Star Wars: Rebels wrapped up its third season this Saturday in an appropriately dark manner, with all the progress our Rebels made this season ripped away by a cunning enemy. Hopefully, this thread of resetting the Rebellion will be carried over to the next season, otherwise, we won’t have much to remember about this one, save Sabine’s arc.
Nothing started off great for the rebels, starting with Fulcrum’s identity being exposed. Agent Kallus’ capture allowed us to see how much a physical threat Thrawn can be outside of his tactical mind, but the real kicker was still seeing Thrawn use his study of art to discern the location of Chopper Base. Despite playing him up so much in the beginning of this season, Thrawn has really only come into his own in these last few episodes, turning his defeats into opportunities. When he shows up at the Rebel base with Kallus in tow, it was suitably fun to watch him lord over the secret Rebel much like Palpatine to Luke in ROTJ.
The battle scenes had a lot of great moments, such as the official introduction of Interdictor cruisers into the new Disney canon and Commander Sato’s sacrifice, but to basically let all our heroes get away at the end sort of rang false, especially after Rogue One showed you can have your main characters die and still have a satisfying conclusion in the Star Wars universe. Obviously we couldn’t have all the Ghost crew die, but its not like having Rex sacrificing himself wouldn’t have been a powerful moment for all the Clone Wars fans out there. But at least Thrawn survived, so he’ll likely still be around next season, just not with as much screen time as the previous.
But despite our heroes getting away thanks to a literal Deus-ex-Machina in the Bendu’s Mufasa-homage, it was cool to see that he wanted everyone, not just the Empire kicked off his planet. It would’ve been easy to have Kanan’s story about choosing a side strike a chord with the Bendu, but he stuck to his interpretation in a narratively coherent way, killing off just as many Rebels as Imperials in his giant lightning storm. It may be interesting to see if he shows up again, but save Rebels going off towards Clone Wars-style episodes not featuring the main cast, that’s not likely to happen.
Ezra going to Sabine for help allowed us, however briefly, to see the Mandalorians again, but more importantly set-up a likely story-arc for Season 4 of helping Clan Wren retake Mandalore from the Empire. Mandalore got a lot of screen time on The Clone Wars tv show, so revisiting it is expected, and it also means we’ll likely see Bo-Katan again.
Star Wars: Rebels went par for the course in its season finale, with a couple of high moments, but some rather middling ones too. It still hasn’t reached the heights of The Clone Wars, but very few Star Wars properties will ever hit that point.