Hundreds of fans showed up to the John Bassett Theatre at Fan Expo Canada to watch the Star Wars Rebels panel hosted by Star Wars book author Christian Blauvelt. The panel featured Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni as well as voice actors Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla) and Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger). The room was bursting with energy and enthusiasm, especially since this season will mark the end for Star Wars Rebels.
The panel kicked off with familiar topics, including Ahsoka’s fate and Filoni’s “Ahsoka Lives” t-shirt illusion that took place at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. Filoni dodged the existence of the shirt yet again, but he did mention that Ahsoka’s story is going somewhere.
“Otherwise, it’d be mean,” he said, making the audience laugh.
On social media, Filoni has been sharing art and ideas about Ahsoka that naturally come to his mind during his commute to work—things that didn’t make it into the final episodes but that he still found interesting enough to share with the fans.
He and the others have thought about whether Ahsoka ever met Bendu and he’s thought about how that scene would have played out. He’s also thought about Ahsoka and Kanan having known each other briefly during their time at the Jedi Temple, since Ahsoka would have been “famous,” having been the Padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Filoni also talked about the convorees, the owls that were named after his wife. She loves owls, and he’s incorporated them into Star Wars before, specifically in the Mandalorian helmets of Bo-Katan’s Nite Owls.
He, on the other hand, loves wolves and he joked about sharing a drawing of a wolf with Ahsoka’s markings with the words, “Just kidding.” In the end, that would have confused fans, so his original drawing of Ahsoka explaining that she’s not the wolf still stands.
Sabine and the Mandalorians were brought up during the panel. Filoni talked about how Sabine’s story had evolved over time and how she’s become almost a big of a lead as Ezra. He emphasized that the core of the show is always on the family of the Ghost, how Kanan and Hera act as surrogate parents to both Sabine and Ezra, and how Ezra and Sabine have developed more agency because of their experiences.
As for Bo-Katan’s return and the storyline of the Mandalorians, Filoni mentioned that Rebels has given him and the others on his team the opportunity to finish a few storylines that he never got to do in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, specifically after she rebels against Maul in “The Lawless.” The opening episodes of season four hint at that and wraps up some of those threads.
Of course, no Star Wars Rebels conversation is completely without the mention of Hot Kallus, a term that has been used to describe Kallus’ physical transformation from season three into season four.
“I don’t understand it,” Filoni stated, but he talked about how the actual production team were taking note of Kallus’ change. He even brought up the fact that voice actor David Oyelowo was told about it and how Oyelowo has had a good time with this trend.
Fans were treated to a season four clip of Captain Rex and Kallus. In it, Hera gives them command of the Ghost. After she leaves, Kallus talks about how he used to chase after the ship, and how years later, it’s now under his command. Rex corrects him and says that Hera left the command to him. Kallus is confused by this, “Why would she give command to you? I’ve commanded Star Destroyers.” Rex responds back with, “Well, I’d say you just answered your own question, then,” implying that many Star Destroyers had been attacked by the rebels under his command. This dawns on Kallus and he wisely gives the command to Rex.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Topics switch on over to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was successful in thwarting the rebels’ plans for Lothal. According to Filoni, Thrawn is involved with a couple of tactical arguments with the Empire itself on how to fight the rebels overall. He’s tactically trying to figure out the kinds of weapons they need to produce in order to win the war against the Rebellion.
At the same time, he’s also trying to figure out how to maneuver all of these pieces, Arihnda Pryce being one of those pieces. In some ways, she’s is a bit of a maniac because of her quest for power. She’s also unpredictable. In the end, Pryce and Thrawn can’t underestimate each other, so throughout the season, we’ll be seeing them together as they tackle the problems at hand. Ultimately, though, Thrawn is not sure what the next move of the rebels will be.
A second clip was shown with Hera commanding a squadron of X-wing fighters. In the distance is a massive Imperial presence and Thrawn sends Vult Skerris and a wave of TIE fighters to stop their attack.
Kanan and Hera
With this being the last season of the show, there’s something else that’s also been on the minds and hearts of fans out there and that is the relationship between Kanan and Hera. The panel itself took place on the 3rd year anniversary of Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, the first canon novel and the novel that established how Kanan and Hera first met.
Vanessa Marshall talked about the special affection the two characters have for each other and how they haven’t had a chance to pursue things due to the dangerous situations they always find themselves in. All that said, she’s excited to see where their relationship goes this season.
The third and final clip was about Hera and Kanan, talking about how they would like to live their lives after defeating the Empire. Hera, of course, hasn’t thought about it because her mind has always been on the fight. Kanan isn’t surprised, since the implication is that she hasn’t thought about them at all. The near kiss brought about some “oohs” from the audience, but sadly, it didn’t happen as Ryder Azadi (voiced by Clancy Brown) pulls Hera away from the moment. Needless to say, but the audience was not pleased with the interruption!
Filoni, on the other hand, loved the reaction from the audience. He playfully said that it’s satisfying when they give fans content like that and then take it away.
Loth-wolves aren’t new to the series. We heard about them before in the first season, when Ezra said the children’s rhyme “Loth-rat, Loth-cat, Loth-wolf, run. Pick a path and all is done” in the episode “Path of the Jedi.”
“I like wolves,” Filoni said, making the audience laugh yet again, since his love for wolves is a widely known fact. The film Never Cry Wolf, which is an adaptation of Farley Mowat’s 1963 autobiography of the same name, is what brought about his love for wolves as a child.
“Some people see [wolves] as evil and some people see them as guides,” he said. “And I thought that works for me because of the Force. It’s really what you bring into it [that] makes it a negative or a positive, but the wolf is just constant with what it is and nature’s constant. And the Force is that way. You bring selfishness into the Force, it becomes evil and [the] dark side. If you bring selflessness, it is the light side. You have to own your part because you are choosing to do something with it, and so, I thought these things would play well.”
Ultimately, Filoni said that the Loth-wolves are very similar in nature to what the Bendu is. The Bendu is this middle way and he’s on Atollon speaking to them through the Force. The wolves are a nature element of the Force on Lothal and act in a similar way.
Taylor Gray added onto that, especially since his character has a connection with living beings, “One of the coolest parts of the Force I think is that, the ability to kind of connect with the world around us.” The fans will be seeing more of Ezra’s ability to connect in the fourth season as well as where it takes him.
As we count down to the premiere of season four, Filoni mentioned that this season is going to fulfill Ezra’s story. Overall, he feels good about what they’ve done and they’re still working on the rest of the final season. According to him, season four is much more tied together than any other season. The first couple of episodes tie off some threads, like the Mandalorian story, and then the rest (from about the fifth episode to the end) focuses on Ezra, what’s going to happen to everyone, and how everything is going to go down. When the season starts up in October, he said that it’ll almost feel like the episodes are day-to-day and continuous. Each episode will play into the next one, and as a result, fans will feel the flow of it.
Lastly, he stated that very few people know the ending.
When he keeps things secret, it’s not to be mean or anything of that nature. Filoni said that he wants people to sit down and enjoy the outcome of the characters’ stories—and that goes for both his crew and the audience. It’s tempting to want to know spoilers, but he wants fans to experience it in the moment. Filoni mentioned his first experience in watching A New Hope in the theater and how everyone went crazy when Obi-Wan said, “Use the Force.”
“Because nobody knew that guy was still alive,” he said, laughing along with the audience. “We need a bit more of that feeling these days.”
The final season of Star Wars Rebels starts on October 16 on Disney XD.
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