*This article contains spoiler-ish things for Star Wars Rebels season four: proceed at your own risk.*
“Noooooooo!” I wanted to yell at the TV, as the end credits rolled for the Star Wars Rebels mid-season finale, “Rebel Assault”. That episode had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and then ended with several huge cliffhangers. What’s going to happen to Hera? What has Kanan come to realize? Are the Rebels ever going to be able to launch a successful strike on Lothal? And most importantly: How am I going to survive mid-season break?! If you’re asking similar questions, here are some things I came up with that will (hopefully) help the time go by faster.
1. Fangirl/Fanboy with others
I do this nearly everyday, and it’s one of my favorite things to do! I could do it forever, but unfortunately there are very few people who enjoy carrying on a conversation about Rebels for more than two minutes. If you can find a group to talk with, whether it’s on social media, the comments section on here, or in real life, I guarantee that you will learn so much and find details you’ve never thought of. You’ll also have a place to share your ideas and thoughts. Another great thing is then you can all suffer together. 😄
2. Use your Interests
Get out your pencils, markers, paint, and make some fan art! Maybe art isn’t your thing. Write some fan fiction, or a poem. Make up a song that reminds you of one of the characters. Create a cosplay. Make some Rebels themed crafts. Act out an episode with your friends or siblings. Be creative!
3. Have a Rebels Marathon
The journey of Rebels has been amazing! We’ve come so far since the beginning; the characters, the plot, the galaxy. Sometimes I can hardly believe it’s the same show when I look back on how much has changed. It’s fun to go back and watch all 68 episodes that have been released so far. (That’s approximately 23 hours!) Since many things this season have mirrored season one, you’ll see the parallels and all the pieces that are now falling into place. It also gives you a chance to look for hints of things that may happen, such as why the Empire is on Lothal. So far, I have only made it to the episode “Out of Darkness”, but there’s still weeks of break left. I’ve been noticing details I’ve never seen, and I’m enjoying revisiting old times before the crew had this much responsibility and weight on them.
I don’t know about you, but it is going to take me all of this break to really process everything that has happened so far, particularly with the Loth-Wolves. I have no idea what is going on, but maybe if I think about it enough, I’ll have a somewhat reasonable theory by the time Rebels starts up again. We should also get a mid-season trailer in a few weeks that will provide us with some new information to make predictions around. It never hurts to watch the trailer several times, pausing it to find any small details.
5. Convince Someone Else to Watch It
There are some people who have never heard of Star Wars Rebels, some who decided that they didn’t like it too early and should give it another try, and some who just don’t think it’s worth watching. They’re missing out, so to help convince them, I have made a list of ten reasons they should watch Rebels:
1. It’s the formation of the Rebel Alliance. It begins with six individuals, and as it continues you see different Rebel cells join together to form the group we see in A New Hope.
2. Space Family! Kanan, Hera, Chopper, Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra are each extremely different from each other, but work together just like actual families do. They’re always there for each other. Hera and Kanan are the authorities; Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra are the kids; and Chopper is like a mom’s favorite cat. It’s something we haven’t seen anywhere else in Star Wars and I love it!
3. It has strong lessons. Characters struggle with responsibility, trusting others, holding onto hope, choosing the right way to fight, overcoming their past, and many other things. As they learn, the stories stick with you, and you learn right along with them.
4. Amazing Character Development. Take Sabine, for example. She started off as a young teenager who was hurt by her family and didn’t always think through her actions. Now, she’s grown up, freed her family, and has led several successful missions. Agent Kallus’ journey from an Imperial Agent to Rebel Officer was not one I expected, nor thought I’d care about, but he is now one of my favorite characters. They push these characters to their limits and places you never thought they’d go.
