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Star Wars Rebels: Season Three

“Battles leave scars, some you can't see.”

In season three we explore the characters in a deeper way, cope with the losses and consequences of last season's finale and learn to grow and change in different ways. The Rebel Fleet is finally expanded and we are treated to some of the first major battles of the rebellion against the Empire. This time the crew of the Ghost face a new kind of antagonist, not a Sith Lord but a calculating Imperial officer, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

(This review covers the entire season and includes spoilers!)

Season three feels a bit different from previous seasons, both in setting and tone. Each character gets a chance for some backstory, including Sabine (finally). There was some levity, but there was definitely more of a somber "war is everywhere" vibe going on and it worked (for the most part). The villain shift was probably the most jarring; instead of trying to overcome the overwhelming power of a Sith Lord, here they have to outsmart one of the best strategists in the Empire.

Starting with Ezra, we learn that his experience with Darth Maul and the Light and Dark Holocrons have affected him deeply. Obsessed with the knowledge contained in the Sith Holocron, he begins the season clearly starting down the path to the Darkside, and it was kind of hard to watch. His arrogance and impatience felt off, and for good reason. While he does adjust back to the right path after the first couple of episodes, he is somewhat lost for most of the season, culminating in an episode where he learns what is really important, his found family. I loved how it came together, even though it was difficult watching him and Chopper suffer. I deeply enjoyed Ezra's arc this season.

On a similar note, Kanan had a lot to do this season as he explored the world through new eyes (or the lack of them). He has always doubted his role as a Jedi and teacher, and with his new disability his arc focused on finding a new way to be both. It almost feels like he has slowed down, his movements more deliberate, his words more carefully chosen. He no longer seems brash and impatient. Instead he is starting to feel like Yoda or Obi-Wan, wise and powerful. While the character might not see it (no pun intended), these changes to his behavior are clearly marked by how everyone reacts to him.

Sabine kind goes through the opposite arc. Instead of accepting something about herself, she has to learn how to forgive and accept her family again. She loves the crew, and that is made abundantly clear this season. They aren't just friends; to her, they are family. Yet when the Darksaber falls into her lap, she has to face the fact that she is now an important figure to Mandalorian culture and has to either step up and fight for her people, or live with the pain of never reconnecting with them. The Darksaber is a good plot device used to place pressure on her, and the stuff with her family was pretty engaging. It did mean she was gone for a good chunk of the season, but it was cool to finally get some real meat on her backstory.

I wasn't quite as thrilled with Hera's character plots. While we learned some about her history and a lot about Twi’lek culture, I wasn't blown away by the details we learned. I did like that Cham was redeemed some and managed to truly connect with Hera for the first time. Zeb didn't get very much to do in the season, but I did like how he had to step up as leader of the base for one episode. His decisions were comical, but I was impressed by his plan to resolve the imperial droid situation.

Chopper had a bit to do in this season, although mostly paired with AP5. Chopper has such a strong personality that when he was taken over by an Imperial data ship the crew almost immediately knew something was wrong. It also showed how much everyone actually cares about him, especially Hera who considers him her droid. There was also the moment when he stared at that crashed ship, a hint that he might have a good reason behind his gruff personality. AP5 also got a lovely moment where he was almost lost in space, and was perfectly fine just floating forever in the void.

One of the more interesting developments this season was the introduction of the Bendu, voiced by Tom Baker (Doctor Who), a force user who is in-between the Jedi and Sith, and is essentially an immortal creature that exists as a part of the living force. Enigmatic and occasionally difficult to understand, Bendu was mostly a part of Kanan's character arc. Their relationship was interesting, and unfortunately antagonistic towards the end. I'm not sure I would count Bendu as a villain, but he is one of the more frightening creatures we've seen so far.

