Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 14-16 (Television Review) – The End Is A New Beginning

Watching the end of a television show can be an emotional and sad experience. Whether you are a finishing a binge-watch or saying goodbye to a show you have watched since its inception, it is always tough to say farewell to a great television show. Sadly, the end of Star Wars Rebels has come with the last episodes of Season 4.

A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ closed out Star Wars Rebels and I was expecting these episodes to bring satisfying closure to this series. The entire focus of these final episodes of Star Wars Rebels was on the efforts of our heroes to liberate Lothal from the Empire. In a sense, the show was coming full circle. The show began on Lothal and it ended on Lothal which was quite poetic.

My Thoughts on ‘A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’

I loved these episodes. Star Wars Rebels ended in a great way and one of the strongest aspects of this series finale was how insular it was throughout. Indeed, in ‘A Fool’s Hope’, we saw a lot characters from previous episodes return for this mission to free Lothal. Gregor, Wolffe, Ketsu Onyo, Vizago and Hondo all came to the aid of Ezra and it was great to see them all return, especially Hondo.

Kallus, Gregor, Hera, Rex, Wolffe, Ketsu Onyo and Hondo in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 14 A Fool's Hope

From an entertainment perspective, he has been one of my favourite characters in Star Wars Rebels and his line about how he would do anything for Ezra proved that he really cares for him. The fact that all of these characters returned for this mission showed how much respect they have for Ezra, even if this mission would be incredibly difficult to execute. Indeed, the majority of ‘A Fool’s Hope’ deals with the attempt to lay a trap for Governor Pryce so she can be captured which was a tall order.

As such, this episode was action-heavy and it was a joy to watch the animation in these battle scenes. The animation itself has come so far since the first episode of Star Wars Rebels. ‘A Fool’s Hope’, like ‘Wolves and a Door’, did a very good job at setting up the larger narrative which would be told in the following episodes. Pryce was eventually captured with some help from the Loth-wolves and it was weirdly satisfying seeing them chuck Stormtroopers around like they were merely toys.

Ezra’s Story

Thanks to ‘A Fool’s Hope’, the stage was set for the liberation of Lothal to begin. I mentioned before how Star Wars Rebels ends on Lothal which, at first, surprised me. This is because of Rogue One and how, for a time, I believed that the Battle of Scarif would be part of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. After all, a big element of the story in this show has been about the formation of the Rebel Alliance. However, while important, I came to realise that this is not the main focus of the series. Since the beginning, Star Wars Rebels has always been focused on the journey of Ezra.

Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 15 Family Reunion

This has always been Ezra’s story so it made sense that the series would end on his home planet and his quest to free it from the Empire. He was the focal point of ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ and what he went through in these episodes showed how much he has grown as a character. Throughout Star Wars Rebels, Ezra has been, at times, a frustrating character to watch. Yet, he has developed as a person and leader and what we saw of him in ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ was, for me, the pinnacle of his character development.

Similar to Kanan in ‘Jedi Night’, Ezra took the mantle of responsibility upon himself to do what was necessary, despite the temptation to reunite with his parents. If you know anything about Ezra, then you will understand how important his parents were to him and how, in the past, he would have given anything to be with them again. He could have had this opportunity thanks to The Emperor who tried to trick Ezra with his greatest desire. However, Ezra let go of his parents which was an extremely poignant moment.

Gregor

It signified his character development in the best possible way and it was an emotional scene. The death of Gregor was another. In his last words with Rex, Gregor asserted how it was an honour that he, alongside Rex, fought for something they chose to believe in. The reason why this was such an emotional part of this series finale was due to how it linked back to certain story arcs in Star Wars: The Clone Wars which focused on the clone troopers such as the Umbara Arc in Season 4 and the Clone Conspiracy Arc of Season 6.

Rex and Gregor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

For me, they were some of the best stories told in Star Wars: The Clone Wars because it humanised the clones. Those story arcs dealt with the place the clones had in The Clone Wars and gave you reasons to care for them. You felt sympathy with how little control they would have for what was to come with Order 66. Hence, to have Gregor proclaim to Rex how he was proud to die fighting for a cause he chose of his own free-will alongside his brothers really got to me.

This scene would not have impacted me to the extent it did if I did not choose to watch certain episodes and arcs of Star Wars: The Clone Wars which I owe to Star Wars Rebels. Both of these animated shows have enhanced my experience with the Star Wars franchise and I am very grateful for that.

The Purrgil

Gregor was not the only one to die in this series finale of Star Wars Rebels. Rukh and Governor Pryce also die. However, all of the major characters survived the events of the series finale and Lothal was, in the end, successfully liberated from the Empire thanks to something that I thought we would never see in Star Wars Rebels again. I am, of course, talking about the Purgill.

Purrgil in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

These creatures, who are effectively space-whales, saved the day and it meant that an episode from Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels titled ‘The Call’, where the Purgill appeared for the first time, has actual relevance and meaning. If you read my review of Season 3’s ‘Double Agent Droid’, then you will know that I regarded ‘The Call’ as an episode of Star Wars Rebels that was complete and utter filler which you did not need to watch. That has all changed thanks to events of the series finale and it is now a necessary episode to watch.

Ezra and Thrawn Survive

The use of the Purrgil was, again, a great way to show how insular and connected Star Wars Rebels is. It also provided a way to keep Ezra and Thrawn alive. This is because the Purgill used their hyperspace capabilities to take Ezra and Thrawn away from Lothal to an unknown location. As a result, both characters are alive but missing throughout the Original Trilogy which makes sense and does not contradict canon.

I would assume that they would have been taken to a place so distant and unknown that even Yoda would not be able to sense Ezra. In that sense, when Yoda asserts to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be”, he absolutely means it based on the knowledge he has. I am so pleased that Ezra and Thrawn are still alive. To kill these two characters, especially Thrawn, would have been too soon for me.

