Star Wars Rebels stole the spotlight at last year's Star Wars Celebration Europe and so we expected nothing less than a big show from Dave Filoni and the cast at Orlando for Star Wars Celebration 2017. And they delivered.
An epic trailer for Star Wars Rebels season 4 was played after a fun Q&A with the cast and then came the big bittersweet announcement - this would be the final season of the show. It would end the story of this group of Rebels, and that includes concluding the Mandalorian story arc for Sabine Wren, a major focus of the end of season 3 and the season 4 premiere which played during the panel as well.
After the panel and watching the next episode that won't air until September, we sat down with Tiya Sircar who voices Sabine to talk about what to expect from the end of Star Wars Rebels, what to expect from Sabine and the Mandalorians as the series wraps up.
*** Warning: The following interview contains spoilers for the season 4 premiere of Star Wars Rebels ***
The panel was awesome. I’m glad we got to see the episode because that informs your character in a big way. But more importantly, the game changer here – Season 4, it’s all ending! When did you first find out and what was your reaction to that news?
Tiya Sircar: I don’t know if I’m supposed to say when exactly, actually I don’t even know when. We found out a little while ago and I would say I wash shell shocked. It was not something I would anticipate hearing for a long time. Obviously, you hope that you would get to keep doing, I would hope that I would just do it indefinitely. Obviously that’s not realistic but I definitely was not expecting, none of us were expecting that news. So, I was just totally taken aback…and sad…and shocked, really. But then, as Dave sort of talked us off the ledge, or talked us through it, I should say, as he did today at the panel and as he was talking about it, I realized, it sort of made it all OK at that moment. It’s true, not everybody, as all Star Wars fans know, not everybody get the luxury of know when we’re going to end and doing it on our terms and getting to tell the story we want to tell, in the way we want to tell it – in the time frame we want to tell it. So that’s sort of a gift not everybody gets and we’re going to take full advantage with this last season.
Did you find out after you done recording stuff or did you have to record more after finding out?
Tiya Sircar: I feel like he told us at the beginning of a session. Is that what you mean? I think I was like…
Tiya Sircar: Totally! Maybe he told me at the end but honestly, I think he told us at the beginning, because that’s just how Dave [Filoni] rolls.
Do you think though, this is how Star Wars is, characters can live on through different mediums, do you think there are more stories to tell for Sabine [Wren] or her family or her people?
Tiya Sircar: I certainly hope so. Look, I think that Mandalorian cultural and the stories, we haven’t seen that many – obviously Boba Fett is this iconic character – but we don’t know that much about him. We haven’t gotten to see those stories fleshed out. Man, Mando fans are die hard. I feel like there’s an audience for that, for that storytelling.
And Sabine, and I know I have a biased opinion, but I think Sabine is such a complex character. She’s such an interesting kind of Mando. That she is Mando at her core, but then she’s also this different kind of Mando, with this artistic creative side. I think furthermore, she’s been surrounded by non-Mandos for such a long time in such an intimate way with the Ghost crew. I mean, how many Mandos can you say have been influenced by not one, but two Jedis, and a Twi’lek. She’s just a really interesting character with so many different influences that I think there could be an endless amount of stories to tell. I also think she’s just a fun character to watch - for me I know I get to voice her too - but as an audience member, you know, she’s got an attitude and a spunk to her that I love. So I would be thrilled to get to see more Sabine, whether or not I get to be involved. I mean I would get to see - obviously my preference would be to be involved - to get to see her, and especially since we’ve gotten to see her grow so much in this last season, to see that continue and see in what capacity she continues the fight would be so exciting.
With that in mind, Sabine, the Mandalorians are her family or faction, are they really part of the Rebellion or for her and her family is it just about “Man, we need to fix our world” sort of thing?
Tiya Sircar: Well, that is an interesting question that I probably can't answer, but I think she will struggle with that very question. When we open with this new season that is heavy on her mind. [Laughs]
I’ll go back to the other thing you said. I totally agree, Sabine is, to me, the most dynamic character by far.
Tiya Sircar: Aw, thank you!
She’s a soldier and a team player but she’s also a leader, right? She’s passionate but can be very focused and determined, an artist but also a tinker that can blow shit up.
Tiya Sircar: Totally!
What is her calling though? What do you think she’s best at or should focus on, if you could decide that?
