Starting in 2008, Lucasfilm Animation produced the critically acclaimed Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. With over 100 episodes of rich storytelling and beautiful animation, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was a fan-favourite series set between Episodes II and III of the Star Wars saga. Following the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cancelled in favour of a new animated series. While the decision was lambasted by viewers, The Clone Wars made way for the latest animated series: Star Wars Rebels.
Set between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars saga, Rebels tells the story of a ragtag group of characters, known as the Ghost crew, as they fight against the galactic Empire. In 2014, Rebels premiered as Disney’s first entry in the Star Wars canon. The Ghost crew comprise of former Padawan Kanan Jarrus, Twi’lek pilot Hera Syndulla, Mandalorian artist Sabine Wren, Lasat guardsmen Zeb, street boy Ezra, and obdurate astromech Chopper.
In the first season, Ezra joined the Ghost crew as they helped civilians who had been abused by the Empire. Along the way, he discovered his strong connection to the Force and trained as a Padawan under Kanan. The heroes’ activities attracted the attention of the Empire, leading to a showdown with the Jedi hunter known as the Grand Inquisitor.
In the second season, the Ghost crew joined the larger rebellion and opposed the Empire directly. As the crew met new allies, the Empire sent Darth Vader and two more Inquisitors to dispatch the team and prohibit their efforts to defy them.
In the third season, a new threat arrived in the form of master tactician Grand Admiral Thrawn, who outmaneuvered many planned attacks by the rebels. Meanwhile, Sabine reluctantly returned to her family after being exiled.
This leads to the fourth and final season of the series. The heroes return to Lothal, Ezra’s home, to liberate it from the Empire’s heavy handed control. These final episodes are a joy to watch as fan-favourite Expanded Universe characters make their debut and the story gets closer and closer to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope.
The series finale features the Ghost crew’s final attempt to save Lothal and its citizens by recruiting allies from the previous seasons. Following the loss of a beloved friend, the crew are more determined than ever to achieve their goals. I can’t say much else without spoiling the episodes.
The action sequences in the final three episodes are spectacular. There are huge sweeping battle sequences on the ground and in the air with a number of characters. According to the show runners, these battles were difficult to animate, but I really appreciate their hard work because the final result is beautiful. One scene features Ezra battling some of the Emperor’s deadly guards without his lightsaber in a gorgeous looking showdown.
I felt like each main character and even the supporting characters had at least one heroic moment, including Zeb, who gets shortchanged in this series at times. Zeb’s battle with Thrawn’s right hand man Rukh was a great way to showcase the character.
I’m so glad Star Wars Rebels had the chance to end in a satisfying conclusion instead of being cancelled like its predecessor. Star Wars Rebels was such a wonderful series because it told the story of a family who wanted to instill hope throughout the galaxy. The last decade has been filled with excellent stories in animation that I’ve enjoyed more than the current Star Wars films Disney has released. I can only hope the future is bright for Star Wars animation.
– Gervaise Branch-Allen