Ricky Church reviews the season four premiere of Star Wars Rebels…
The fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels will start airing next month, marking the beginning of the end for the Ghost crew. Here at Fan Expo in Toronto, we got to see the two-part premiere ‘Heroes of Mandalore’, a pretty entertaining and gripping episode that seemingly sets the tone for the Rebels’ final season. There was also a panel featuring series creator and producer Dave Filoni, Vanessa Marshall (Hera) and Taylor Gray (Ezra), which will be up later.
Just a quick note: since we’re still over a month away from the premiere, I’ll only be giving my general thoughts on the episode and won’t be going over anything specific so it remains spoiler free.
As the title suggests, the premiere deals with the continuing struggle for Sabine, her family and other Mandalorians to free their planet from the Empire’s grip. As such, Sabine’s got a significant role in this premiere as it focuses on her family relationships and feelings, continuing her arc from last season’s excellent ‘Trials of the Darksaber’. Much of the premiere’s success is also due to Tiya Sicar, who really delivers a great performance as Sabine.
The animation is really well done. There seems to be some more detail with the explosions, costumes and vehicles, but what I noticed was how much better the facial expressions are. Over the last couple years Rebels has improved the character’s facial expressions and designs, but there was some really good animation with the varying emotions of the characters at play.
The action is also very cool, giving you more of what you’d expect from Mandalorians shooting while flying around on jet packs. ‘Heroes of Mandalore – Part 1’ gets inventive with its action set pieces, displaying some great choreography that’s easy to follow as well as plenty of cool moments. ‘Part 2’ also delivers some cool action, but remains more focused on the story and emotional stakes for the crew. If I had one criticism, though, it might be that most of the locale is a little too devoid of detail and bland looking.
There is definitely some big themes at play here, from family, loyalty and what is honourable in warfare. ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ sets up the themes that will be the focus of the season as the Rebel Alliance grows and we inch closer to the events of Rogue One and A New Hope. There are some other story beats between the characters that are laid here, setting the groundwork for their conclusion that will give viewers some amount of closure on them. However it plays out, ‘Heroes of Mandalore’ was a very good opening for this final season.