This Star Wars Rebels review does not contains spoilers.
Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 1
By now, you’ve probably heard the sad news: that Star Wars Rebels season 4 will be the final hurrah for the franchise’s sophomore animated series. It’s devastating indeed, especially since we’ve watched all of the show’s heroes grow and evolve over the last four years, but it’s also great news that showrunner Dave Filoni will have the space and time to close out their stories.
The season 4 opener, “Heroes of Mandalore Part 1,” begins the show’s victory lap with a high-octane adventure story that is ultimately disastrous for one of the main characters. The episode, of course, focuses on Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian who made the tough decision to leave behind her adoptive family to rejoin her people and free them from the oppressive Empire. Once a great warrior race, the Mandalorians have been forced to bow down to the Emperor’s puppet regime on the planet, with only a small group of freedom fighters to oppose them.
Sabine’s mission in the premiere is hopefully the beginning of the end of the tyranny on Mandalore. I won’t go into too much detail about the episode’s plot, but I’ll give you the most basic details: Sabine has recruited the Ghost crew to rescue her dad from Gar Saxon and his lackeys. What ensues is a very action-packed chase through the Mandalorian wasteland that might remind one slightly of a Mad Max movie. Slightly. There aren’t Mandalorians playing flamethrower guitars on top of a monster truck or anything.
But for all the death and destruction, the episode is also surprisingly funny. Dave Filoni’s written some great comedic moments for these characters in the past and Ezra and Chopper are especially hilarious, doing their best Buster Keaton impressions during the episode. It’s nice to see a much less burdened Ezra in this premiere than, say, where he was in last year’s premiere, which teased the young Jedi’s fall to the Dark Side.
There seems to be a weight lifted on most of the characters in this episode, actually. Kanan is not as conflicted as he was last season, and it even seems like he’s finally allowing himself to be happy, both with his family and in a potential romance. But based on the twist at the end of this episode, that might all be a red herring, as Filoni continues to find interesting ways to challenge these characters, who even at their highest moments can face terrible losses.
The burden of the episode falls on Sabine, who is still very young but is now carrying a huge weight. And I’m not just talking about the legendary Darksaber. She’s responsible for the future of her people, and she’s had to face the consequences of that responsibility since last season. The ending to tonight’s episode definitely made Sabine’s situation all the more dire. It remains to be seen what’s ahead for this young Mandalorian, but I think we’ll see her pushed over the edge a bit this season and that her path might lead her to a dark place before the end.
It’s hard to say what Filoni has planned as an endgame for all of these characters and if he’ll follow through with happy endings for all of them. The Clone Wars didn’t offer happy endings for all of its characters, especially Ahsoka Tano, who left the Jedi Order in the final episodes of the series, and I think Rebels will follow suit. But as long as those endings are satisfying, as long as they honor all of the wonderful characters, Rebels’ four-year journey will have been a successful one.
Star Wars Rebels season 4 premieres in Fall 2017 on Disney XD.