So this is an exciting week for Star Wars fans. Not only do we get the home video release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we just experienced the amazing season finale of Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels. Now for those of you that still have to catch up, turn away. Check your DVR or use the Watch Disney XD app to see this game changing episode, then come back. Don't worry, we will still be here.
Ok, so we have all seen it? That was AMAZING, wasn't it. We all know that Star Wars Rebels features diverse tones. We have funny episodes, emotional episodes, light episodes, and dark ones. The season finale, was about as dark and intense as they come. But that change in tone made the episode feel special and helped accentuate that this was a major milestone for the Star Wars Universe.
We finally got to see the showdown between Ahsoka Tano and her former friend Darth Vader. But if Vader isn't a big enough "heavy" for you we also got Maul and three inquisitors. As Executive Producer Dave Filoni said about the episode, "You're not going to get sunflowers and Jawas."
But the questions that will burn in fans minds are the unanswered questions. What was Ahsoka's fate? Will Ezra be tempted by the dark side as was forewarned? Will Kanan's blindness be permanent?
We had a chance to attend a screening of the finale at the Walt Disney Studios featuring producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg, along with Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) and Taylor Gray (Ezra). While predictably, everyone was tight lipped about what the future holds, it was great to see the interplay between the producers and the cast.
Some interesting bits were mentioned between avoiding questions. For example, Filoni says that this old man seen on Endor in Return of the Jedi...Is actually Captain Rex. While it is hard to tell if he was kidding or not, it does imply that Rex survives the events of the Galactic Civil War and somehow slowed down the clone's accelerated aging.
Filoni also shared that the Grand Inquisitor, the villain from Rebel's first season who was recently revealed to be a former Jedi Knight, can actually be seen in the previous animated series; Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
...he is one of the temple guards that arrests Ahsoka when she is accused of treason against the Jedi Knights. And he is also one of more importantly the temple guard in Clone Wars that is with Anakin when he fights Barriss Offee and arrests Barriss Offee for treason. So he is one of the two guards I believe that escorts her into the giant courtroom where Palpatine is overseeing everything. So he hears Barriss’ complete speech about the corruption and the state of the Senate and Jedi Order. And that is kind of like a seed that gets planted in his mind about she’s right. And when Order 66 comes out, he further realizes how right she is about all of the corruption. So it was like the beginnings of his descent into the Dark Side.
We also learned that the inclusion of a Jedi version of Kylo Ren's cross-guard lightsaber was a way for the creative team to acknowledge the hard work and success of those behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That being said, we are all wondering when something from Rebels will make its way into features. Considering the crossover in timelines between Rebels and Rogue One, it is not outside the realm of possibility.
But the thing that struck me most during the Q&A was the passion that the cast and creators have for Star Wars and Rebels. They treat every episode with such great care despite the compressed timeline of working in television. Much like our friends at Disney and Pixar animation, they think about every detail. Whether it is the music, the lighting, or the staging of a scene, nothing is done arbitrarily. Did you notice that when Ezra decided to go with Maul he stepped out of the light into the darkness? Those details make a world of difference, even if the audience might not consciously be aware of them.
Of course the voice talent care deeply about the characters that they voice. No one wants to know if Ahsoka lives more than Ashley Eckstein (and not just to know if she should keep the Her Universe "Ahsoka Lives" shirts in stock). She did admit that prior to Star Wars Rebels she had a conversation with Dave Filoni about Darth Vader meeting Ahsoka. Filoni said that if the two should meet that it wouldn't be good for Ahsoka. Does that mean that she didn't make it? I guess we will need to wait to find out.
As I said, it is a great time to be a Star Wars fan. The only downside to tonight's season finale, is having to wait until season three premieres. I know, I will be watching.
Don't forget, you can catch up with Star Wars Rebels or rewatch your favorite episode to pick up on details you may have missed through the Watch DisneyXD app.