Thrawn, Ezra and The Emperor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 15 Family Reunion

He was a great villain in Star Wars Rebels and I believe that there is more to be done with Thrawn. In this series finale, we saw again how devastatingly cruel and ruthless he can be with the aerial bombardment of Lothal. I want to see more of both Ezra and Thrawn in the future. Moreover, I think that what we saw in the last minutes of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels, which was essentially an epilogue, has established a new animated Star Wars television show where we can see all of these characters again.

The Epilogue

In this epilogue, we learn that, after Lothal was liberated, it was a planet which lived in peace throughout the events of the Original Trilogy. The Empire never came back to retake the planet, probably because they had bigger problems to deal with after the destruction of the First Death Star and the emergence of Luke Skywalker.

The last minutes of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels take place after the Empire is defeated and we learn from Sabine about what happened to our heroes after the Battle of Endor. For one, we find out that Kallus and Zeb travelled to Lira San to join with the rest of the Lasat species who Kallus had thought he wiped out. This was such a fantastic moment as it meant that the redemption arc of Kallus in Star Wars Rebels came full circle.

Kallus and Zeb in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

Sabine also states that both Hera and Rex fought with the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Endor and we learn that Hera had Kanan’s baby; Jacen Syndulla. I imagine that Jacen must have been conceived sometime during the first half of Season 4 or perhaps just before the events of ‘Heroes of Mandalore’. This was a nice surprise but the biggest reveal occurred in the very last scene.

Ahsoka and Sabine

In this series finale of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra told Sabine that he was counting on her and she assumed that this was in regards to protecting Lothal. However, she came to realise that his had a different meaning; Ezra was counting on her to find him and bring him home. Ezra also told Ahsoka to find him in ‘A World Between Worlds’. While that was in different circumstances, both Sabine and Ahsoka have a common goal to find and reunite with Ezra.

This made it even cooler to see these two team up and head off to find Ezra at the end of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. We know that a new animated Star Wars show is being developed and, based on how Star Wars Rebels ended, it looks as though it will be focused on Sabine and Ahsoka’s mission to find Ezra. In this sense, the end is a new beginning. I am looking forward to hearing more details about the future of Star Wars animation soon, regardless of what the story will be.

Sabine and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

Right now, the only thing that matters is that Star Wars Rebels ended in a fantastic manner. ‘A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ brought an end to a great TV show which enhanced and expanded the Star Wars universe. I am sad that Star Wars Rebels has come to an end but I am excited for what is ahead.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episodes 14-16 A Fool's Hope Family Reunion and Farewell Pin

 

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 12-13 (Television Review) – Exceptional Storytelling

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.

The Emperor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 12 Wolves and a Door

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.

Mortis Rural in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 12 Wolves and a Door

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.

Ezra and Morai in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

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.

Ahsoka Lives

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.

Ezra watching Ahsoka and Darth Vader Duel on Malachor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

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.

Ahsoka Tano Twilight of the Apprentice A World Between Worlds Malachor

Kanan

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.

Ezra and Hera in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

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.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episodes 12-13 Wolves and a Door and A World Between Worlds Pin

 

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 10-11 (Television Review) – Farewell Kanan

The mid-season breaks of Star Wars Rebels can be quite arduous, especially if the mid-season finale ends on a cliff-hanger. ‘Rebel Assault’ certainly brought the first half of Season 4 to a stage of uncertainty. Indeed, Hera was captured by the Empire after the failure of the assault on the TIE Defender factories on Lothal. The rest of our heroes needed to regroup and come up with a plan to rescue Hera. We have had to wait a long time to see what would happen.

The Beginning of the End

However, this final season of Star Wars Rebels has begun again and these latest episodes, titled ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’, are a couple of the last few remaining instalments we will get of this TV show. As such, I expected the resolution of this entire series to start in these episodes. One of the ways in which Star Wars Rebels would wrap would be through the deaths of certain characters.

For the longest time, I expected that most of our heroes in this television show would die. As a series centred on key figures in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, it seemed obvious to me that the protagonists would have to die. This is because they are not around or referenced in the Original Trilogy. That view has, over time, changed slightly. Indeed, thanks to Rogue One, we found out that Hera and Chopper make it out of Star Wars Rebels alive.

Kanan grabbing a Stormtrooper with The Force in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 10 Jedi Night

Additionally, an episode of Forces of Destiny showed that Hera was on Endor around the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Through Star Wars content such as this, I realised that some of the characters in Star Wars Rebels can survive after the show ends and still be around during the Original Trilogy thanks to the expansion of the Star Wars universe.

However, something which has not changed is my belief that the Jedi in Star Wars Rebels had to go by the time this show ended. Yoda tells Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi that he will be the last Jedi. That statement has always made me feel that the only Jedi around once Star Wars: A New Hope begins are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Once they are gone, Luke is the last Jedi. No others remain at that time.

My Thoughts on ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’

I believe that the end of Star Wars Rebels will coincide with the events of either Rogue One or A New Hope. Consequently, this meant that both Kanan and Ezra had to either die or be in a position where they are no longer around during the events of the Original Trilogy by the end of Star Wars Rebels. Sadly, one of them did die in ‘Jedi Night’. This episode was focused on the rescue of Hera and the mission cost Kanan his life.

Kanan and Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 10 Jedi Night

Yes, Kanan Jarrus sacrificed himself to save Hera and, throughout ‘Jedi Night’, it seemed as though he knew what was coming. His conversations with Ezra had an ominous tone to them, as though he was mentally preparing Ezra for what was to come. Looking back at the end of ‘Rebel Assault’, it is evident then that Kanan knew what his fate would be. Still, even though his death was foreshadowed, it was still hard seeing a character we have all become so attached to meet his demise.

It was an incredibly emotional moment which was beautifully enhanced by an awesome piece of music. I cannot stress enough how important music can be in enhancing a scene/moment in an episode of television or a film. The music in Star Wars is essentially a character in this franchise thanks to the incredible work John Williams has done when it comes to the films.

From a television perspective, it is Kevin Kiner who has composed the music in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and he has done a magnificent job. For me, the piece of score which accompanied Kanan’s death is amongst the best work he has done. It elevated the scene to make it that more of an emotional gut punch.

