Season 3 was certainly a step forward for Star Wars Rebels. But it’s clear that there’s more to come.
Season 3 of Rebels was really one of the most important developments in the Star Wars Saga. The Empire has reached a level of oppression that characterizes it in A New Hope.
The Rebellion Takes Shape
Season 3 saw the Rebel alliance come together. In the powerful episode “Secret Cargo” Mon Mothma makes a call to arms to unit the various rebel cells working to fight the Empire.
In the process, we get tidbits of things we know : “The Meeting” at Dantooine (would have loved to have seen an actual “meeting” between the Rebel leaders); our first mention of “Yavin IV”. This was an interesting closing line to Zero Hour that indicates that the Rebels have identified Yavin IV as a good location for a united base. It also is consistent with the events of Rogue One.
Kanan and Ezra’s knowledge of the Force grows
Kanan and Ezra have continued to find new sources of wisdom of the Force throughout the series. This quest they have is one of the best parts of the story in that it allows us to learn more about the nature of the Force and see how our characters change because of it.
Kanan learns to “see things differently”. While his blindness causes a lot of challenges for him in the beginning, he learns to see in a different way through the Force. We see Kanan become more patient and insightful – and powerful – throughout the season.
Bendu was the source of much of that knowledge – as was Ezra’s experimentation with the Sith Holocron. Bendu is an interesting figure in that he is certainly knowledgeable but he was also the means by which the Rebels evade Thrawn’s onslaught.
The most fantastic elements of Season 3 involved Maul’s manipulations of Ezra. Joining the Sith and Jedi holocrons and accessing the Knight Sister’s alter gave insights into who who will help destroy the Sith – and the location of Obiwan Kenobi. These were fantastic episodes that brought new knowledge of the Force to Ezra (and Kanan), but added significant risk.
Ezra took many strides forward this season and we see him go through many emotional twists and turns. We see Maul continually manipulate him to do his bidding. We also see Ezra continue to grow resolute in his defense of his friends each time.
Perhaps the most impactful element to Season 3 was the revalation of Sabine’s back-story. We learn about her emotional betrayal by her family – which ultimately saved her life after she left home. We learn of her disdain for being used by the Empire to design weapons that were used against her people. And we finally see her rejoin her family, while also plunging Mandalore into civil war by killing Gar Saxon. These episodes were fantastic in the world that they create and the internal political struggles. I’d even be ok seeing its own animated series (even a short one) centered on this Mandalorean civil war.
The introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn was a fantastic dimension to the Rebels story. He very nearly destroys the Rebel cell at Atollon – something the rest of theEmpire has failed to accomplish. He’s only limited by the narrow minded actions of his underlings and the unexpected presence of Bendu.
Thrawn’s use was perhaps frustratingly limited. While I wanted a lot more of him, we got a consistent amount of Thrawn and his character was thankfully consistent with the Grand Admiral Thrawn we know in Legends. Though some of his character traits from the Zahn books was a bit far – fetched, Rebels shows a believable thread of his use of alien art to derive tactical decisions. His insight into art solely allowed him to identify Agent Kallus as Fulcrum and to identify the Rebel base. He clearly sets himself apart as a unique enemy with the Empire. I hope that we continue to see more of him in Season 4 (and I’m eagerly awaiting the forthcoming novel).
Season 3 Reviews
The Holocrons of Fate [S3E3]