With so many overnight lines for panels over the weekend and rewarding sneak peaks being released, fans of Star Wars: Rebels showed no sign of weariness as they lined up for the long wait. With the Galaxy Stage seating just over 2,600 people, there wasn't an open seat left by the time the lights finally dimmed. As the cast appeared on stage, the fans were delighted to see that not only did Dave Filoni (Executive Producer) and Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla) appear, but they were joined by Freddie Prinze Jr. (Kanan Jarrus), Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger), Steve Blum (Zeb Orrelios), and Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren). Wearing his 'Ahsoka Lives?' shirt, within the first five minutes Dave Filoni was telling inspiring stories about the character arcs that had to be fulfilled with Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, the self-sacrifice that Obi-Wan showed by watching over young Luke (that we got to see run across the screen at the end of Season 3), and sharing how they dug up original recordings of Aunt Beru which they used to honor those that did this before them.
"Thrawn was in the discussion from the beginning of Rebels," Filoni explained as he reminded us that he originally was introduced to these legends characters just like we were and loves to be able to bring them to life on screen while staying true to the original characters. As he was asked about the Bendu, Freddie Prinze Jr. was intoxicatingly sharing his love for his "Force Moose" as he called it. Tiya Sircar was beaming while talking about how Sabine had grown and what it was like exploring the character more than we had ever seen before. The crew quickly started showing their family-like relationship with jokes about who gets a lightsaber and the new hashtag #hottkallus. "It's amazing what a strand of hair can do" host David Collins joked as fans ignited over the screen shot from Season 3 of Agent Kallus with a single piece of hair out of place. The jokes continued as Filoni told stories about Chopper negotiating his contract for Season 4 and complaining about R2-D2 when he visited the set of Rogue One.
For Mandalorian fans, this next season will not be one to miss. Tiya teased us by saying "You might be surprised where we end up and who might show up in Season 4." Freddie Prinze Jr. shared that we will explore Kanan's growth from the Uncle-type (that he used to be) to the mentor and disciplinary that he needs to be. Taylor talked about Ezra needing to decide what kind of Jedi and person he wants to be and what he can do for his people left on Lothal. "It's time to go back," Taylor said as he laughed nervously.
Returning characters will include Mon Mothma, Thrawn, Hot Kallus, and Saw Gerrera while some new ships like U-wings will also make an appearance. Warwick Davis will also finally be voicing a character after years of waiting and having to resort to tricking Filoni into an on stage interview last year at Celebration London II. Fans were delighted to have Warwick join the cast on stage and revel in the first on screen debut of his character, Rukh. For those of you who haven't read the Legends Thrawn Trilogy: Heir to the Empire, Rukh is Thrawn's assassin body guard and creepy to boot.
Dave Filoni gave us a different kind of announcement as he said, "I firmly believe that each generation needs their own piece of Star Wars" and that "Season 4 will be the final season of Star Wars Rebels." He shared some insight by explaining, "I feel creatively, that I can make this story about these characters the most meaningful that it can be, by arching it to get to where I need to get to at the end of this season." "I know what it's like when I don't get to end a series and what happens when you don't end a series is you end up making tee shirts" as Filoni pointed to his 'Ahsoka Lives? shirt and ended by saying "it wasn't as fun." He reassured fans that "this show represents by no means an end to anything we are doing in animation" and that "Season 4 is not like anything else that we've ever done."
After playing the moving trailer for Star Wars Rebels Season 4, the lights came back on as the crowd exploded in applause, but the biggest surprise is not in what was not on screen. Filoni's shirt had changed from 'Ahsoka Lives?' to 'Ahsoka Lives!' Although he denied it at the press conference afterwards, Filoni's smile while wearing the adapted tee on stage said it all.
Sabine working through her family problems, Ezra figuring out who he wants to be, Kanan growing into who he needs to be, Hera and Kanan's relationship explored deeper, Thrawn's assassin Rukh, and the return of some fan favorites all promise to make the final season of Star Wars Rebels everything fans hope it will be.
To watch the full Rebels Season 4 Panel, view here:
By: Rachel Rossilli