‘Star Wars Rebels’ ends on a bittersweet note
Proof that any “Star Wars” tale can stand on its own and not be hobbled by the original Skywalker family saga, the animated series “Star Wars Rebels” shows that other figures in the massive space opera can be significant in the bigger scheme of things. Or, at least, on TV.
The fourth and final season of “Rebels” brings to an end a small team’s long mission against the Empire. The heroes of the show have grown tremendously, primarily the former street urchin Ezra Bridger, who was brought in by the group led by ex-Jedi trainee Kanan and intrepid pilot Hera.
Ezra, sensitive to the ways of the Force, is trained in the proper use of his psychic and telekinetic abilities by Kanan, forming a formidable tandem that has tremendously benefited the Rebels through the years. Even after Kanan lost his sight, his teachings have helped save Ezra from choosing the Dark Side of the Force, overcoming the temptation to give in to its seductive lure.
Ezra’s heroic journey finally comes to a bittersweet end. He’s no Luke Skywalker, but he’s no less a worthy Jedi, also shaped by tragic events and embracing a cause bigger than himself. He fights for the liberation of his home planet—and one of the battles costs them dearly, as one hero makes the ultimate sacrifice.
It’s also revealed that Emperor Palpatine has diabolical plans for this lesser-known young Jedi. The confrontation makes sense, even if it comes off a bit shoehorned.
The show, airing on Disney XD, has hit-and-miss episodes for this last arc. While there are character building instances with Rebel artist Sabine, the conflicts involving her Mandalorian brethren feel quite forced and, frankly, lack in energy.
There’s also an absence of lightsaber duels, usually the action sequence highlight of the films and this show. Unlike previous seasons, there are no such showdowns between Sith warriors and this set of heroes.
Nevertheless, the crew manages to figure in some visually spectacular imbroglios against the Emperor’s forces, including the relentless Grand Admiral Thrawn. On its last year, “Star Wars Rebels” manages to fully shape a competent and canonical sub-mythology that keeps viewers invested in its story till the stunning end.
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