It didn’t come as much of a surprise, back in April, when showrunner Dave Filoni announced that Star Wars Rebels will end with its upcoming fourth season. After all, the series has rattled along at such a pace that – even at the end of season 3 – it feels pretty close to tying up with Rogue One and A New Hope.
The show’s goal was always to bridge the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original Star Wars movies, and that job is very nearly complete. Some characters’ journeys – such as Darth Maul and Obi-Wan – are already neatly wrapped up.
As Rebels’ fourth and final season careens onto screens, there are relatively few loose ends to tie. But some of that plotlines that Filoni does need to finish are significant ones. There are characters that need to die, absences that need to be explained, and partnerships that need to break down. There are also a few things they could do to tie in with the sequel trilogy, and The Last Jedi, if they want to.
If you’ve been scratching your head, wondering what storylines are left, you’ve come to the right place. Read on, to explore the 15 Plotlines That Star Wars Rebels Season 4 NEEDS To Resolve…
15. Ezra’s Turn To The Dark Side
It’s long been teased, and now it’s time to deliver. If they’re planning to pay off the suggestion that Ezra Bridger could turn to the dark side, it really is now or never. There are only 22 episodes left of Rebels, and they’re pretty short ones, so Filoni had better get cracking.
Ezra’s fascination with the Sith Holocron, and his reluctant tutelage at the hands of Darth Maul, have long seeded the idea of Ezra turning.
Things came to a head in the iconic Obi-Wan episode at the tail end of season 3, where Maul used the ancient artefact to lure Ezra to Tatooine and manipulate him into exposing Ben Kenobi’s location. By falling for Maul’s ruse, Ezra endangered Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker, and therefore the entire galaxy.
As season 4 ratchets up the stakes, there’s bound to be a chance for Ezra to turn. The Sith – perhaps even Palpatine, if those Ian McDiarmid rumours are true – will offer Ezra a deal, and if he’s in a dark enough place, he might just be tempted.
14. Kill Off Ezra And Kanan
It’s always been a sad truth about Rebels that Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger cannot come out of series unscathed. Obi-Wan, Yoda, Vader and Palpatine were the only active force-users at the start of the original trilogy, so something needs to be done about the blind Jedi Knight and his young apprentice.
Turning Ezra to the dark side could be one way to make this happen, building to a duel between Kanan and his padawan where mutual destruction is the only possible conclusion. But would Disney XD support such a downbeat ending for two of the show’s central heroes?
Arguably, it has to. As with Rogue One’s protagonists, Kanan and Ezra simply can’t be allowed to survive. It would make the original trilogy feel weird, if the Rebellion had two secret Jedi on its staff that were never called upon. The same problem was faced by the Inquisitors on the Sith side of the fence: they weren’t around in the films, so they can’t make it out of the series intact.
13. Label Saw Gerrera A Terrorist
When Forest Whitaker reprised the role of Saw Gerrera in Rebels season 3, it was obvious that Saw was still on chummy-ish terms with the rest of the rebels.
But, a couple of years later, in Rogue One, he’s been labelled a terrorist and Mon Mothma wants nothing to do with him. So something needs to be done.
The season 3 Saw episodes hinted at his unconventional, aggressive methods being out of whack compared to the Ghost crew’s usual tactics. Season 4 needs to follow through and make the divide between Saw and the Rebel Alliance clear and understandable.
Not only will this tie the movie plots and the TV plots closer together, but it will also allow fans to see something we haven’t witnessed all that much before: Rebel factions with vastly different ideas of how best to fight the Empire. Should be fun!
12. Give The Darksaber To The Empire
The Darksaber is another thing the Rebellion definitely didn’t have at its disposal during the original trilogy. The legendary Mandalorian blade has enabled cool storylines in both The Clone Wars and Rebels, but in the films it feels like the Rebel Alliance doesn’t have any lightsaber wielders in its ranks (until Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker join the fight).
Sabine Wren’s quest to unite Mandalore against the Empire using the Darksaber will have to be wrapped up during Rebels season 4, then. Not just to serve Sabine as a character and complete her arc, but to make sure the show feels properly connected to the films.
It seems like the movies have already teased how this arc will end: in Rogue One, in the Imperial archives on Scarif, Cassian Andor stumbles across a data tape labelled ‘Black-Saber’. Perhaps, then, Sabine is defeated during season 4, allowing the Empire to seize the Darksaber and file it away.
11. Feature Dantooine, And Evacuate The Base There
In trying to appease Tarkin in A New Hope, Leia reveals that there’s a Rebel base on Dantooine. After scouting it out, the Empire discovers that there was once a base there, but it’s been abandoned for some time. Back in 2015, the canon novel Lost Stars 2 established some details about the Dantooine base, revealing that it was the Rebel HQ directly preceding Yavin 4.
