Saturday was a much better day. My friend William Devereux was able to secure me a reserved seat in the Star Wars Rebels season 4 panel. This allowed me to finally be a able to get some much needed sleep.
The Rebels panels are truly special experiences. If you have ever seen one of them before, even through streaming, they come off as intimate conversations with Dave and the rest of the cast. This year was no different. Well one thing was different, I was actually in the room this time.
They start the panel talking about season three and Twin Suns, they loved seeing the fan's reaction to it. Dave talked about end for Maul and having him face off with Kenobi. He said it really needed to be Kenobi to take Maul out. It just didn't feel right to have anyone else do it. Dave mentioned how Kenobi has grown and even though Maul wants to bring him down, he is able to let go of all that has happened to him, been done to him by Maul and pity him in the end. Kenobi has finally made it to that enlightenment stage we see in A New Hope. One of the things that Dave and Joel Aaron obsess about the is lighting of Star Wars and it really shows in that last moment in Twin Suns. The whole episode was a way to honor what came before.
Admiral Thrawn. There was an opportunity to bring what they loved from Legends back and to use him in the right way. Thrawn had to be true to who he was in Legends. One of the benefits of him as a villain was the way it tied in with Sabine. She is an artist and Thrawn is famous for studying art. Dave loved having Zahn come back and write the new book. The hardest part of the process was casting and Dave could not have been happier with Lars Mikkelsen.
The Bendu. Freddy Prince Jr. says Bendu is Kanan’s new teacher this season. He though it was interesting that in many ways the Grand Inquisitor was in his teacher in season one, Maull in season two and now the force moose (as Freddy lovingly refers to him) was in season three. For Kanan, it's been learning to walk and see in a whole new way, all through Bendu’s tough middle-way love. For Freddy, Bendu is actually is favorite character of the whole series. High praise indeed.
Sabine’s Arc. Tiya said that it was such a gift to explore her character with Freddy in such depth. She mentioned that Dave really gave her all she needed to make sure was fully prepared. In lieu of the normal recording with the whole cast, they actually had a separate recording with just Freddy and Tiya to make it more intimate. Trial of the Darksaber has been one of her favorite things she's gotten to do as Sabine. She also loved the way the animation and the music worked in concert to make it special. It’s a joy of her’s to remind Taylor Gray, who plays Ezra, that she has the coolest lightsaber.
Season Four and what we can expect.
Hera. Her focus is much sharper. She’s coming to a pin point, impacted by the losses of the third season finale and just ready to get the job done. The Rebels in season four are pressed to the very edges of hope.
Zeb. He's going to get about twenty percent better at his bets with Chopper. He's become more an uncle than a brother, more responsible, he'll be making smarter remarks and choices.
Hot Kallus. Oh, what a strand of hair can do. Dave is aware that the ladies love him and his displaced hair. Even the crew were obsessed about, creating the #hotKallus on Twitter.
The movie star Chopper. He was a tough negotiator for season four. Everyone on the crew of Rogue One knew who he was which worried Dave. He doesn't have an arc Dave, people just think he's grumpy but we're going to learn he has the biggest heart and truly really cares.
Sabine. For all the Mandalorian fans, they're going to be happy with some specific episodes, where they are going and who might show up. They could be new people, possibly people we know and maybe even Mandalorian. At this point in the show, Sabine has overcome and now she's come into her own as a leader, creator to become a more mature person.
Kanan. Freddy says that Trials of the Darksaber defined who Kanan wants to be. He’s become the teacher and the patient parent that both Ezra and Sabine need. He loved Maul verses Pre Visla fight in The Clone Wars which was a battle of discipline vs technology and the fight with Sabine was the same. And at the end of that fight they both found themselves where they needed to be. Freddy was so impressed with Tia and Kevin Kiner’s work on the episode, it all came together perfectly. Kanan finally has the clarity that he needs.
Ezra. He is not just a Jedi apprentice to Kanan, but an apprentice to Kanan in becoming a better man. Ezra has seen the good and the bad, toyed with the dark side and now season four is about what kind of Jedi and more importantly, what kind of person he will be. He wants to finally liberate his planet, still learning to be selfless and Taylor thinks he makes some good decisions in season four.
Got to see a lot of familiar characters, Mon Mothama will be back. We’ll see her in some ways we never have. They are bringing back Saw. Forrest is loving it and loves Star Wars. Dave enjoys getting to bridge all the shows and movies together. Things will become more A New Hope looking. Dave got tricked at Celebration London into casting someone in Rebels and Warwick Davis is coming to Rebels! He's playing, Ruhk, Noghri from the original Thrawn trilogy! Dave needed someone creepy and devious and Warwick is perfect.
So now! Dave has made the decision that season four is the last. Thinks it's most memorable and impactful to end on his terms and makes sure the arc of this family concludes correctly. Dave is really proud of these characters and performers. The last season is not like anything else they have done. A little dark, a little fun and the trailer. The trailer is epic.
Dave comes out in a shirt that says that says “Ahsoka Lives!”. As you may remember he has been trolling fans all weekend with a shirt reading “Ahsoka Lives?”. He promises there will be a new animated show and then we treated to a season four episode!
Star Wars Books was the next panel of the day and there was not a lot of information to come from it as it was more a roundtable with the authors. Timothy Zahn, Delilah Dawson, Christie Golden, Chuck Wendig and Jen Heddle. We did learn that the upcoming book Phasma is in fact a prequel to The Force Awakens and Chuck Wendig revealed that there were a few interludes that didn’t make it into the books. A couple of them were an HK-47 interlude at Cloud City in that first book, there was also a Luke interlude that was cut
Ended the night with Who's Line is it Alderaan an improv show that two of my friends were apart of. It was a good way to end the third day of Celebration panels. The night was spent at Disney Springs with a lot of other podcasters just kicking back, having some drinks and of course, talking about Star Wars. FYI, forgive the lateness of this blog as the night with friends was a late one :)