Star Wars – Rebels Season 4 Episodes 1 – 9 Review

SW Rebels S4 P1

The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels gets off to a good start, with two self-contained two-parters and the start of what I assume is the final story arc set where the series began: on Lothal. Once again the series gets all the beats of Star Wars right, and keeps it firmly in that “fun for everyone, not just kids” zone. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

A civil war on Mandalore, rumours of a new super weapon on the lips of crazed rebel Saw Gerrera and a new type of TIE Fighter being developed on the now Empire-occupied Lothal are all on the docket for the Rebels crew…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Ezra, trying his best to fit in with the Mandalorians…

Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) – Young Jedi is now more mature and capable of leading, though is still prone to making the odd rash decision. He desperately wants to free his home planet of Lothal, but the Rebellion can’t spare the resources…

Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) – Kanan was a padawan when the Clone Wars came to an end, and has since been working with the Rebellion as well as training Ezra. Kanan, despite being blind, is still among the most trusted and sought after Rebel members, especially when paired with Hera…

Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) – Hera is a trusted leader of her own cell of Rebels, though now the Alliance has formed and more cells and coming together at Yavin IV, she has to try and find her place in the hierarchy…

Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) – Sabine is a Mandalorian, and has been given the Darksaber, a weapon signifying the most powerful and skilled warrior who it’s their right to lead. She has been leading her clan (and others) against the Mandalorians who dared to turn their back on their planet and side with the Empire…

Zeb Orrelios (Steven Blum) – Zeb is one of the last of the Lesat people thanks to the efforts of the Empire, so the Rebel Alliance certainly has his loyalty. Strong, but not very bright, he’s often deployed on the battlefield like a weapon, rather than attending strategy meetings…

Chopper – Obligatory “funny droid”, Chopper is… an obligatory funny droid.

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) – Thrawn is an extremely talented strategist, so much so that he has risen to the title of Grand Admiral despite not being the Empire’s ideal of a white humanoid. Thrawn arrives on Lothal to see the new TIE Defender, but also knows full well that a certain rebel cell will probably arrive soon…

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) – Bo-Katan was the leader of a terrorist cell of Mandalorians during the Clone Wars who wished to see their homeworld return to the more combat-based ways of old. Now she is seen as a hero, fighting to free Mandalore from the grip of the Emperor and his Imperials, including those Mandalorians who sided with them…

Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) – Although technically a rebel like the rest of the Alliance, Saw’s methods are often extreme and brutal, often making him no better than the Empire he seeks to take down. He is on the hunt for a new super weapon he believes the Empire to be building…

Plus more!

The Good:

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X-Wings make their Rebels debut! This picture couldn’t look more Star Wars-y if it tried.

Once again, a really good mix of storytelling on show here. The opening two parter, “Heroes of Mandalore”, was really good and once again added some lore to Mandalore (some Manda… lore?) which is something the team has excelled at since back in the Clone Wars cartoon days. Although I get wanting the “whole gang back together” for big finale, I was kind of sad to see Sabine give up the title of leader and return to her Rebel friends, though at least the new leader is a character from the Clone Wars with plenty of backstory. Mandalore is still in a civil war (Manda…war?) and I doubt now that we’ll ever see how it ends… Oh well.

The next two-part story, “In The Name of the Rebellion”, takes the plot point from Rogue One that other Rebels don’t like Saw Gerrera because of his extreme actions and shows Ezra and to a lesser extent Sabine getting tempted by the “it gets results” side of things, before they see Saw having no issues letting some Rebels hostages die if it meant scoring a strike of the Imperials. Plus is shows a giant kyber crystal being taken to where we now know the Death Star is being built (the giant laser runs off of them, by the way) and we even get some of Krennic’s Death Troopers guarding the crystal. It’s nice that Rebels has retroactively tied Rogue One into the show now its out there, especially given it’s close proximity.

Episodes 5 – 9 then start off the (presumably) final arc of the show, by having the entire Rebels team (minus Rex and Kallus, who stay with the ship) go to Lothal to spy on a new type of TIE fighter, only for Ezra to focus on freeing his people and saving what’s left of his home world. It has some really good side-stories along with the main one, including the classic “will they get to kiss?” romance stuff with Kanan and Hera. In fact the scene in the final episode after Hera has been taken where Kanan turns his speeder bike around and says he “just has to” go back, and everyone understanding was a great moment. The stuff with the force sensitive Loth-Wolves and their speaking of Kanan’s true name is interesting (can’t help but feel the star of the show is getting overshadowed by his mentor, but hey… that probably means Kanan is destined to die, so…)

We also got to see the return of Thrawn, which is always good because he’s a great villain. He’s not super powerful or force sensitive, he’s just extremely intelligent. This time he brought with him his personal bodyguard / assassin Rukh, which lead to some good fight scenes (and he apparently served that role in the now “Legends timeline” story with Thrawn set after Return of the Jedi, so I’m sure it was a great moment for fans of the old books). When Hera and her team (in X-Wings!) managed to break past their blockade, once again Thrawn just smirked and congratulated “Ms. Syndulla” on out playing him… Well, until she fell for his trap on the planet itself…

I also have to praise the scenes on Lothal where we see the old towns in ruins / empty, large machines burning entire fields for fuel and generally the planet being wrecked. It does do a good job of showing how… bastard-y the Empire can be.

The Bad:

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Why is Ezra looking at me?! Stop it!

The only real negative is that, given this season is shorter in length, I was a bit annoyed to see Episode 8, “Crawler Commanders”, be a throw-away, more comedy-based episode. These were alright in full length seasons, but this seemed like a waste.

Overall Thoughts:

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Grand Admiral Thrawn, now with Death Troopers! Hooray!

Star Wars – Rebels’ final season is off to a great start. Two classic, multi-part “good Star Wars stories” to start with, then the start of an arc that has laid out some good mysteries to be answered, and once again set Grand Admiral Thrawn as a great baddie to topple. Most of all, the air of uncertainty given it’s the final season and none of the characters have popped up in the Rouge One and onwards part of the timeline (except Hera and Chopper!) means you just get the feeling that anything could happen…

4 Star Watch

 

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