra reaches out and saves her. It was a moment which left me completely floored. In its own unique way, a version of time travel had been introduced into Star Wars.
This was a risky move which could have completely failed and been a major problem. But it worked for one specific reason; Ezra did not change the events of what happened on Malachor. We never saw Ahsoka die. She lived and how she survived her duel with Vader was just left mysterious until now. What we merely saw in ‘A World Between Worlds’ was how Ahsoka survived and it tied in beautifully with ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’.
This is because The Emperor tries to enter the World Between Worlds but Ahsoka prevents this and saves Ezra from a terrible fate. They each go back through their separate portals and Ahsoka returns to Malachor. The closing shot of her in this episode wonderfully connected to the closing shot we see of her in ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’. Everything came full circle and lined up very well. The execution was perfect.
I guess the question now is when will we see Ahsoka again? Hopefully, it is sooner rather than later. I also loved how everything about the World Between Worlds was still left mysterious. We know no in-depth knowledge about its origins or how it came to be and we do not need to know. It is in keeping with the meaning and weirdness of The Force and it all linked back to what Ahsoka said back in Season 2; “just when you think you understand The Force, you find out how little you actually know”.
Another great aspect about ‘A World Between Worlds’ and what was introduced in this episode was how it forced Ezra to comes to terms with Kanan’s death. Through saving Ahsoka, Ezra had this idea that he could also save Kanan. But, in the end, Ahsoka made Ezra realise that Kanan’s sacrifice was necessary so that he, Hera and Sabine could live and continue the fight. We also found out what the meaning of the Loth-wolves has been in Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels.
As part of The Cosmic Force, which binds everything together, Kanan manifested his will into the Loth-wolves so he could influence the living through them. This revelation finally made me understand the Loth-wolves’ purpose and what this all led to was a very poignant moment at the end of ‘A World Between Worlds’ where Ezra bid farewell to his former master.
This ended what was an exceptionally well-executed episode of Star Wars Rebels that, like The Last Jedi, added to the mythology of Star Wars. Moreover, the stage is now set for the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels which are sure to be emotionally charged. I am confident that they will bring satisfying closure to the series.