Saturday at Celebration Orlando was Star Wars Rebels day at the convention. The day started with the big panel discussing the final episodes of season 3 and a look ahead to season 4.
Going into the panel, I knew we were going to get a trailer and some fun looks ahead, what I was not expecting was to actually see an episode. I was slightly disappointed that there was no episode showing listed on the schedule. So, you can imagine my surprise when they actually showed us an episode of season 4.
Before the panel started, the stage hosts DJ Elliot and Mark entertained the crowd with some fun games, music, and letting the fans show off their unique talents. One fun touch was a callback to the Star Wars Rebels panel at Celebration Anaheim. In Anaheim, a young girl asked a question about who voices Chopper on the show, Dave Filoni answered the question but not on mic. He whispered it into her ear. Mark brought the young girl on stage and tempted her with goodies to give up what he said to her, she refused and showed a strength that many of us would not have.
Once the panel started we had Dave Filoni, Tiya Sircar, Steve Blum, Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall, and Freddie Prinze Jr up on stage with host David Collins. The discussion kept going back to two key episodes from season 3, Twin Suns and Trials of the Darksaber. Everyone involved pointed to these episodes as not only pivotal moments of the season but key moments in the larger Star Wars canon and major turning points for the characters and actors involved.
In addition to the trailer, there were two large pieces of news dropped during the panel. First, it was revealed that Warwick Davis will be joining the cast of the show as Rukh, Thrawn’s noghri bodyguard and assassin. Warwick revealed that he basically goaded Dave Filoni into casting him at Celebration London last year. Warwick even teased a little bit with his vocal skills which I did not know about previously. I’m very excited to see what Rukh and Warwick add to the mix for Rebels season 4.
The other major news announced was that season 4 will be the final season of Star Wars Rebels. Needless to say, the crowds were not happy to hear this. Dave Filoni seemed very unsure of how exactly to break the news. However, it does seem that it is the creators ending the show on their own terms and not that the show was being canceled prematurely. Dave joked that he knew what it was like to not end a show, but there will be more Star Wars animation coming. The creators feel that they have made something very special with Star Wars Rebels, stressing the importance of the family aspect of the show, not just for the viewers but for the characters. The Ghost and her crew are a family and they have a very particular story to tell with these characters that has a defined beginning, middle, and end.
During the panel, Dave Filoni was wearing a t-shirt that said “Ahsoka Lives?” but after the trailer he came back out wearing a shirt that now said “Ahsoka Lives!” Dave was asked about it during a press conference following the panel when he had changed his shirt back and seemed to simply laugh it off and say that we must’ve been seeing things. The cast and crew were fun and laid back during the whole event having a great rapport with each other and later the media types asking questions.
For those not in the room, the panel ended and the live streams switched over to the next thing. For us in the room, we got treated to the first episode of season 4. Without giving away any spoilers the episode involved Sabine and the Mandalorians including returning characters that we had met previously. Much like the second half of season 3, the episode is focused on a single storyline and group of characters. Their mission seems simple enough, but then again, when has anything been simple for the crew of the Ghost? The episode is very action heavy showing us some things that we have not seen since the days of the Clone Wars. The episode culminates in a heartbreaking cliffhanger finale. When the episode airs it will most likely be another hour long premiere, but at this time this was all that was ready to go. We learn more about Sabine and the history of the Mandalorians under the Empire after Maul’s defeat during the Clone Wars. It’s a fantastic episode that had the audience in tears on the way out of the panel room.