Tag: Grand Admiral Thrawn

Thrawn: Alliances: cover revealed!!

Just revealed on The Star Wars Show: The final cover for Thrawn: Alliances!!

 

Here’s another look at that cover, featuring two of the biggest fan-favorite and most-feared villains in all of Star Wars history:

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We also have a brief idea of what the subject matter of this book will be, based on a tweet from the official Star Wars books account:

What do you think of this new Thrawn-centric book? Are you planning to give it a read? How do you think he and Vader will work together? Let me know in the comments below!

Star Wars Rebels: “Rebel Assault”: episode review

Welcome to this final Star Wars Rebels review of the year from The Elven Padawan!

That’s right, this Monday’s episode, “Rebel Assault”, led us right into the mid-season hiatus screaming and yelling. Well, maybe not literally, but it definitely was a major cliffhanger to end on! Shay and Audrey once again give you their big thoughts on this episode, which aired in the U.S. on Disney XD on November 13, 2017.

This episode gave finally gave us that long-awaited attack on Lothal by the Rebels, but things didn’t go as anyone was hoping. Instead, it quickly morphed into a battle for survival in the Imperial-occupied streets of Lothal, as Hera tried to make her way to safety after her attack goes horribly wrong. As usual, this review is full of SPOILERS! so continue forward at your own risk!

I hope you enjoy this review from The Elven Padawan, and be looking for more when Star Wars Rebels resumes its fourth and final season in early 2018.


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Shay: So starting off, this was definitely a very Hera-based episode. She really got her moments to shine in here, and it was actually a lot different from the episodes focused on her that we’ve gotten in the past. I enjoyed it myself, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but I’ve seen some people who are a little annoyed with it. Because they really advertised that, after the first several episodes, this season would really focus mainly on Ezra and tying up his story, while some people feel that it’s actually been focusing more on Kanan and Hera.
What did you think about the flip here to centering in on her?

Audrey: We haven’t really seen a ton of Hera this season. I felt like before, Ezra and Sabine were getting a little too much screen time, so I was excited that we got some Hera action in this one. I think all the others’ stories are going to end up influencing Ezra’s, so in a way it’s still about him and his desire to help Lothal.

Shay: That’s been pretty much my thoughts as well. I mean, yes, they are putting a lot of focus on Kanan right now, and on his and Hera’s relationship. But in my opinion, that is all going to go back to Ezra. Whatever happens to those guys really determines where Ezra goes from here, from whether or not each of them survives, to what they choose to do with their lives from here on out if they do… honestly, whatever happens between Kanan and Hera is going to really affect him as well, because it will lead them to make certain choices about their lives, and the way all these characters are tied together as a family means that no one’s choices only have consequences for that individual, they affect all of them, together.

Right now, I’m really liking how it’s being balanced between all the characters. I’m glad it’s coming back to focus on the Ghost crew family unit and their interactions with each other, instead of each of them off on their individual adventures. We get a couple episodes of Sabine-focused story, then on Ezra and Sabine, then one with Ezra and Kanan, then one with Hera, but ultimately they’re done in a way that ties whatever happens to one or two of the crew to everyone else, and they’re balanced out so no one individual, or duo, gets too much screen time while the others just kinda tag along.

Audrey: Every time someone called Hera “General” in this episode, I wanted to go “Yes! General Syndulla!”

Shay: Oh yeah!!
So, I think everyone probably has already picked up on how much I love Hera, so for me personally, it was so amazing to see her get this focus, which was literally an entire episode showing us why she ends up as such a legend in the Rebellion. Not only is she crazy good at flying, but this was the first time we got to see her doing a lot of ground fighting, unless you count some parts in A New Dawn. It was really cool to see her doing all that sneaking around, trying to stay away from Ruhk and help Mart, and eventually going hand-to-hand with Thrawn’s assassin.
We’d never seen her fight like that, and it reminded me of a few things: first off, she was born for this war. It’s like Thrawn said back in season 3, he studies it, but she was forged by it. And also, it reminded me that she is not invincible. It’s sometimes really easy to see Hera as being this perfect, invincible pillar of strength all the time, but sometimes there are places where she’s really in trouble. I’m not trying to say she’s weak or can’t take care of herself or anything like that, but when she was fighting Ruhk hand-to-hand, it reminded me of how easily something actually could happen to her. Especially when he picked her up and threw her back down. He actually *lifted her completely off the ground and threw her across the street*. We’ve known for a little while now that she has to survive at least to Rogue One, and now we know she gets at least as far as Return of the Jedi, but I was really starting to get worried for her!! She’s not totally “unbreakable”.

Audrey: The first time she faced Rukh, when she got away, (go Chopper!), I thought that was it, that Rukh wasn’t going to take her. I wasn’t really expecting her to actually get taken. It was painful to watch Hera get thrown around like that; I especially hated the end when Pryce stunned her and took her away. Other than the very beginning, this episode didn’t have any victories for the Rebels, they lost a lot in it. Which is why it bugs me that I saw somewhere that someone said something along the lines of, “… but no real losses, nope, not on Rebels.” They lost nearly an entire squadron, they failed to destroy the factory, and two pilots were taken prisoner! Those are real losses, a “real loss” doesn’t mean a main character has to die.

Shay: Ug, I just wanted to punch Pryce then!! She’s been even more annoying that usual lately, but when she caught Hera and then says, “Such a small victory,” then stuns her right out, it made me so mad!! She just had such disdain in her voice; even Tarkin and the Grand Inquisitor knew that catching Kanan in season one was really helpful to taking out that Rebel cell. I was like, “Do you know who this woman is?! Do you know that she’s literally the main reason you’ve been chasing these people across the galaxy for this long, and why Thrawn is getting fed up with you right now???” I mean, I didn’t want to see Hera captured at all, but it made me like Pryce even less than I already did when she didn’t even have respect for how hard to catch Hera has been. When Thrawn got her in season three he knew right off exactly who she was and what was up with her, and you can tell he’s pretty impressed with how well she’s thwarted all his plans so far, or has at least escaped and kept her family safe.

