This Star Wars Rebels article contains spoilers.
Star Wars Rebels tells the story of six heroes from all over the galaxy far, far away who unite to become the foundation of the Rebel Alliance. Seasons one and two focused on the story of Ezra Bridger, a Force-sensitive boy from a planet controlled by the Empire and Kanan Jarrus, the former Jedi who decides to train him as his padawan. Seasons three and four began to trace the beginning of the Rebel fleet seen in A New Hope.
Created by many of the same people behind The Clone Wars and featuring familiar Star Wars characters, such as Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin, Star Wars Rebels has told many great stories on the small screen that take place between the Prequel and Original Trilogies.
Whether you’re a long-time Star Wars Rebels fan looking to revisit the show or a new viewer catching up in time for the series finale this year, this is the guide for you. We highlight the most important episodes from each season and explain where Star Wars fans can find key cameos and exciting battles. Make sure to click on the episode titles to go straight to their respective reviews!
Here we go:
Star Wars Rebels Season 1
Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2: Spark of Rebellion
The most essential episode is, of course, the pilot, and it holds up well as a very Disney tale of a street urchin swept up in a grand adventure. Ezra Bridger is an orphan who finds himself mixed up with the crew of the Rebel ship The Ghost and discovers his own latent Force powers. The music in this episode is especially notable for the way it uses Original Trilogy melodies to indicate Ezra’s connection to the Force, and the ensemble cast is introduced pretty smoothly. Some concepts, like the “Tarkintown,” work well because of the way they develop the Star Wars universe in ways large and small. If the action and humor of this episode work for you, it’s likely that the rest of the show will, too.
Season 1 Episode 5: Rise of the Old Masters
Star Wars Rebels really found its stride in this episode, which upped the creepiness factor while showing the beginning of the master-apprentice relationship Kanan and Ezra would grow into. When Kanan and Ezra receive a distress call from Luminara Unduli, Kanan thinks he has found a Jedi Master more worthy than he is to teach the next generation. It turns out to be a trap set by the Grand Inquisitor, which leads into an intense fight. This episode seemed to show that Star Wars Rebels was willing to not only touch on The Clone Wars, but manipulate its stories in dark and surprising ways.
Season 1 Episode 7: Out of Darkness
While the Jedi often take the spotlight, “Out of Darkness” switches it to some of the gunslingers on the crew. Hera and Sabine have to find a middle ground between Hera’s professional trust issues and Sabine’s teenage pushiness in an episode that also features some of the best action in the series: the creatures inhabiting the abandoned base swarm across the screen in a convincingly frightening pack.
Season 1 Episode 10: Path of the Jedi
Star Wars Rebels’ treatment of the Jedi combines Original Trilogy mysticism with colorful The Clone Wars-style imagery, and the first of two episodes to be set in the Jedi Temple on Lothal is one of the highlights of the first season. What it doesn’t do is continue to work well with the ensemble—the Lothal temple episodes are all Jedi all the time. Going in knowing that, though, you’ll get some important characterization from Ezra in this one, as he speaks to Yoda’s spirit and realizes how much he has already survived. Yoda’s voice and the star map give the episode an air of filigreed beauty.
Season 1 Episode 15: Fire Across the Galaxy
The season one finale brings the Ghost crew to a familiar planet: Mustafar, a fitting site for Darth Vader’s appearance on the small screen. The Inquisitor’s sendoff is appropriately dark, while Ezra keeps things light. (Compare the tone of this episode to the bleak “Call to Action,” one of the few to end with no music.) Each member of the crew has something to do, and one of the best things about this episode is the way that it ties previous ones together. It also reveals the identity of the mysterious Rebel agent Fulcrum—and brings fan favorite Ahsoka Tano back into the spotlight.
Star Wars Rebels Season 2
Season 2 Episodes 1 & 2: The Siege of Lothal
With nearly twice as many episodes as in the first season, season two has more plot but also weaker episodes and less consequential arcs. “Siege of Lothal” continues to bring in the heavy-hitters, as Ahsoka senses that Vader was once her Jedi Master. This is a frightening Vader who easily dispatches the less experienced Jedi, and fans who wanted an indication of exactly how far the Order has fallen will find it here. This episode also explains why the Ghost crew need to leave Lothal, paving the way for the rest of the season.
