During Star Wars Celebration, fans of the Star Wars Rebels animated series, were provided insight into the characters’ mindsets and directorial decisions made in season 3, as well as hints of what to expect in season 4. The panel was led by David Collins, and featured an introductory interview with director Dave Filoni followed by the cast of Freddie Prinze, Jr., Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, and Steven Blum.
Learn more below.
To kick it off, Filoni spoke a bit about Obi-Wan’s appearance in the show:
“If you watched that episode and [have] never seen Star Wars before, you have no idea of what they’re talking about. Why is Obi-Wan there? You’re wondering [this] when Maul says ‘who are you protecting? Why are you here?’ and then when you see this image of this little boy running across the horizon, and you see [how] he looks like a guardian over him, you get the self sacrifice that’s happening here.”
Filoni wanted to create a show that worked both for existing fans as well as those who had never seen Star Wars before. To make things even more crystal clear that the boy was a young Luke Skywalker, the production team used a sample of Aunt Beru’s voice from the archives as a means of honoring the past. As far as why Maul was killed and slowly laid to rest by Obi-Wan, Filoni said “[Given their history], I don’t know if I felt right about anyone taking him out except Obi-Wan.”
One of the things that stands out throughout the show and especially in the Obi-Wan episode is the outstanding visuals. Said Filoni:
“One of the things I obsess with and Joel Erring too, is the colorscape of Star Wars. And on Tatooine at night and [with] that dusk setting, you always remember the suns looking that way. There’s a type of codec photography and Joel is so good at replicating.”
These are some of the details we’ll continue to see more of throughout the rest of Rebels.
Filoni also touched on the importance of Grand Admiral Thrawn. He’s the first major villain to survive multiple seasons of Rebels. While Sabine makes art, Thrawn studies it, making for an interesting dynamic between the Rebels and the Empire that we’ll continue to see play out in the upcoming season.
Freddie Prinze, Jr., the voice of Kanan, described the creature Bendu as his teacher in season 3. “He’s my force moose,” who provides tough love and has helped his character develop. Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabine, discussed her favorite scene in which Sabine trains with Kanan. In that moment we see both the strength and vulnerability in her character as she struggles with her past and future potential.
Below are some minor spoilers and hints on what might occur in season 4:
- Season 4 is going to be the final season of Rebels. Although fans were clearly disappointed, Filoni and team thought it would be the most impactful by arcing the show at the end of the season. Filoni referred to the painful end of The Clone Wars when he said “I know what it’s like when I don’t get to end a series.” By adding proper closure, Rebels will now become this generation’s own piece of Star Wars. Season 4 is not going to be like anything else that’s come before. It’ll be different, a little dark and a little fun. Filoni was quick to add that this show is by no means an end to what they’re planning to do in animation.
- Mon Mothma and the actress who voiced her, Genevieve O’Reilly, will be back. In season 3 the production team wanted to display a side of her never seen, which was done through the one on one interaction with Hera. Yet she still remained a very calm individual throughout their plight. We might get to see a bit more of her fiery side in season 4:
- Warwick Davis will be voicing Rukh, Thrawn’s assassin bodyguard:
- We’re going to see more of Saw Gerrera, voiced by Forest Whitaker, and will be introduced to his co-pilot, Two Tubes. His character will be pushed a bit further so one will start to recognize the individual seen in Rogue One. The shot we saw showed them sitting in a U-Wing, a ship that will also have a greater presence in the upcoming season:
- Yavin base will finally make an appearance. The overall style of Rogue One will be in greater display.
- Vanessa Marshall on Hera: Hera has been impacted by the losses the group experienced in season 3, and this has pressed them to the very edge of their abilities. Her character still has the same agenda, but with a sharper focus to get the job done. As things are coming to a vital pinpoint she knows it’s time to get it done.
- Steven Blum on Zeb: “[Zeb is] becoming more a responsible citizen rather than a tough muscle head.” He’s also “20% better at not losing to Chopper in bets.”
- Tiya Sircar on Sabine: Throughout the course of season 3, Sabine stepped into her own and has grown and matured. She’s a complex and wise young woman, but was filled with her own insecurities and trust issues. She’s gotten beyond those issues with her Rebel family and now has to deal with those that exist with her blood family. For those Mandalorian fans, you might be surprised where we end up and who shows up. There might be new people you know, have never seen before, and they might all end up being Mandalorian.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. on Kanan: In season 3 he changed from a cool uncle to a disciplinarian. While he trained Sabine he was also teaching himself. In season 4 he’s still blind but he can now see more than ever before. He knows the path that they need to go and now it’s time to lead.
- Taylor Gray on Ezra: We’ve seen him grow up in this show. He’s seen good vs bad and has learned not only about the force but also about family and life. Ezra’s story is one of coming of age and learning how to be a selfless person. He still has anger and doubt but has a family to help him. Season 4 will show what type of Jedi and person he wants to become, and in the season he’ll make some great decisions.
- Chopper continues to be more of a reveal. Everyone thinks he’s just grumpy, but he has a bigger heart than it shows. When the chips come down, he likes these guys and will be there for them.
Star Wars Rebels airs on Disney XD and will be returning this fall.