5. Thrawn. This does not need any further explanation.
6. Returning Characters. We’ve had Lando, Leia, Obi-Wan, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, Wedge Antilles, Hobbie, Maul, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader all make appearances. If you’re a fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, we’ve also had Hondo Ohnaka, Saw Gerrara, Clone Commander Wolffe, Gregor, Captain Rex, Bo-Katan Kryze, and of course Ahsoka Tano. If you’re one of those people who think Clone Wars is waaay better than Rebels, you should still watch it, because it finishes many plot lines Clone Wars was unable to.
7. There’s so Much at Stake. What if Sabine had never gotten Wedge and Hobbie out of Skystrike Academy? What if Hera hadn’t helped Mon Mothma escape to the meeting at Dantooine? Or if those two huge kyber crystals had reached their destinations? The decisions characters make in this show do affect the galaxy and how later things play out, and them making different choices would drastically change many things later.
8. It’s not just a “Kids Show”. Yes, Rebels doesn’t have many things shows for older people contain. You know why? Because those are things like language, over-done violence, and other not-so-great content. Those are not what make a story good. Rebels does have some intense moments. People do die, or take other hard losses. But beyond that, Rebels has the good-against-evil theme, adventure, and imperfect heroes that make it a great show.
9. It’s Funny. There’s some great humor in Rebels. Even when they’re in life threatening situations, they’re still able to keep their cool. Whether it’s Ezra doing one of his impersonations, Chopper causing trouble, or Kanan making a joke right after nearly dying, there’s always something that makes me laugh.
10. Everything is Important. There are no filler episodes in Rebels; each one has at least one thing important to the story. Take “The Wynkahthu Job” for example: It may seem like just a silly Hondo episode, but they stole proton bombs, which were more than likely used by Y-Wings in “Zero Hour”. Or the episode “Fighter Flight” from season one. This is a really goofy episode where Zeb and Ezra steal a TIE fighter while on a supply run. It seemed like a filler episode at the time, but the TIE fighter was a very important part of the season finale.
Even if you decide in the end you don’t enjoy the adventures of the Ghost crew as much as I do, at least you gave them a chance, and became knowledgeable in another part of the Star Wars galaxy.
6. Read “A New Dawn”
A New Dawn is the story of how Kanan ended up joining Hera as the first member of her crew. It has lots of action, and made me realize just how long and hard Hera has worked to help build the Rebellion. It also shows that Kanan has come a long way from when he had given up any connection to his Jedi past. If you haven’t read it, and want some Rebels back story, then this would be a good thing to do over break.
7. Watch Rebels Recon and Check out the Episode Guides
After each episode, at StarWars.com you can find a behind-the-scenes video called Rebels Recon. Each one has interviews with the cast and crew, answers to questions people have asked, Chopper antics, and a clip for the next episode at the end. (Unless it’s the one right before break. No, of course I’m not still bitter about that.) They also release an episode guide, which has a breakdown of the episode, concept art, behind-the-scenes facts, and my favorite, a piece of music from the episode.
8. Go See Star Wars:The Last Jedi
Ok, so this one is kind of obvious, but thinking about a different part of the Star Wars fandom will help get your mind off the Rebels‘ cliffhangers. Also, it will more than likely leave off with another cliffhanger that we have to wait two years to resolve, so the ending to “Rebel Assault” won’t seem as bad in comparison. I know some people may not get to see The Last Jedi for a little while, so I hope changing some of these examples will help that time go faster too. (Like having a Star Wars movie marathon or convincing someone they should watch Star Wars. Yes, some people have actually never seen Star Wars.)
9. Enjoy the Time Before the End
We only have seven episodes of Rebels left, ever, guys. It’s going to be over so fast and who knows what is going to go down in these last episodes? At least we have some time to reflect on the journey and prepare for what ever they’ve got planned. If what we’ve seen from Rebels in the past is anything to go by, the final chapter isn’t going to be without losses of some kind, but it’s also going to be exciting and finish the story for these heroes in an amazing way.
How are you planning on surviving Rebels Hiatus? What are you looking forward to the most in the second half? Let us know in the comments!