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And I know what you mean there, too. I’m seeing people who seem to be getting bored with it already because “nothing big has happened”. I don’t know how they can say that, honestly. Yes, we haven’t seen any main characters die yet. Yes, there are a lot of mysteries that we still don’t have a lot of clues to. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been big already! Just the fact that they’re finally dealing with the Kanera is huge, since they’ve been teasing their relationship since A New Dawn and the first Rebels character shorts.

And here’s something I’m thinking people aren’t picking up on: how is their failure here going to contribute to other things that may happen soon?
Yes, Rebel pilots do die frequently on here. So maybe people are a bit desensitized to what it means for Hera to have lost almost her entire squadron. But keep in mind that the Alliance didn’t want to let her have this mission in the first place. In their eyes, there are much bigger things to worry about right now than just a TIE Defender factory on a little Outer Rim planet. They’re starting to hear rumors of a superweapon, they’ve just found out about Protocol 13, and Saw is really starting to get out of hand. They’re already lost a lot to Thrawn, and they don’t want to continue trying to do things that will just cause them to loose even more resources.
While they did say “yes” to Hera in the end, it was because she begged them, and they finally became convinced that she could do the job. But now they’ve lost a ton of ships, and we know from earlier storylines like “Steps into Shadow” just how hard it is to get more. We know they’ve lost a bunch of good pilots, which is not only saddening because those were individual people and the Rebellion values the lives of everyone, but also because fresh pilots are hard to find and train. We know that from “The Antilles Extraction”. And we also know what a great leader and fighter Hera is, and how they’re finally starting to realize that, and now they’ve lost her, too.
It’s really starting to make a lot of sense how the Rebellion doesn’t want to send people out to Scarif in Rogue One, but beyond just that, I’m a bit worried about how they might respond to any other future tragedies that Hera may ask for help on once she’s able to escape.

Honestly, I’m almost starting to think the reason that she wasn’t there at the meeting with Jyn and Bodhi was because they’re making her have some “cool off time” because of all the trouble she’s been causing lately.

Audrey: And it’s not her fault that they failed either! She got them through the blockaid, and got rid of Skerris, although she did have a bit of help from the Imperials shooting towards their own disobedient pilot. I try not to cheer when characters die, but I was so ready for that guy to be gone.

Shay: Yes, finally! He was such a pain. Why can’t anyone in the Empire just listen to Thrawn when he tells them stuff? I mean really, his track record should show that every. single. stinking. time. this happens, who ever is not listening dies, and he goes on the win the day anyway!
Of course I wouldn’t have to Empire to actually win, but really, if they would actually just work with each other, and especially with Thrawn, they would have crushed the Rebellion within about 5 years.

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I hope you enjoyed this review of “Rebel Assault”! Did you have a favorite shot or line from this episode? (Some of those views from the space battle were just plan epic!) Are there any parts of the episode you’d like to discuss with me? Let me know in the comments, I always love chatting with you guys!

Star Wars Rebels: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commanders”: episode review

Welcome back to another Star Wars: Rebels review from The Elven Padawan!
Shay and Audrey return once again to give you their thoughts and reactions from the two most recent episodes of this final season of the hit show: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commanders”, both of which aired in the U.S. on Disney XD on November 6, 2017.
These episodes saw the Ghost crew continue their efforts alongside the Lothal rebels as they encountered new enemies and began to discover more about the larger forces at play behind the battle for this seemingly-insignificant world. Things are beginning to move forward for the Rebels as they face new revelations and mysteries, triumphs and challenges, both in the battle and on a personal level. This episode review is full of MAJOR SPOILERS, so read on at your own risk!!
I hope you enjoy what we have to say, and be looking forward for The Elven Padawan’s final review for this half of season 4 after the mid-season finale, “Rebel Assault”, airs next week on Monday, October 13, 2017.

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Even more questions begin to rise about the connections between the mysterious creatures on Lothal, the Force, and the Jedi of the Ghost crew. Source: StarWars.com
Shay: So starting right out, what was your big initial reaction to this set of new episodes? Favorite moment, line, scene, ya know?
And I already have a feeling a lot of ours are gonna be very similar…
Audrey: They were both really good! I loved seeing more wolves, Hera trying to convince the Rebels to launch an attack, and that Kanera part! My favorite line was probably Ezra’s entire impersonation attempt.
And Hera’s speech. Those parts are tied.

Shay: That speech was definitely amazing!! We had already heard a lot of it through the trailers for this season, but her determination to show the Rebel Alliance that this chance was worth taking was so great. I love how they’re not simply accepting that Hera’s a flat, “Rebel-leader-plus-mom-figure” at this point. I think she’s still got a lot of struggles to work through, even though they won’t be as front-and-center as those of some of the other members of the crew. She’s having to realize that the Alliance isn’t perfect, and many times she’s going to disagree with them and will probably even have to take things into her own hands when it gets in the way of what she believes is right. It’s a lot like the the Battle of Scarif. We still don’t know exactly how that went down, but we know that Admiral Raddus and all the others who went there, including Hera probably, weren’t technically supposed to, but they did it anyway. We saw some of her struggle in that way through these episodes, where she was told to leave the conversation and later worried that they didn’t trust her judgement.

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Hera is upset when the Alliance doesn’t seem to be taking her warnings on the danger of the TIE Defender, and the need to help Lothal, seriously enough. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: On the other side, I laughed so many times throughout both of these episodes, and that actually surprised me a lot! Not that I was expecting them to be super dark or heavy or anything, but just because it catches you off-guard so much. Here they are in really a very dire situation, and we’ve got a lot of jokes about Ezra going through the vents, Seevor horrified at what he sounds like, and then Ezra cracking a joke when the poor guy got incinerated!!
What did you think of the humor in these episodes? In some places, even though it was very funny and I loved it, I kinda felt a little bad for laughing because of what was actually going on, like Zeb repeatedly beating Seevor up to keep him quiet, and like I said before, when he actually met his end.