Season 2 Episode 11: Legacy
The misplaced governor Ryder Azadi provides a perspective even closer to Lothal than Ezra’s. While Ezra left for the Rebellion, Azadi remained on a world with its own problems. The resolution of the story of Ezra’s parents in this episode is gentle, almost inconsequential, but it also avoids tropes or sappiness while never discounting the enormous impact the loss of one’s parents can have on a child. This episode captures Ezra’s emotions well, from the dreamlike visions at the beginning to the melancholy end, and marks an important point in his development.
Season 2 Episode 15: The Call
Ezra’s connection to animals is a unique manifestation of the power of the Force. We’ve seen Jedi have a particular affinity for animals before. Jacen Solo in Legends canon used this, and there are a few suggestions in the Prequel era that Obi-Wan was as good with animals as Anakin Skywalker was with machines. “The Call” directly addresses Ezra’s connection to animals, making his understanding of the whale-like purgills critical to an episode with a neat but unsubtle environmental message. The episode edges on goofiness with both Ezra and its villain, but is another important part of his growth.
Season 2 Episode 18: Shroud of Darkness
The second episode set in the Lothal Jedi temple starts off with a bang, as Kanan and Ezra face the two new Imperial Inquisitors. Unfortunately, the new Inquisitors are never quite as essential as new villains should be: they don’t have a lot of characterization, their stories only implied by suggestion and decent voice acting. They were introduced earlier in the season in the tense episode “Always Two There Are,” but they don’t have their own story, meaning that they stand or fall simply as effective antagonists.
In “Shroud of Darkness,” the need to fight them drive Ezra and Kanan to take Ahsoka’s advice and return to Lothal. There, Kanan undergoes a transformation, the Inquisitor from the first season receives more backstory, and Ezra yet again levels up with help from Yoda.
Season 2 Episodes 21 & 22: Twilight of the Apprentice
The season two finale works not just because it brings in familiar characters and locations, but because of the story of Kanan and Ezra’s growth. Kanan has gone from a reluctant teacher to one willing to risk everything for his student, while Ezra’s youth and anger bring him closer to the dark side. Both characters have clear, emotionally gripping reasons for doing what they do, even if their actions in this episode lead them into more trouble than they’ve ever faced before.
The finale left fans with a lot to talk about, and although it sometimes loses focus, it was a strong ending for a rather wandering season that featured the climactic confrontation between Darth Vader and Ahsoka, as well as the return of Darth Maul on screen.
Watching those episodes should get you up to date on the show and on track with fan favorite characters, although there are plenty more to discover as well—a good runner up is “Breaking Ranks,” which sees Ezra inside an Imperial training camp, or “The Honorable Ones,” which gives a major villain greater depth.
Star Wars Rebels Season 3
Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2: Steps into Shadow
The season three opener showcased an evolved Ghost crew, especially in the case of Ezra, who has grown strong in the Force and shows he’s inched a little closer to the dark side since his first meeting with Maul. Meanwhile, Kanan Jarrus has chosen to spend some time to himself after his encounter with the dark side on Malachor in the season two finale.
“Steps into Shadow” is technically two episodes, but both premiered together as a “mini-movie.” While several episodes in season three involve Ezra’s gradual slide toward the dark side, this episode has some of the most dramatic illustrations of the young Jedi’s willful use of the Force.
It also introduces two of the major players of season three: Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Bendu. The super-intelligent Thrawn was a fan favorite in the novels by Timothy Zahn, but this is his first appearance on screen. The mysterious Bendu, voiced by Doctor Who legend Tom Baker, helps guide Kanan throughout the season.
Season 3 Episode 3: The Holocrons of Fate
Ezra’s tour guide to the dark side is Darth Maul, who still seeks to fulfill the destiny falsely promised to him by Darth Sidious. Maul’s characterization in Star Wars Rebels finds him less furious and a bit more calculating than he was in The Clone Wars, while still keeping to the single-minded purpose he exhibited in The Phantom Menace. The episode also explains a mystery that had been building up in Star Wars Rebels: the two holocrons, subject of much curiosity from the Ghost’s resident Force users. Ezra learns perhaps more than he wanted to know about his own capacity for darkness.
Season 3 Episode 15: Trials of the Darksaber
Sabine lives up to the promise of her character concept — a young Mandalorian caught in the middle of the Galactic Civil War — in this informative and tightly-written episode. Ezra is moved aside in favor of Sabine learning to take up the sword of her people — literally, in the case of the Darksaber, which was last seen in The Clone Wars. This episode contains some vivid fight scenes as Sabine faces off in practice bouts with Kanan. It also tests the bonds Sabine has with both her Mandalorian family and her Rebel friends, and reveals a bit more about her past. It’s an important episode for fans interested in the characterization of the core crew, but especially for Sabine.