It would be a nice fan-pleasing touch if Rebels could acknowledge this base, and perhaps even visit it. In allowing fans to spend a bit of time in this locale and get to know its inhabitants, extra weight could be added to Leia’s line in the original Star Wars movie.
The Rebels season 3 finale did suggest that the Ghost crew is heading from Chopper Base to Yavin 4 (the base seen in the original trilogy and Rogue One). But sending the gang to the old Dantooine base to pick up some personnel could be a fun way to fill an episode. Perhaps it’s not yet fully evacuated?
10. Destroy All The TIE Defenders
The TIE Defender first appeared in the Star Wars: X-Wing videogame, which was scrubbed from the official continuity – along with a lot of other stuff – when Disney took over. Rebels, Star Wars: Commander and Star Wars Battlefront have reinstated the ship recently, adding it back to the canon.
But the fact remains that TIE Defenders – which have shields, making them far more effective than the normal TIEs – were nowhere to be seen in the Imperial arsenal during the original trilogy. It would make sense for Rebels season 4 to explain this absence.
If the Empire had access to these ships during the original trilogy, they obviously would’ve used them in the massive space battles. Perhaps, then, the Ghost crew will destroy the factory they’re made in during season 4.
This would fill in a plot hole, and allow the Ghost crew to make a significant contribution to the fight ahead: by evening those space battle odds and making things easier for Wedge, Luke and the rest.
9. Establish The Lore Of The Convoree Birds
The wonderful website MakingStarWars.net shared a rumour a few months back, positing that those weird bird thingies – that debuted in The Clone Wars and keep popping up in Rebels – will also appear in The Last Jedi.
In Rebels, the fan-nicknamed ‘Force Owls’ have shown up in close proximity to Ahsoka Tano and the Bendu. In The Last Jedi, purportedly, they will be on the island where Luke has been hiding.
What’s interesting here is that neither Ahsoka or the Bendu identify as Jedi. Ahsoka has left the Order and has white lightsabers to prove it, while the Bendu is super serious about remaining neutral in the galaxy’s wars. Perhaps Luke is in a similar non-Jedi state of mind, and the Convorees have something to do with that.
It would be neat if Rebels season 4 explained a bit more about these birds. Do they channel the Force? Are they drawn to neutrality and peace? Are they of some sort of use to Force-users? In answering some of these questions, they could set the stage nicely for Luke’s island-based antics in The Last Jedi.
8. The Demise Of The Galactic Senate
In Rebels season 4, a big deal was made about Mon Mothma resigning from the Galactic Senate and secretly setting up the Rebel Alliance. In A New Hope, Tarkin remarks that the senate has officially been disbanded, and the Empire blatantly knows about the rebels. There are definitely a couple of gaps to fill there.
While the Empire knowing of the rebels’ existence has been teased rather extensively, the moniker of ‘the Rebel Alliance’ is yet to become common parlance in the show. Meanwhile, the Senate has shown no signs of ceasing to exist.
Bail Organa could be the key here. He is still serving as a Senator, so he could provide some eyes on the inside for the rebels during season 4. Perhaps fans will get to see – through Organa’s eyes – as the last vestiges of the Old Republic are swept away, as Palpatine makes his power even more unlimited.
7. Dispose Of Agent Kallus
Much like Ezra and Kanan obviously weren’t with the Rebel Alliance during the original trilogy, no suggestion was made in the movies that a high-ranking former Imperial was among their number. Just think of how useful Kallus could’ve been in coordinating the attacks on Imperial bases.
There are only two options, really, when it comes to wrapping up Kallus’ storyline and disposing of the character: either he dies a heroic death to save the Rebellion (save the dream!) or he gets shuffled away from the main story. They could give him his own offshoot to run, like Saw Gerrera’s one, explaining why he wasn’t on Yavin 4 during the important battles.
6. Explain Where Thrawn Was During The Original Trilogy
The Imperial side of the fence has some housekeeping to do, as well. You’ll remember that there weren’t any blue-skinned, scary-voiced tactical masterminds on the Empire’s payroll during the original movies. Or, at least, we didn’t get to see them if there were.
This is why it made sense for Rebels to use Vader and Palpatine as background baddies and employ Kallus and Thrawn as the main threats: they can do much more with these villains that don’t appear in the films. They can kill them off, change their allegiances, or send them in wacky directions that don’t tie in with any later stories.
Rogue One proved that Star Wars stories can end downbeat but still be loved, but it would still seem like a brave move if Rebels ended with Thrawn victorious and most of the Rebels dead.
