Saying goodbye to a show is never easy. And, four years and 75 episodes later, doing so is harder than I ever could have imagined when Star Wars Rebels first hit our screens.
It would have been so easy to dismiss the Disney XD show as something just for kids. It was certainly marketed that way. But I knew so much better, not least because of Dave Filoni’s days on the Clone Wars animated series. This was a show that, yes, would be beloved by kids, but would also appeal to fans of all ages. That much was certain.
So, when the crew of the Ghost was introduced during the premiere, I knew from the word go that I was there for the long haul. For every excruciatingly emotional up and down, for every laugh, for every frustration, for every tear. And there were more than enough of them to go around.
What I could never have imagined was just how invested I would become in the well-being of every single one of the characters – some of whom would, ultimately, transcend their animated roots, and feature in the wider Star Wars universe. As the episodes continued to unfold, Hera, Sabine, Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, Rex and Chopper became as dear to me as Luke, Leia and Han had been in the Original Trilogy and beyond.
Hera Syndulla, in particular, struck a deeply resonant chord within me. Torn between her desire to help and save the galaxy, her duty to a fledgling rebellion, her love for her family and culture, but also her devotion to her crew. Hera was strong, determined, kind, and vulnerable at turns. A character that will remain dear to me, no matter where the Star Wars universe goes next.
And, when it comes down to it, Rebels expanded that universe beyond anything that I ever expected it to.
Having experienced as much of the Expanded Universe as I could possibly get my hands on when I was growing up, adjusting to a world in which those stories had become ‘legends’ was a difficult one to make. But what Rebels did to fold these formidable characters and stories back into the mythos in new and interesting ways was nothing short of remarkable.
Most notable of those characters was Grand Admiral Thrawn. I was fortunate to have been amongst fans at Star Wars Celebration Europe when his return was announced, and to watch his on-screen debut in the season 3 premiere.
Between diversifying the Empire in respect to the kinds of adversaries the team of the Ghost faced, expanding the lore of the Force, facing some truths about the Jedi that perhaps we didn’t always want to, as well as showing the various sides of a rebellion that wasn’t perfectly heroic, Rebels undertook a difficult task, showing just how flawed, but beautiful, the Star Wars universe is. From new cultures and species, Star Wars is richer for having had this show take place within its galaxy.
So, this is just to say thank you. To Dave Filoni and the creative team, for bringing the world of Rebels to the screen for four wonderful years. To the incredible voice cast, for breathing life into every word, for making me cry and laugh and believe. In them. And in the rebellion that they fought.
For inspiring me to hope.
For making me fight my own battles. Small and large. No matter the odds. No matter how insurmountable they might seem.
Here’s to you, Star Wars Rebels. You live on in all of us and in whatever comes next for the Ghost.