Hi everyone, I’m back! That’s right, I survived my exams, and I’m rejoicing in the freedom that is holiday break!! While I’m off, I plan to get some work done around here with both this site and the podcast, including updating the news to reflect all the recent happenings in the Star Wars franchise, plus some other cool stuff you’ll be hearing about soon. But first off, I’m going to make my first blog post that I’ve done in a while.
If you’ve been following along with The Elven Padawan lately, you’ll know that I’ve been publishing reviews for each new episode of the final season of Star Wars Rebels that airs. This post is actually an extension of my review of the mid-season finale, where I deal with a really big aspect of the story that seems to have fans all over the place right now. Therefore, I’m warning you now that there will be big spoilers for “Rebel Assault” in here, so don’t read unless you’ve already seen the episode, or just don’t really care. 😉
So on to what I really want to talk about. I have a few things to say regarding Kanan’s reaction to Hera’s crash, and his plan to rescue her. First, I already know that everyone’s going to start thinking out some rant about attachments and love and how these things will inevitably end in tragedy and that Kanan is going to fall into and trap where Hera’s the bait and that will be the end for him.
But here’s the thing: all that doesn’t have to be the case.
I’ll admit it openly and with no problems: attachment can be a problem for a Jedi. Think about it. Almost every bad decision, or choice that can be labeled as “bad” by some fans, that a Jedi or Light Side Force-wielder has made stems from an attachment somewhere. Ahsoka Tano stayed behind and supposedly died on Malachor because of the attachment she had to her former master, Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan Kenobi disobeyed the orders of the Jedi Council to go to Mandalore and try to rescue Duchess Satine Kryze, eventually resulting in her death at the hands of his mortal enemy, Maul. Even the Chosen One himself, Anakin Skywalker, committed horrible deeds including mass slaughter of students and younglings, all in the name of saving someone he loved from death.
But here’s the problem: each of those people still had a choice. Ahsoka still chose to stay behind with Vader, knowing that it meant certain doom for her. She made a conscious decision about it, knowing full-well that Kanan and Ezra would take the ship and leave. (And honestly, I think that’s another little aspect to why she did it, to help them escape.) Obi-Wan deliberately chose to help Satine, and though it ended in tragedy, it was the risk he took.
And seriously, people. Do you really believe that there wasn’t a point where, deep down inside in a place he buried beneath all the emotions he was feeling, everything Anakin did became less and less about saving Padme and instead more and more about exacting revenge on the people he felt had wronged him, and gaining power to make people serve him as a little boy called Ani once had to serve them? When Padme follows him to Mustafar, notice that he isn’t heartbroken when she begins to back away from everything he’s become in the past few days, but instead flies into a rage. Notice that, alongside his claims that he can now save her from a fate she never believed was her’s, he was also bragging about how he now ruled the entire galaxy.
No, the people who make each of these choices are never forced to do so out of their good will for fellow beings. They all chose to do the things they do, and when those things are evil, it’s not love that’s actually responsible.
Now how does this all end up leading me back to Kanan, and his choices in this episode? I’m going to really dissect this whole thing and look at Kanan’s choice to go back for Hera, and his eventual decision to turn back around.