There were a couple of standout Imperial characters scattered throughout the season. Three of note are Governor Pryce, Lt. Lyste and Admiral Kassius Konstantine. Pryce was a new power player, working with Grand Admiral Thrawn, and served as one of the highest ranked Imperials for most of the season. Her main strength seems to be her intelligence, appearing to not be a bumbling fool like most Imperial officers we've seen up to now. Lt. Lyste was a minor player and ended up being a patsy to cover for Kallus's actions as Fulcrum. He was last seen in the Leia episode last season, and he at least tried to be a good officer, even though he was a bit too overzealous. Finally there is Kassius Konstantine who is one of the longest running Imps, first appearing in season one. His death ran parallel to his career of failure as his ship was destroyed after he broke formation countering his commander's orders.
Which brings me to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who serves as the main villain and primary Imperial officer throughout season three. Bringing in this character is hugely important because it establishes him in canon for the first time since the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm. Previously he had been featured in a series of books written by Timothy Zahn called the Heir to the Empire trilogy, which many fans considered the de facto sequel to the original Star Wars movies. They are also some of the only Star Wars books I've read, so I was very much looking forward to his appearance here, and he didn't disappoint. He is cold and calculating, has a fascination with art and alien cultures, and is a proper foil for the crew of the Ghost, without him being a force wielder.

One of the more surprising plot developments was with Kallus, who took over the code name Fulcrum as a double agent. It made the episode featuring him and Zeb marooned on an ice planet all the more powerful in retrospect. He truly did connect with Zeb, and internalized the justification for the rebellion. His change made me root for him to survive, and there were several times where I was sure they would kill him off, right up until the Ghost saved him in the finale. It was a case of really powerful and satisfying character building, taking a vile villain and turning him into a hero (or the opposite from the Imperial's point of view).

The animation was a touch better yet again this season, with the big notable improvement being Ezra's hair (thank god). I was also really impressed with the details in practically every scene, showing a rich lived-in feel to the series. As always the space battles were well done, and the stranger elements like the green magic of the Night Sisters and Bendu's angry lightning storm were very effective. The creativity continues to be top notch in the visual department with some really dynamic scenes, such as the falling starship compactor which took place inside a gas giant.

Standout Episodes:

"Twin Suns:" This marks the first full appearance by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and features the final moments of Darth Maul in one of the shortest and most tragic lightsaber duels ever. Maul's final words were of hope. Sure, it was a hope for revenge, but you could see peace in his eyes as he died. It was a beautiful end to such a dark and horrible character.

"The Holocrons of Fate:" Speaking of Maul, while Twin Suns showed his end, this episode showed his occasionally terrifying capabilities. Maul was in top form with his manipulation of Ezra, culminating in one of the cooler moments in the series as the Jedi and Sith holocrons merged and for a moment Kanan could see again.

"Visions and Voices:" This was one of the more bizarre episodes so far, dealing with force wielders who were essentially witches, the Night Sisters. Their spirits had called Maul there, hoping to find a new vessel to inhabit, the lure being his quest for answers to the question posed by the vision given by the holocrons. In the end this was mostly an interesting filler episode, but it also introduced the Darksaber into the plot.

"Trials of the Darksaber:" I really liked this episode for the sole fact it showed us that a non-force user can successfully wield a lightsaber. It was a good episode for Sabine too, as she had to deal with her past and eventually relented to training with Kanan, accepting her role as the potential new leader of Mandalore.

"Through Imperial Eyes:" As I mentioned above, the Kallus arc was one of the highlights of the season for me, and this was the episode that really cemented things. Up until this point, you could believe that he was a double agent, but his true loyalties were in question. Here he really steps up and shows he can be trusted. I also loved the cat and mouse games between Thrawn and Kallus, showing both to be formidable and intelligent.

"Zero Hour:" (both parts)  The finale episodes of this series have all been excellent, and each have felt a bit better than previous season enders. However, this two-parter was something special. Not only did it tie up all the threads placed throughout the season, but it left us wanting more. This was also one of the best realized space battles I have ever seen in a Star Wars project. I think it is because the stakes were so high, and we lost some important characters (RIP Sato). The crew also lost Chopper base, which has been a primary location for a season and a half. Not to mention the potential new enemy with the Bendu.


New and returning legacy characters include: Mon Mothma, Saw Gerrera, Darth Maul, Grand Moff Tarkin, Wedge Antilles, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

This season's Indiana Jones reference was The Holy Grail, featured in Grand Admiral Thrawn's art collection.