Ezra and Dume in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 11 DUME

The Continuation of the Darker Tone in Season 4

In addition to its emotional weight, Kanan’s death was just one element in both ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’ that continued that darker tone which has been established in Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels. Indeed, as a prisoner of the Empire, Hera suffered torture at the hands of Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn both physically and mentally. Moreover, Zeb almost brutally killed Rukh as retaliation in the aftermath of Kanan’s death.

Clearly, Kanan’s death had a severe impact on every member of the Ghost crew which was showcased in ‘DUME’. This episode was entirely devoted to the fallout of Kanan’s death and the different ways in which the rest of our heroes were emotionally dealing with this loss. For Zeb and Sabine, it was anger. For Hera, she was overcome with sadness about the death of someone she loved. Insecurity plagued Ezra who felt unprepared for the mantle of responsibility bestowed upon him.

The Fight Continues

However, in the end, everyone came together with renewed purpose and resolve to continue the fight against the Empire. A big factor in this was through Ezra’s contact with the Loth-wolves. He met what looked to be the leader of the Loth-wolves who was called Dume. As such, the uttering of Dume by the Loth-wolves throughout Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels clearly has a double-meaning as Kanan’s real name was Caleb Dume.

Thrawn and Governor Pryce in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 11 DUME

The Loth-wolves have been a guide for both Ezra and Kanan in Season 4 and I am still unsure about where this will go. However, for now, I will go along with what is happening, especially as Ezra was told by Dume to go to the Jedi temple on Lothal to uncover secrets. This will be the next objective for our heroes now that the mission which failed in ‘Rebel Assault’ has been achieved. Indeed, the way Kanan died caused the fuel depot for Thrawn’s TIE Defender project to be completely destroyed.

As a result, the mission eventually turned out to be a success which obviously displeased Thrawn who himself was on his way to Coruscant to meet with Emperor Palpatine. This came about after a conversation Thrawn had with Tarkin which linked in very nicely with Rogue One and set up what could be an extremely engaging scene with Palpatine. The only thing that could make it better is if Darth Vader shows up.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’

Still, we will have to wait until the next episodes to see what transpires. Overall, I thought ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’ were great episodes that did a tremendous job of reintroducing us to Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels. They rank amongst the most emotional and important episodes of this show and I am sure more of the same is in store.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episodes 10-11 Jedi Night and DUME

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episode 9 (Television Review) – A Good Mid-Season Finale

The most recent episodes of Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels have been building to the assault on Lothal by the Rebel Alliance. It was therefore apt that this episode was titled ‘Rebel Assault’. In my review of the previous episodes of Star Wars Rebels, I mentioned how I expected the Rebel Alliance to win the Battle of Lothal but at a massive cost.

As the week progressed, I came to the realisation that a force of Rebel fighters would attack the Imperial presence of Lothal but, in the end, come up short. Certainly, this season of Star Wars Rebels has been much darker in tone than previous seasons of this show. Hence, it would make sense that the mid-season finale would end on a note of defeat rather than victory.

Battle of Lothal between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 9 Rebel Assault

My Thoughts on ‘Rebel Assault’

It seems that, for the most part, I was right when it came to my thoughts on how ‘Rebel Assault’ would pan out. This episode was a good way to bring the first part of Season 4 to a close. It laid the foundations for the second half to pack a serious punch for a number of reasons because Hera, who led the assault on Lothal, was captured by the Empire and this will have huge ramifications. Obviously, we know that Hera will be rescued because she is part of the Rebel Alliance during the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (watch a recent episode of Forces of Destiny to see this).

I expect her rescue to happen early on in the second half of Season 4, perhaps the first episode. However, I feel as though her rescue will have to come at a cost. We all know that the characters we have grown to love in Star Wars Rebels are not going to have a happy ending. Certainly, I expect everyone but Hera and Chopper to die by the time Star Wars Rebels ends. We could see some deaths in the next couple of episodes in Season 4 and Hera’s capture could be the catalyst for this to occur as her inevitable rescue will not be easy.

Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 9 Rebel Assault

The Space Battle in ‘Rebel Assault’ and Thrawn

Indeed, in ‘Rebel Assault’, we see how much Thrawn admires Hera’s skills and, because of this, he will not give her up without a fight. In fact, we see Hera’s ability as a pilot and a leader in the very beginning of ‘Rebel Assault’ and the cold open for this episode was great. The start of this episode began with a space battle that was very good and felt very much like it was plucked out of the Original Trilogy.

Moreover, it gives us more insight into how calculating and ruthless Thrawn is as a military leader. Throughout the entire battle and the Rebel Alliance’s attempts to break his blockade and attack Imperial factories, Thrawn was in total control. He was calm and willing to even sacrifice a TIE Defender to get to the stage where he could crush this Rebel attack. As expected, they were crushed despite getting though the Imperial blockade.

Hera, Rukh and Governor Pryce in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 9 Rebel Assault

Rukh vs. Hera

This itself gave us some beautiful imagery of seeing the entire Rebel force in flames, crashing into Lothal and it left Hera in a desperate situation. Indeed, the second half of ‘Rebel Assault’ dealt with Hera’s attempt to reunite with the remnants of her squad and escape from the Empire who were hunting her. The person leading this hunt was Rukh and it was cool to see him in combat against Hera. Certainly, there was good choreography in their fight scenes and, despite fighting the good fight, Hera eventually succumbed to defeat which led to her capture.

Before this, Kanan witnessed the Rebel fighters crashing into Lothal’s surface which heavily affected him. Obviously, Kanan went to rescue Hera but he was interrupted by the Loth-wolf and it clear that this mystical creature sees Kanan as needing to go down a different path. Kanan himself realises that something bigger than his attachment to Hera is happening on Lothal. I was worried that he would die while trying to save Hera but it seems like he still has a purpose. I am glad that his journey is not over yet, even though it probably will be soon enough.

