So I might have missed out on reviewing a season finale, a season opener, and most of the first half of the season. That won’t stop me from sharing my thoughts on what has been the most dissected season of Rebels. Rogue One brought a fervor to the Rebels fandom that wasn’t quite there in previous seasons. This along with the legendary introduction of the Legends character Grand Admiral Thrawn and many were certain that this season would be weighed down with thick slabs of plot and dripping with a coating of mythology. Oddly enough, I wasn’t in that camp. Thrawn was an interesting character in Legends and I won’t lie that I was hyped when they announced him. However I know Star Wars fandom, parts of the fandom often lives in a world where the vague recollection of a certain character outweighs the truth of them. Thrawn, much like Vader couldn’t and can’t be in every episode. Much like the mythology of the Force and Mandalore couldn’t dominate this first half of Rebels. The future might always be in motion, but looking back there are clues to what could happen.
I knew from when they first announced his addition to the show that people weren’t going to get what they wanted. In Legends, Thrawn stood as a possible path for an Empire that had lost it’s way and had been broken up by powerful warlords. He carried an unnerving ability to guess the actions of everyone and know things before they happened. Some of this is explained in the books, which if you’re interested in reading I suggest you follow Tosche Station’s Thrawncast (they are currently in the second book of the Trilogy). While the Thrawn in those stories gets to rule in absolute, the one in Rebels doesn’t. He has to deal with the ramble of the Empire as much as he has to deal with the Rebels themselves. He is chained to the chain of command, the politics within it and the ultimately their shortcomings. Thrawn can’t just strike down the Rebels in a series of crushing defeats, he barely does that in the books. Thrawn within the Empire has to prove, that he is worth of the title he has gotten and that he can take out the Rebels. Clearly, he doesn’t succeed given that we have 3 movies that shows the Rebels are still active. Even Rogue One hints that the Thrawn doesn’t completely crush our rebel crew. This leaves a few options open for Thrawn’s fate given that we hear nothing of him in the Original Trilogy or the Aftermath Books. Whatever it is that awaits this character, I can tell you that it’ll probably take more than half a season and he ultimately will fail.
The reason for this isn’t that our rebel cell in a key part of the Rebel Alliance. Rather that if they lose as people keep hoping, that there wouldn’t be much reason in following them. In the first episode of the season we see the first whispers of the alliance with mention of General Dodonna. Yes, that guy from A New Hope. Those Y-wings will be very important and useful. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we have hints that while Hera and crew might be deal with the Empire, they’re also making weapons. Throughout the first half there is a real push for finding old weaponry, specifically Photon-Bombs. However in the most recent episode we learn that the Rebels don’t have bombs, but torpedoes.
Now I’m not saying that those silly filler episodes were in truth deep, story points. I am pointing out that within those episodes and their silly comical action covers up some interesting hints about the larger Rebellion. It doesn’t excuse those episodes and trust me when I watched them the first time, I didn’t catch all the clues. They are there for the quick of hearing and clever of mind who can connect the dots fast enough to get it. These episode also help in reminding us that there is more to the Rebellion than them handling the latest big bad. It’s what made season one so good, we took that time away from the heavy plot and myth episodes to focus on what was going on around our character. Their world is more than our microscope desire to see Thrawn thrash our Rebels or for Ezra to fall to the dark side.
THINGS I WANT TO SEE IN THE NEXT HALF:
- Ezra and Temptation: While he might not join Maul’s version of the dark side (whatever that is) I do think that Ezra’s dance with darkness isn’t over. His drive to save his friends, which noble has already shown his willingness to self-sacrifice. Maybe it isn’t darkness that he falls to, but the realization that he can’t save everyone 100% of the time.
- Sabine’s Story: For more than 2 season, Sabine, my darling kickbutt Mando artistic-scientist and explosive expert hasn’t really developed much beyond her design. There have been small changes such as her hesitance to take rash action or greater loyalty to the cause. Season 1 had her questioning Hera, Season 2 had her reaching out to her Mando side and now that Season 3 has knocked down that Mando door I’m expecting that Sabine will take center stage. Combining her loyalty to her new clan/family, those Mando roots and possible more about her backstory. Not to mention a little conflict thrown in for some spice. Let’s learn about the family of such an amazingly bright character.
- Kanan’s Fate: Not all who wonder and lost, especially Kanan. He was lost in the beginning, in his doubts and fears of his sightless state. He has overcome most of that, but it still feels like there is something else that the writers’ want to try with him.
- THE ORIGIN OF AN ALLIANCE: While Rogue One can get the honor of showing the Rebel Alliance at its fledgling birth. Rebels has already hinted that there is a growing connection between cells. The question is, where is Mon Mothma in all this? Is everything created by Bail and then she just takes over? What of the other Rebel leaders? How does this Alliance form? I feel like the show will expand upon this and we’ll possible start seeing hints of larger cells beyond Bail’s.
- A Powerful Empire: A good hero, even heroic organization is nothing with their enemy. While Thrawn might get a victory, he must ultimately lose in a way that both takes him and yet isn’t a clear victory for the Rebels. This victory must come at a cost and while I can’t imagine what that is, it must not only show a defeat on both sides. It has to reinforce that the Empire even when it loses, still wins. I’m not sure how that will happen, but I trust in Filoni and crew.