Audrey: I’m glad they put some humor in to balance out all the fighting and other things going on. The whole scene when Seevor falls backwards was framed really oddly to me though, and kind of worries me, but other than that, the other funny moments were well thought out.

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Desperate to get a transmission through to Hera and the Rebellion on Yavin 4, the crew hijacks a Mining Guild crawler and meets its very interesting captain, Seevor. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: These episodes were actually a lot more “hopeful” than I thought they would be… I don’t want to say “light-hearted”, but that’s actually the closest word I can think of to what I was feeling from them…
The last several episodes before these weren’t too terribly heavy, but they were much more so than these, what with seeing just how bad Lothal has gotten, and the ones before that, with Saw and then with what was going on with Mandalore.
When these episodes finished up, it really felt like things could be looking up for the Rebels, and I found myself wanting to believe it could all go OK. But I’m afraid they’re just setting us up with false security, and then the second half of this season is gonna come rushing in with everything going downhill really fast.

I wonder if they’re setting it for for the characters to feel that way, too, though. Especially with that very last scene in “Crawler Commanders”, where Hera calls in to tell them they’re bringing the attack force to try to help Lothal; everyone is smiling, and especially for Ezra, things are finally starting to look up. I wonder if they’re going to be in for a very hard truth on just how desperate the situation is next episode?

Audrey: Can they even pull off destroying the TIE factory? I don’t know if that would count as a major victory or not, since they can’t have one until Rogue One. From what we’ve seen in the trailers, it’s not going to go very well. But even if it fails, I did love seeing them so hopeful and happy for a moment, especially Ezra. He’s had to wait so long for this!

Shay: Ah, I know! And after last season, too, when everything seemed so dark and it looked like it was all falling apart so fast. In just a few episodes it’s like everything has turned around, and it both warms and break my heart to see them all like this. Ezra’s so excited that his home will finally get some help from the Rebellion, Kanan and Hera seem to have a promising future to their relationship, Sabine’s family problems and the occupation on Mandalore have all been resolved, and Zeb’s just happy to be there and support everyone. I honestly have no clue what Chopper is feeling, but he seems pretty positive right now too, so that’s pretty major.
But then I remember that part from the opening crawl of A New Hope, and I start to worry.
I personally think being able to do that much damage to the Empire, especially on a planet like Lothal, which seems to be really instrumental to their plan for some reason, would be a pretty big victory…

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The Rebels look forward to the future in hope, as Hera tells them the the Rebel Alliance is planning an attack on the Empire stationed on Lothal. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Ok, so now lets talk some specifics on these episodes.
“Kindred” was the first appearance of a new character pulled from Legends, Ruhk! This guy was Thrawn’s personal assassin in the Old EU, and he’s carried that same occupation over into his role in New Canon and in Rebels specifically. He’s also a Noghri, which is a race we’ve never seen on-screen before. And of course we can’t forget that he’s voiced by Warwick Davis, which a lot of Star Wars fans should know as Wicket!
What did you think about Ruhk and the way he was portrayed here? Do you think he’s a legitimate threat to the Rebels, and they should be really aware of him? Or will he turn out to be more like the Fifth Brother was, and look and seem creepy, but not end up actually doing any damage?

Audrey: He is pretty creepy looking. And his voice is creepy sounding too. I definitely think he’s a threat for the Rebels, they’ve never had an experienced assassin hunting them before. Ezra was losing that short brawl before he Force-pushed him away. He’s got a lot of cool gadgets and weapons. I think he may have been part of the group that went to wipe out all the Lasat, because seemed to single Zeb out a lot and has a Bo-rifle.

Shay: That’s a really interesting point, and something I hadn’t thought of before! Obviously he did seem to have something going on about Zeb in particular, so I wonder if it could be a personal thing between himself and that race, like with Kallus, or maybe something where those two groups have never gotten along, kinda like the Elves and Dwarves in Middle-Earth?

Audrey: I feel like I’ve heard something about Noghri and Lasat before, but I can’t remember where.

Shay: They seem to have a similar sort of culture, based on just the little bit we know of the New Canon version of the Noghri…

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Ezra battles Thrawn’s assassin, Ruhk, as he and Jai Kell try to escape from the Imperial forces. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: We also saw Pryce again in these episodes! I feel like that woman is standing on a very slippery slope right now, in a balance between being able to hang on to everything she’s fought her way to having and losing it all to Thrawn’s plans… She always thought she was the one in charge and had brought Thrawn in to help her, but now it’s beginning to appear that he’s the one calling the shots. Especially in the way it looked like she was being sent out into the field to greet Ruhk and start tracking the Rebels, while Thrawn got to just sit in his office.

Audrey: She and Rukh did not get along well. The first time they’re working together, and they’re already arguing and snapping at each other about who let who get away.

Shay: I just had a thought: I wonder if Thrawn is doing all this on purpose?? Perhaps he’s bringing in his own guys, knowing full-well how Pryce will respond, in order to show how she’s not really running things in the most productive way for the Empire, and to kinda get her out of the way so he can do what he really wants to? Knowing what we do of the way Thrawn thinks and plans all this stuff out, it definitely seems like he would already know how the two would get along and have a plan for it.

Audrey: That is such a Thrawn thing to do. I know he definitely can’t be working for the Empire at the end of this season, but I wonder if Price isn’t so prominent that she would have to go just because we don’t see her later.

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Governer Pryce is beginning to have things slip out of her control, and she does not like it. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Next thing up: #Kanera!
Ok, so I know we’ve already discussed this a little together, but there has been a lot of stuff between Kanan and Hera going on lately, and there still is, but “Kindred” finally got us some stuff we’d been waiting for a very long time on.
What do you think of where their relationship is headed, and how it looks like it’s finally getting some resolution?

Audrey: I do not have a very good feeling about where it’s going to lead. One of the reasons Mr. Dave decided to finally get around to addressing it was probably because he knew he could make fans feel more if Kanan doesn’t have a place to stay through the Original Trilogy.