#1: Kanan almost did make a really bad decision, and it was out of attachment. I will not deny that. Surprised, are you, that such a strong Kanera shipper and proponent for the opinion that love is OK for Jedi, will so easily admit this? Don’t be. Remember, Jedi teach balance. Kanan and Hera’s relationship is great, and gives both of them strength and power in a time when things look so dark, but that’s only when it’s dealt with carefully. Just like in the real world, if you begin to let things that aren’t bad rule your life and cause you to make bad decisions, then it’s time to start carefully thinking about things. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Kanan should now cut off any potential relationship he and Hera could have because he almost made a bad move. The relationship is still fine, it’s just how they choose to use it and how they allow it to affect them. And that brings me to…
#2: The wolf was Kanan’s warning. Now I know we don’t have all the answers to what the wolf is really up to, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to what he communicated to Kanan than just this. But the wolf sitting in the middle of the highway, blocking Kanan from thoughtlessly rushing into the middle of an Imperial-overrun area, was his warning. I don’t hold Kanan’s actions against him, they’re totally natural. Everyone begins to make bad moves in their lives, I’ve done it myself countless times. But I’ve always had my parents to let me know when something is going in a dangerous direction, and to caution me about how this might end. That was what the wolf did for Kanan. It was letting him know that his emotionally fueled decision would probably end in disaster, and it gave him a few minutes to calm down and realize this for himself. Kanan knew what he was doing was a bad idea, and it speaks volumes about his character that, although initially frustrated by the interruption of his plan, it didn’t take him long to change that attitude around. The look on his face when he removes his mask and asks, “What must I do?” reminds us that he’s really worried about Hera, but he’s also willing to wait and accept the wolf’s correction. Like I said, I’m sure we’ll be finding out a lot more about the wolves when the season starts back up, and there’s probably much deeper things that it told Kanan concerning his and Ezra’s place on Lothal. But for now, to me, the wolf was a warning sign, forcing Kanan to stop, breathe, and realize just what he was about to do.
Now #3: Are you ready? This is a really big one, and I’m probably gonna be ranting for a while to be able to really show you the depth of it all. Here we go…
I’ve already said, I don’t blame Kanan for his reaction. It’s totally natural. And beyond that, when you really think about it, unlike the choices made by Anakin, what’s happening with Kanan is based on a much purer intent.
Remember where this man has come from. He lost everything. His childhood, his way of life, his family, his faith, even his own name and identity. He became lost somewhere between pain, anger, and denial. The pain of trying to understand why everything happened the way it did, his anger at the Force for letting such a horrible fate befall those who lived every moment of their lives in faith to it and at the troopers who called themselves his friends only to betray him as a young teenaged boy, and his denial of the fact that he truly cared about any of it anymore. We find out in A New Dawn that Kanan worked jobs with excitement and danger to numb everything he was feeling, and to make enough money to try to drink away everything that had happened. And in the middle of all that, here comes Hera. She’s on her own mission with the infant Rebellion, and her focus is all on that. But she does have a mission. Of course, Kanan first notices her because of her physical characteristics (well, actually it was her voice first, but it didn’t take him long to notice the other). He tries to convince himself that he’s only following her around because she’s another pretty girl to flirt with. But in the end he’s dragged into her whirlwind of a mission, and by the time we first see him again in Rebels, he’s accepted her cause for his own. He’s decided that he does care about the evilness of the Empire, and that he’s willing to fight against them because he truly believes that it’s worth it, not just in the hopes that maybe Hera will pay some attention to his advances if he goes through all the motions of becoming a Rebel. But it was Hera that first showed him that there were some things worth fighting for.
Had it not been for Hera Syndulla coming to Gorse in attempt to gain information on the Empire’s surveillance practices, then giving him a chance to realize who he truly was and bringing him to understand exactly what was at stake in this war, then he would still be lost. Actually, it’s way more likely that he’d be dead by this point.
But because of Hera, he’s not lost anymore. He’s returned to his faith, he has a purpose in life, and he has a family. Now as much as I love her, I’m not trying to say that she’s perfect or that she’s the only one who has contributed to his character development. It’s also been the result of taking on Ezra as his apprentice, as well as interactions with other characters the team has encountered, such as how meeting Captain Rex and his compatriots helped him to finally release the bitterness and anger he held for the troopers that slaughtered his master, Depa Bilaba, and later hunted him down. However, this does all lead back to Hera, and her decision to give him a chance.
