Earlier this month at Star Wars Celebration Europe, fans were finally treated to the first good look at the upcoming limited series, Ahsoka, when the official trailer for it was released. Aside from seeing the former Jedi knight in action, several characters from the animated series, Star Wars: Rebels, are also set to have prominent roles in the story.
Not everyone can say they have seen Rebels, and so in an interview with Collider that came out earlier this week, Ahsoka co-developer and executive producer Dave Filoni (who also created Rebels) was asked what arcs from the series people should watch ahead of time. Bearing in mind the fact that not everyone has seen it, Filoni only suggested the fourth and final season in order to have somewhat of an idea of what is going on.
As a Rebels fan, I can see why he would give that answer. However, I feel that fans would be selling themselves short if they only watched that one season and nothing more. Not to mention that there’s so much context that leads up to some of the events that occur in that final season that wouldn’t make too much sense, had they not seen the three preceding ones. Also, Rebels is an overall incredible entry into the Star Wars canon, which is why I’m going to run down a few reasons why it should really be watched in its entirety:
Rebels is centered on a Force sensitive teenager, Ezra Bridger, who joins the Ghost Crew; a small team of rebel fighters. Very quickly, he gets integrated into being a part of this tight knit found family. Everyone has their role that makes their small yet elite team as successful as they are, and along the way, the audience comes to learn more about each and every one of them as layers are peeled back and they overcome various challenges. Don’t let the somewhat juvenile humor prominent throughout the first season get in the way of just how deep you’ll eventually get to know these characters; so much to where by the end, you’ll likely come to care for each one of them.
The galaxy far, far away is broadened throughout the run of Rebels, and along the way, audiences also get to meet new creatures which may or may not become important later. From a glimpse in the Ahsoka trailer (and also from eagle eye Easter eggs in The Mandalorian), the Loth-cats are a major one. There are also the Purgils which, from what I’ve heard, were briefly featured in the exclusive trailer shown during the Ahsoka panel at Celebration. My personal favorite has got to be the Loth-wolves, which were originally formed for a previous version of Ahsoka’s Order 66 arc. There are not enough good things to say about those particular creatures, but I shall refrain from revealing any more than that to keep the mystery intact.
Respect to Ralph McQuarrie
Star Wars fans know the late artist for his work illustrating the various locations seen in the original trilogy. With Rebels set five years before the events of A New Hope, his design elements were heavily incorporated into stylizing this series.
From the vehicles to the various worlds featured, it gives a nostalgic aesthetic to the first Star Wars production following Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm. The artistic style is a conscious show of respect to McQuarrie.
Deepening Knowledge of the Force
The Star Wars galaxy is broadened throughout Rebels, by way of new characters and new worlds. But the one constant that is just as integral to the plot is the Force, as the Ghost Crew’s resident Jedi knight, Kanan Jarrus, takes on Ezra as a Padawan learner. While there are some elements to the Force that viewers are already familiar with, Rebels deepens the knowledge of it; by way of using it to connect with creatures, how other beings perceive and utilize the Force, and in understanding the existence of the gray area of it all. The latter is most notable when audiences meet the Bendu in the third season — a mind-bending kind of character not to approach lightly! Leave it to Rebels to take one’s understanding of the Force to another place.
The Formation of the Rebel Alliance
As if the title of the show wasn’t already clear enough, Rebels does show the formation of what would eventually become the Rebel Alliance. The Ghost Crew becomes one of many cells that make up it. While the sparks of an eventual Rebellion is what the first season of Andor is also about, Rebels is different. Cassian has to build up both the endurance and understanding to be a part of something bigger than himself, whereas in Rebels, acts of rebellion are going on against the Empire, right from the first episode. How the Ghost Crew comes to be involved with the larger Rebellion gradually occurs overtime and viewers get to experience it alongside the main cast.
Now these are just five reasons why Rebels should be watched all the way through. That’s without going into other ways it’s such a strong show, like the different villains introduced throughout (and yes, that includes Thrawn), how Ahsoka is involved in all this, the portrayal of the different Mandalorian characters we meet, and more. There are also the strong developments of the different character dynamics featured throughout the series and also the essential themes for viewers to take away from what the characters go through.
So going back to earlier, yes, you can take Filoni’s advice to heart and just watch the final season, in preparation for Ahsoka. However, if you really want to experience a beautifully developed series that is both deep and has a lot of heart, do yourself a favor and watch all four seasons of Rebels.