Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Review
Star Wars Rebels – One Step Closer to Rogue One
Spoilers for Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels…
Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels continued mostly in the same vein as the previous two seasons. Lingering threads from The Clone Wars such as Darth Maul were tied up and the rebels moved closer to becoming the loose alliance portrayed in Rogue One and A New Hope. This was a solid season for the show introducing a new (or old) villain in Grand Admiral Thrawn and other cool characters such as the Bendu played by Doctor Who star Tom Baker. There was some growth for our characters too especially for Kanan, Ezra and Sabine.
One feature of Star Wars Rebels has been the steady move towards the Rebel Alliance fans recognise as Hera and the rest of the crew slowly build up their forces to take on the Empire. This has allowed show runner Dave Filoni and the cast of writers to explore some of the backstories of familiar characters from the original trilogy such as Wedge Antilles, which led to a cool episode where we got to see how Sabine helped bust Wedge out of an Imperial flight academy. Season 3 took this further with a neat two-part episode that explored Saw Gerrera’s character and also tied into the prequels with the episode taking place on Geonosis. This really bridged the gap between the Saw we were introduced to in The Clone Wars and the one we saw in Rogue One. This filling in of lore is really one of the coolest parts of the animated shows.
Of course, to say that Star Wars Rebels is just filler between films would be doing the series a disservice. The show has introduced intriguing characters and developed them over time. Early on this season Ezra struggled with his morals as Darth Maul reared his head again and the struggles Kanan and his apprentice have faced this season has only brought them closer together. Sabine was given a chance to shine too as she took on the responsibility of her Mandalorian ancestry while Hera continues to grow as a key figure for the Rebel alliance. Meanwhile, Disney continued to show a different side to parts of the Empire’s leadership with Agent Kallus becoming Fulcrum and siding with the rebels. It will be interesting to see where his character goes from here now he’s firmly on the other team.
Season 3 certainly contained a mix of the old and the new. The Bendu, a force-wielding character was full of sage advice and wisdom for Kanan in particular and served as the Yoda-like mentor for the blind Jedi. Despite this he had no stake in either the light or the dark side, rather in balance. Thrawn, who is part of the old expanded Star Wars universe, is a pretty cool villain and it’s nice to see a more shrewd and calculating person to face off against. His tendency to give a monologue and not take action was a little too repetitive in my mind and although he had this grand plan to pin the rebels down, he really didn’t do much overall. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing for the show overall that he’s still in play for next season.
Darth Maul played his part for the final time and his story is ultimately quite a sad one. After being betrayed by the Sith in The Clone Wars his desire for revenge grew stronger and by the time we came to the Twin Suns episode it was an unceremonious demise for the desperate former Sith. The fight was very anti-climactic particularly given how the show promoted the ‘showdown’ but it was fitting too as Obi-Wan had learned so much more since their last encounter and Maul was struggling to the finish line. While it probably didn’t deserve a whole episode devoted to the meeting, it was neat to go back to Tatooine again. It does raise a question though of why Ezra hasn’t told anyone Obi-Wan’s alive (presumably he told him not to) given the character’s status as one of the last remaining Jedi.
The season finale had a lot to live up to after the fantastic showdown between Ahsoka and Darth Vader in Twilight of the Apprentice at the end of Season 2. What we were given was quite a different finale more focused on a strategic battle and a desperate attempt to escape the Empire’s clutches. It was somewhat predictable that this wouldn’t be a battle to rally behind for all the rebels given what we know about the events of Rogue One, but it was suitably dramatic enough to keep the audience invested. Hopefully, the show continues to approach its ideas from different angles now that most of the rebel forces are depleted. Do they simply build them up again with similar tactics? What will be the ultimate fate of some of these characters?
Overall, Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels was entertaining and continued to flesh out the old and the new parts of Disney’s Star Wars universe. There was growth for most of the main cast of characters, interesting new additions such as Bendu and loose ends tied up with Darth Maul. While Thrawn didn’t pack as much punch as some may have hoped he’s still a challenge for the crew of the Ghost moving forward.
What did you think of this season of Star Wars Rebels? What do you hope to see next season?
Let me know in the comments below.
If you haven’t checked out Star Wars: The Clone Wars, check out how it enhances the prequels.