Taking Star Wars to depths only dreamed of, Star Wars Rebels brought new characters and emotions that changed the galactic landscape of what fans thought they knew forever. Written, created, directed, and executive produced by the Star Wars guru himself (Dave Filoni), Star Wars Rebels began like any other kid's animated series and ended on the same level of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Bringing back fan-favorites like Darth Maul, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rebels wrapped up old tales while discovering new ground. In the four seasons on the air, dozens of episodes captured the hearts of fans, but none like the ten we’ve got listed changed Star Wars forever.
Of all the Star Wars Rebels episodes, “Twilight of the Apprentice” brought depth, meaning, and closure to the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. And let’s not forget about Darth Maul blinding Kanan as he sends Ezra off to the Temple with foolish ideas regarding the Holocron.
But in the end, “Twilight of the Apprentice” is really about the best lightsaber battle in Star Wars Rebels—as Ahsoka and Darth Vader square off in what Skywalker claims is a foreseen battle between master and apprentice. Darth Vader wins the fight but loses the opportunity for power hidden away in the Temple. Kanan loses his eyesight but grows stronger in the Force and in his confidence as a Jedi.
Of all the tearjerking episodes played out in the last season of Star Wars Rebels, “Jedi Night” takes the cake. Kanan standing atop the tower, holding back an explosion to protect the love of his life and family and knowing he’s serving the will of the Force, changed the course of history for Hera, Ezra, and even Ahsoka Tano.
For the first time since being blinded by Darth Maul, Kanan could look into the eyes of Hera. And sadly, it would be the last. But like all things in Star Wars, no one is ever really gone.
The return of Darth Maul to Star Wars Rebels was shocking and even mocked slightly at first. But once regaining his legs and craving for revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi, the storyline of Darth Maul helped shaped multiple episodes of Rebels and even movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Therefore, it was fitting that Darth Maul’s wish should be granted under the twin suns of Tatooine. Confronting his nemesis, the fight was over before it began. Obi-Wan cut the tormented dark lord down in one fatal blow. It wasn’t the battle that makes “Twin Suns” what it is—it’s Darth Maul’s final words to Obi-Wan. “Is he the promised one?”
Directed by Dave Filoni, after he’d already handed off the directorial reigns, “A World Between Worlds” introduced Star Wars fans to possibilities never thought of before. Plus, there’s the return of Ahsoka Tano as the Force-wielder she was truly meant to be.
“A World Between Worlds” brought a previously perished character back and tempted Ezra to do the same for Kanan. But the Force has a will of its own, and Kanan wasn’t meant to return—at least, not yet. The Star Wars Rebels episode also tapped into Sith Alchemy, a concept Dave Filoni likes to explore more of in his series’.
The growth of Kanan’s character in Star Wars Rebels hit a pinnacle point in “Fire Across the Galaxy.” If not for Kanan being able to face all his fears and overcome them, then Ezra and Sabine would have had very different paths.
And while the movies often focus on the Skywalker family, Rouge One showed how the events behind the scenes shaped the realities the Skywalkers faced. Thinking Ezra to have perished, Kanan finds the Jedi inside himself, overcomes his doubts, and defeats the Grand Inquisitor.
Everyone loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars, so when Filoni brought back clone troopers CT-7567 (Rex), CC-3636 (Wolffe), and CC-5576-39 (Gregor) to Star Wars Rebels, he confirmed and changed the fate of the clones.
Adding depth to “The Lost Commanders” is the storyline of Kanan not trusting the clones after they eliminated his master and many other Jedi. For the first time in his life, Kanan could see Rex and not CT-7567. This mentality would help heal old wounds while putting Kanan on a deeper path of understanding.
Sabine’s character in Star Wars Rebels took a deep dive into her past, which would result in a transformation of who she was in “Trials of the Darksaber.” If not for Sabine overcoming the betrayal to her people and believing in herself, the Blacksaber would have never been passed on.
And the Mandalorian story might have ended in Star Wars Rebels. But instead, the fate of the Mandalorians remains cinematically untold, for now.
“Hera’s Heroes” was an episode full of character development on both the Rebels and Imperial sides. For the Rebels, it's all about Hera as she’s forced to face off with Thrawn in a battle of wits for her and her family’s life.
On the Imperial side, “Hera’s Heroes” is all about Thrawn's character being explored in greater depth while revealing characteristics from the Thrawn in the EU/Legends books. Thrawn is an antagonist that fans can rally behind due to the depth in which he studies his enemies.
Much of what went on behind enemy lines is left out the cinematic stories, which is why “Through Imperial Eyes” opened the world of the Empire up to many. Star Wars Rebels always showed both sides of the coin, never focusing on one side over the other.
In “Through Imperial Eyes,” Fulcrum’s cover is blown and Thrawn is determined to find the traitor. If not for the work Kallus did as Fulcrum, the Rebel Alliance may have never come together. Plus, the Ghost Crew may have never accomplished as much as they did.
Kanan has passed on into the Force, Ezra is stuck in the unknown regions of deep space with Thrawn, and the rest of the Ghost crew will shape the future of Star Wars stories to come.
With so many loose ends left open in “Family Reunion and Farewell,” the possibilities are almost endless when considering how Ahsoka, Ezra, Thrawn, and Sabine could shape the future of the galaxy. Even though Star Wars Rebels reached its end, our beloved characters could still be alive to carry on a more cinematic role following The Rise of Skywalker.