‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Wolves and a Door” and “A World Between Worlds”

Nothing gets me more thrilled about Star Wars than wild and weird concepts pertaining to the Force, and the most recent Star Wars Rebels episodes had an extra dose of weird that left me in an awestruck state of mind. “Wolves and a Door” helped set the stage and gave us a taste of the eye-opening journey Ezra then embarked on in “A World Between Worlds.” There is no doubt in my mind that these two episodes are some of the best and visually captivating Star Wars stories currently out there.

We’ve seen Thrawn go into detail about art a few times here and there, but it was about time we saw Sabine dive into the subject herself and show off her skills as an artist under a different light. Her ability to interpret and figure out the significance behind the symbols throughout the episodes was, as Darth Vader would say, most impressive. The intention from the writers may not have been there from the beginning, but I love the fact that Sabine and Ezra are on equal footing, always working with each other and (like Kanan and Hera) bringing out the best in each other.

Personally, I believe the Mortis arc is one of the most fascinating stories that Star Wars: The Clone Wars put out there. It expanded our views of the Force in ways that only the animated shows could explore, and Star Wars Rebels continued that tradition. Weaving Mortis into the story, in my honest opinion, was a stroke of genius. One of the reasons why the Sith gained control of the galaxy and the war escalated was due to the death of these godly figures and the destruction of Mortis, so bringing these aspects back reminded some of us older fans that Ezra and the gang are living the “dark times” as a result of those events. And as always, the writers did a fantastic job at finding the balance between what information to give the audience and not to give the audience in regards to Mortis, since many in the audience may not have seen those Clone Wars episodes to know the foundations.

When Ezra activated the door, the 2D animated portion of that sequence made my jaw drop. I will be shocked and disappointed if these two episodes aren’t nominated and awarded for the outstanding work in writing, visuals, music (Kevin Kiner and his team did a phenomenal job), and sound editing, especially the latter. The various sound clips that were interspersed between these episodes sent chills down my spine because it was such a brilliant way to connect everything—everything that happened, everything that is happening, and everything that will happen.

As for the foreign world itself, I love that Star Wars went to that area of science fiction that I’ve been craving to see. The idea that the Emperor would go after something that had the potential to alter time in catastrophic ways (for the lack of better words) blew my mind. And it was unexpected because many of us thought that playing around with the fabric of time and space was something that was separate from Star Wars. The Force works in mysterious ways, and the creative team behind Rebels went along with it. When you only play around with safe ideas and concepts, the final product tends to be boring and uninspired. This was the complete opposite for Rebels because the team boldly went where Star Wars hasn’t gone before and the result blew most of us away. (And yes, I had to throw some Star Trek in there.)

It’s also very satisfying when questions are answered, and one big question that didn’t have a concrete answer was that of Ahsoka’s fate. What makes me laugh is the fact that we had the answer right in front of our noses the entire time, but without the context, none of us were able to figure it out. That, to me, made it all the more exciting. While we have no idea what Ahsoka has been up to in the two or so years after having been returned to Malachor, I look forward to where her story goes next. For now, Ahsoka lives and that’s a great thing in my book. Also, the way Ahsoka was brought out of her timeline made me jump and cheer in my seat. Thinking outside of the box is what Filoni and his crew do best, and this moment is a shining example. People can say whatever they want about fan service, but there was a purpose behind Ahsoka’s return. For a few moments, Ezra let his emotions consume him and the desperation gets the best of him. Ahsoka’s presence helped guide him to do the right thing. And in the end, it’s a beautiful and heartbreaking message. We have to learn to let go. There is no greater lesson in Star Wars than this, in my opinion, and the team did an amazing job at reinforcing this lesson not just for the characters but for the audience.

Ezra’s desperation and wanting to save his Master was one of the most relatable moments from the series. And when he accepted the fate of Kanan and chose to let go, we saw just how much Ezra had grown. It’s also a reminder of how we all will be tempted in our lives time and time again, but the mark of true growth is knowing when to do the right thing.

