'Star Wars Rebels' Is Completing the Alliance Backstory in Final Season

Star Wars Rebels 2
Season Four of "Star Wars Rebels" brings the crew of the Ghost to Yavin IV, the rebel base featured in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." The series is completing the backstory of the Rebellion. (Image credit: LucasFilm/DisneyXD)

"Star Wars Rebels" opened its final season last month with a rescue mission, as the animated series closes out four years looking at the backstory behind the Rebel Alliance, which was first featured in the early "Star Wars" films.

Although the story of the Alliance is a complex one, essentially the group is a faction of freedom fighters conducting raids and covert operations against the Galactic Empire, the fictional dictatorship and foil of the "Star Wars" franchise. Being a science fiction series, there is a fun element: Each side has access to "The Force," an energy field that connects all living beings. Practiced members can use The Force to do cool fighting moves.

The animated "Star Wars Rebels" is a sequel to the television series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (2008-2014) and runs weekly on Disney XD. In the "Star Wars" universe, "Rebels" takes place between the movies "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (a prequel released in 2005) and "Episode IV: A New Hope" (from the original trilogy, released in 1977). [In a Cinema Far, Far Away: A "Star Wars" Film Guide]

There's plenty of "Star Wars" universe content to look forward to in the coming years, including "The Last Jedi," which opens in theaters Dec. 15. But "Rebels" showrunner David Filoni expressed wistfulness about his series in an interview with ComingSoon.net.

"I think – it sounds bleak, right – it's the beginning of the end. These stories, they're all told with the end in mind," he said, adding, "This season, to me, is one long movie. That's the way to think about it week to week."

A season from the fourth season of "Star Wars Rebels." (Image credit: LucasFilm/DisneyXD)

Nerdist adds that fans will be especially interested in the fates of the two Jedi freedom fighters who star in the series: Ezra Bridger (played by Taylor Gray) and Kanan Jerrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) Mentor-mentee relationships are famous in "Star Wars"; Filoni told the website that Ezra will need to figure out how to use the powers Kanan taught him in this final season.

The end of Season 3 saw the Rebels attacking the Imperial-controlled planet Lothal. The Rebels retreated to their base on the remote planet Atollon, but were quickly met by an Imperial attack, forcing them to escape on their starship, the Ghost. [The Most Amazing Ships of the "Star Wars" Universe]

The episode closed with Ezra lamenting that the battle was a failure, but Kanan pointing out that, in fact, it was a victory because the Rebels were still free. Kanan added that to keep that freedom, Ezra would need to continue to fight. The Season 4 opener then saw Ezra, Kanan and human Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) launching a rescue operation as the Empire reveals a new weapon.

"The promise seems to be that by the end of this, [Ezra] will find a way to rid his world of the Empire. But we know that the Empire builds the Death Star, builds another Death Star, and they don't really get destroyed until Luke [Skywalker] does it [in the movies]," Filoni said to Nerdist. "How in the world does this kid find any kind of victory in the middle of this conflict? What does he consider a victory? How is he going to use his powers?"

The next episode of "Star Wars Rebels" airs Tuesday (Nov. 14).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace