Star Wars Rebels: ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ the beginning of the end

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4

A beginning, and an end. Lots going on with Star Wars this week, the long-awaited Last Jedi trailer notwithstanding.

Star Wars Rebels begins its fourth and final season Monday, Oct. 16, with an hourlong presentation of “Heroes of Mandalore: Parts One and Two” that will air five times throughout the day: 12:30 a.m., 3 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.

In this premiere episode, Sabine leads Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus and an army of her fellow Mandalorians in exile back to her homeworld to save her father from the clutches of the Empire.

I was one of the lucky few who got in to watch the first half of “Heroes of Mandalore” at the Rebels panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando back in April. The full story doesn’t disappoint — it’s full of heroics and humor, and serves as a satisfying climax for the show’s Mandalore arc, though it’s far from complete and that world’s struggle against the Empire has barely begun. There are many untold stories left to explore here, not the least of which goes back to one of the final battles of the prequel era that, if the Clone Wars series had continued, was meant to have a younger Ahsoka Tano battle the resurgent Darth Maul and his machinations with a loyal detachment of clone troopers sent by her former mentor, Anakin Skywalker, before the infamous Order 66 and his own descent to the dark side as Darth Vader.

But that’s a story, we hope, for another time.

Star Wars Rebels: ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ publicity images

“Heroes of Mandalore” peels back the armor (sometimes literally) to show us another side of the warrior culture with Sabine’s father — an artist like herself. Sabine must face her shame at committing a terrible mistake in her youthful arrogance to excel; she may be the most developed character in Rebels, and that’s saying something.

There’s also a long-overdue meeting with a character we haven’t seen since Clone Wars, when the shadow of Maul first fell over Mandalore in his quest for vengeange upon Obi-Wan Kenobi — an ultimately fruitless endeavor, as Rebels showed us last season.

Before Rebels Season 4 begins, you can binge-watch seasons 1-3 for free on the DisneyNow app. The app will also show the “Heroes of Mandalore” premiere on Monday. And don’t forget to revisit Nerdvana’s own look ahead at the final season from the official panel and press conference in our Star Wars Celebration coverage below:

Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017

Star Wars Rebels’ Vanessa Marshall and Dave Filoni on Hera’s journey, Rogue One and general issues

Rex returns in Star Wars Rebels Season 4: ‘Now he can be something greater’

Star Wars Rebels: Thrawn triumphant going into Season 4

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