Tiya Sircar: I think when we started out I always said, “She’s wise beyond her years, she’s so mature and she’s so this and so that. She’s so capable. She’s a warrior. And then she’s also this artist. Which was all true at the time but now, I feel that since she’s matured and grown so much, I realize now that the things I thought I saw as strength and capability were also, somewhat, immaturity. She thought she knew it all. I was probably also a lot like that when I was that same when age when we started out, when she was a 16 year old.
So I feel like as we’ve gotten to see her grow, particularly over this past season, I realize she’s maturing in ways I hadn’t realized that she was immature to begin with. If that makes sense? I feel that she’s such a capable leader now and she’s making decisions. The fact she has the Darksaber, and she CAN use it and she COULD be the one to lead her people with the weapon. And she could take on the responsibility. She’s perfectly capable – I mean it would obviously be a huge challenge – but she’s that awesome that she could do it. But what makes her even more awesome is that she now has the maturity and the nuance to maybe step back and say, “You know what though? I feel like there is someone better suited for this particular challenge. I could do it but there’s someone that’s meant to do it and maybe that’s not me?” I think that takes an immense of maturity and self-awareness that I don’t think she had in seasons 1 and 2. And it’s because she’s grown so much that she’s able to make a decision like that. And that’s where we’re sort of starting at in season 4.
At the end of the episode we see the wrath of what’s been alluded to all along, something Sabine created for the Empire. We witnessed the destruction caused by that and obviously that’s a…
Tiya Sircar: …Game changer.
It’s a game changer. It’s a breaking moment. Is that something she can be redeemed of, do you think?
Tiya Sircar: Good question. I certainly hope so. I think the thing to remember, when Sabine was at the Imperial Academy and she was doing her job – she’s a munitions expert, she’s a Mandalorian – she’s doing her job of creating this weapon. And by the way, she’s really good at that. She’s really good at her job. That job that was her job at that moment in time. She’s excelling at her job, as she always does and yet, she at the time when she was creating this weapon had no idea how the weapon would be used specifically. Who it would be used on. As we now know that’s the impetus that made her leave and leave her family. She ran away because she realized the consequence of her actions.
So of course, her greatest fear in the world was realized in that moment they actually used the thing she created, against her own people. There’s nothing worse. I don’t think there was anything that could made her, put her in a worse position. It’s crazy that we left on that note. It’s funny that’s where Dave decided to just leave us all. That was the first time I ever watched that. I recorded it and I was still beside myself. So yes, I hope people understand that there was no malicious intent. She was doing her job. She was doing what Mandalorians do. Also, in a military sense, follow orders. She was doing what she was meant to do. As soon as she found out what the ramification really where, she left. She couldn’t handle that. So now, she’s basically faced with her greatest fear being realized. And that’s where we left it.
I think I have an idea what you want to see Sabine do but I’m curious, what other character's story arc are you most excited to see play out in this final season?
Tiya Sircar: In this final season? I think, oh gosh, this is a really hard one. Let me think really quick. I think that Ezra has also grown quite a bit and matured. I think, well I know, in season 4 he will be faced with – I’m actually getting a little emotional, weird…
Must be a good show, then? [Laughs]
Tiya Sircar: Yeah! I can’t wait for people to see what happens! How it all unfolds. Once you see this you’ll think back and go, “Oh, that’s why she was getting weird.” [laughs]
I think he will be faced with responsibility and decision making we’ve certainly never seen him have before. So to see him grow over season 4 will be incredible to watch. Maybe it’ll be a similar situation, where Sabine got so much to do in season 3 and sort of had to grow up in certain ways really fast. It’s because the decision she had to make where now impacting far greater, a wider swath of people. Her own race of people. We’ll see more of that in season 4 but I think in season 4 we’ll see Ezra have to grow up in ways that we haven’t yet and I think that will be really interesting to watch.
Note the parallels between Sabine's weapon being used for evil and Galen Erso's (Mads Mikkelsen) energy research used for the Death Star. He was able to redeem himself by sabotaging the design of the Death Star. What will Sabine do and what will happen on Mandalore?
Ezra, as expected, may see the most focus in the final episodes of the series. With Rebels coming to an end, so to must the stories of the planet Lothal and the overabundance of Jedi in Ahsoka (who's definitely returning), Kanan, and Ezra.
Star Wars Rebels season 4 premieres with a one-hour event on September 23, 2017.