But even though it will probably make things that might happen later harder, I am very happy we are at least getting some happy moments.

Shay: I’m both very happy and very worried about it… You’re right, it only makes sense that they’re finally getting around to it now just to make it hit us all the harder when it doesn’t end well for Kanan, but I’m drawing a little bit of hope from the fact that Han and Leia got their happy ending (well, for about 30 years, anyway…)
And finally including some moments between those two actually served to lighten these episodes up quite a bit. Especially with their scene right before Hera leaves. I had thought that if they resolved anything between them, it would be when things were already pretty bad, much like Han and Leia’s scene at the end of TESB, when he’s about to be carbon-frozen. And while I think we might still get something like that between them, it was really sweet to do it the way they did, and remind everyone that even with as dark as things are looking, there’s still some moments of light in there. The way the rest of the crew, and even Ryder, started smiling when they saw what was going on just really made me grin.

Audrey: I’ve forgiven Ryder for ruining it the first time, he even tried to be polite and said “s’cuse me”.

Shay: Yeah, I think I have to forgive him too…. And I have to forgive Zeb, because his grin over that was really cute…
I feel like Ryder and everyone else have been kinda watching them this whole time, knowing something was coming, but just waiting for it to actually happen. The way he said “Excuse me” made it sound like he’d been standing there for a bit.

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Kanan and Hera share a moment together as Hera prepares to leave for Yavin 4. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: And finally…. the Loth-wolves!!
We’ve all been begging for more of those guys, but every time we get them back we just end up with more questions!! Like why is that one calling on Kanan? And why does it keep referring to him by his real name?? And how in the galaxy did they travel halfway across the planet like that??? So many questions!!
We knew it was going to start getting “weird”, and I know a lot of people, including myself, kinda worried about that, but right now I’m just intrigued. I really want to know what’s going on here, and I’m really excited to find out more!

Audrey: All the wall designs are really mysterious too. I found Yoda in one of them, but I have no idea what any of it means.

Shay: I know, right?! I wonder if this is connected to how Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are able to “become One with the Force at will”, as well know they are able to “teleport” as Force Ghosts. Though that actually is pretty different, as they’re more or less just a presence within the Force, whereas these wolves seem to actually be living beings.
The wall designs to indeed seem to be telling a story, and I’ve seen people already speculating on who the different individuals they portray could be. I guess it’s also possible that they’re just random people and Jedi (or Force-users).

Something that really interested me about all this was the fact that not only the Jedi, but also Zeb, Sabine, and Ryder were able to be transported, and they didn’t have to be knocked out, like when Sabine and Ezra rode on the wolf in “Flight of the Defender”. I wonder how that works? I definitely can not wait till we get to find out more!

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The mysteries of the Loth-wolves deepen as they take the Rebels deep into the caves of Lothal, and seeming to walk across space, transport them halfway across the planet. Source: StarWars.com

What did you think of these episodes? Do you have any thoughts, theories, or speculations on what’s up with the Loth-wolves? What do you think of Thrawn’s recent moves against the Rebellion? Let me know in the comments!

Star Wars Rebels: “The Occupation” & “Flight of the Defender”: episode review

Welcome back to The Elven Padawan’s reviews of Star Wars Rebels‘ fourth and final season!

Shay and Audrey are back to review the latest two episodes from season four, “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender”, both of which aired in the U.S. on Disney XD on October 30th, 3017.

These episodes saw our favorite Rebel team return to the place where it all got started, Ezra Bridger’s home planet of Lothal. Currently under Imperial occupation and being used to manufacture countless war-machines as testaments of the Empire’s might, Lothal has changed a lot since we last saw it, and Shay and Audrey share their reactions to that, as well as to the new hints these episodes gave on some mysterious creatures who seemingly will play a big part in this story, as well as where the series is taking us overall. There are plenty of SPOILERS for the current episodes of the fourth season here, so read at your own risk!!

I hope you enjoy this review, and be looking forward to The Elven Padawan’s reviews for the rest of the season, including “Kindred” and “Crawler Commanders”, two new episodes that will be airing this coming Monday. You can also get caught up on Shay and Audrey’s past reviews for Star Wars Rebels season 4 episodes here: “Heroes of Mandalore” and “In the Name of the Rebellion”.


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The Ghost crew is back to fighting the Empire on Lothal! But so many things are different now…. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Before we even get going on the details of these two episodes, I was wondering if you had any initial thoughts or reactions, things that really stood out to you, from them?

 

Audrey: I spent pretty much the whole day after I watched them thinking about Loth-Wolves and “Dume.” I also realized how many things mirror past episodes, mostly from season one, only with the stakes much higher.

Shay: I did the same when it came to those wolves! There was a lot of very intriguing stuff there, and I’m really impatient to find out what they meant by it all….
I’m also realizing just how right Mr. Dave was when he said everything since the beginning has been all thought-out and nothing was filler, that it all had a purpose. It all makes so much sense now that we’re here and the end and it’s all tying together.
I also was thinking about how strong Ezra’s ties to his home were, as opposed to Pryce, who is also from Lothal, and couldn’t care less about how the Empire is destroying it.
Audrey: Lothal is so sad looking! It’s changed so much. I forgot how long it’s been since we’ve really seen much of it. I think the only episode on Lothal last year was “An Inside Man”.

 

Shay: When Vizago’s ship first went into the atmosphere and we got a good look at the surface of the planet, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. It was so natural before, something we don’t get a whole lot of in Star Wars, and seeing it the way they’ve done it now makes me want to cry.

Something that also struck me really hard about it was how much it reminded me of Dathomir, for some reason. And Dathomir is such a dead, desolate world, everything about it seems so dark and heavy.

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Lothal….
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and Dathomir… Source: StarWars.com
Audrey: I think Ezra handled it pretty well though; if that was my planet that entire parts of where burning, I don’t even know how I would handle it.
When Mon Mothma told him he could go, Ezra made it sound like he wasn’t coming back to the Rebellion, so at least that provides a good way he doesn’t have to meet Luke in between now and ESB. I love how Hera immediately said they were all going.

