The end of Star Wars Rebels season two was kind of like the TV version of The Empire Strikes Back. Our heroes survived, but not unscathed. But having just watched the upcoming hour-long premiere, we know season three isn’t like Return of the Jedi—instead, it continues that downward spiral in a truly exciting way.
Star Wars Rebels’ third season won’t air on Disney XD until this fall, so if you want to stay unspoiled, turn away now. If you don’t mind reading about where the first hour of the upcoming season goes, please continue.
Things start with a daring rescue mission. Ezra leads Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper to free Hondo, the cheerfully greedy pirate who helped and betrayed them on several occasions. He has information the Rebels need but, of course, the rescue mission runs into some issues—issues in the form of Imperial troops and walkers. Ezra, now older, sporting a new look, and with a newfound confidence says he’ll handle it... and proceeds to bend the will of the walker driver to blow away his friends and commit suicide.
Did it save the day? Yes. But that kind of power isn’t the light side of the Force, and Kanan soon finds out. You see, Ezra has not only kept the Sith Holocron he got with Darth Maul in season two, he’s used it. An infuriated Kanan tells him he’s using the Dark Side, but Ezra doesn’t care—he even brags that it’s working, because he’s rising up the ranks of the Rebellion and it’s teaching him great things. He’s certain he can use the dark side for good.
Hmmm, I wonder if any other Jedi has ever felt they could use the Dark Side for good? I’m sure that’s gone well.
Kanan, on the other hand, is dealing with his own turmoil. He’s newly blind and his confidence is broken, until he’s summoned by a new character named Bendu, voiced by the actor behind Doctor Who’s beloved fourth incarnation, Tom Baker. Bendu is a huge beast who is strong with both sides of the Force. He trains Kanan to regain his confidence, but at what cost? Kanan gives him the Holocron.
Speaking of new characters, you probably know that Grand Admiral Thrawn is now officially in the Star Wars canon. He’s introduced briefly in the premiere in an, honestly, slightly underwhelming manner (the trailer does a better job of giving the character gravitas). Nevertheless, what little we do see of him we can tell that he’s respected, feared. and damn smart. In fact, he sniffs out Ezra’s next plan with ease, putting the now-questionable Jedi in a bad spot, one that Ezra is going to need saving from.
I won’t spoil everything that happens, but suffice it to say that compared to last season’s premiere, the third season premiere of Rebels was actually a little underwhelming. The action was good, but not as good as some of what’s teased in the trailer, and several of the large questions from last season—Darth Maul, Ahsoka Tano, etc.—remain unanswered for now.
What the episode does brilliantly, though, is set up Ezra as another troubledJedi on the brink of succumbing to the Dark Side. He’s got powers he doesn’t even know about, and it’s going to be up to Kanan and the crew to try and keep him on the right side of the Force. If they don’t, as clearly shown here and in the trailer, Ezra will become a very, very powerful agent of darkness.
That, along with Thrawn, the Holocron, Bendu, and Kanan’s condition is set up enough for another strong season of Star Wars Rebels. Add to it the fact we’ll get a rejuvenated Darth Maul, more about the Mandalorians, Wedge and more, and premiere problems aside we’re incredibly excited for the third season of Rebels airs to finally return this fall on Disney XD.