[CON] SWCO 2017: Star Wars Rebels
Rebels Rebels Rebels… how does one describe that panel? Well, emotional whiplash might be a good way to start. Actually, there’s not really a better way to do so. Over the course of the 2.5 hours I spent in the panel room (they loaded the press in very early,) I went from being super happy to super sad back to happy to… well, we’ll get there.
The big news that came out of the panel was that Star Wars Rebels will be ending after Season 4 and some new animation project will take its place. This isn’t earth-shattering news as people have long suspected that Filoni’s been working on something else but it was sad news nonetheless. Personally, I expected (and hoped) to get five seasons out of the show. However, as Filoni pointed out, it’s good that Rebels will wrap up on their own terms. Just take a look at The Clone Wars and its continuously adoring fandom if you need any proof. On the other hand… it is ending. For me, Rebels has been what The Clone Wars has been for so many others. It resonated with me from before the first episode even aired and not just because we had an Asian teenage girl as one of the leads. The found family fighting for something bigger than themselves hit me right in the gut and I can’t quite find the words for how much I love the team on the Ghost. I’m sure that I’ll love whatever show comes next but… it just won’t be Rebels.
This wasn’t the only thing we learned during the panel. What got more than a few cheers from the audience was the reveal that Rukh would be in Season 4. For those who didn’t read the Thrawn Trilogy, the Noghri Rukh was Grand Admiral Thrawn’s personal bodyguard in Legends. Fans freaked out when we got a mere mention of his name at the end of last season and likely never expected that we’d actually get to see him on screen. Start your speculations now for how artistically done the end of the season might be. He’s being voiced by Warwick Davis, by the way, which shows that persistence apparently pays off when you’re trying to get another part in Star Wars and you’re already part of the LFL family. Also, never play poker with Timothy Zahn. He will win and smirk the whole time when you’re shocked about how he had a winning hand.
One of the best thing about attending a panel like Rebels is getting to listen to the cast and producer not only talk about the shows and their characters but also banter back and forth. After that panel, I am now 93% sure that Steve Blum is on board with Zeb/Kallus. Also who could have possibly predicted back when the show first started that #HotKallus was going to be an actual thing not only in the fandom but that was also mentioned on the stage? (No one. The answer is no one.) There was a lot to unpack from last season and plenty to very cautiously tease about where characters might be going in the final season. If you ever want to be amused, just watch a Star Wars voice actor talk about the future of a show while sitting near Dave Filoni whilst looking terrified that they might accidentally breath a word too much.
Something that’s definitely worth pointing out are all of the kudos everyone gave Tiya Sircar for her amazing performance as Sabine last season. The conversation also highlighted how the cast really is like a family… just like their characters are. One of the sweetest moments was when Freddie Prinze Jr. told us about how when he saw the Sabine episodes last year and promptly called Tiya and went, “I’m not your father so I won’t say I’m proud of you but…” and then proceeded to just gush about how great her performance had been. Moments like these are part of what make the show and these panels great. I recommend watching the entire panel if you haven’t had the chance yet.
We did finally get to see the Season 4 trailer although it was directly after Filoni gave us the bad news. (See what I mean about emotional whiplash?) There’s definitely a lot to see there and… actually, why don’t you just watch it again?
There are a lot of cool things going on here. X-Wings! Actual Rukh! Bo-Katan! Yavin! Kallus with the good hair! SPACE MARRIED COMING SO CLOSE TO BEING ALL SPACE MARRIED ON SCREEN ! This may be the last season but it looks like the entire Rebels team is committed to giving us a crazy season filled with everything I wanted and so help me: if that does not include Kanan and Hera finally kissing on screen, I will riot. Oh. And Dave Filoni trolled like only Dave Filoni can by wearing a shirt that said “Ahsoka Lives?” before the trailer played and swapping it for one that said “Ahsoka Lives!” while we watched the trailer. Troooooooll.
Unsurprisingly, we did get to watch an episode. Titled “Heroes of Mandalore,” it was Part 1 of what will be a two-part episode when it debuts in the fall. Also unsurprisingly, it focused on Sabine. In a lot of ways, it felt reminiscent of “Siege of Lothal” as it felt like a very direct follow up to the previous season. (And also because Sabine had the same hair/armor look!) I won’t say or spoil much but it definitely felt like a great follow up to the Mandalore episodes from Season 3 and was exactly what I was hoping for with the show. It did, however, end on a total downer note and honestly it’s a painful cliffhanger to have to live with between now and the fall. P A I N F U L. I felt completely gutted for a good half hour after walking out of the room and that’s all I’ll say about the episode until it’s officially released in the fall.
There wasn’t much in terms of a live tweet from me for this panel since the Galaxy Stage was a black hole for my internet but hey! Here’s what was posted all at once when I walked out of the room.