April 15, 2019
‘Star Wars Rebels’ Cast and Crew Reflect on the Series Finale, the Epilogue, and Why a Certain Character Had to Die
Creator/executive producer Dave Filoni joined Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray, and Tiya Sircar to discuss Star Wars Rebels during Star Wars Celebration. Naturally, major spoilers were discussed.
When Star Wars Rebels ended in March 2018, Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn vanished without a trace. While fans have speculated as to what might have happened, Filoni was tight-lipped during Saturday afternoon’s panel. While there was less dancing around other elements of the conclusion, what happened to Ezra is unlikely to be answered anytime soon, nor did we get any major announcement of a new animated series that picks up where Star Wars Rebels left off.
Filoni did however announce that The Art of Star Wars Rebels would be available this October. Here’s what else we learned.
Filoni spoke of his love of wolves and why he decided to add them into Star Wars Rebels:
“I started thinking about wolves and how they are something that’s balanced in nature. They are seen as a villainous thing. They’re also seen as something that is a beneficial thing to nature. These ideas express themselves over and over again in real life or in stories….That is how you get wolves in Star Wars because they’re an expression of light and dark. How Kanan and Ezra choose to interact with them defines more about their own character than the wolves themselves.”
The project’s code name was “Wolf” according to Taylor Gray, who joked that he thought he was working on The Jungle Book.
Kanan and Hera
A big part of Star Wars Rebels was the relationship between Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla’s relationship. This was present from the very first short according to Filoni. He wanted to plant the seeds early on for the later pay-off. Hera’s hope, faith, and determination was something that Kanan saw in her. What Filoni said was most important, however, is that their relationship doesn’t define her.
However, the relationship end in tragedy. Filoni said that Freddie Prinze Jr. “was adamant about Kanan needing to go.” It’s depressing just to think about it. With Kanan dying, it means that the Ghost crew would need to process it. “It was powerful, Vanessa Marshall says of moving on with the grief. “We all felt it.”
The actress expanded on her thoughts:
“Much like the show chose to deal with that in the middle of the season, I think it showed us and all the Star Wars family that we all have to process these sort of rights of passage. We all lose loved ones and together we can heal through them just as we watched the Rebels group grow and somehow reclaim that hope. I think that we had a similar journey that we were bummed out about it. Again, we tried not to take it personally when we found out he was campaigning for it. We were all praying that we don’t die. ‘Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me. Are we going to make it?’ We didn’t know. But anyway, Freddie wanted to leave.”
The Series Finale
This particular segment of the panel segued into learning about the secrets behind the series finale’s epilogue. There were only three people who knew about it: Dave Filoni, Tiya Sircar, and a sound engineer. All three of them would be sitting on the same secret for months: the series epilogue narration. Vanessa Marshall herself didn’t know until the premiere of the final episode in Los Angeles. The finale left the actress with many questions.
Tiya Sircar talked about carrying this secret:
“Months and months and months. Many months…it’s the best secret that I’ve ever kept…it was so top-secret as Vanessa said. We just had our last session of Rebels ever. We were all kind of celebratory. It was sad. We were happy that we were all together. We had a big dinner that night so everybody left to go to the restaurant. The only people left are Dave Filoni, our sound engineer, and me. I felt like I was in trouble but Dave gives me this piece of notepad – handwritten.”
A World Between Worlds
The episodes revisited by the panel included “A World Between Worlds” and the two-part season 2 finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice.” The audience got to see some of the storyboards from these episodes.
Filoni did not have an easy time explaining “World Between Worlds” was to his writers or anyone else. He describes the inspiration as coming from something in Chronicles of Narnia. Filoni has been told some theories and they’re interesting, but he won’t commit to it being actual time travel in the Star Wars Universe: “It kind of is what you make it.”
Taylor Gray discussed Ezra’s decision in the finale:
“I understood because it was that selfless act that he was working towards from the beginning of the entire series. We saw Kanan do this episodes earlier so of course, it makes sense for it to happen. But once it happened, I was in the same place as everyone else. Where is he? Past that, I don’t know what to say. There are so many different theories that I’ve read that I’m now confused as to where he is.”
Despite the pressure from everyone, Filoni would not answer the burning question of where Ezra has gone. At this point in the panel, a special video of Ezra’s journey was played for the audience. It was only a few minutes long, but it showed just how much Ezra grew as a character.
Don’t go looking for answers anywhere else, though. Filoni told the audience that he has a white board in his office displaying everybody on his “trust tree.” If something leaks, he’ll know who did it. So expect this secret to remain buried for now.