As Star Wars fans, we sit in wait for what comes next. We have reached the end of The Mandalorian Season 3, and we have the promise of Ahsoka starting on August 23.
So, we will have that to look forward to. But in order to look forward, I think it can be helpful at times to look back. So, today let’s talk about the reasons why we should go back and either watch, or re-watch the animated series Star Wars Rebels before Ahsoka releases.
The Holy Filoni (hallowed be thy name), though, has given us a list of a handful of episodes that may help us along the way. Dave Filoni is quoted as saying: “If you just watch Season 4, you’d be set. You can start with that and you get that these rebels are fighting this tyrannical emperor. And that would get you everything and everybody you need.”
So although we don’t necessarily need to watch all of it, you may want to consider watching all 4 seasons anyway. So, let’s do it. Let’s get into the reasons why you should consider watching Rebels either for the first time or watching it again as a complete series.
1 The Ghost Crew
Let’s get a proper introduction to the crew of The Ghost. The Ghost is the ship that our heroes ride around in during the entirety of Star Wars Rebels. That of course is Hera Syndulla, Kanan Jarrus, Sabine Wren, Garazeb ‘Zeb’ Orrelios, Ezra Bridger, and of course the droid, Chopper. Chopper, by the way, has never met a war crime he didn’t like.
So why do we need a proper introduction to the crew? Find out how the Ghost crew meets Ezra. Find out why they took him with them. Find out about the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn and he affects the outcome of the series. Find out why and how Ahsoka meets the crew of the Ghost and how their friendship grows. Watching the full series allows you to become invested in the characters that we will be seeing in the Ahsoka series.
Rebels continues the story of Darth Maul, taking him full circle and back into conflict with Obi-Wan. Throughout his storyline in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we see Maul searching for Kenobi and trying to exact his revenge on the man who made him a “half-off sale.” The thing about Maul is, and as Sam Witwer explained, is that Maul understands his destiny. He knows why things are happening in the way that they are and why he is destined to live the life that he does. Maul gets it. He doesn’t like it. But he gets it.
The way they close out the story pays homage to Qui-Gon Jinn as well; it’s very well done. A little short for my liking, but I’m a sucker for lightsaber duels. What can I say?
2. The feels
One of the things that this animated series does, just like Clone Wars, is pull on those heartstrings. You better have your tissues ready for Season 7 of Clone Wars and Season 4 of Rebels. The depth of storytelling and writing is top-notch, and you will find yourself more interested in certain characters and their storylines. In my honest opinion, Clone Wars and Rebels are prime Star Wars.
For example, there is a scene in Rebels which helps drive this point home parallels very nicely with a scene from the Obi-Wan Kenobi live-action series.
Ahsoka has refused to believe that Anakin Skywalker is alive or that he is alive as Darth Vader. However, she gets into a saber duel with him, and just like you saw in Obi-Wan, where Obi cracks the left side of Darth Vader’s mask, Ahsoka does that to the right side. You see the eye of Anakin, but hear the voice of Darth Vader. The moment that Ahsoka realizes that Anakin is alive, but now as a Sith, and her enemy, is heartbreaking. Ashley Eckstein does such a great job at making you feel that emotion and what her character Ahsoka is going through in that moment.
But there is more than that work on your heartstrings. But you’ll have to watch the rest of the series to fully understand. Just make sure you have your tissues ready for Season 4. You‘ve been warned.
3. Grand Admiral Thrawn
I had hoped that this person was going to be the big bad of The Mandalorian Season 3. Instead, we were teased about his possible appearance and have seen him in trailers for the upcoming Ahsoka season. And that, of course, is Grand Admiral Thrawn.
If you were introduced to Thrawn in the original trilogy of Thrawn books written by Timothy Zahn, this series carries the torch rather well. Yes, there are some minor differences, but the character is largely the same, in my opinion. They do a phenomenal job of not only bringing him to life in animation but using Lars Mikkelson to breathe life into the character. Lars was also cast in the live-action series as Thrawn, not that I feel any other could have really done justice to his character.
One of the things that many like myself love about Thrawn is that he’s not your typical Empire buffoon who somehow got to be a commander or admiral. Thrawn is an ultra-intelligent, cold-blooded villain. His pursuits and traps set for the Rebels are smart and show cunning in their planning. He fails to catch the Rebels, not for his lack of planning, but more so because of the buffoonery of the Empire.
So go back and watch Rebels to get a nice foundation into who and what Thrawn is, if you haven’t read the books by Timothy Zahn, both original and his secondary trilogies.
Also, and possible spoilers for you… Don’t you want to know how and why Thrawn and Ezra go off into space together? Yeah you do…
There they are. Three solid reasons for you to consider going back and watching the Rebels series in its entirety. However, if I still haven’t somehow convinced you to go back and watch it all, check out the best episodes to get you ready for Ahsoka with some important story arcs for your consideration.
Either way, watching Rebels in full or just the important Ahsoka story arcs, you get to see why Star Wars Rebels is some of the finest Star Wars ever made.