Let’s talk about that Star Wars: Rebels finale.
Are you feeling unresolved? Cause we sure are too, even after attending a Q&A at Walt Disney Studios with Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, Ashley Eckstein and Taylor Gray. They talked the highlights of the episode and especially that final battle between Ahsoka and Darth Vader which was everything we wanted it to be and yet still left things open for interpretation because Filoni is a word ninja. He really didn’t give any sort of closure. Let’s run down the big choices the creative team made in this episode and talk a bit about why it’s in there.
To be honest, I haven’t watched any of the clone wars so Darth Maul still being alive is pretty new to me. I had heard he was still kicking with new mechanical legs in that series but I guess that it didn’t quite hit me that he was still around and canon. Filoni shared that keeping him around has been fun and approved by the story council so everything that happens is game in the new Star Wars universe. His reveal in this episode as the guide who helps Ezra gain the Sith holocron was exciting mostly because I harbor a hope that in some Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off film, we’ll see them have a final battle. His use in this episode was fun to set up how persuasive the dark side could be but it did catch me off guard to hear him speak simply because I’m used to The Phantom Menace Maul who didn’t. The voice acting by Sam Witwer was fantastic and a great Filoni choice. I could totally see him go head to head with Ewan McGregor. The brutality of the character in this episode was so chameleon-like while he was playing both sides. He took out the Seventh Sister with the ease of snapping a twig and for a moment I thought Kanan was a goner during their fight.
His role in this episode was mostly limited until he dueled with Maul over Ezra. That sequence was pretty intense and when he had his eyes seared by the lightsaber, I flinched anticipating the worse. What caught me by surprise was his quick thinking and becoming so in tune with the force that he still held his ground until Maul got away. Kanan’s look with the helmet was pretty badass too. After the screening Filoni talked about how he really wanted there to be consequences in this episode for Ezra’s actions. How even if you stray for one moment to the dark there will be serious repercussions.
This episode was Ezra’s biggest test. Maul made a really great case for him to join the dark side without the assistance of cookies. As they both worked together really well to get to the holocron, you felt for him. He let himself explore the dark parts of him that thirsts for revenge over what happened to his family. And while he refused to kill, he still let himself give into the ways of the Sith. Even the last shot of him back on board the Ghost made his eyes flash red with powerful potential that can stem from good intentions. Actor Taylor Gray thinks he isn’t too sure, even if he wants to stay heroic whether, Ezra will go dark or become a future extinct Jedi. Filoni doesn’t let up and hasn’t told him what he knows about Ezra’s fate but does remind everyone that he knows and won’t say.
Ahsoka vs. Vader
The long anticipated fight finally happened!! Seeing Ahsoka come to terms with her former master’s identity as Vader has been the core of the season. On tonight’s episode we saw them face off in a fight that was emotional and cathartic. Ahsoka tried to reason with Vader as Anakin and let him know that she wasn’t going to leave him again but it was too late. As the Sith temple crashed on them, you don’t really know what Ahsoka’s fate is. The final shots are of Vader walking away from the wreckage and no sight of Snips. However if you can recall, during the fight she does say she isn’t a Jedi and earlier in the episode the walls could only be moved by giving into anger. That final fight had a whole lotta anger and so I think they settled on a truce, moved the walls and went their separate ways.
Actor Taylor Gray (Ezra) revealed that he didn’t know a lot of the things that would come to pass and only knew what his lines revealed. Filoni didn’t give actors complete scripts to preserve an element of surprise even among the cast and everyone in attendance experienced that final scene for the first time together. Kinberg revealed that the idea for the split helmet is one of the greatest moments in Star Wars history that Filoni contributed and inspired him to allow that if the story called for it. When they decided that Ahsoka fit in season 2’s arc and brought her back, they knew it would lead to that moment.
Actress Ashley Eckstein shared that even she is in the dark about what happened to Ahsoka after she split Vader’s helmet. Over the years, she revealed, that Filoni would taunt her with pics of a beheaded Ahsoka who lost to Vader or tell her that she triumphantly got away. Ultimately Filoni, the only person who really knows what Ahsoka’s fate is, can say that he’ll enjoy keeping his secret until the day that the story calls for that reveal if it ever comes.
What were your thoughts on the season finale? What do you think is going to happen to Ezra and Kanan? Do you sense any seeds for the future of the Knights of Ren? Part of my wonders if Ezra will have anything to do with that….