The fourth season of Rebels is getting closer by the day (16th October 2017 is the date). We just got a new trailer. Given that this is the final season, and based on all the clues so far, what can we expect and look forward to before this story concludes?
The Rebellion on Mandalore
The last season left Sabine Wren hanging with her quest to find someone worthy to claim the Darksaber and unite the Mandalorian clans against the Empire. With the death of Gar Saxon, not only has clan Wren clearly stated its opposition to the Empire, but we have also power vacuum in the official, Empire-appointed leading position.
The trailer speaks about an all-out war and about the Empire placing Mandalore under full occupation. We can probably see this plotline unfold fairly soon: the first episode’s title has already been made public and it is “Heroes of Mandalore”. The fans of Clone Wars series have probably noticed by now, but it is clear some major characters will be making a comeback right into the middle of this conflict. The Rebels will also have to be in the thick of this, because in the final battle of the third season, Mandalorian reinforcements played an important role and we can expect debts to be paid. And after all, the Empire is a common enemy. The only question is how many resources can the Rebellion spend without exerting itself, will it be just Ghost and its crew, or is there going to be more?
The Loose Ends of Rogue One
Saw Gerrera, who had already appeared in third season, is going to make a comeback, judging from the trailer. Since season four is supposed to cover the remaining time until Rogue One or maybe even A New Hope, we can expect the entire background of Saw’s breakup with the Rebellion to be addressed and maybe even shown “live”. Based on Ezra’s long record of trusting sketchy older men (Hondo Ohnaka, Maul), I wonder if we’re looking forward to the repetition of the same pattern here (Ezra trusting Saw -> Ezra doing something stupid -> Ezra realising this isn’t the way) or whether Ezra has grown up and will be able to see through Saw’s plans and call them off since the beginning (maybe contributing to the division between the less and more radical groups within the Rebellion). I would hope for the latter, as it would be refreshing and show some character development, but we’ll have to see.
The Defender of Lothal
Speaking of Ezra, his tale has to be concluded. In fact, everyone’s tale has to be concluded in some way: each of the major characters should head towards some kind of closure for their own personal story. For Sabine, it will probably be tied to the fate of Mandalore, for Ezra, it should be tied both to Lothal and his Jedi training. The closer we get to the film timeline, the more the “Jedi paradox” needs to be addressed (the fact that there weren’t supposed to be any Jedi around by Luke’s time, yet here we have Ezra and Kanan merrily fighting for the Rebellion).
Obviously – and here I am entering the realm of speculation – one neat way to sort out Ezra’s story would be to make him retreat into his sort of private retreat on Lothal, making him sort of a protector of his home planet. That would go well with his character development and values (reaching back to the legacy of his parents and the fact that he had spent 75% of the earlier seasons helping people of his homeworld). At the same time, this would cancel his official status of a Jedi AND a Rebel in the strict sense, as he would be breaking the Jedi code on one front (attachment – in this case, to a place). It is of course only one of the many possibilities, but after ruling out death (unlikely) or fall to the Dark Side (which might have been an issue between S2-3, but now is out of question), this might be a fairly good one. And if Ezra should become a “Yoda” and retreat somewhere, why not Lothal?
The wolves (Loth wolves?) in the trailer may have something to do with Ezra’s fate as well. Often, whenever an animal appears in Rebels or in the Clone Wars, it has deeper significance than just being a pet. Given Ezra’s natural connection to animals, maybe there is some direct connection between the wolves and his destiny (and I could imagine him hanging out with such animals if he somehow becomes a hermit of Lothal – see above). But the wolves might also stand as symbol for something – we can only speculate about this, however.
The Spacemarried Couple
Kanan and Hera need to get a closure, and can easily get one by figuring out their life together. The trailer finally hints at their relationship being openly addressed, something that both of them have obviously been avoiding for years. It probably won’t go very smoothly at first, but that’s the catalyst, right? In any case, many fans (including me) are happy that the romantic tension that has been bubbling just under the surface (and occassionally overboiling) is finally getting some resolution.
We know that Hera will be “general Syndulla” by the time of Rogue One (based on the announcement overheard in the film in one of the Yavin base scenes), which, however, doesn’t tell anything about what is her relationship to Kanan like at that point. Or even about her marital status, for that matter (maybe there is a happy Mr. Kanan Syndulla waiting in the lobby). The only thing it says is that Hera (and maybe Kanan) are not yet away from the Rebellion, living on a faraway planet with a house, a droid and three children. For Kanan, getting together with Hera would obviously solve the “Jedi paradox”, as well as… basically everything that has ever gone wrong with his life.