Season 3 Episode 17: Through Imperial Eyes
Told from the point of view of Imperial Agent Kallus, this is one of the most creative episodes in the series, and sets up Kallus for what will become an important role later. While Ezra features as essentially an antagonist, the camera placement sets Kallus up as a protagonist, even while showing the depths of the Empire’s cruelty. The episode reveals how clever and devious Kallus can be and gives the viewer some more information about his past before revealing the twist that will inform the rest of the season: that Kallus has been working as a spy for the Rebels.
Season 3 Episode 20: Twin Suns
Darth Maul just keeps surviving. After being brought back in The Clone Wars, he seemed like one of the most unstoppable characters in the saga, even as he consistently failed to catch up to the adventures of characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, and Kanan Jarrus. “Twin Suns” brings Obi-Wan to Star Wars Rebels for the inevitable final confrontation between the two warriors who first met in The Phantom Menace. This episode struggles somewhat to figure out what to do with Ezra during this clash of giants, but handles both Maul and Obi-Wan with delicacy at the end of their decades-long rivalry.
Season 3 Episodes 21 & 22: Zero Hour
Another two-parter, “Zero Hour” sets the stakes higher than ever before as the Star Wars Rebels timeline approaches A New Hope. Along with some of the most exciting and biggest space battle in the series, it also marks key changes for characters such as Kallus and the Bendu. Hera also begins to have a larger role in the leadership of the Rebellion. Already a commander of a squadron, she’s now coordinating the battle with the likes of Jan Dodonna. The episode brings the fight directly to the Ghost crew’s base on Atollon, setting up the fight for Lothal that comes to full fruition in season four.
Star Wars Rebels Season 4
As a Rogue One tie-in, the first two-part episode of the season brings back Saw Gerrera to show how his violent Partisans operate compared to the more careful members of Hera’s squad. Season four aired differently from the others, with two episodes per air date, but this episode was intended as a two-parter from the start. Saw’s clash with Ezra and Sabine highlights the differences between him and the younger generation, but the episode’s moral lessons are ultimately a bit muddled.
Season 4 Episode 7: Kindred
Dave Filoni fans may have been waiting since The Clone Wars for this: the reveal of the loth-wolf, whose mystical Force affinity leads Ezra and Kanan deep into the wilderness of Lothal. This episode brings the kind of mysterious spiritual tone that The Clone Wars sometimes used, without the over-the-top tone of the Mortis arc. This episode also emphasizes that the fight against the Empire is also a fight to preserve Lothal’s natural ecosystem. The themes that have been in place since season one, albeit quietly, start to weave together here.
Season 4 Episode 9: Rebel Assault
Although this episode has some clumsy dialogue and serves mostly to set up a cliffhanger for the second half of season four, it also features some fantastic X-Wing combat and pits Hera Syndulla against the Imperial wasteland Lothal has become. Hera is a competent leader both in the air and on the ground, and we see her struggle to keep her young pilots alive as she faces off against Thrawn in space.
The real highlight of this episode is the X-wings, which in true Star Wars fashion, blast in with the best of the Rebellion’s pilots. The fight above Lothal shows the Rebellion chipping away at the Empire’s grand fleet with some creative moves against Thrawn’s signature strategizing.
Season 4 Episode 10: Jedi Night
The season returns for the second half with a dramatic rescue and the reveal of the ultimate fate of one of the Ghost crewmembers. This is an action-packed episode that follows some familiar beats — but those beats are also classic, showing a turning point for Ezra’s Jedi journey and raising the stakes. The dynamic has also changed for the Imperials by the end of this episode, leaving both sides scrambling for a foothold on Lothal, the planet where it all began.
Season 4 Episodes 15 & 16: Family Reunion – And Farewell
Ezra’s coming-of-age story concludes in an exciting battle for Lothal. The finale brings disparate elements together, including Emperor Palpatine’s and Grand Admiral Thrawn’s roles, then jumps ahead to show what happens to the Ghost crew after the Original Trilogy. Cameos from recurring characters and a dramatic choice keep the episode moving, while those epilogues are bound to keep fans talking about what happened and what might be next. Fans of both Star Wars Rebelsand The Clone Wars will find answers in this 45-minute special.