Star Wars Rebels comes to an unexpected, but massively rewarding end. The finale saw the decisive Battle for Lothal, then opened intriguing new doors into the Star Wars universe. The ninety-minute, three episode story arc drew on characters and creatures from the very beginning. One group was instrumental and completely out of left field, while the fate of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) was exactly as described by Bendu in "Zero Hour". The characters outcomes were certainly surprising. It was also a hoot to finally learn who has been voicing the curmudgeonly droid Chopper all this time. Drum roll please, Dave Filoni, the show's producer and head writer, has been the source of all that irascible warbling.
The penultimate episode A Fool's Hope begins with the Ghost returning to Seelos. Phoenix Squadron is reuniting with Rex's (Dee Bradley Baker) brothers on their walker, along with the pirate Hondo (Jim Cummings), the pig-nosed Ugnaught Melch, Kallus (David Oyelowo) and Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres) from Mandalore. Hera (Vanessa Marshall) and Rex are asking them to join Ezra (Taylor Gray) in liberating Lothal. This is not a mission for the Rebel Alliance. The plan is dangerous and the odds are daunting, but Hondo voices what they all feel, "There's nothing I would not do for that boy".
On Lothal, Ezra has a had vision while meditating. He gets Sabine (Tiya Sircar), Ryder Azati (Clancy Brown), and the others to contact Hera via hologram. They must retake Lothal now. Thrawn is returning from Coruscant. Ryder thinks it's impossible. They need an army to fight the Empire. Ezra replies no, they only need one person.
Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is in her office at the Imperial command center. The rebels are nowhere to be found. She knows she will be executed by Thrawn for her failure. She is brought a secret communication. Ryder Azati has betrayed the rebels. He will give up their location for amnesty. Their mission has become suicide.
At their base, Sabine watches Loth-wolves nearby. Suddenly they take off running. Imperial attack transports are inbound. Pryce orders the stormtroopers to take Ezra alive for the Emperor. They assault the base with the ships and jetpacks. Other ships land in the rear, led by the Noghri assassin Rukh (Warwick Davis). Sabine takes off into the air. The others take defensive positions to counter. Ryder Azati silently creeps into hiding.
Sabine knocks out two ships with her rocket and thermal grenades. Ezra shreds the stormtroopers with his lightsaber. Zeb picks up a cannon and lays heavy firepower into the Imperials. Ezra yells for Chopper to tell Hera they are under attack, and then to jam the troopers communications. He turns around to deflect a blow from Rukh. They engage in a swift fight until Ezra throws Rukh over a ledge using the force. The assassin falls, but clings unto the side of the cliff.
In space, the Ghost drops out lightspeed and powers down immediately. They are in orbit above Lothal, surrounded by Star Destroyers. Hondo tells Hera to move the ship into a hyperspace lane using thrusters only. Kallus worries they will be hit by another ship. On cue, a cargo ship drops out of hyperspace. Hera attaches the Ghost to the cargo. They sneak through the Empire's blockade.
On the ground, the battle rages furiously. Pryce orders her troops to destroy Vizago's (Keith Szarabajka) crawler. It explodes and capsizes the bottom of the base. The stormtroopers have them. The rebels are rounded by Rukh and his men. Pryce lands her ship and congratulates Ryder on his betrayal. He laughs, they couldn't have fooled Thrawn, but certainly you. They needed to draw her into their trap. The Ghost swoops down and opens fire.
The transport ships take off to face the Ghost. Ezra leads the rebels into the cave. Rukh and the stormtroopers follow. Ezra ignites his lightsaber in the darkness, he is with the Loth-wolves. The wolves decimate the stormtroopers. Rukh is grabbed in a jaw and thrown clear from the base. In the air, Hondo and Melch destroy the remaining transports with the Ghost's cannons. A Loth-wolf brings the quivering Pryce before Ezra and Ryder. The Ghost lands and Phoenix Squadron is whole. Hondo is ready to call it a day, but Ezra says it's not over. It's time to chase the Empire off Lothal.
Family Reunion and Farewell were cut together for the finale. It begins with Ezra looking at a hologram of his parents. He tells them that everything he has done was for them. He tells them about his new family, and how he wishes they could meet. Hera overhears this endearing moment. It's time for them to use Pryce.
Pryce is brought to them by Kallus and Ryder. She curses Kallus for being a traitor. He brushes her off. He stopped betraying himself when he turned on the Empire. Ezra wants Pryce to transmit her victory code to headquarters. She refuses, but then has a change of heart from the growling Loth-wolf.
Everyone except Hera, Zeb, Chopper, Hondo, and Melch don Imperial uniforms. In disguise, they fly the transport ships toward the domed Imperial command center. Ezra looks at Sabine and says "I can always count on you". Their plan is lure all the troops back into the dome, then launch it. Pryce laughs at its brazenness.
