Star Wars Rebels’ upcoming fourth season will be its last.
Supervising producer Dave Filoni made the announcement Saturday at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, near the end of the show’s panel and just before showing the first trailer for the show’s last season, coming this fall.
(Nerdvana was there and plans to publish more insights from the panel another time. Here’s our initial write-up and the trailer, along with some images provided Lucasfilm.)
The show’s creative force defended the decision to wrap up the story.
“I firmly believe that each generation needs to have its own piece of Star Wars,” Filoni said.
“I know what it’s like when I don’t get to end a series,” he added, referring to Clone Wars, which he also produced directly before Rebels and which ended abruptly.
There’s lots to look forward to in Rebels’ swan-song season. Filoni said the coming season would see the return of Genevieve O’Reilly as Rebel leader Mon Mothma.
“She’s just thrilled to be a part of this as well,” he said, praising her “seamless” appearance and manner as an “impossible thing.” But it won’t necessarily be the Mon Mothma you expect…
“You might see Mon Mothma get a little fiery for once,” Filoni teased.
There will be other familiar Rogue One: A Star Wars Story characters as well: Forest Whitaker will reprise his role as extremist leader Saw Gerrera, and his intimidating big-screen lieutenant Edrio Two Tubes will join him.
“Now that the movie’s out, I can have a little fun,” Filoni said.
A still showed the characters in the cockpit of a Rogue One U-Wing starfighter. Filoni said the show’s color palette will, as Rogue One did, reflect the “drab” universe of Episode IV: A New Hope, and show a re-created Yavin base as the Rebel Alliance continues to take shape.
A big part of that shaping, Captain Hera Syndulla, narrates the final season’s trailer. Filoni originally wanted a Jedi to do that because of their integral role in the Saga, but realized Hera was the pivot, or “mother,” of this crew and needed to put its end into focus. (Later, in the show’s press conference, Filoni let drop that Hera will become a general in the Alliance by the end of this season, placing her at the rank she holds in Rogue One.)
Actress Vanessa Marshall says Hera will have the same anti-Empire agenda going into Season 4, especially after their crushing defeat in the Season 3 finale, “but I believe her focus is much more sharp — as it needs to be. I think things are really coming to a pinpoint.
“It’s now time to really get it done.”
Also in the cards: a return to war-torn Mandalore where, according to both Filoni and Sabine Wren actress Tiya Sircar, fans of the Mandalorians will find quite a few surprises, including faces both old and new. One of those will be Bo Katan, a Clone Wars character who was the sister of Mandalore’s Duchess Satine, voiced by Katee Sackhoff.
Filoni called Season 4 “not like anything else we’ve ever done,” saying it’s “a little dark, a little fun.”
Speaking of dark, wayward Jedi Kanan Jarrus, according to actor Freddie Prinze Jr., is “still blind” but in Season 4 “he sees more than he has ever seen before.” The character has changed dramatically and watched his apprentice fail, succeed and eventually surpass him in many areas.
As for that apprentice, Ezra Bridge, actor Taylor Gray says the young man has grown up seeing the good and the bad, coming of age with innate abilities he didn’t understand and finding a family he didn’t know he needed.
“I think he makes some great decisions through Season Four,” Gray said.
As for the Expanded Universe tie-ins Rebels has become known for, book “Legend” Grand Admiral Thrawn will return again after re-entering the canon on screen last year. Described by Filoni as the only “big bad” to survive a season of the show, the tactical genius likely will have help: Warwick Davis will provide the voice performance for Rukh, the Noghri bodyguard (also created by author Timothy Zahn). There will also be tri-winged TIE Defenders … but fear not, Rebel sympathizers: X-Wing fighters are coming to the Alliance at last, and former Imperial Security Bureau Agent Kallus, now unmasked to all as a Rebel spy, returns to lend his expertise.
Rounding out the Ghost crew, Steve Blum says Garazeb Orellios has evolved beyond the “muscle head” of the group to be more of an uncle and “responsible citizen” — and he cites Season 2’s bromance with Kallus, an event that had major repercussions for the Empire. He says, in Season 4, fans should expect Zeb to make “smarter remarks” but also “better choices.”
“He has a bigger heart than you realize,” Filoni said. “When the chips are down … he loves these guys.”