 

Shay: He did very well not letting his anger get a hold on him, and instead using those feelings to make him more determined to get rid of the Empire. I love seeing how much our little Blueberry has grown!

That’s a very good point, and something I want to touch on for a moment: Ezra seems like he’s decided that he’s staying on Lothal. Now, we know Ezra has said things in the past that he’s regretted later, and he often makes rash decisions. Do you think this could turn into one of those, where he eventually sees that, like Hera believes, the only way to free one planet is to get the entire Empire out of the way? Because Ezra at this point seems to be taking much of the same mentality as Cham does, and wanting to try to free his people first, when that’s really pretty impossible. What do you think about all this?

Audrey: I think if they can do some good for the people on Lothal, then Ezra won’t completely regret it. He might regret having everyone come with him if something happens. He said he’s had a long time to think about this, so it’s not his most rash decision, but he sure seemed to be questioning his choice while they were in the sewers.
Also, about only freeing one planet, it could be argued that some planets are suffering worse than others. Maybe the Empire doesn’t have a factory on a certain planet, or they’re not mining kyber from it. Some worlds won’t make it if they have to wait until the Rebellion is strong enough to take the Empire down completely.
Shay: I wonder, though, if something very bad does happen, could it result in him walking away entirely? Not turning Dark, but just walking away like Ahsoka? So he can have a chance to watch from a distance and figure things out for himself?
Audrey: It’s hard to picture Ezra watching from a distance, he’s so involved. But if something happened, it would change him a lot, like after Malachor. If he did step back, I feel like it wouldn’t be for very long, unless he completely gives up hope.
Shay: But do you think it’s a futile effort, that in the end they’ll realize that there’s no way to push the Empire off of just one planet at a time?
Audrey: That’s true, they definitely can’t win the entire war that way. They’re in a tough spot. It’s like what Mon Mothma said about this being a time of difficult choices.
Shay: I would like to know what all the others characters think about what they’re doing. It’s obvious that Lothal has a special place in all their hearts, and I know they talked about this in the Rebels Recon for these episodes. But I’m curious about whether the others have decided what they’re really planning to do in the long run or not. Like you mentioned before, Hera quickly said that the whole crew was going together, and it reminds us all again that they really are a family and all stick together when it comes to these situations. But do you think they know about Ezra’s implied decision to stay with Lothal for good? It seems that if he does that, he would have to leave not only the greater Rebellion, but his family on the Ghost as well, and unlike Sabine and Zeb, and even Hera, he doesn’t have any family anywhere else. He and Kanan are really alone aside from each other and the rest of the Ghost family. And we know Hera eventually goes back to the Alliance and is there for quite a few more years. So is that to be taken as a sign that something bad will happen and the survivors will go back to the Alliance alone, or just that they’ll have to make hard decisions and the family will have to break up while the war is going?
Audrey: As sad as breaking up the family would be, I’d like that better then something awful happening.
Shay: I will have to agree with you 100% on that…
Here’s an item that I totally loved in these episodes: all the connections! I know we touched on this a little before, but just wow. Puffer pigs, Vizago, references to Hondo Ohnaka and Lando Calrissian, Jai Kell, Baron Valen Rudor, the “Academy days”, Sabine’s symbol, escaping through the sewers…. and not to mention the whole “We just stole a TIE Fighter when we didn’t mean to” thing! These episodes were not only amazing call-backs to the earlier seasons, but showed just how much everything has changed since then.
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Return of the Puffer Pigs! Source: StarWars.com
Audrey: I love how “all the paths are coming together.” (So far, at least..) All the episodes that some people looked down on when the show started up are coming into play. I really don’t know how people can say this show is terrible.
Shay: I know! I do understand how some people kinda rolled their eyes at the first several episodes of the first season, even I did that. But people still hate on it because of those ones, and it’s grown so much from then! And we’re seeing all the time that what they’ve always said is absolutely true, there is no filler in this thing. Everything that has happened has been important and is now coming back to remind us of that, and even the entire show is coming to be connected to the rest of the series in such awesome ways.

Just look at what they’ve done with Jai! I really never expected to see him back again, even though I have wanted it really bad since first seeing the episode with him and Ezra in the Academy.

There is one thing that really throws me, however, and that’s why he was even on Lothal in the first place. After Ezra was able to help him escape from the Empire way back in season one, it was implied that the Rebellion helped him and his mom get into hiding somewhere, since they were pretty sure he was Force-sensitive and Project Harvester was still in full-swing then. But now we find him right back on Lothal and helping with Ryder’s rebel cell there.
Audrey: Maybe he felt like Ezra, that he needed to come back and help his people. Or maybe they found him a hiding place on Lothal, though that does seem like they would have gone for a less obvious choice.
Shay: You would have thought the Empire would have been able to hunt him down by now if he was nearby, especially if he was around Old Jho’s place a lot. Of course, he does look pretty different now, even Ezra didn’t recognize him…
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Jai Kell in the Imperial Academy, from the season one episode “Breaking Ranks”. Source: StarWars.com
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Jai Kell now, from the season four episode “The Occupation”. Source: StarWars.com
Audrey: We haven’t talked about a very important part! That Kanera moment!
Ok I actually don’t have many thoughts on it except how disappointed Kanan looked, but it still definitely needs to be mentioned.
Shay: Yes we have to talk about that!
Poor Kanan, I kinda feel bad for the guy… every time they start to get somewhere concerning their relationship something else has to get in the way.
Do you think we’re actually going to get some more resolution on this soon, or is it Mr. Dave teasing us and we’re gonna keep getting little “almost” things like this throughout the whole season? I don’t know what I’m going to do if I have to go all mid-season break wondering about it, but it really looks like that’s the way it’ll go!
Audrey: Mr. Dave loves to tease us so much, so I bet he waits until the finale or the episode right before to really resolve anything. Mid-season break is going to feel loooong.

 

Shay: Ug, I know!! I’m already feeling it, and it’s still weeks away!!