Loth-wolf in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 9 Rebel Assault

‘Rebel Assault’ Ends in Uncertainty

‘Rebel Assault’ ended on a cliff-hanger with Kanan rescuing Mart, who we last saw in ‘Iron Squadron’, and retreating to fight another day. The last image of this episode of Star Wars Rebels centred on the Loth-wolf looking at Kanan and, while this sub-plot seems important, I am still at a loss trying to figure out what it means to the story. I expect the second half of Season 4 to delve more into the mystery of Kanan and the Loth-wolves and, as a mid-season finale, ‘Rebel Assault’ was good. Not great, but good.

I would argue that Season 3’s ‘Visions and Voices’ is the best mid-season finale that Rebels has had. But, that does not take away from the fact that Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels has been very good so far. Hopefully, the remaining episodes of Season 4 will elevate this final season of Star Wars Rebels as being the best season of this television show.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 7-8 (Television Review) – The Stage Is Set For The Battle of Lothal

The story on Lothal continued with ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commanders’ and I expected these episodes of Star Wars Rebels to continue right where we left off with ‘Flight of the Defender’. At the end of that episode, we saw Ezra and Sabine being safely returned to the Rebel Base on Lothal by the Loth-wolf.

With a title like ‘Kindred’, I suspected that some part of that episode would be devoted to the mystical nature of Lothal in terms of the Loth-wolf and The Force. At the very least, I wanted both episodes to push the story forward when it comes to Lothal and its importance in the early days of the Rebel Alliance.

Loth-wolves in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 7 Kindred

My Thoughts on ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commanders’

I am combining my opinions on both episodes due to the fact that, honestly, nothing of mind-shattering significance really happened. Despite this, both ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commanders’ fulfilled their primary purpose which was furthering the story in this season of Star Wars Rebels.

Certainly, these episodes were setting up the Battle of Lothal that will occur in the next episode which is fine and necessary. But, because ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commanders’ were setting up more important story-lines and episodes going forward, they do rank amongst the weakest episodes of Season 4 so far.

Rukh in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 7 Kindred

Still, there was some interesting stuff to take away, especially in ‘Kindred’ which was a good episode of Star Wars Rebels. The episode started with Hera and Kanan and their discussion about no matter what they do or what adventures they go on, they always come back to Lothal. Lothal’s deeper importance to Star Wars Rebels is heavily implied in this conversation which is important for the story but it was also nice to see Hera and Kanan get some time alone before the chaos begun once again.

Hera and Kanan’s Final Goodbye?

Indeed, the mission to get the flight data of the TIE Defender back to Yavin 4 was the primary focus of ‘Kindred’. This was achieved but not before Hera and Kanan said their goodbyes by kissing for the first time on Star Wars Rebels. This has been naturally building for a long time and it was nice to finally see it happen. Still, I cannot help but feel that this signalled the last time these two characters will see each other.

Ryder Azadi, Ezra, Sabine and Zeb in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 8 Crawler Commanders

Certainly, I would not be surprised if Kanan dies in the next episode which would fit with the darker tone that Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels has had so far. At the very least, I do not feel that Hera and Kanan will be on-screen together again in Star Wars Rebels. Yet, for now, Kanan is still here and he would go on to have another important role in ‘Kindred’ by connecting with the Loth-wolf just like Ezra did before him.

The Force

Some revelations that occurred in ‘Kindred’ were that the Loth-wolves are deeply connected to The Force and the whole of Lothal. We also found out that when the Loth-wolf said “Doom” he actually meant “Dume”. Dume is the true last name of Kanan. Indeed, Kanan Jarrus’ real name is Caleb Dume and, looking back, this should have been pretty easy to decipher. Yet, with the darker tone that has been established in this season of Star Wars Rebels, it seemed apt that the Loth-wolf was saying “Doom” to warn of the impending fate of our characters.

Mon Mothma, Hera and Chopper on Yavin 4 in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 8 Crawler Commanders

Nevertheless, what ‘Kindred’ confirmed is that, as Ezra stated, all the paths are finally converging and I do not feel that it will be a happy end. I also feel that due to how strongly connected the Loth-wolves are to The Force, they will also play a part in what is to come as Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels progresses. One last thing that I will say about ‘Kindred’ is that it was cool to see Warwick Davis be involved in another Star Wars project by voicing the character of Rukh.

Rukh is an assassin who works for Thrawn and, while the part the character played was purely crafted to introduce him to us, it is always nice to see Warwick Davis continue his involvement with Star Wars. Whether it is Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Warwick Davis has been involved in this franchise for decades and long may it continue.

Kanan in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 8 Crawler Commanders

‘Kindred’ Was The Better Episode

I would absolutely say that Kindred was a far better episode than ‘Crawler Commanders’. ‘Crawler Commanders’ was purely created to get us to a stage where Hera successfully convinces Mon Mothma and the rest of the Rebel Alliance to attack Lothal. This episode’s other purpose was to show us how the rest of our characters successfully established long-range communication with Hera to find out that the attack was happening. ‘Crawler Commanders’ was decent. I enjoyed the episode for what it was and there were some funny moments but it is absolutely the weakest episode of Season 4 so far.

If next week’s episode that focuses on the Battle of Lothal delivers, then I will look on ‘Kindred’ and ‘Crawler Commanders’ in a much better way and I expect that this will happen. Star Wars Rebels has always delivered on its most important episodes so I cannot wait to see how the Battle of Lothal will shape out as we know that the first real victory for the Rebel Alliance was stealing the plans for the Death Star at the Battle of Scarif. With this in mind, I feel as though the Battle of Lothal will be bittersweet. The Rebel Alliance will achieve some semblance of a victory but at a massive cost. This is likely to be some of the characters that we have grown to love dying in a heroic sacrifice.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 5-6 (Television Review) – A Good Return to Lothal

The Occupation’ and ‘Flight of the Defender’ were the titles of the latest episodes in this season of Star Wars Rebels. In these episodes, we returned to Ezra’s home planet of Lothal after the Rebel Alliance received a message from Ryder Azadi who has been a recurring character in Rebels since Season 2. We saw Ryder in Season 3 in episodes such as ‘An Inside Man’, ‘Secret Cargo’ and ‘Zero Hour’.