5. Tease Jyn Erso Being On The Rebels’ Radar
It’s not exactly a story that season 4 needs to wrap up, but foreshadowing the Rebellion’s knowledge of Jyn Erso could be a nice way to tie grander overarching plotlines together.
When Rogue One opens, Mon Mothma and co are clearly aware of Jyn’s exploits. Did they look up her rap sheet on the day, or has Jyn been on their radar for a while?
It could be a lot of fun to see an episode where Jyn is in the periphery, engrossed in some dangerous mission of her own, unaware that the Rebel Alliance is keeping tabs on her. It would certainly be interesting to see how she wound up in that Imperial prison.
Speaking of Rogue One characters, it would make a lot of sense for Rebels season 4 to introduce Cassian Andor. He was clearly a highly trusted agent by the time that Bodhi Rook defected from the Empire, so why not give Cassian a mission or two with the Ghost crew to establish his credentials?
4. Explain What Happened To Ahsoka Tano
Showrunner Dave Filoni and voice actress Ashley Eckstein have both made subtle hints that Ashoka Tano’s story isn’t finished. The emotionally charged duel with her former master, who’s now become Darth Vader, wasn’t Ashoka’s last appearance on Rebels after all.
This leaves three questions on the table: how did Ashoka survive the battle? What has she been doing since then? And how will her story end? These are all major plot points that season 4 needs to address.
As one of the few people in the galaxy that knows Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader, can Ashoka really be allowed to survive the end of the series? It seems unlikely, but why would they bring her back again only to kill her off? Perhaps there’s a bigger game at play here that hasn’t been revealed yet.
3. Promote Hera To General
The Yavin 4 scenes in Rogue One were a hive of treats and geekery for fans of Rebels. The Ghost could be seen with the Rebel fleet, and a live-action Chopper (or a droid of the same make) was seen scurrying around. But one Easter Egg was more meaningful than those: the mention of ‘General Syndulla’ coming across the PA system.
Hera Syndulla, of course, is the ace pilot at the heart of Rebels. The talented Twi’lek is the leader of the Ghost crew and Phantom Squadron, and in recent episodes she’s earned the respect of Mon Mothma and other Rebel Alliance leaders. At the end of season 3, she holds the rank of captain.
It’s no surprise that Hera would be promoted to the role of general at some point. And to silence the naysayers who think it’s her father, Cham Syndulla, that became a general, it would be great if Rebels season 4 could actually show her promotion happening.
The trailer for Rebels season 4 supports the idea that Hera survives the season, with her offering a tribute to her comrades’ final battle as a voiceover. Perhaps her promotion will be the last scene of the series.
2. Set The Stage For Scarif
It’s been confirmed that Rebels will not recreate the battles from Rogue One. Fans won’t get to see the events from Jedha and Scarif from the perspective of the Ghost crew. It seems more likely that a new big battle, on and above Lothal, will bring the series to an end.
But still, the stage needs to be set for these upcoming battles. Filoni and his cohorts have slowly been piecing the Rebel fleet together, but it still needs a few upgrades to truly tee up the original trilogy.
For one thing, Rebels has yet to showcase X-Wing fighters being used by the Rebellion. Also, there hasn’t yet been a full-scale battle in the show with Red Squadron and Gold Squadron working in tandem, talking to each other and executing their iconic manoeuvres.
If they really want to bridge the trilogies and show the birth of the Rebellion, the powers-that-be need to set the stage for Scarif by showing the Rebel fleet in all its glory. It’s been fun following one cell, but a bigger picture is needed to wrap things up.
1. Tease Thrawn’s Contingency Plan, Seeding Snoke And The First Order
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE STAR WARS: AFTERMATH NOVELS.
The Star Wars Aftermath books, by Chuck Wendig, are a canonical trilogy that bridges the gap between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens. At the end of the third book, one of the few remaining Imperials (Grand Admiral Rae Sloane) takes a ship and escapes the known galaxy. She does this using a map that the Emperor had put together before his death, with help from Thrawn.
The Emperor had already sent one ship into the Unknown Regions, and Sloane went to meet up with it. That’s the cliffhanger ending of the book, which strongly suggests that Sloane and whoever she found out there formed The First Order.
Was Snoke found in the Unknown Regions? Was Thrawn on that first ship? The answers to those questions will probably be held back for the The Last Jedi or Episode IX, but Rebels season 4 could drop a few more hints.
It would be particularly cool to see Thrawn compiling the map of the Unknown Regions, ultimately enabling the Empire to outlive Palpatine and morph into The First Order. This would be a fan-pleasing way to end the series, connecting Rebels even more closely to overarching mega-narrative…