And now, because we haven’t actually talked about it yet…
THE LOTH-WOLF!
Just give me what you were thinking when it first came on and knocked Sabine out.
Audrey: First I was thinking “What just happened, how did it do that?” And I was a bit put-off, and felt like Ezra when he almost reached for his lightsaber. Definitely not how I imagined Sabine getting knocked out.
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Ezra and an unconscious Sabine take a ride on a mystical white Loth-wolf to escape the Empire. Source: StarWars.com

 

Shay: I’m not even sure if I was thinking clearly when I first saw it… I didn’t know what exactly was going to happen, but like you said, I definitely never imagined that happening to Sabine! I figured the wolf wasn’t going to out-right hurt them at that point, though, as it and the cat had seemed to be trying to keep up with them and help guide them for a while now.

What do you think about the wolf having that effect on Sabine, and actually seeming to have the ability to talk some? Do you think that was all through the Force, or was it something the wolf just naturally has the ability to do?
Audrey: I get why the wolf had to do that, Sabine can’t see it (it also seemed like she couldn’t see the white Loth-Cat earlier), and if Ezra told her to ride on something that she couldn’t see was there, even with the trust she has in Ezra, I don’t think she’d believe him…
I think the talking ability comes from the Force, because no other animals have talked, have they?

 

Shay: Not that I know of…

I think it was all through the Force as well, because it wouldn’t work for the wolf to just be invisible and her to still be able to ride on it… That just doesn’t seem like it would follow with the rules of how these things tend to go…
I wonder if it’s only Ezra that can see these animals, or if it’s all, or at least certain, Force users? We know Ezra could hear the purgill singing and it seemed like even Kanan was unable to hear that, and I don’t think it was ever fully confirmed whether he saw the white loth-cat before, when Ezra followed it to Ryder in season two.
Audrey: I think at least Kanan will be able to see them– Wait, what am I saying??He’ll be able to hear/touch them, because we know he gets to meet them later and that they have something to do with him directly.

 

Shay: That makes sense.

Here’s something else I noticed, too: do you think there’s a connection between the white Loth-wolf, the white Loth-cat, and the Convor-owl with the light markings? There seems to be a common thread through all of them and the way they seem to be watching over Ezra, Kanan, and even Ahsoka while she was around. 
Audrey: They each seem to be trying to help and protect them, like they’re trying to help make up for the fact that they’re some of the only Jedi, or near-Jedi, left.
Shay: I find it especially interesting that that one convor was on Malachor after Ahsoka disappeared, almost as if it were continuing to watch over her even though everyone else had given up on her, thinking she was dead.
It’s also interesting how each one seems attracted to a particular member of that group: the convor to Ahsoka, the loth-cat to Ezra, and the wolf possibly to Kanan. Each those animals really symbolize each of those characters, and seem to almost represent them, in some way, though we don’t know what it is yet.

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Audrey: I wonder what the dark colored wolves represent? The white ones are beautiful and majestic, their size makes them a little intimidating, but the dark ones that are growling at Ezra in that part in the trailer are just a tiny bit creepy to me. Also that part where you see their eyes coming out of the darkness. That’s going to be interesting.
Shay: I’m assuming those are just the “normal” ones, like how there are regular loth-cats and convorees that have regular coloration and don’t seem to have anything special about them.
Do you have any thoughts on what the wolf meant with the last thing it said to Ezra? If the closed captioning on the episode is to believed, it said “Dume”, which we can take as a reference to “Caleb Dume”, Kanan’s real name. No one has called Kanan that since Order 66, and the only reference we’ve have to it in Rebels was Maul seemingly pulling it from Hera while mind-probing her.
Audrey: It might have something to do with the revelation that Mr.Dave said Kanan was going to have.
I wonder if it will tie into his fate over all, or will just guide him on the right path?
Shay: I don’t know, but I certainly can’t wait to see how it all goes down!
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What did you think of these episodes? Do you have any predictions for what the wolf has in store for Kanan and Ezra? How do you plan to survive the mid-season break? Let me know in the comments!

“Heroes of Mandalore” parts 1 & 2: episode review

Welcome to The Elven Padawan’s review of the season 4 opener of Star Wars Rebels, “Heroes of Mandalore”. This episode marks the beginning of the end for Rebels, as season 4 will be the final season. This was an amazing episode, featuring Mandalorian Rebel Sabine Wren’s return to her homeworld to rescue her father from Imperial captivity.

To review this episode for you, I got together with my good friend and fellow Rebels fan, Audrey, and we talked through our thoughts on the highlights of this episode.

I hope you enjoy our review, and be looking forward to The Elven Padawan’s coverage of the next episode, “In the Name of the Rebellion”, after it airs next week.


Shay: So the episode starts out with Sabine, Ezra, Kanan, Fenn Rau, and a group of fighters from clan Wren in a trench, heading to an Imperial facility on Mandalore where they think Sabine’s dad is being kept. But since this is Rebels, nothing goes exactly the way it’s supposed to.

We haven’t seen Mandalore since the The Clone Wars arc there with Maul and Obi-Wan, and it’s the first time it’s ever appeared in Rebels. What were your thoughts on how it looked in this style?

Audrey: It was very dry looking. The only pictures I had seen before were of cities, so this was different than the image that would have popped into my head if someone told me to imagine Mandalore.

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One of Mandalore’s highly civilized cities from The Clone Wars (top), vs. the barren wasteland of outside from Star Wars Rebels (bottom). Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: It also didn’t start out as I imagined. I thought they’d be at Yavin IV, and Sabine would be convincing them to come help. But we started right in the middle of the action!!

Shay: Exactly! In fact, when we first started the episode, my sister was trying to figure out how exactly they had gotten to that point where it picks up. Really the only thing we know is that Hera was able to convince Mon Mothma to let the Ghost crew go to help out the effort to free Sabine’s father, but beyond that it’s just a pretty big blank.