In these latest episodes of Rebels, he asked for assistance from the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. During Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, we have had two episodes air each week that focused on one particular place/issue. In ‘Heroes of Mandalore’, it was set on Mandalore (obviously) and ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’ focused on the meaning of the Rebel Alliance.

Sabine and Kallus in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 5 The Occupation

With these latest episodes being set on Lothal, we would stay in one location and focus on the impact that the Empire has had on a planet that is very important in Star Wars Rebels. Obviously, Ezra was born on Lothal and has a deep connection to that planet. I was interested to see how Lothal has changed under Imperial occupation and how it would affect Ezra.

My Thoughts on ‘The Occupation’

Let us start with what I thought about ‘The Occupation’. This is probably my favourite episode of Season 4 so far. A big reason why this was the case was because my expectations were exceeded when it came to Ezra and his reaction to returning to Lothal. At the beginning of this episode, we see that Ezra is still uneasy about Lothal and how he feels that the Rebel Alliance has not made the liberation of his home planet a priority.

Lothal in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 5 The Occupation

This made it all the more sad when Ezra sees Lothal in ruins. Truly, the Imperial occupation of Lothal has had a devastating impact on the planet which is consumed by fire and destruction. Essentially, it seemed like the Empire had adopted a “scorched-earth” approach to Lothal. What made this particular scene very impactful was the great piece of music which accompanied it. It was very haunting and added to the atmosphere of despair which encompassed this scene in ‘The Occupation’.

Additionally, Ezra’s heartbroken reaction to seeing his home planet in ruins was devastating to see and what made me love ‘The Occupation’ even more was how the state of Lothal plagued Ezra as the episode progressed. Certainly, Ezra was very affected by what he saw on Lothal and believed that the planet he knew was gone. In fact, he goes back to thinking that Saw Gerrera was right. I feel that all of this will motivate Ezra to liberate Lothal from the Empire to an even greater degree than before.

Jai Kell and Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 5 The Occupation

Other Highlights of ‘The Occupation’

There were other things in ‘The Occupation’ that I really liked. There was a nice moment between Hera and Kanan that showcased the deep relationship they have with each other. It was also cool to see Jai Kell, voiced by Dante Basco, return to Star Wars Rebels. We last saw this character in Season 1 and to see Rebels link back to past episodes is always great to see.

Towards the end of ‘The Occupation’, we also got to see a great chase scene in the tunnels of Lothal that was very tense and atmospheric. All in all, ‘The Occupation’ was a great episode of Star Wars Rebels, possibly my favourite of Season 4 so far and it set my expectations for ‘Flight of the Defender’ very high.

My Thoughts on ‘Flight of the Defender’

While I liked this episode, I would say that ‘Flight of the Defender’ is probably the weakest in this season of Star Wars Rebels so far. ‘The Occupation’ was so great that it probably raised my expectations for ‘Flight of the Defender’ to an unrealistic level. This episode focused on the new TIE Defender under construction on Lothal and the plan to get information on this new ship. This mission eventually leads to Ezra and Sabine attempting to steal the flight data of this TIE Defender so they can learn more about its strengths and weaknesses (if it has any).

Thrawn and Governor Pryce in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 6 Flight of the Defender

However, Thrawn appears to make this more difficult. It is always great to see Thrawn as he brings a lot of gravitas to Star Wars Rebels. He was his usual calm and calculating self in ‘Flight of the Defender’ and I do hope that we get to see much more of Thrawn going forward in Season 4. Indeed, he has not been used as much as he was in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. For me, he is the best villain this show has so I always want to see him as much as possible.

The Loth-wolf and Ahsoka Tano

We also got to see the return of the fan-favourite Loth-cats in ‘Flight of the Defender’ and these animals provided some laughs. But, herein lies a problem with this episode and the series in general; I do not understand what the running theme of animals means to the story of Star Wars Rebels.

Is it simply used to show us how powerful Ezra is with The Force or do they have a larger purpose? Still, despite this, it was cool to see a Loth-wolf from an animation standpoint alone. In terms of purpose, I have seen theories which suggest that the Loth-wolf is Ahsoka Tano reincarnated but I find this to be a pretty stupid idea.

Loth-cats, Ezra, Sabine, Ryder Azadi and Zeb in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 6 Flight of the Defender

I would not rule out that Ahsoka has a connection with the Loth-wolf and I am certain that she will appear in Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels in some way. But, hopefully this is as a result of surviving her duel with Darth Vader, which we saw at the end of Season 2, rather than some reincarnation in a Loth-wolf.

I imagine that we will be staying on Lothal for the next few episodes and I expect the Loth-wolf to play some role in them. Maybe this will give us some insight into the importance of animals in Star Wars Rebels. In the end, when you combine ‘The Occupation’ and ‘Flight of the Defender’ together, we end up with a good return to Lothal which I am sure will have a lot of importance as Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels progresses.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 3-4 (Television Review) – Saw Gerrera vs. Mon Mothma Delivers

Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels started off in a great way with ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ and, thinking back, I think I underappreciated how great it was to get two episodes back-to-back. Obviously, the more Rebels we get, the better. I’d love to watch the whole season right now but that is not going to happen so getting to watch two episodes last week instead of one is fantastic. The good times seem to be continuing because the next instalment of Season 4, titled ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’, was also a two-parter.

Clearly, the focus of this episode would shift towards the formation of the Rebel Alliance and I was excited about this. It was a great opportunity to strengthen the links that this television show has with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope. Moreover, with Saw Gerrera returning, I was eager to see this character continued to be developed. I was also very intrigued to see what state the Rebel Alliance was in at that time because, as we know, the Rebel Alliance as we saw it in the Original Trilogy is not formed at the time this episode takes place.

