star wars rebels a world between worlds

The Best Episodes

Rosie: “Trials of Darksaber” was an incredibly important episode for me, turning the focus away from Ezra, and onto Sabine. It’s a perfect exploration of a young woman living as a Mandalorian in the face of the Galactic war. Also, the strength and impact that “World Between Worlds” had on me cannot be overstated. There was something so powerful about the time that Ezra spent in the portal within the Lothal Temple. It’s such a fantastic balance between invention and legacy, between new possibilities and the lure of the past, not to mention the fact that it also reintroduced my beloved Ahsoka! Another favorite is the early episode “Rise of the Old Masters,” which I feel like gave such a great feel of the gravity and complexity of the master/student relationship, as well as featuring the Grand Inquisitor, who is such a fantastic, complex antagonist.  

Allyson: “Twin Suns” might just be my favorite Star Wars story ever. Those 22 minutes hammered home an emotional message about forgiveness and opened up a window to the soul of the sometimes inscrutable character of Obi-Wan Kenobi. I’ve re-watched it too many times to count, and each time I do I find something else to appreciate about it. Then there’s “Twilight of the Apprentice,” if only for the absolutely brilliant and heart-wrenching exchange between Ahsoka and Vader before they cross blades. (Is “I am no Jedi” the best line in all of Star Wars? MAYBE.) And, yes, I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention “Trials of the Darksaber,” which focuses on Sabine’s catharsis, and contains some of the best acting in the entire series. The incredible Kevin Kiner, the composer for the series, hits it out of the park in that episode as well with his mournful rendition of Sabine’s theme.

The Lasting Impact

Rosie: I think the main thing that Rebels will really be remembered for is its nuanced expansion of Star Wars lore, and for introducing a massive number of new and exciting elements into Star Wars canon. I also think the fact that Disney used it to test the waters for introducing new characters before they arrived in the main movies is going to be seen as a turning point in the way the company handles the universe’s canon. The arrival of Grand Admiral Thrawn was also a huge moment, as was testing out stuff like Force flight! In a grander sense, I think Rebels will end up becoming a source of inspiration for a whole new generation of Star Wars fans, as well as possibly ending up being a source of inspiration for Disney in the future. I can totally imagine them creating a trilogy of live action movies inspired by Rebels in 10 or 15 years.

Allyson: The mysticism that Rebels dabbled in – and then straight up dove into – will definitely be remembered as one of its greatest strengths. Rebels did a more thorough exploration of the mysticism of the Force than any of the movies so far, save for, perhaps, The Last Jedi. I believe that the inclusion of a more esoteric understanding of the balance of the Force in TLJ would not have been possible without the groundwork that was laid on Rebels (and, before it, The Clone Wars, specifically during the Mortis arc). Also, though live-action films and television shows have improved by leaps and bounds in the visual effects department (thanks, in large part, to ILM!), there is still so much more that you can do in animation – from acrobatic lightsaber fights to kyber crystal heists to space battles that take place outside of the ships. Finally, Rebels has proven that even animated children’s shows can reduce a grown-ass adult to a mess of tears during its exploration of intense, emotional, and universal themes.

star wars rebels twin suns

The Best Original Trilogy Cameos

Rosie: I love seeing Leia in anything and thought her appearance in season two was pretty special. I also enjoyed how she’s presented as a counterpoint to Ezra, with the two being exactly the same age. One of Rebels‘ strengths has been its ability to introduce classic characters as a way of elevating or adding to the story without ever getting swept up in them and allowing them to take away from the story at hand. “A Princess on Lothal” is a great example of that.

Allyson: As I mentioned before, “Twin Suns” holds a special place in my heart, and that is largely because of the central appearance of one Obi-Wan Kenobi. The character’s personality tics (The beard-stroking! The old man shuffle! The droid-patting!) were impeccably animated, the voice acting of Stephen Staunton was on-point, and the writing was profound. All-in-all, it was a perfect merging of the three different portrayals of the characters into one synthesized whole. I also loved every appearance of Mon Mothma, a character who was ostensibly the leader of the entire Rebel Alliance, but who only gets a total of about 10 seconds of actual screen time in the original trilogy. Rebels absolutely rectifies that and puts her front and center for several episodes.

Let’s Talk About Thrawn

Rosie: I was really excited when they introduced Thrawn as I’m a total EU nerd, and I felt like he was a good addition. However, I was ultimately pretty surprised that they “killed” him in the finale. Probably because I constantly let my imagination run away from me, but I had definitely assumed this was a way to reintroduce Thrawn for a longer period that just Rebels. But seeing as they left both Ezra and Thrawn’s fate’s open for interpretation, I think we might not have seen the last of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Allyson: I’m certainly not as big of an EU nerd, and I only accidentally came across Thrawn in a Timothy Zahn book separate from the Thrawn trilogy, so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about when he began to appear on Rebels. I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed. From my understanding of the character, it seemed like Thrawn was too merciless and terrifying a villain to fit within the narrative of the still very G-rated Rebels. Because of this, his alleged calculated cruelty appeared toothless because we knew there wouldn’t be any truly horrifying ramifications. But I too hope we haven’t seen the last of him! He deserves a more glorious end than “Death by Space Whale.”

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