This is it. After four seasons, we’ve come to the end of Star Wars: Rebels. The future of these characters has always been something of a conundrum. If they lived, where were they for the events of the original trilogy? Hera and Rex were retroactively added to the Battle of Endor but the fate of the rest of the Ghost crew has been unknown. This week’s ninety-minute finale answered some of those questions while also giving us new ones.
“A Fool’s Hope”
The series began with an Ezra that was lost, angry and trying to seek out a living on his own. Still dealing with the death of his parents, he didn’t open up to others easily. As his relationship with the crew of the Ghost grew, they turned into something more than a crew, they became a family. Understanding and trust became the cornerstones of their relationship. So when Ezra wanted to free his home world from Imperial control, of course they would help. They would help even if it’s an almost insurmountable task with few participants and no back up from the Rebel Alliance. Episode 4×14 is entitled “A Fool’s Hope.” Perhaps it is a fool’s hope that they will succeed, but that won’t stop them from trying. Lothal is where they first met, and it is the setting for so many significant events in Rebel’s history. It’s fitting that fighting for its freedom would be the ending of the series.
Hera is finally back in the Ghost, with familiar allies to aid in the fight. Kallus, the clones Rex, Gregor and Wolffe along with the Mandalorian Ketsu Onyo and pirates Hondo Ohnaka and Melch are all joining the fight. This motley group of fighters shows the strong connections the Ghost crew has forged over the course of the series. “For that boy, there is nothing I would not do,” Hondo says of Ezra, showing a growth and sincerity I hadn’t expected.
On Lothal, Ezra is meditating. Gone is the lost boy who was unsure of his path. There is a surety to his actions. He knows which path he has to take. In a way, it is reminiscent of Kanan shortly before his ill-fated last mission. Ezra emerges from his meditation with the knowledge that the Empire is sending Thrawn. He contacts Hera to move the plan up. While Hera and crew sneak through the blockade around Lothal, the group on the surface are attacked by Governor Pryce’s forces thanks to Ryder Azadi who ‘betrays’ the group’s location to her. Of course, it all turns out to be part of the plan to draw her out. Thanks to the loth-wolves and the Ghost joining the fight, they’re able to capture Pryce. It’s a victory, but capturing her wasn’t the end game. There’s still a lot of work to be done. The episode ends with Ezra telling the group: “I wish it was over but it’s not. Not until we chase the Empire from Lothal and show the galaxy that for all their power, they can be defeated.”
“Family Reunion and Farewell”
Episode 4×15, “Family Reunion and Farewell,” begins with Ezra talking to his parents. “I want you to know that everything I done and will do began with you.” They fought and died for a free Lothal. Now it’s Ezra’s turn to take up the fight and finish it. The plan is to use Pryce’s codes to get into the Imperial dome, recall all the troops to the dome, and take off with them. It seems to be working at first, but they didn’t count on Rukh’s ability to survive almost everything and Thrawn’s early arrival. Thrawn coldly fires on the surface of Lothal to get Ezra to surrender. It works. Ezra agrees to go to Thrawn’s ship. There’s a moment when Ezra is about to sneak away, and Sabine sees him. They share a look that speaks volumes about how close they are and how much they’ve grown. Sabine trusts Ezra enough to let him go and do what he has to. Meanwhile, they have to find a way to get the shield up over the city.
Thrawn takes Ezra to a portion of the Lothal Jedi temple that has been relocated on his ship. A hologram of the Emperor in his Senator Palpatine guise tempts Ezra with the ability to be with his parents again. There’s a Return of the Jedi feel to this episode with the Emperor tempting a young Jedi while the rebel forces are outgunned and outnumbered trying to complete a task that seems impossible. Like Luke, Ezra resists the temptation. He tells his parents he loves them but can’t be with them. He destroys the temple. In the dome, the rebel forces fight their way to the shield generator and get it back online in time to save the city from Thrawn’s bombardment.
Ezra has one more ace in the hold. He’s called the purgills as back up. They quickly take out the ships in orbit. They attach themselves to Thrawn’s ship with that telltale glow that shows they’re about to jump to hyperspace. Hera and Sabine desperately try to call Ezra back but he’s holding Thrawn in place with the force. “It’s up to all of you now. And remember, the force will be with you always,” He tells them. And with a flash of light, he’s gone. It feels like a flashback to Kanan’s death.
The rebel forces left behind continue with the original plan to launch the dome and destroy it mid-flight. On the ground, the people of Lothal celebrate. When you think about it, this is the first real successful battle of the resistance, pre-dating the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One. Ezra leaves them one last message but it’s not quite a goodbye. He ends it by saying he can’t wait to come home. Whatever his plans were, dying or staying away forever weren’t part of them.
I said earlier that this episode answers some questions about what happened to this group of characters. It flash-forwards to after the Battle of Endor. Sabine narrates what happened to them. Zeb took Kallus to the Lasat home world of Lira San, where he was welcomed. Hera and Rex fought on Endor. More importantly, Hera had a son named Jacen, most likely with Kanan. The episode ends with the chance of a possible spin-off as Ahsoka and Sabine go in search of Ezra. After four seasons, the series ends on a note of hope and knowledge that these characters we’ve grown to love did live on.