Captain Rex and Rebels on Yavin 4 in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

Certainly, there is still division within the Rebel Alliance about how the fight against the Empire should be waged in terms of the methods used and how far they should go to overthrow the Empire. Having both Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma in this episode of Star Wars Rebels was a great way to showcase this clash in styles when it comes to what the Rebel Alliance stands for and how it should fight.

My Thoughts on ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’

‘In the Name of the Rebellion’ was a very good continuation of Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels and what really impressed me in this two-parter was how well it dealt with the meaning of the Rebel Alliance. As I mentioned above, part of this purpose of ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’ was to showcase the contrast between Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma and their belief in the direction that the fight against the Empire should be fought.

Mon Mothma listening to Saw Gerrera on Yavin 4 in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

This was done brilliantly in a scene between the two where Saw manages to rattle Mon Mothma who has always been portrayed as being a calm presence. To see Mon Mothma take Saw Gerrera’s words to heart to such a large degree was fascinating to see. Indeed, seeing Mon Mothma label Gerrera as a criminal rather than a rebel showed how much Gerrera’s words affected her and, to be honest, she is not wrong.

Certainly, we saw a glimpse of Gerrera’s mentality towards war in Rogue One and he did not seem to have much of a moral compass or a limit to how far he would go to defeat the Empire. I have also been reading books such as Guardians of the Whills and Rebel Rising which give further insight into how Saw has no boundaries and will do whatever it takes to bring the Empire down. This itself is driven by guilt and regret for the death of Stella, his sister, and the loss of his home planet of Onderon to the Empire.

Members of the Rebel Alliance on Yavin 4 in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

Saw and Ezra

These events changed Saw and they really came to the forefront in ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’, especially as it was a parallel with what Ezra was dealing with in this episode. Indeed, Ezra wants to liberate Lothal from the Empire and he was taken in by Saw’s ability to get things done and strike at Imperial targets. In the first part of ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’, an Imperial relay station was the target and the hijacking of Imperial cargo stored on a civilian vessel was the target in the second part of this episode of Star Wars Rebels.

The approach that Saw Gerrera took in this episode showed both his willingness to fight the Empire and the contrast in style that he has with the Rebel Alliance under Mon Mothma. Yet, it also showed how he will do anything to hurt the Empire, even if it means betraying Ezra and Sabine which he eventually did. Moreover, he showed a complete disregard for the prisoners they found and all of this led Ezra to the point where, while he sympathised with Saw about the loss of Onderon and his own way in fighting the Empire, he finally decided to side with Mon Mothma’s approach to fighting the Empire.

Saw Gerrera, Sabine and Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

I appreciated that Ezra came to this decision as it is proof of his development and maturity as a character. Still, he still acts like an idiot sometimes and that was evident in this episode of Star Wars Rebels. Instead of completing the mission at the Imperial relay station, he was clowning about and trying to impersonate an Imperial officer. By doing this, he jeopardised a mission which could have helped the Rebel Alliance gain an important advantage over the Empire.

Return of Kallus

Still, that is a small nit-pick and it did not take away from how well ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’ dealt with the meaning of the Rebel Alliance, the methods it should employ when fighting the Empire and the way that Saw Gerrera continued to be developed as a character. I also liked that Agent Kallus appeared for the first time in Season 4.

Kallus, Ezra and Hera in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

I am so pleased that he is now a fully-fledged member of the Rebel Alliance. His arc in Rebels has been great to watch and episodes in Season 3 that dealt with his story such as ‘An Inside Man’ and ‘Through Imperial Eyes’ were very good. Now, he is back in Season 4 and he has a cool look now as well. Indeed, some fans of Star Wars Rebels are now referring to him as “Hot Kallus”!

Ties to Rogue One and A New Hope

Nonetheless, Saw Gerrera was arguably the main focus of this episode and he was one element of many in this episode of Star Wars Rebels that strengthened the ties that this show has with Rogue One and A New Hope. Seeing Mon Mothma and Wedge Antilles were nice tie-ins to the film series and we also returned to Yavin 4. It was great to see this iconic location in an animated form. It was awesome to see Y-Wings and to have Bail Organa make a cameo appearance was cool given his role in Rogue One which itself made me appreciate this character to a much larger degree than I had before.

Death Troopers in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

Before Rogue One, Bail Organa was not someone I really liked or cared about, largely because the Prequels are awful. I always associated Bail Organa with those films and the part he played in them but seeing Bail in Rogue One, reading about him in the novels and the appearances he has made in Star Wars Rebels has helped me come around on this character. Instead of groaning about his appearances, I enjoy them because his character has been executed in a much better way than it was in the Prequels.

Yet, the ties to the film series that were my favourites were found in the second part of ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’. While Saw, Sabine and Ezra were on their mission to hijack Imperial cargo, they ran into Death Troopers and there was a mention of Jedha which could only mean a couple of things; the cargo was of importance to Director Orson Krennic (who also gets a mention in this episode) and it had to do with the Death Star. Indeed, this turned out to be the case when we saw that the cargo was a giant Kyber crystal.

Kyber Crystal in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 3-4 In the Name of the Rebellion

Kyber crystals were used to give the Death Star the power to destroy planets and to see this episode of Star Wars Rebels have so many links to the events of Rogue One and A New Hope was brilliant. I mentioned in my review of ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ that I expected Season 4 to move towards and have strong links with the events of Rogue One and A New Hope. ‘In the Name of the Rebellion’ is absolutely a great step in that direction. The only question I have from this episode is how and when did Saw sustain the horrendous injuries that we see he had in Rogue One? Hopefully, we will find out in the future.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 1-2 (Television Review) – A Mature Season Premiere

To say that the wait for Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels has been difficult is an understatement. A big reason why the wait was so unbearable is because Season 3 was, for me, the best season of this television series. If you read any of my reviews for Season 3, you will know that I consider that season to have some of the best episodes, best character moments and, in Grand Admiral Thrawn, the best villain we have had in Star Wars Rebels.