Once the Rebels make their way to the facility, they fight their way inside, only to discover that Alric Wren is not there. Bo-Katan and other members of clan Kryze greet them at this point, and let them know that everything was a trap.

One thing that really made me laugh at this point was Dave Filoni as a Stormtrooper. There’s this one point where he’s actually threatening Sabine’s life, he’s got a blaster pointed at her, and I was just thinking how in-character that seemed for him…

Audrey: Wait that was Mr. Dave? Now I’m going to have to watch it a third time just to hear that!

Even though that’s supposed to be a serious scene, they put several goofy things in it. Ezra trying to figure out his jet pack cracks me up.

Shay: It sounded just like him to me…

Also, you could tell one of the other troopers was Freddy Prinze Jr., who plays Kanan. His voice was pitched a little different, but it just cracked me up to think that Kanan and Mr. Dave somehow got recruited by the Empire.

And Ezra’s jetpack! I loved all that! Poor guy just really doesn’t have a chance when it comes to the Mandos.

Audrey: Ezra seems much less angry in this premier. He actually deactivated his lightsaber at that part without trying to put up more of a fight.

Shay: That’s true. And it made me so happy to see everyone finally getting back to their true personalities!

We know this season is supposed to get pretty dark, and very “adult”, and you can tell just from the trailer that the Rebels are gonna go through some really hard times. But I love those little bits when everyone’s just being themselves, and it doesn’t seem so heavy anymore. I think they did a really good job balancing those two things out in this episode.

I feel like a lot of people are probably gonna hate on all that goofiness in these episodes, but that’s what Ezra’s always been. He’s one of those kids who always manages to be silly, even when he’s not trying to be, and even with as dark as he got in some of the places last season, it’s in his personality to see the good and light moments in everything. I think that’s why we’ve loved him so much, because he’s not a dark, foreboding hero like Anakin, and he’s different from Luke in a lot of ways as well.

 

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Ezra’s taking a while to figure out these jetpacks. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: I loved seeing Sabine take charge throughout this episode. In Trials of the Darksaber, she was questioning why anyone would follow her, and now she’s coming up with all sorts of plans and leading her clan on this mission.

Shay: Yes, I totally agree! Over the course of this entire series we’ve seen her change a lot, from being really closed off to everyone, then beginning to really find her place in the Ghost crew “family” in season 2, then in season 3 she had a whole host of new issues to deal with, like her guilt over what happened with the weapon, and having to believe in herself enough to take up the Darksaber and go back home.

I don’t want this to be taken wrong, but I’m starting to think that her arc in this series is beginning to draw to a close, or at least this part of it is. I’m sure she’ll go through a lot more, and I don’t want to see her story stop with Rebels, I think they could do so much with this character heading into the New Republic era. But the whole thing with her having to find her place, and coming out of her shell and us discovering her past… that’s all drawing to a close.

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Sabine leads the charge across Mandalore’s wasteland with the Darksaber as her battle standard. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: We’re also seeing that in Kanan. It made me so happy to see him have a little of his attitude back in this episode, like when he’s jumping all over the place and taking down those troopers. He’s so much more confident in everything by now, it was kinda easy to forget he’s actually blind!

Audrey: He even smiles a few times in this episode! Even with all the other tough things happening in this episode, it makes me really happy to see him back to his old self a bit.

Shay: Yess!! And his interaction with Hera in the beginning! It made me so happy to finally see them back at ease with each other, and starting to fall back into their old back-and-forth. What did you think about their conversation there, and the fact that she wasn’t even part of this mission?

Audrey: At first I was like, “Um Kanan, What are you doing?” Because last season, if Hera had told him to come back, I don’t think he would have replied with “Oh, are you having trouble toppling the Empire without me?” I wonder what changed in between S3 and S4? Hera seems a little confused. They joke around like that all the time, (or used to) so I think it might take a few tries before she decides he’s being serious.

It was a little sad that she wasn’t in the episode at all. I guess she has other Rebellion Captain jobs to do.

And then Bo-Karan comes in! Since I’ve never seen The Clone Wars, this was my first time seeing her in an episode. I liked her a lot, but she is so different from her sister. I know in TCW they were on opposite sides of how Mandalore should be ruled, but she still seems very proud of her sister in this episode.

 

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Lady Bo-Katan Kryze, sister to the fallen Duchess Satine Kryze, as she appears in both the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Yeah, I kinda felt bad for Hera, because it made me think about how apart they were in season 3, compared to how close they were in season 2. (Well, it made me think about it again. It’s not like I’ve never thought about it before.)

But I always loved their interaction and bantering together, and they really seemed to be pulling apart in season 3, so it made me really happy to see him going for it again.

And also, I think this might be answer to what we’ve talked about before, concerning that clip from Fan Expo Canada (where she says “We’ve talked about this before”, and we were wondering if that would actually be on-screen or not).

I was a little miffed that she didn’t have much of a part in this episode, but I did understand that she’s still a big part in the Rebellion, so it made sense that she wouldn’t be there. Plus we know that Vanessa Marshall has been saying that she has a big part in this season, so I’m sure we’ll get a lot of her soon.

I thought the change in Bo’s attitude was really interesting. She seemed much milder and and more worried about her followers than she was in The Clone Wars. There she was very sardonic and harsh, and like you said, on the complete opposite side of her sister. Of course, you could see that she was heartbroken when Satine actually got killed, as she had never signed up for that.

I wonder what happened in-between where TCW got cut off and where this picked up what changed her so much?

Audrey: Especially when she said she had her chance to lead and failed. When was that?

Shay: I’m assuming that was when the Jedi made her the Regent over Mandalore, but then then the Empire took over.

Here’s even more reasons why need need a whole anthology movie on the Siege of Mandalore! With a live-action Ahsoka!!

Audrey: YES!

Shay: I’m curious about your thoughts on that scene with Ezra and Sabine, where they’re standing on the balcony of the Imperial outpost. I know you like their relationship, but don’t actually ship them, and I feel like a lot of fans are gonna try to take that scene to support the MandoBerry argument.

