The fourth season of Star Wars Rebels will be the last, Lucasfilm announced today at the Star Wars Celebration Orlando panel for the series. It will also be shorter -- only 15 episodes instead of the customary 22.
That's the bad news, ripped off like a band-aid for you; now here's the good: A roaring good time was had at the panel, with the Season 4 trailer, other new footage and some very popular guest stars coming to help say goodbye to the series.
David Collins hosted the panel and immediately brought out Dave Filoni and all five principal cast members: Tiya Sircar, Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Taylor Gray and Freddie Prinze Jr. Before talking Season 4, Collins wanted to recap some of Season 3, talking about the big "Twin Suns" episode that ended Maul's journey and introduced the "Old Ben" version of Obi-Wan Kenobi to the series. "No one could take out Maul except Obi-Wan," EP and showrunner Dave Filoni said of the episode. "Obi-Wan actually pities him and doesn't want to destroy him, but has no other choice."
They also touched on Grand Admiral Thrawn, the amazing Mandalorian arc around Sabine and the Darksaber (the ancient black lightsaber forged by Sabine's ancestor, the first Mandalorian Jedi), The Bendu, and then got to the meat of the panel: Season 4, the last season of Star Wars Rebels.
Marshall spoke first about Hera, saying "her focus is much more sharp" in Season 4. "She's really impacted by the losses in Season 3, and is even more committed to getting the job done. It's essential." Blum said he hopes Zeb "heads to Lyrasan and starts a family with Kallus" to laughter and applause. He's glad to see him progress into "more of an uncle and less of a brother."
The "Hot Kallus" phenomenon after bringing down a strand of hair "cost a lot of money," Filoni said. He was amused by the response, and said, "Season 4 is all about this now. I went and rewrote it in two weeks" with laughter.
More seriously, Filoni said about Chopper that "sometimes when someone is that cantankerous, you find out that they're who really cares the most," and we'll see some of that in Season 4.
Tiya Sircar teased that "Mandalorian fans out there will be happy with some specific episodes in this coming season. You might be surprised where we end up and who we're going ... I'm very scared right now ... who might show up?" while looking to Filoni. "There might be some people you know, some new people you've never seen before, all Mandalorian ..."
"The stuff that Kanan goes through is very adult," Prinze Jr. said of his Season 4 arc. "Kanan's mistakes are what made me fall in love with him," but he teased that he'll find a new level of "clarity" in this season. For the other Jedi, Ezra, Prinze Jr. said Kanan doesn't think he has anything else to teach him, and that "he could be better than me." Gray teased that Ezra's "making some great decisions in Season 4."
More Mon Mothma is in Season 4, "How haven't you seen her? She's pretty level most of the time, but when she's with Hera, she has a little more personal conversations. You might see Mon Mothma get a little firey for once." Saw Guerrera will be back, voiced by Forest Whitaker, with Two Tubes as his co-pilot, flying a U-Wing from Rogue One. He's got the wild hair now, too.
Warwick Davis is coming onto Star Wars Rebels, after having been in all the trilogies and ambushing Filoni about a role last year at Celebration Europe. Davis joined the panel for the announcement, saying, "I'm sorry for what I did to you in London, Dave." "No you're not," Filoni said with a laugh.
Davis will be playing Rukh, the assassin bodyguard of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and a popular character from Star Wars Legends (the former Expanded Universe).
"I've never done this before ever," Filoni said. "Seeing the evolution of this family and these kids getting older. As a creator, this is where I have to tell you, my decision as the creator of this show is that Season 4 is the final season of Star Wars Rebels. I firmly believe that each generation has to have their own Star Wars. I feel creatively that I can make this story about these characters the most meaningful by arcing their story to this conclusion." He also assured fans, "This by no means marks the end of Star Wars animation."
A standing ovation for the cast and crew of Star Wars Rebels from the audience showed their appreciation. With that, the trailer aired on the big screens.
"This is a story about a boy who was lost and a girl who was broken. They fought alongside a survivor, a war veteran, and a fallen knight. I led them into battle, against an evil so terrible ..." In the trailer we see Hera and Kanan more obviously in a relationship, the return of the Mandalorian Bo-Katan, more #HotKallus, X-Wings finally debuting, and Hera saying, "May the Force Be With You," to close it out.
Star Wars Rebels Season 4 debuts Fall 2017 on Disney XD.