Kallus transmits Pryce's landing codes. The transports settle on the platform without issue. Zeb leaps forward and takes out the first row of guards. Ezra takes care of the rest. Zeb holds the blast door before it closes. Ketsu jumps through. She hacks the computers to turn off the internal communications, then reopens the door. The others stream in. Melch runs towards Zeb, who throws him high into the air. The little Ugnaught lands on the glass on top of the operations room.
The officers inside open fire on Melch above them. With their backs turned, the blast door is open and the rebels take the room. Kallus plans to use Protocol 13, a general recall order, to lure all the troops back inside the dome. Pryce, again, is stupefied by their plan. Meanwhile at the Ghost landing site, Mart (Zachary Gordon) and Vizago get the signal from the rebels. They are ready to go and pick them up. Mart says he also has a secret mission assigned by Ezra. Before he can speak, Rukh attacks and knocks them all out. He steals a transport and informs Thrawn of the events on Lothal. Thrawn had expected Pryce to fail, but not this badly. He orders Rukh to get to the command dome and disable its shield generator.
Protocol 13 is issued by Kallus. A security officer is wary of the order, but is convinced by Ryder, who impersonates Security Chief Wullf Yularen. Lothal City's streets are cleared as all of the Imperials return to the dome. Hera closes the dome entrance, but not before Rukh flies inside. The rebels smell victory. Hera is about to launch the dome when Thrawn's ship appears above them.
Ezra asks Chopper to contact Thrawn. He has all of their forces trapped in the dome. Thrawn disagrees and thanks him for moving his men to safety. Rukh disables the shield generator. The Chimaera opens fire on the defenseless city below. The rebels watch in horror as Thrawn bombards civilians. Ezra begs Thrawn to stop, he will turn himself in as requested.
The rebels are trapped. Hera and the others gather to quickly think of a new plan. They don't notice as Chopper opens a vent for Ezra. He hands Chopper his lightsaber. Sabine watches as Ezra slips away. Hera looks outside to see Ezra taking a transport toward Thrawn's ship. She is flabbergasted. They must use this time wisely. She sends the others in teams to retake the shield generator.
Ezra lands on the Chimaera and is taken to Thrawn's office in restraints. Thrawn lauds the art of Lothal and the work of Sabine Wren, but criticizes Ezra's plan. The Jedi fail because they follow their morals, not what is strategically sound. He admits to be curious about the Force and how to use it. Ezra replies that the Force is not a weapon, and that he cannot take this art. He didn't earn it, deserve it, or even understand Lothal. Thrawn responds that power is what matters. He will now take Ezra to the person who will teach that lesson.
Thrawn takes Ezra into a cavernous room, where a piece of the Jedi temple has been rebuilt. Emperor Palpatine appears via hologram. But he is dressed in stately white robes and not disfigured. He has hidden his hideous Darth Sidious visage.
Back at the Ghost, a Loth-wolf licks Mart's face. He wakes up and realizes the gravity of their situation. He gets the others and tells them of his secret mission. Ezra had predicted that Thrawn would thwart their plan. He must go into high orbit and send a distress signal on frequency zero.
In the dome, the rebels attack Rukh's men at the shield generator. They split up into two groups and open fire. In the throne room, Palpatine informs Ezra that he is glad to finally meet him. He tells him how difficult it was to move the temple, that Ezra should be grateful for his efforts. Ezra explodes at this comment. How can he thank the Emperor for killing his people, his parents, conquering Lothal? Palpatine replies that the rebels are to blame for forcing his hand. Governing the galaxy requires order. But are his parents truly gone...
A light appears inside the temple. Palpatine watches as Ezra approaches the gateway to his parents. He whispers that Ezra can have back what was lost. This is what he wants, but he must open the door to make it so. Palpatine wants access to the gateway. The Jedi temple was destroyed, so only Ezra has the power to reopen it here. The Dark Lord of the Sith offers Ezra everything that he has wanted from the start. He tells him, you know that it is possible to change fate, open the door. Ezra's restraints fall away as he reaches for his beloved family. He holds out his hand, but then says goodbye, they will always be a part of him. Ezra destroys the temple with the Force. He passes the test that Kanan had prepared him for. He will not be lured by the Dark Side.
Ezra runs away from the crumbling bricks. Palpatine screams with fury as his hologram flickers to his true form of Darth Sidious. The Crimson Guard enters the throne room with stormtroopers. They paralyze Ezra with their electrified staffs, but he crushes them with boulders from the temple.
In the shield generator, Melch makes a kamikaze run to the control panel. He is shot down, then cradled by a distraught Hondo. Zeb leaps to the lower level and attacks Rukh head on. This distracts the other troopers. Gregor makes his move as Ketsu extends the other gate to the control panel. He is shot in the chest. Kallus runs toward him, but Gregor tells him to turn on the shields. Below, Rukh and Zeb are engaged in a vicious battle. Zeb grabs Rukh's foot and crimps it between two pieces of metal. He leaps back up to the deck as the shield is reactivated. Rukh is fried by the electrical current.