The Droid, the Agent, and the Big Guy
If I’m saying that I expect all the main characters to have some closure to their story arcs, I am including Chopper. The droid has had his own important moments during the series, and I expect something big to happen to him still – maybe “finding his own purpose of life” in some way. Maybe he, of all the Rebels, might become the actual most devout rebel after everyone leaves to pursue their personal goals? Or else he might just become a leader of a junk-stealing street gang, which is equally likely.
Speaking of the unlikeliest Rebels becoming the most devoted Rebels, I think this might be the case of agent Kallus. I fully expect him to give the Rebellion 110%. Also, I fear that he is the most likely to die, if one of the major characters does, probably as part of some heroic sacrifice, ideally at the hands of his former co-workers (Yularen, Arihnda Pryce…). I still hope, however, that his relationship with Zeb is going to be addressed again, as it was Zeb who had made him question his loyalty to the point of becoming Fulcrum, and the show didn’t really present the two of them to us together after Kallus’s defection.
Zeb himself might either remain a loyal Rebel or return to Lira San (or, of course, die – he is also one of the characters who are “secondary enough to die”, even though I personally hope Rebels will refrain from such clichés and “compulsory” melodramatic deaths at the end of the story). Just like Chopper, it feels like he should get some big moment of his own. Maybe he can save Kallus after Kallus tries to bravely and foolishly sacrifice himself? That would be very nice and very fitting.
Thrawn, Krennic and the Bad Guys
One character on the Imperial side who needs to get his own closure is Thrawn. The interesting moment the new trailer brought into his story is the arising rivalry we can assume between him and director Krennic, who was also mentioned – respectively, between their projects. Thrawn, who was never much for superweapons and certainly doesn’t approve of mass slaughter of civilians (as evidenced also in the recently published book about him), and has a more dignified approach to war, would like to get his project of advanced TIE fighters finished. It seems like Grand Moff Tarkin is going to give the green to Krennic instead – and so project “Stardust” is born. Maybe the direction the Empire is taking will eventually prove to be too much for Thrawn, and he will depart its ranks for his own designs?
With so much heavy hinting at the Death Star’s construction, I am fully expecting the fourth season to tackle this theme yet another time, maybe more explicitly than so far. Remember, the Rebels have been encountering Imperial supply ships full of kyber crystals, they have been investigating the remains of the original construction site on Geonosis, and picking up many other hints regarding the Stardust project. Add to that the fact that Rogue One had quite a lot of references to Rebels and vice versa, and you would think some further connection may still follow.
It’s How We Choose To Fight
Kanan and Ezra’s words in the last trailer are the last point I wanted to mention, as they might be possibly one of the most important topics of the final season. “To fight or not to fight” has been a question for several seasons, and the involvement of the Jedi in the Rebellion as well. Yoda, the guardians of the Jedi Temple that Kanan fought in his “vision”, and some others have brought this up. To clarify and shift this question into “it is HOW we fight that matters” might have deeper significance.
Let me mention one possibility I have been thinking about, at least briefly. In Ezra and Kanan’s case, especially, it would make perfect sense if they realised that they are not supposed to fight – in the conventional sense, with weapons – at all, but that they could “fight” metaphorically on other fronts. I don’t mean some Jedi meditation that would shift invisible light and dark side forces in the Galaxy, or at least not directly. I mean maybe showing another side of “fight”, in everyday deeds, in behaving in a way that helps others, and leading by example. I mean: after the Empire has been defeated on the military terms, the Galaxy won’t miraculously become a better place overnight; it is the attitude of everyone towards the next person, towards the nature (animals? Loth-wolves?) surrounding them, towards the Galaxy at large – in Jedi terms, to find their part in the all-encompassing Force. So maybe, just maybe Ezra (and Kanan) are meant to do just that – not to become the indestructible Jedi warriors, but to inspire others and bring out the good in them. The same way Luke decided not to fight his father in the end, but threw away his lightsaber, and thus allowed Darth Vader to find his own way back to the light again.
If Rebels season 4 somehow manages to do THAT, I am going to applaud them. Because that is in the spirit of the original Star Wars, and it is so far from the clichéish ending of “we defeat the evil by one great battle”. And since Rebels, by definition, cannot end by the evil being defeated, this would be a perfect way to finish the show.