Star Wars Rebels’s second season wrapped up just a little bit ago, and that was one of the most intense season finales I’ve witnessed. Once again, Rebels proved that it is anything but a mediocre story. The second season progressed the development of all our characters, concluded most of the major current arcs in a pretty satisfying way, and threw our main cast into complete disarray. While some endings have left me a little sad—albeit not for bad storytelling purposes—I am more than excited to see where Season 3 takes everyone when it finally comes around.
Spoilers up ahead.
Unlike the first season, which was half a season long, Season 2 had a full twenty-two episodes—and just about everything I could have wanted to happen happened, plus a few other things I didn’t know I wanted. Ezra learned about his parents, Hondo Ohnaka made a return to the series, I got two hero-villain team-up episodes, and one of those episodes may have resulted in the characters becoming friends. We found out a lot more about Hera’s and Sabine’s pasts, and Ahsoka had her epic showdown with Vader. On top of all that, Ezra’s now falling to the dark side, and Darth Maul showed up in the season finale to slash out Kanan’s eyes with a lightsaber.
Season 2 was pretty packed, and I’m not sure where to even begin or if I can cover everything in one post, so I’ll just start with my favorite character, Ahsoka. Ahsoka made her reappearance into the Star Wars universe at the end of the previous season. Her story arc this time around centered on discovering Vader’s true identity and continuing to come to terms with no longer being a Jedi and her decision to leave the order. After feeling Vader through the Force, Ahsoka learns that he’s really Anakin, and the season finale sees the two of them face off against each other. Their confrontation was intense and emotional, and as we know Vader lives to see A New Hope, I worried that this would be the last of Ahsoka. While it is confirmed that Ahsoka Tano’s character will not be returning to the series—*cries*—her status is left a bit ambiguous. As the episode ends, a figure that clearly looks like Ahsoka walks off into a Sith temple and disappears. While I don’t think she’s necessarily stranded there—there are a couple TIE fighters on the planet—everyone else in the series believes she’s dead and left the planet behind, and she’s probably not in a hurry to change that, given her emotional state.
Even though I believe Ahsoka is alive, we’re not going to find out where she goes from here anytime soon. As much as I love Ahsoka, this is probably for the best. Despite the ambiguity, her confrontation with Vader provided more than enough closure. Besides, Rebels, unlike The Clone Wars, is not Ahsoka’s story. Rebels belongs to Ezra, Kanan, and the rest of the Ghost crew.
In the two-part finale, Ezra comes across Darth Maul, a character who will probably never die. Being cut in half didn’t kill him, and apparently, neither did being captured and tortured by Palpatine more than fifteen years prior to his reappearance in Rebels. Ahsoka fought him, and Maul still didn’t die, and then Kanan threw him off a ledge, and no, that didn’t kill him either. Maul has spent his days stranded at the Sith temple Ahsoka now finds herself at. When he comes across Ezra, he decides to take the boy on as his apprentice. Maul still opposes the Empire and wants revenge against Palpatine, not only for the deaths of his brother and mother, but also for himself. He sees Ezra as an opportunity, and after a brief team-up with Ahsoka and Kanan in order to kill all the new inquisitors introduced this season, he turns on them both. In the process, he slashes out Kanan’s eyes.
The camera then cuts to Kanan’s perspective and we see him lose his eyesight. It’s pretty obvious that Maul will return against next season to act as a foil for Kanan and Ezra—especially since his brief meeting with the two has so irrevocably changed them. It doesn’t look as though Kanan’s eyesight will be returning anytime soon, or ever, and while I worry that his character could easily fall into the “blind warrior monk who’s not actually affected by his blindness” trope, I am excited for what this means moving forward. Not only is one of our main characters now physically disabled, Kanan will probably have to start relying on the Force more than he’s used to. Due to Order 66, Kanan’s training was never completed, and that’s why he struggles so much in teaching Ezra. All too often we see him use a blaster instead of relying on his lightsaber, and while I think that’s a good tactical decision, it does go to show how out of touch he’s become with the Force and the Jedi way.
Ezra also faced his fair share of struggles this season. First, he learned that both his parents died in prison after being arrested by the Empire, and he has had to come to terms with wanting to protect his new family and how to go about it. He’s not sure whether or not it’s wrong to fight, even if it is to protect someone he loves, and ever since Season 1, we’ve watched him struggle with the dark side in his decisions as well. Ezra has a lot of fear and bottled anger, which is something Maul easily taps into. Though Ezra eventually rejects Maul as a teacher and has problems with using violence—he refuses to kill people, including the inquisitors who’ve been hunting him—he gives into the dark side in the season finale. Not only does he use the dark side of the Force to get into the Sith temple, the season ends with Ezra unlocking a Sith holocron—a containment of knowledge that can only be opened using the dark side.
A big theme of the finale is learning about your enemies, which is why Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra go to the temple in the first place. It’s entirely possible that Ezra is learning about the dark side of the Force and how to think like a Sith without actually becoming a Sith, or it’s entirely possible that he really is falling to the dark side. Either way, I do see this as a point of contention between him and Kanan in the future.
Rebels starts less than five years before A New Hope, and with Rogue One coming out, the timeline until the movies is getting increasingly smaller. Rebels is showing us the start of the rebellion, but a lot more characters will have to be removed in the future, as none of the main cast show up in A New Hope. Ahsoka may be gone for now, which makes me question how many other Force-sensitive people are living in hiding throughout the Galaxy and whether or not Kanan and Ezra will eventually join them in seclusion. Like Ahsoka, in the movies, we’ve seen Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Luke all go into hiding after experiencing a traumatic loss. This gives me more than a little concern for the crew of the Ghost. Either our main characters will die, or something will happen to them that removes them from the story at large. Either way, Season 3 cannot come fast enough.