Thrawn opens fire on Lothal City, but the turbo lasers bounce off the shield. He radios to Rukh for an update, only to get a smart ass response from Zeb. Rex holds Gregor as he fades, his last word to his brother, it was an honor to fight for something they believe in. Across the platform, Hondo hides his tears as Melch wakes up. The little Ugnaught is still alive.
Ezra smashes open the Chimaera's bridge door. An officer informs Thrawn that unidentified objects are destroying the blockade. Thrawn radios Captain Pallaeon, geeking out here, along with Rukh, Pallaeon was a subordinate of Thrawn from Timothy Zahn's Trilogy. Ezra tells Thrawn that he has lost. Purgill, the gigantic space whales, come plunging down through the clouds. The Ghost whizzes by as the creatures plow through the Star Destroyers.
Thrawn shoots Ezra in the shoulder as the Purgill crashes into the Chimaera. Tentacles smash through the bridge glass and engulf Thrawn. He tries to escape but is thrown back by Ezra's Force push. Their tentacles begin to glow as the creatures power up for lightspeed. Hera radios for Ezra to get out of there. Ezra looks as Thrawn is swarmed by tentacles, surrounded by the arms of defeat, just as Bendu predicted. Ezra says goodbye to his dear friends, "Remember...the Force will be with you...always". The Purgill jump to hyperspace and the Chimaera vanishes.
All of the Imperial ships have been destroyed. Hera ignites the thrusters on the dome. The massive building begins to take off into the air. Mart swoops in with the Ghost to get them. Chopper throws Ezra's lightsaber to Sabine. She cuts the glass and they all scurry unto the dome. Ryder offers Pryce a chance to escape, but she refuses. They pile into the Ghost as the dome rises. Sabine thanks Kanan and Ezra before flipping the switch. Pryce stands alone as the dome explodes around her.
Hera feverishly analyzes what hyperspace routes the Purgill may have taken. Chopper projects a final message from Ezra. He tells them that there were several paths. This was not what he wanted, but Kanan had prepared him for the sacrifice. He thanks everyone individually and for being a "great family". But then says to Sabine, "I'm counting on you. I can't wait to come home." The citizens of Lothal cheer in the streets as the Ghost soars above them. Zeb comments that the people are with them. They did this without the Rebel Alliance. If the Empire comes back, they will be ready.
An older Sabine, with short purple hair, is standing on the tower where Ezra used to live. She looks out unto a gleaming, rebuilt Lothal City. Two X-Wings escort a ship towards her. Then begins her voiceover. We are at a point in time right after Return of the Jedi. The Empire never returned. Palpatine was killed at the Battle of Endor. Hera and Rex fought on Endor. She had a son, Jacen Syndulla, who was very much like his father. I guess Kanan and Hera got past the words stage. Kallus and Zeb went to the Lasat home of Lirasan. Sabine had thought that Ezra meant for her to protect Lothal, but now she knows what to do. Ahsoka Tano, older and in white robes, beckons her unto the ship. Sabine dons her repainted Mandalorian armor and walks towards Ahsoka. She says, "Ezra is out there, it's time to bring him home". As she leaves, we see a large mural behind her of the Ghost crew together, standing with the Loth-wolves.
No one saw the Purgill from season two coming. It makes sense that the creatures would be there for Ezra when he needed them. I had to watch the finale twice to truly understand its scope. Ezra is alive, presumably so is Thrawn, somewhere in the galaxy. Ahsoka and Sabine begin their journey after Return of the Jedi, still thirty years before The Force Awakens. The Ghost crew survived. Hera's son with Kanan is a child at this point in time. Logic dictates he must be Force sensitive. Also, in another reference to Zahn's work, Jacen Solo was a child of Han and Leia. It is entirely possible for these characters to cross paths with Luke Skywalker, or in the current saga, interact with Rey and Leia as they flee to the outer rim after The Last Jedi. The possibilities are damned exciting.
Star Wars Rebels ended on the perfect note. Dave Filoni and the Lucasfilm animators delivered an exceptional series that got better each year. This was the journey of Ezra Bridger. We saw him at first as a lost orphan, mentored by a Jedi, Kanan Jarrus, who grew into a thoughtful master. They faced the Empire and the Dark Side with a well written array of supporting characters. Kanan's death was a watershed moment. It put Ezra on the path he was meant to take. When he was given a choice by the Emperor, he did not turn to the darkness, but sacrificed himself like his master. How epic and poetic is that?
I've read some responses where a few fans where disappointed by the time jump. And the fact that we didn't see the Ghost crew interact with Luke Skywalker and the characters of the middle trilogy. The galaxy is a big place. Yoda and Obi-Wan told people only what they needed to know. It makes sense that the Star Wars Rebels characters could exist outside of the Skywalker plot. We still have no idea where Snoke is from. There is fertile ground to build new animated series, live action television, and feature films from these characters. I cannot wait to see Ezra Bridger again. Hopefully Disney XD will announce a new show soon.