Moreover, I believed that the finale of Season 3 set up Season 4 in such a brilliant way that it could successfully accomplish many feats. These include, but are not limited to, giving us closure to the uncompleted story arcs from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, closing out the journeys of Kanan and Ezra as well as tying into the film series. Indeed, before I watched the two-episode premiere of Season 4, titled ‘Heroes of Mandalore’, I was expecting this season of Star Wars Rebels to have an abundance of links with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope.

Kanan and Hera in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

I could not wait to see what was in store for this season and to have ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ focus on Sabine and, obviously, her home planet of Mandalore really excited me. Indeed, episodes in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels that focused on Sabine and Mandalore such as ‘Trials of the Darksaber’ ranked amongst the best episodes of that season and of Star Wars Rebels in general. I hoped that ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ would be on the same level of quality as those episodes.

My Thoughts on ‘Heroes of Mandalore’

‘Heroes of Mandalore’ was an excellent start to Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels and I was very impressed with how the tone of this season feels much more darker and serious than previous seasons. As I said earlier, the focus was on Sabine in ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ and we see how her troubled past with the Empire comes back to haunt her in a big way.

Sabine in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

The reason for Sabine and other characters such as Kanan, Ezra, Chopper and Fenn Rau to be on Mandalore was to rescue Alrich Wren; Sabine’s father. This itself was a mission approved by Mon Mothma (or, as Saw Gerrera may see it, an “errand” rather than a mission). In the process of rescuing her father, Sabine has to deal with the fact that the Empire used the weapon she built when she was younger to kill Mandalorians.

The weapon, known as The Duchess, wiped out a lot of Mandalorians from Clan Wren by using their own armour against them. They were turned to dust in a matter of seconds and it made for some quite striking and mature imagery, especially as I initially believed that Sabine’s mother, Ursa Wren, and Sabine’s brother, Tristan, had died.  This did not turn out to be the case but I was shocked and also pleased that the show went so far in its depiction of this event.

Bo Katan and Sabine in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

I also liked the fact that Mandalorian Armour, which is sacred to all Mandalorians, was what made The Duchess so effective; what was once their strength now became their weakness. To see how Sabine reacted to this heart-breaking situation was proof of how far Star Wars Rebels has come in terms of its maturity and depth.

Return of Bo Katan

Moreover, it demonstrates how much Sabine has been fleshed out and grown as a character throughout the run of this show. Obviously, this situation was incredibly tough to take for both Sabine and for those around her which included a returning character from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This was Bo Katan. In my review of ‘Legacy of Mandalore’, I mentioned how I believed that Bo Katan would be the ruler that Sabine sought to find. This leader would unite the clans of Mandalore against the Empire.

Sabine and Bo Katan in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

It was therefore interesting to see that Bo Katan initially rejected the offer of leadership and ownership of the Darksaber. I liked Bo Katan’s role in ‘Heroes of Mandalore’, especially her relationship with Sabine which was not plain sailing. Indeed, learning of Sabine’s role in the creation of The Duchess infuriated Bo Katan who believed this to be an act of cowardice that went against Mandalorian culture.

In fact, I would argue that a huge strength of ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ was how it dealt with the ideas of what it means to be a Mandalorian. Themes such as honour, freedom and history are essential to the culture of Mandalore and to get more insight into this fascinating culture was great to see. Bo Katan is the embodiment of these ideals which made it even more satisfying when she embraced her role as leader and wielder of the Darksaber at the end of ‘Heroes of Mandalore’.

Bo Katan wielding the Darksaber, Sabine, Ursa Wren and Mandalorians in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

Comedic Moments

There were other highlights too. For instance, even with the brilliant mature, darker moments that were in this episode, humour is essential to what makes Star Wars Rebels such an enjoyable TV show to watch. In ‘Heroes of Mandalore’, a lot of the comedic relief came from Ezra whose struggles with his jet pack made for some very funny moments that included crashing into a TIE fighter with awkward grace.

It was also cool to get a cameo from Thrawn in ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ and his cameo was devoted to The Duchess and how he focused on the artistry of the weapon. From what we saw of Thrawn in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels and in the book Star Wars: Thrawn, his appreciation of art is key to his character and it was cool to see his take on what made the weapon so special.

Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1-2 Heroes of Mandalore

Overall, ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ was a great way to start Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels. It successfully established the tone for this season which seems to be much darker in nature while still having the moments of comedic relief that make this show so fun to watch. I am really excited to see the future episodes build upon what was established in ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ and for this final season of Star Wars Rebels to close out the main story-lines in a fulfilling way.

Star Wars: Thrawn (Book Review) – A Great Origin Story

Star Wars: Thrawn is a canonical Star Wars novel published by Del Rey Books and written by Timothy Zahn. This book takes place before his introduction in Star Wars Rebels but in the period between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. The story focuses on the discovery of Thrawn and his rise to power in the Empire alongside his aid; Ensign Eli Vanto.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Star Wars: Thrawn

I have been highly anticipating this novel ever since it was announced that Thrawn would be returning to the Star Wars universe in this new Expanded Universe. My excitement was enhanced because this book would be written by Timothy Zahn who is a notable figure in the Star Wars franchise. Indeed, Zahn was the author who created the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn in the old Expanded Universe. Thrawn was the central character in Zahn’s critically acclaimed Heir to Empire Trilogy and he quickly became a fan-favourite.

But, most of the material in the old Expanded Universe were re-branded as Legends and were no longer canon after Lucasfilm redefined Star Wars continuity in 2014. This included Zahn’s Trilogy and, consequently, Thrawn. Consequently, Star Wars fans were unsure whether Thrawn would return as a character in the new Expanded Universe. However, at Star Wars Celebration 2016, it was announced that this book would be released in April 2017. This announcement came alongside the news that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be re-introduced into the Star Wars franchise in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels.

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While I knew how revered Thrawn was by Star Wars fans, I never had an affinity with that character. This is because I never read any material from the old Expanded Universe. However, I have read a lot of the material from the new canon that Lucasfilm has released since 2014. On the whole, I have been impressed from what I have read and watched in this new Expanded Universe.