This really hit me way back in season two, in the episode “The Protector of Concord Dawn”. When Hera is hurt badly in an attempt to persuade the Mandalorian faction the Protectors to join the Rebel cause, Kanan chooses to go back to Concord Dawn and try again, while Sabine is bent on taking revenge on those that hurt Hera. When Sabine sneaks on board the Phantom as he’s taking off, he tells her that he’s giving the Protectors another chance. Even though they explicitly said “No thanks” the first time and almost killed the Ghost crew’s captain and team leader. He knows that these Mandos can be a huge help to the Rebellion, and that it’s what Hera would have wanted them to do. This becomes a running theme throughout the episode, as Kanan continues to staunchly believe that some people just need a second (or maybe third or even fourth) chance, like the one he was given. It struck me that this was his way of carrying on what Hera did for him: she gave him a second chance, put up with all his annoying flirting and attempts to get out of everything, and in the end he saw just how important the cause of the fight against the Empire was. And that made a huge impact on him.
Can you really blame the guy for having an attachment to her? I know I’d certainly have an attachment to any person who did all that for me, whether there was any more to it than that or not.
But for them, there is more to it.
On top of everything she’s done for him, not to mention the things he’s done for her, how long they’ve fought side-by-side in this war and always been there to have each other’s back… there’s even more to their relationship. These two have cared deeply about each other for a long time, longer than even the show has shown. From the moment they met and and got sucked into the Gorse Conflict together, they just seemed to “click”. Their personalities, their gifts and skill sets, their methods of fighting; somehow, everything fit together to make them an amazing team. It wasn’t hard to pick up on the attraction between the two, something that went deeper than just the flirty, surface here-then-gone relationships Kanan had managed to always find during his years in hiding. Though it understandably took Hera a while to let herself get close to him, once she did, she found a battle partner that would stand by her side through everything, and ultimately, a life partner as well. These two are bound together in one of the deepest ways, and their faith in each other is one of the few things that gives them a bit of joy. Even Dave Filoni has one of his famous tweets dedicated to the two and how their relationship brings them some joy in the darkness through their complete understanding of each other. We still don’t know how their story will end, and whether they’ll be able to do anything with this connection and actually end up living out their lives together as they hope, but undeniably, the wish to do so is there. Everything’s still not out in the open between them, but after over three seasons of dancing around it, their feelings for each other have become pretty evident. The possibility of a future together is one of the few things they can hold on to through everything else.
So to finally come around to point #3 in my breakdown of Kanan’s reaction: What he wanted wasn’t wrong.
What he wanted was to try to help the woman who helped him find his way, who is the reason why he’s even on Lothal in the first place, the reason why the other members of the team are around and probably why all of them are still breathing at that very moment. You can see that in his expression when he removes his mask to talk to the wolves. He just wants to try to protect her, and he doesn’t want to have to add her to the list of things he’s lost. Especially not the the reason she would be going on that list was because he turned around and left when he could’ve tried to go back for her. Can anyone truly blame him for that? Of course there was no chance he could have actually help her. He was one person, not to mention one blind person, among a ton of Imperial troops sent there specifically the take out him and his crew. Like I said way up at the top, his decision was rash and it was necessary for the wolf to stop him; but at the heart of the whole thing was a very pure and understandable desire.
#4:I can’t blame Kanan…. because he stopped.
If Kanan had blasted his way right straight into the city, only to be gunned down by stormtroopers moments after arrival, I don’t think I’d be able to blame him too much then either. I would have been disappointed in him, definitely. He’s way too smart, especially after all he’s been through and how much he’s grown over the course of this show. I would have been super annoyed at however wrote that ending for this character. I mean, seriously?? Give him all that character development and build everything up, just for him to act that dumb and die from it? And honestly, I would probably have been really mad at Kanan for a while… until I though it all out and realized everything behind it. It still would have felt like a major cop-out, though, and I’m really glad the team didn’t take it in that direction.
But the ultimately, once you dig into all these complexities behind Kanan’s choice, why he made it, what the wolf was there for, and everything else, the reason why I personally don’t blame Kanan for what he did is…
Because he stopped.
When the Loth-wolf had to get in his way and stop him to warn him of what he was about to do….
