This week featured the much anticipated end to Star Wars Rebels. It would finally answer some of the most pressing questions since the series began...to a point. Spoilers ahead.
Of course, from a meta standpoint, the most anticipated questions were Kanan and Ezra's fates. They clearly couldn't be around by the events of the classic trilogy. Thrawn's fate was also of interest. Would he somehow make it into the Unknown Regions to give him a chance to reappear after the fall of the Empire in some fashion as he did originally in the Heir to the Empire trilogy? Dave Filoni and company didn't disappoint.
So in my mind, we had one death that was completely predictable, and a pair of disappearances that could be anticipated but not guaranteed. I'm sure it's no coincidence that they have set up nicely for future stories and possibly a future series post Return of the Jedi. If you haven't seen the last Rebels Recon, be sure to check it out.
More unexpected and interesting is the revelation that the Rebels get away with freeing Lothal - and it remaining free for the duration of the war. Apparently, it didn't sustain even an Imperial attack or show of force to keep other planets in line. This breaks with the traditional notion that once the Empire claims something they never let it go. Without Thrawn's factory and the Jedi Temple, apparently the Emperor thought so little of the rest of the planet's resources that he wasn't willing to spend additional Imperial assets, especially with the destruction of the Death Star. Not even for revenge.
At this point, it is interesting to speculate about Lothal's role through the rest of the war. Would it serve as a major Rebel haven and/or source of supplies? It does tie into the idea that there could be a few stand-alone Rebel worlds before the fall of the Emperor. The most prominent example was Mon Cal/Dac. it also shows that maybe the Empire isn't as all powerful and omnipresent as is typically portrayed. It does have limits to its power and reach. It didn't even dominate all of Lothal, apparently keeping its major assets stationed around the capital and operating out from there.
From a role playing game standpoint, Lothal provides a truly safe location for Rebel characters to visit. It can even serve as an example of how liberated worlds can survive on their own. Lothal already had a certain criminal element, some of which aided in its liberation. Afterwards, would the syndicates expand? How much would the Lothal government tolerate or fight back against them?
The world between worlds is a new interesting aspect of the Force. I'm admittedly not a big fan of the idea of time travel in Star Wars, but at least it was kept to a very limited and largely inaccessible location. Now that we know what it is, when I go back and watch old episodes, I'll have to pay a lot more attention as to where the world between worlds was actually used, and how. Certainly it's accessible from at least some Jedi temples, giving it a lot of potential for Force and Destiny games.
When the show first appeared, I called it Star Wars The Role Playing Game the TV show. It definitely maintain that vibe throughout the series. The main characters were classic RPG style characters. The show had epic battles, significant numbers of Mandalorians, clashes with criminal syndicates, Rebel raids, Inquisitors, increasingly unexpected Force related events, and appearances by major opposing characters. It was a lot of fun and highly enjoyable. I'll be very interested to see what Dave Filoni's next effort entails, as he has said he is not done telling Star Wars stories yet.
Congratulations to the entire Rebels creative and production teams. It was a fantastic ride.