The second season of Star Wars Rebels concluded with the jaw-dropping finale, Twilight of the Apprentice. Maul returns, Kanan is blinded, and a long-awaited showdown arrives at last. A powerful conclusion such as this leaves many viewers speechless, but once our heads stop spinning, we have to ask: where does the show go from here?
For those who don’t know already, Rebels is set for a third season on Disney XD, so have no fear. Twilight of the Apprentice is definitely not the end. This finale left a lot a loose threads, so there’s still plenty for the show to work with. Here are just a few of the elements the finale set in motion.
This really should go without saying, but spoilers for the Season 2 finale lie within. Consider yourself warned.
Ezra Embraces the Dark Side
Separated from his companions in the depths of Malachor, Ezra Bridger comes across ex-Sith Lord Maul, who offers his plight as a lowly Force-wielder who could help him. While disassociated from the Sith, Maul is still deeply in tuned with the Dark Side and sees an opportunity before him. He encourages Ezra to rise to his full potential, urging him to channel his anger and fear into his Force abilities. After his powers failed so many times before, Ezra appreciates this kind of support and questions why Kanan doesn’t believe in him like that.
Ezra soon realizes that Maul was using him, but by then he’d had a full taste of the Dark Side. He recognizes this new source of power and uses it to open the Sith Holocron, accessing the forbidden knowledge within. Season 3 will no doubt show where this knowledge will take him.
Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka form an uneasy alliance with Maul on Malachor. They agree to work with him temporarily out of trust for Ezra’s judgement, but they realize Maul’s true intentions too late. Maul claims Ezra as his apprentice and then slashes Kanan across the eyes, blinding him. However, Kanan underwent traditional Jedi training; he already knows how to fight without his vision and swiftly fends Maul off.
So while Kanan’s connection to the Force allows him to see in one sense (very similar to another Jedi rebel), being permanently blind will still take some getting used to. Supervising director Dave Filoni said in an interview with IGN that this injury is a part of his growth as a Knight. “[Kanan] was really hiding from who he was for a long time, and now has come out of that and kind of reclaimed who he was… But that doesn’t mean that that choice comes without a cost.” How his injury affects his role as a member of the Ghost crew will play out in the following season.
Ambiguity is no stranger to the writers of Star Wars Rebels, especially when it comes to the fate of certain characters. Seeing the man she once knew inside Vader, Ahsoka refuses to leave her former master behind again. Ezra and Kanan are forced to leave without her as the Sith Temple collapses. Though she is clearly seen walking into the Sith Temple at the end, Filoni said slyly, “Is that what you saw? That’s so interesting. That’s so good. You know I think it says a lot about who you are, which is great. You’re an optimist, and I think that that’s strong.”
On a more serious note, Filoni believes that Ahsoka’s purpose on the show has been served. Whatever happens to her next isn’t necessarily the story Rebels needs to tell. Whether she truly is dead or in some Yoda-style exile, she’s started a movement that can and will go on without her. We hope that one day she will return, but for now, her story as a rebel ends here.
The Rebellion Continues
But what about the Rebellion? It’s easy to forget how far they’ve come after that finale. To review, they now have ample supplies, a growing fleet, and a base on Atollon. These things will allow them to combat the Empire more effectively in the future. Fewer hit-and-fade supply raids, more strategic attacks. Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group said that the Rebellion will begin to more closely resemble the Alliance we see in A New Hope. There will also be elements introduced that will connect the series to the upcoming standalone film, Rogue One.
As if that wasn’t enough, Dave Filoni hinted that “something big” is coming. Season 3 will see an event that die-hard fans have been wanting for a long time. Filoni will explore this in greater detail at Star Wars Celebration Europe III later this year. In the mean time, we’re left to speculate what comes next. And there’s a lot to work with. The future of Star Wars Rebels isn’t exactly bright, but it’s most definitely rich.