Finally, when Ezra said goodbye to Kanan, it was sort of like coming full circle. Ezra’s path to becoming a Jedi and Kanan’s path to becoming a Jedi Knight officially started at the Jedi Temple on Lothal, and sadly, that’s where Kanan’s path ended. There’s no more running and no more fighting. There’s just the Force. It’s so achingly beautiful, and I honestly don’t see how it could have ended any other way.

Until next time, make sure to visit the episode guides (“Wolves and a Door” and “A World Between Worlds“) and tune into the final episodes of the series on Monday, March 5, 2018, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.

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5 comments on “‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Four Review: “Wolves and a Door” and “A World Between Worlds”

  1. Jon Hodges

    Well said. These episodes were particularly brilliant.

  2. Like many other fans, my jaw dropped when I watched these episodes. After weeks of fretting what on earth could exist on Lothal that would change everything–our minds were blown away. This is what happens when you take the time to create a saga and flesh out the characters in a series of episodes instead of being pressured to cram it all into a film.

    JM is right about the “Star Trek” references because “Trek” time-travels all the time (and into parallel universes) whereas this is the first time the concept has been introduced in “Star Wars”. I did read a few comments online about time-travel being an ex deus machina and they’re right to some extent–if it is used too often or carelessly in a story. But its such a rare situation that I feel Ezra had to be in that portal, in that specific moment, by the will of the Force. It couldn’t have happened at any other moment before in his life. And as JM said, “safe is boring”. I trust the writers who respect the mythology/lore of Star Wars not to overuse this concept too often.

    Speaking of Ezra, I cannot help but feel the crushing weight on his shoulders. Bad enough to lose his parents and watch Kanan die, he had to witness Kanan’s death yet again. But he passed the test and acknowledged the lesson. Balance is a theme of “Star Wars” and it strikes me poetic that as Kanan’s presence transitioned out of Ezra’s life, Ahsoka came back in to guide him yet again.

    I could go on and on about the fascinating details of these episodes but one particular movie came to mind and that was “The Prince of Egypt”. Most of “PoE” was drawn in 2D but used computer animation in the dream sequence to make the hieroglyphics’ come to life; “Rebels” is a 3D/CGI show that used 2D animation to make the Mortis mosaic come to life. When Ezra is in the portal hearing voices from all over the franchise talking to him, it’s eerily similar to the music at the scene of the burning bush where Moses is told to accept his destiny; Ezra also reaches a pivotal moment where he’s empowered to save a friend and overcomes temptation to hold onto Kanan.

    • Johnamarie Macias

      I’m so glad you brought up The Prince of Egypt! That movie was so visually captivating, and I thank you for the reminder about that one dream sequence!

  3. Where do I begin?
    First, thanks for this open forum. All too often, replies are restricted in myriad ways. Secondly, the reviews are honest and well written, with a relatable human element. I have enjoyed visiting here, and as someone who has a real love for the animated series, I appreciate this site.
    These last four Rebels episodes deeply explore some of the most profound questions about life. What does it mean to love? How do we find our way correctly through upheavals and life changes. How do we handle loss? What does it mean to honor the sacrifice of others, and further, where does our ability to influence events defer to wisdom?
    I haven’t changed my perspective on Kanan, and his death, yet from another point of view, all of this waxes significant because the Rebels team has presented us with characters we care about, root for, and explore issues alongside…which is praise for some truly excellent story telling.
    My love for Clone Wars and Rebels is kindled into a blaze when they really strike the correct chord mythically, balancing mysticism and truth. It is a credit to Mr. Filoni and his team that they can do just that.
    It was said, when I was very young, that life was all about the balance between that which will crush you, and that which will uplift you. These last four episodes certainly echo this teaching.
    Rebels isn’t perfect, but it’s darn good.
    I’ll be there for the finale’.

    • Johnamarie Macias

      Anytime! I tend to remove spam comments, but the majority of people who’ve left comments on these articles are thoughtful and kind people, like yourself! And you’re right, Rebels is not perfect, but it was one hell of a show that pushed the envelope in a variety of ways. I’m going to miss it!

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