Spoiler Warning for Star Wars Rebels Ahead
Star Wars Rebels executive producer and writer Dave Filoni confirms that Ezra and Grand Admiral Thrawn survived the space whales' (Purrgil) jump to hyperspace taking on Thrawn's battered Star Destroyer with both of them aboard it. Rebels ended its four-year run with a relatively small-scale battle between the Ghost Crew and Grand Admiral Thrawn's forces on Lothal. While the Emperor appeared in a brief moment - seducing Ezra to his side (similar to what he did to Anakin), the show capped off in a contained way - fitting for a Star Wars show that is supposed to give us a different perspective on how the evil Galactic Empire's reign had a ripple effect across the universe.
It was an emotional farewell for the Star Wars animated prequel as the Ghost crew fulfilled their mission of protecting Lothal from the Empire's evil clutches. While the success did not come without losses with Kanan and Clone Trooper Gregor, the death count was relatively low (on the good guys' side) compared to what we're expecting. Further, the show's uplifting ending seemingly sets up a slew of brand new adventure for our heroes.
Sitting down with Andi Gutierrez of the Star Wars Show, Filoni confirms that Ezra and Thrawn survive their unconventional jump into hyperspace, ending a stream of fan debate online before they even heated. He also explains why he opted to end Rebels the way he did - open for further exploration but doesn't neccessarily have the sense of urgency to do just that:
I felt a lot about that... It's one of those things that you go "oh boy I love the idea of an end credits scenes" but as tempting as that is but I go "well if I cover that, then I want to do it right" and I don't want to commit to things right now because things might change. So I have a lot of theories about it and what I think happens and where they are. I'll say this much, they're not dead. Both of them survive, both Ezra and Thrawn I would say survive it.
Meanwhile, in a separate Q&A attended by EW, Filoni further talked about Rebels' finale, particularly how it felt as if it's already planting plot seeds for a brand new series, much of it is courtesy of the flash forward sequence where Sabine caught us up with what the Ghost crew members have been doing since Lothal's liberation. At this point, with both Ezra and Thrawn just waiting to be found, it's possible that a second round between the two is imminent.
“I’ve always felt the best stories end and then other stories begin, and there’s no better way to take two of my favorite characters and have them ride off into the sunset, like I’ve seen so many cowboys over the years, or Indiana Jones. One thing ends and another begins, and the story continues. That’s a saga.”
In retrospect, it's better that Filoni actually went ahead and confirmed that Ezra and Thrawn both live given that he's already played the " dead or not" card with Ahsoka. This way, the conversation could move on from the same realm of speculation and focus on where they could possibly be. Considering that by the time of the events of Return of the Jedi, Sabine (presumably with the help of Ahsoka) was still looking for Ezra, it's curious whether he was eventually found or not - a new mystery that could headline a new show, or perhaps tackled in a live-action film. For a Disney XD series, Rebels has expanded and explored the lore in ways we could've never imagined, providing Filoni the creative license to introduce us to a new concept or realm that would service that story. However, it pans out, Filoni's comments only prove that he has some bigger plan ideas instead of just winging it with Star Wars Rebels, and for longtime fans, that's much appreciated.