On March 5th, 2018, one of the greatest chapters of Star Wars history came to a close, as the fourth and final season finale of Star Wars Rebels premiered. It’s been well over a year since it ended, but to this day, it remains one of my favorite shows.
Although I’m a little late to the celebration, I thought now was as good a time as any to take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of my favorite Rebels moments. My list isn’t complete by any means, and I selected these because of how they impacted me personally (the amount of times this show has made me cry is somewhat embarrassed), but here we go…
5. Ezra Enters the Lothal Temple (Season 1, Episode 10)
After attacking the Grand Inquisitor using the dark side in a previous episode, Kanan decides it’s time for a field trip to a secret Jedi Temple on Lothal – Ezra’s home world – to see if he’s truly ready to become a Jedi in this season one episode, Path of the Jedi.
As Ezra journeys further into the Temple alone, he’s plagued with dark visions of the Grand Inquisitor killing the entire Ghost Crew (Kanan’s “death” is the only shown on screen), while Ezra is helpless to stop it, building on an ongoing theme in the series: Ezra wanting to protect his newfound family from the Empire.
This episode had me bawling, I’m not ashamed to admit. The shocking “deaths” of each character we’ve gotten to know and love – and Ezra’s ensuing reaction – is enough to break anyone’s heart. Especially once you consider that not far into his own future, Ezra won’t be able to save one of them….
4. Kanan Sacrifices Himself (Season 4, Episode 10)
As much as I’d like to simply wave you all in the direction of a clip from Jedi Night and move on to the next segment of my article, continuing my “if I don’t think about it, it didn’t happen” charade – I’m gonna break my happy bubble and give my two cents.
Firstly, I’ve never watched this episode. I’m too much of a coward. Last year, I could’ve excused myself with “ah but you see, I’m binging Timeless at the moment so –” but once a year’s past, you’ve kind of run out of excuses beyond “ain’t gonna happen.”
Still, I have actually watched the scene where Kanan sacrifices himself to save Hera, the Ghost Crew, and his unborn son, Jacen – thanks to YouTube.
The episode follows the Ghost Crew’s daring attempt at a rescue mission, to save Hera who’s been captured by the Empire. By the time the unthinkable happens, you’re sure this episode is gonna get a happy ending. They saved Hera, she and Kanan are in a fuel depot waiting for Sabine and Ezra to pick them up, everyone goes home! Right, Dave Filoni? Right?
Eh, in my dreams it did anyway.
In reality, as the crew gets ready to make their hasty retreat, Governor Pryce orders her men to fire on the fuel tanks that Kanan and Hera are standing on. In one heart dropping, stomach lurching, no this can’t be happening moment, Kanan uses the Force to hold back the blast of the explosion, and push the crew’s shuttle out of the blast radius, until he himself is lost in the fire.
And with that, I learned to never love a character in a galaxy, far far away ever again.
3. Ezra Sees His Parents (Season 2, Episode 11)
The season two episode Legacy follows Ezra and Kanan as they investigate a recent prison break they hope will lead to answers on what happened to Ezra’s parents, who were captured by the Empire for rebelling when Ezra was a child.
As the episode comes to a close, it’s revealed by former Lothal Governor Ryder Azadi that Ezra’s parents were alive up until the prison break, which they organized after hearing Ezra’s broadcast to Lothal in the season one episode, Call to Action, where he gave an inspiring message to Lothal to rise up against the Empire.
If this wasn’t sad enough, the episode ends on Ezra having a vision of his parents standing beside him as he overlooks Lothal’s twin moons in another Force vision, with Kanan later explaining they’ll always be a part of Ezra. Yet another tear jerker of an episode, one that leaves you with the feeling nothing will quite be the same again.
2. Sabine’s Backstory (Season 3, Episode 15)
Throughout the course of the show, little was known about Sabine’s history. We got glimpses of course, with a few episodes dedicated to her, but up until Trials of the Darksaber, little else was known about her past.
After learning how meaningful the Darksaber is to Mandalorian history, the Ghost Crew decides that Sabine should wield it to inspire and lead Mandalorians into the war against the Empire.
Throughout the episode, Sabine wrestles with her conflicting feelings on her past as Kanan, Fenn Rau, and Ezra train her to wield the Darksaber, all culminating in a duel between Kanan and Sabine, where he pushes her into getting angry and into being honest with herself (and to everyone watching) about why she’s so reluctant.
In an emotional dialogue, Sabine reveals that the Empire enslaved her home world using fear and weapons she helped design – weapons they used against people she knew and loved – and when she spoke out about it, her family turned their backs on her and sided with the Empire. So she left.
To this day, I think this episode remains one of my favorites of the series, because of the sheer emotional intensity of it. There’s nothing I love more than natural character driven drama (when it’s done right, anyway).
1. Ahsoka vs Vader (Season 2, Episode 22)
During what was probably one of the most stressful hours of television I’ve ever watched, Twilight of the Apprentice gave fans the reunion they were simultaneously clamoring for, and dreading.
Throughout the second season, Ahsoka and Vader appeared here and there, either giving the Ghost Crew a helping hand, or in Vader’s case, slaughtering rebels mercilessly – ya know, business as usual for the guy who spends his time sulking in a castle over a lake of lava.
In the final, breathtaking moments of the season two finale, Ahsoka and Vader locked blades in a furious battle, leading to Ahsoka discovering the man behind the mask is her own former master, friend, and brother Anakin Skywalker.
Ahsoka vows never to leave him again, and Force pushes Ezra out of harm’s way while the Temple collapses around them, leaving Ahsoka’s ending ambiguous until the final season, where it’s revealed that through some Force hijinks, Ezra actually saves Ahsoka from being killed by pulling her through a portal in time.