He stopped. He listened. He asked what he needed to do to make it all right again.
In the first installment of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf the Grey has finally come to the horrible truth about that shiny golden circle that Bilbo Baggins owns: it is indeed the One Ring of Power, created by the Dark Lord Sauron and filled with his malice for all other living beings. Gandalf knows exactly what it means, and exactly what it could do to the unsuspecting Mr. Baggins, who found it on his adventure with the Dwarves so many years ago. He knows that he must act fact, and separate Bilbo from the Ring if the hobbit is to have any hope of escaping its grasp. But having already had the ring in his possession for over sixty years meant that it was beginning have an effect on him. Bilbo wants to leave it behind, but at the same time he doesn’t; he tells Gandalf that it’s in an envelope on the mantle as he starts out the door, only to realize it’s actually in his pocket. When Gandalf begins to urge him to leave it, Bilbo snaps and accuses Gandalf of wanting to steal it from him, getting a look in his eyes that is eerily reminiscent of another former owner of this “Precious” little gem. Gandalf seems to grow twice his size, his voice deepens, and he reprimands the hobbit harshly, breaking the Ring’s hold on Bilbo, reminding him, “I’m not trying to hurt you. I’m trying to help you.” As Bilbo’s eyes fill with tears in realization of what’s happening, he runs to Gandalf’s arms, before turning his back on the Ring once and for all, and setting off for a long vacation with the Elves in Rivendale.
From the first time I ever watched Fellowship, I never blamed Bilbo. I understood exactly what was going on with him, and sympathized with his plight. He never meant any harm by picking up the Ring, and he never had any malicious intent in using it to play disappearing jokes on people. Everything that happened with him was a result of the higher powers of Middle-earth at play.
But I never felt anything against Gandalf either, because it was his job to stop Bilbo before it was too late.
See, just like Kanan, and just like all of us people, Bilbo did ultimately have a choice about what he would do. He could defy Gandalf, give himself over to the control of the Ring, and choose to serve Sauron, whether initially or not. Kanan could stop, listen to what the wolf had to say, and decide whether or not to continue with his very bad emotional decision to try to save Hera. Bilbo gave up the Ring. Kanan turned back around.
Finally, #5: I hope it all ends OK. Now obviously I hope that the show overall ends OK. I need to see the crew of the Ghost survive, even if they decide to go their separate ways until the war is over. I really don’t want to see Kanan and Hera’s relationship end in tragedy, either, though I’m not naive to the fact that many fans do believe he will die, possibly in sacrifice for his “family”, before the show is over. What ever happens, however, I don’t want to see his and Hera’s relationship get blamed. I don’t want Kanan to make a rash decision and run into a trap because of his feelings for her.
There’s a theory out there right now that the wolf showed Kanan a vision of Hera’s future, of all the things she’ll accomplish with the Rebellion, and this will lead to him laying down his own life to rescue her. If it’s an absolute necessity for Kanan to die, then I want it to be something like this. I want him to go into it with his eyes open, and I want it to be done in a way that won’t cause fans to blame their relationship for causing him to make a decision out of emotion and therefore lose his life. I don’t want to see yet another Star Wars character get punished for loving, when the entire core theme of the story is the power of Light, a.k.a. love, vs. Darkness, a.k.a. hate.
Alrighty, that was a lot longer than I intended. (Can anyone else tell how much I NEED this show to start back, SOON??) But this is something that’s been going through my mind since watching the episode, and I’m thinking that a lot of fans might take it the wrong way, and just wanted to share my analysis of it all.
Until next time,
May the Wind under your Wings carry you to where the Sun Sails and the Moon Walks, and the Force be with you, always!
What did you think of this breakdown of Kanan’s decisions? What did you think of “Rebel Assault” in general? Are you just as excited as I am about the rest of the season?! Let me know in the comments below!! 🙂
Dedicated to Fantastical Worlds from Middle-earth to a Galaxy Far, Far Away…