Moreover, if you have read my reviews of the episodes in Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, you know that Thrawn is one of my favourite things about Rebels. I love how suave, confident, methodical and calculating the character is. Thus, I was fascinated to learn about how Thrawn became part of the Empire in this novel and I had a lot of faith in Zahn to meet my lofty expectations.

My Thoughts on Star Wars: Thrawn

Star-Wars-Rebels-Season-3-Through-Imperial-Eyes-Thrawn

Overall, Star Wars: Thrawn gave me everything I wanted. I loved the fact that we got to delve into the mind of Thrawn. It was brilliant to see how he meticulously studies everyone he meets in terms of there mannerisms, body language and tone. It was also fascinating to learn more about his philosophy on warfare, his love of art and the loyalty he has to his race; the Chiss. This added more layers to a character that already has a lot of depth and it expanded on what we saw from Thrawn in Season 3 of Rebels. In fact, certain tactics that we saw from Thrawn in Rebels are in this book which was a nice tie-in.

Furthermore, I liked Thrawn’s relationship with Eli Vanto. Eli starts out as Thrawn’s aide but he quickly develops into a protégée. Eli learns about the art of warfare from Thrawn and Thrawn learns from Eli too. Indeed, Thrawn lacks political nous and he relies on Eli to guide him through the pitfalls of the Empire. Thrawn also has Governor Arihnda Pryce as an ‘ally’ to school him in political matters.

Pryce’s Backstory and Thrawn’s Motives

Thrawn_&_Pryce

Arihnda Pryce is also a character in Star Wars Rebels and, like Thrawn, we also see her rise to power in this book. We get to know more about Pryce’s backstory and we see how far she is willing to go in her quest for power. This was good to see and it was also cool to see Colonel Wullf Yularin appear in this book. He too is a very influential presence and factor in Thrawn’s rise to power. Still, while Pryce and Yularin are necessary to allow Thrawn to rise through the ranks in the Empire, Thrawn does not fully commit himself to the Empire.

Throughout Star Wars: Thrawn, we piece together what Thrawn’s true intentions are. While he seemingly pledges his allegiance to the Empire and the Emperor, he is loyal to the Chiss and the Chiss Ascendancy above all else. Essentially,  Thrawn sees the Empire as a tool to safeguard the Chiss from unknown threats in the galaxy. This was a fascinating revelation and I hope it is developed in future stories in the Star Wars universe.

Overall, Star Wars: Thrawn is another fine addition to the new narrative that Lucasfilm is telling in the Star Wars universe. While a very dense book, it is a much easier read than a similarly dense book in Star Wars: Tarkin. Yet, Star Wars: Thrawn is not my favourite canonical book. It does not reach the same level of quality as Lost Stars or Star Wars: Bloodline do. Still, it is a great read, a great character study of both Thrawn and Pryce and it leaves me excited for Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 Episode 21-22 (Television Review) – A Good End to the Season

We have come to end of Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels and this two-part finale, titled ‘Zero Hour’, has been highly anticipated by fans of the show. One of the main reasons why this is the case is because we have been building towards Grand Admiral Thrawn’s master-plan to deal a crushing blow to the young Rebel Alliance. In ‘Zero Hour’, we would finally see it unfold. In addition to this, we would see whether this finale could live up to the finales of Season 1 and Season 2 of Rebels.

My Thoughts on ‘Zero Hour’

While I would say that the finales of Season 1 and 2 are better, this finale was a good end to this season of Rebels. Moreover, it capped of a season which, in my opinion, is better than Season 1 and 2. One of the strongest elements of ‘Zero Hour’ was its cinematic feel. Truly, watching the space battles in this season finale felt like watching the space battles in the Original Trilogy and I have to give a huge amount of credit to the animators of Rebels for this achievement.

Battle of Atollon in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Finale Zero Hour

I also liked how both sides suffered a defeat in their own way in this finale. The Rebel Alliance suffered a lot of casualties, including the loss of Commander Sato which was a very poignant moment in the episode. On the side of the Empire, Thrawn, while dealing a blow to the Rebel Alliance, failed to realise his complete vision for victory which he would have achieved if not for the failure of others to follow his calculated orders.

Thrawn Lives

Yet, the important thing is that Thrawn lived to fight another day which was my main hope from this finale. He has been one of my favourite parts of this season of Rebels and I cannot wait for his character to be developed further in this series and in the upcoming book. The book will in fact be written by Timothy Zahn who originally created the character in the old-Expanded Universe, i.e. Legends.

Hera at the Battle of Atollon in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Finale Zero Hour

While I was pleased that Thrawn survived, I was surprised that more characters on the side of the Rebel Alliance did not survive. True, Sato sacrificed himself but I did expect members of the Ghost crew such as Zeb to die too. Still, this was not a big disappointment because, by the time this series is finished, I expect most, if not all, of our heroes to die.

Speaking of the Ghost crew, we saw Sabine return to help her friends and it was great to see her back as she is one of the strongest characters in the show. Seeing Agent Kallus join the Rebel Alliance was a relief to see as I feared he would die in this season. This would have been disappointing as his arc in Rebels has been great to watch. Thankfully, we now get to see him as a fully-fledged member of the Rebel Alliance once Season 4 premieres later this year.

Building for the Future

In fact, this finale set up the next season of Rebels very well. With Kallus joining the Rebel Alliance, Thrawn living and continuing on as an antagonist in addition to the mention of Yavin 4 at the end of the episode, the foundations for Season 4 have been laid. What is even more exciting is that we are now in a position where we are getting closer to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope.

Battle of Atollon Space Battle in Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Finale Zero Hour

This is why I expect Season 4 to be the last season of Star Wars Rebels and the arcs which have been established throughout the series will come to a close. Moreover, I expect to see Ahsoka Tano return and for Darth Vader to return in a limited capacity too. I am really excited to see what is next in store for this show and this season finale is a big reason why as it did a great job at laying the foundations for the next season. It’s just a shame that we have to wait so long!