Sabine Wren is a member of Clan Wren who are a part of House Vizsla. This connects her directly to Paz Vizsla last seen in The Mandalorian season three.

"The Last Battle" and "Ghosts of Geonosis" were both about the lingering aftereffects of the last war, which was also a galactic civil war between the Republic and a coalition of Separatist systems. Not only does it add some nice continuity with The Clone Wars, it creates some wonderful character development, because of course there would be scars both physical and mental after a war that big and devastating.


Bendu: "Your imbalance woke me from a deep slumber."
Kanan: "Imbalance?"
Bendu: "Your presence is like a violent storm in this quiet world."
Kanan Jarrus: "You're a Force wielder... but you're not a Jedi."
Bendu: "Wielder? The Jedi and Sith wield the Ashla and the Bogan, the light and the dark. I'm the one in the middle, the Bendu."

Wedge: "What's your plan?"
Sabine: "Well, I'll - tell you when I figure that out."
Wedge: "Are you serious?"
Sabine: "Welcome to the Rebellion."

Kanan: "You did run, didn't you?"
Sabine: "No!"
Kanan: "But that's what your people believe, isn't it? You ran from the Empire, you ran from your family!"
Sabine: "Lies!"
Kanan: "So what's the truth?"
Sabine: "The truth, is that... I left to save everyone. My mother! My father! My brother! Everything I did was for family, for Mandalore! I built weapons, terrible weapons, but the Empire used them on Mandalore; on friends, on family, people that I knew. They controlled us through fear. Mandalore, a fear of weapons I helped create. I helped enslave my people! I wanted to stop it, I had to stop it. I spoke out. I spoke out to save them, to save everyone! But when I did, my family didn't stand with me. They chose the Empire. They left me. Gave me no choice. The Empire wanted to destroy worlds, and they did. They destroyed mine."

Grand Admiral Thrawn: (to Hera) "War, it's all you've ever known, isn't it? You were so young when you survived the Clone War, no wonder you're as equipped in spirit to fight as well as you do. War is in your blood. I studied the art of war, worked to perfect it, but you? You were forged by it."

Ezra: "What took you so long?"
Sabine: "I was using strategy. It takes longer!"

Ezra: "C'mon, when have I asked you to trust me and it hasn't worked out?"
Sabine: "Like, half the time."

Zeb: "You didn't think that through, did you?"
Scout Trooper: "Uh..."
Zeb: "Hey, kid! You got this outfit?"
Ezra: "Nope."
Zeb: "The kid wants your helmet. Sorry."

3.5 out of 4 Manifestations of the Force.

Images sourced from: Starwars.com.

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. Thanks for the review! Rebels just kept getting better as the seasons progressed. My favorite episode was Twin Suns, and favorite moment was when Obi Wan was watching the Skywalker farm and we hear Aunt Beru calling, “Luke? Lu-uke.” Made me tear up.

    Btw, I agree, I really liked the Kallus and Maul story arcs. Also like following the Ahsoka episodes, looking forward to that series!

    And the eyebrows actually bother me more than the hair. I wondered several times what were those boxes on their foreheads before realizing oh, eyebrows.

  2. Ha, right Ezra's eyebrows are kind of epic. I don't really know any spoilers for S4 except that Ahsoka comes back somehow. I've only watched one episode so far, but the fourth season review will be up before the Ahsoka series drops

    1. Hehe, have you seen Eman Esfandi, who’ll play Ezra in Ahsoka? Great choice of eyebrows. :D

    2. Encouraged by words of community over on the Star Trek TOS review thread, I’ll say that I hope whatever’s kept you, Samantha, from your reviews is only good things in life! I’m still looking forward to your thoughts here, if you get a chance to return!

    3. Hey, thank you. I had a death in the family and had to put aside some intended projects. Rebels 4 will be completed in the next week or so, followed by a season review of Ahsoka.

    4. Hoping you find peace & healing. So sorry for your loss.

    5. Okay so Season Four took me longer than a week. It is finally posted. Sorry for the delay.


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