Audrey: That part was really nice and I think whether you ship them or not, you can see they have a strong friendship. They both encourage each other and carry each other’s burdens.

Shay: They did have a lot of really good interaction in this episode, the writing for all the characters, but especially between them, I think, was very good.

I think you can take a lot of the stuff between them either way. I see a lot of connections in their relationship to my sis and me, but I also kinda get why people like to ship them…

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Ezra and Sabine teasing before heading back into battle. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: I also loved how Sabine tagged the transport that Alrich was in, and he immediately knew it was her.

What did you think of his character, and the little we saw of his relationship with Sabine? And Ursa, too; it’s really interesting that they chose to have the mother be the hardened warrior, and the father the one who’s more artistic and maybe emotionally supportive.

Audrey: I really liked Alrich, he’s not your typical Mando at all, very different from Sabine and Ursa, but in lots of ways the same. I was glad to have someone else comment on Sabine’s art who wasn’t Thrawn! He didn’t have any problem walking right up to Sabine even with everything she did, while with Ursa and Tristan it took time for them to really stop being cold to her. Both parents have shaped Sabine into who she is, Ursa helping her to become a warrior, and Alrich encouraging her art.

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Sabine is finally reunited with her father, Alrich. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Besides Thrawn showing up for a few moments when they’re showing him footage of The Duchess in action, we really didn’t see much of him in this episode. Instead we had a new villain, a Mandalorian named Tiber Saxon. And man, that guy was brutal! Thrawn asks him what his brother (Gar Saxon, who met his end when Sabine first returned to Krownest) would have thought about using The Duchess against fellow Mandos, and he bluntly answers, “He doesn’t feel anything now.” Yeesh!

When I first saw Tiber, though, it really scared me, because I was afraid he was actually Korkie Kryze, Satine’s nephew that we saw in TCW.

Do you have any thoughts on Tiber?

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Lord Tyber Saxon tortures Rebel Mandalorians Sabine and Bo-Katan, as well as Captain Hark, one of his own men. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: That guy cares about people about as much as Tarkin. He didn’t flinch slightly at injuring his own people and was very confident that the Empire wouldn’t use the weapon on them. He seemed to think he had a lot more power than he actually did; definitely another person corrupted into a lust for position by the Empire. I was happy to see Captain Hark question his methods a bit, he ran out at the end. Maybe there’s still hope for him.

Shay: That’s a good thought, I had almost forgotten about Hark!

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Captain Hark, played by Andrew Kishino (who also voiced young Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars.) Source: StarWars.com

Shay: So in closing, did you have a favorite moment or quote from the premier?

Mine were when Bo was talking to Sabine about destroying the weapon instead of using it, and at the end, when she excepted the Darksaber. “I take this sword for my sister, for my clan, and for all of Mandalore!”

 

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Bo-Katan Kryze accepts the Darksaber and her position as leader of the Mandalorians. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: It’s so hard to pick one part! But I think my favorite would have to be after everyone is trying to protect her from some of the clan Kryze members and she says “No. I am prepared to take responsibility for my actions.” Most people’s first reaction would be to blame the Empire and say they were deceived or come up with some other excuse, but she takes responsibility and holds herself accountable for her choices.

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Sabine explains to an infuriated Bo-Katan why she created the Duchess, a horrible weapon that turns a Mandalorian’s greatest pride into a horrible downfall. Source: StarWars.com

What did you think of “Heroes of Mandalore”? Did you have a favorite line, or scene, or an interesting observation about this episode that you would like to share? Are you excited for the rest of this last season of Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below!

New Thrawn Novel by Timothy Zahn announced at NYCC

Announced at NYCC: Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances, a sequel to Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, is coming in 2018.

It has just been announced at New York Comic-Con that fan-favorite Star Wars EU author Timothy Zahn will be returning to the New Canon with more tales from his most infamous villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn. This book is set for a 2018 release, and will feature a “very special guest” known for his dark mask, cape, and heavy breathing.

New episode descriptions for Star Wars Rebels season 4

Descriptions for the first six episodes for the upcoming 4th and final season of Star Wars: Rebels have just been released on the press site for Disney XD.

Episode descriptions for the first six episodes of Star Wars: Rebels season 4 have just been officially released!!

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “Heroes of Mandalore: Part 1”
(12:30 – 1:00 A.M. EDT) 
Sabine leads Ezra, Kanan and an army of her fellow Mandalorians back to her home world to rescue her father from the clutches of the Empire.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “Heroes of Mandalore: Part 2”
(1:00 – 1:30 A.M. EDT) 
When Sabine discovers the Empire has resurrected a devastating weapon she created and plans to use it against her people, she must decide whether to destroy it or use it herself.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “In the Name of the Rebellion: Part One”
(12:30 – 1:00 A.M. EDT) 
As members of the Rebel Alliance, Ezra and the Ghost crew must accept a mission to spy on an Imperial outpost they would rather destroy.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “In the Name of the Rebellion: Part Two”
(1:00 – 1:30 A.M. EDT) 
After being separated from Hera and Kanan, Ezra and Sabine join the desperate quest of Saw Gerrera to hunt down the Empire’s elusive secret super weapon.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “The Occupation”
(12:30 – 1:00 A.M. EDT) 
Ezra and the Ghost crew are called back to Lothal when a new Imperial threat rises.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

Original Series – Episode Premiere on Disney XD
Star Wars Rebels “Flight of the Defender”
(1:00 – 1:30 A.M. EDT) 
Ezra and Sabine steal an Imperial prototype TIE fighter but must rely on some unexpected help to escape from Thrawn.
TV-Y7 FV

Source

We’ve had quite a bit of news on this last season tricking out lately, starting with the new trailer release at Fan Expo Canada. Now we have the official episode descriptions for most of the first half of season 4, and when added to what we know from the recent descriptions that came up on zap2it recently (you can find my report on those here), we can get a fairly good idea of what the first half of this season will hold.

What do you think about all these new announcements concerning Rebels? Are you as excited for the new season as I am? Let me know in the comments!