How the Finale of 'Star Wars Rebels' 2nd Season Has Changed Everything

Let's dive deep into the sensational, Season 2 finale 'Star Wars Rebels'

The two-part Season 2 finale of Star Wars Rebels is the show's crowning achievement (to-date). A game-changing episode in every way, "Twilight of the Apprentice" altered the fates of several characters.

Ezra, Kanan, Ahsoka, and even Darth Vader walked away from this one irrevocably changed. At least one major character's fate is left in question, one was maimed, and another took some big steps toward the dark side.

Hats off to the entire cast and crew of Star Wars Rebels for turning in one of the finest Star Wars stories ever told. Every single aspect of the hour was brilliant, but I have to draw special attention to the final montage, where I believe the show truly committed art. There was such a range of powerful emotions in that sequence, and Kevin Kiner's epic, majestic, heartbreaking score was the finest he's ever crafted.

Let's take a look at the biggest plot points, the burning questions, and what it all means for Season 3.

Major spoilers ahead for "Twilight of the Apprentice."

01
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Ahsoka Lives

Ahsoka Tano faces Darth Vader
Ahsoka Tano faces Darth Vader. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Let's get the big one out of the way: Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief, because Ahsoka is totally not dead. In the episode's final moments, the long-awaited confrontation between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader took place, and it was intense.

How about that "I am no Jedi" bit, huh?! That was a killer line, obviously inspired by a memorable moment from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

The pair was evenly matched, but Ahsoka's acrobatic skills gained her the upper hand before the end. As the Sith Temple crumbled around them, we weren't able to see how the fight ended. But during that hauntingly beautiful final montage, Vader was seen limping away from the rubble and Ahsoka was briefly visible turning away from him to descend back into the temple.

The episode is meant to leave Ahsoka's fate ambiguous, but no-way, no-how is she dead. And if you need further proof, look no further than StarWars.com's official episode summary, which states, "An image of the back of Ahsoka Tano is seen walking back down into the temple."

So the question becomes: Why? If their fight ended in a draw, which appears to be the case, why did she return to the temple while Vader exited? Why didn't she leave, too? (By my reckoning, there are at least two more unclaimed TIE Fighters down there.) Is she going into hiding? Has she fallen to the dark side? Could that massive blast of dark side energy have somehow robbed her of her connection to the Force?

My prediction: It'll be a good while before we see her again, but when we do, she'll be different. She's been changed by this experience in a profound way.

02
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Kanan: Blind Jedi

Kanan Jarrus
Kanan Jarrus. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Probably no one was changed in a more tangible way in this episode than Kanan Jarrus. No sooner did he achieve the rank of Jedi Knight (in "Shroud of Darkness") than his eyes were destroyed by a lightsaber to the face.

Now he's permanently blind, and... Wow. The show's writers and producers went there. That's one of the biggest changes ever made to any major Star Wars character. And there's no going back; Kanan will never use his eyes again.

I suppose he could be outfitted with some kind of bionic eyes, though that seems more like the kind of thing you'd see on Star Trek. Still, the Star Wars galaxy is a pretty technologically advanced place. But I don't think the writers will go that route, because it would negate the impact and importance of this. It would feel like a cheat.

So how will this affect him going forward? He obviously struggled at the episode's end after having lost his sight, but it's a well-documented fact that when a person loses one of their senses, their other senses compensate. And Kanan has a sense that few others in the galaxy possess: the Force.

Now that he has to rely on the Force more than ever, it's possible that Kanan will become stronger with the Force than he's ever been. That's right: Kanan is gonna do the Daredevil thing.

I also wonder if coming so close to losing him will finally cause Hera to act on her feelings for him, and vice versa. Because it's about dang time.

Edit: I had to add this, because it's just too good. As noticed by Tumblr user Palizinhas, Kanan's last words to Hera before he left for Malachor (in "The Mystery of Chopper Base") were, "We'll see each other again. I promise."

He was only half right.

03
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Ezra Goes Dark

Ezra Bridger
Ezra Bridger holds the Sith Holocron. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Ezra done screwed up. Big time.

Because of his mistakes in this episode, Ahsoka is believed dead, Ezra's master has been blinded, and his treasured lightsaber was destroyed. On top of the mounds of guilt he now feels, he's going to be awfully angry. Angry at himself, at Maul, at the universe and everyone in it. Expect to see a hardened, less trusting, less fun-loving Ezra in the third season.

Maul played him masterfully, but I still found myself frustrated that Ezra fell for it so easily. By now, he should know better than to touch the dark side. Come on, Ezra!

On another topic, if he's to continue his Jedi training, he's going to need to get his hands on a new lightsaber, which means finding a new Kyber crystal. Those aren't exactly available at your local department store. Perhaps a covert trip to Ilum is in order?

04
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The Return of Maul

Maul returns
Maul returns. Lucasfilm Ltd.

As much as I loved seeing Maul back in the mix, I wish the show -- not to mention Disney's hype machine -- had kept his involvement more of a secret. How incredible would it have been to have no idea who this "Old Master" was until he pulled back that hood to reveal his face? Sam Witwer never gave it away with his voice acting; I just wish the show had followed suit.

Regardless, it's awesome to have Maul back. With Inquisitors dropping like flies and Vader possibly withdrawing from pursuing the Ghost crew now that Ahsoka has been dealt with, our heroes are suddenly in need of a proper villain. Given what Maul did to Kanan and how he tricked Ezra -- not to mention that the Ghost crew now possesses the coveted Sith Holocron -- there's some hardcore bad blood there. Maul will definitely be the show's Big Bad for Season 3.

I hope we find out more about what he's been up to for the last 15 years. He was using what looked like the broken lightsaber of an Inquisitor. How did he get it? How long was he on Malachor?

05
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Inquisitors Go Down

The Seventh Sister
The Seventh Sister Inquisitor fights Maul. Lucasfilm Ltd.

"Twilight of the Apprentice" introduced us to a new Inquisitor named the Eighth Brother, who we never got to see the face of. (For a while, I was sure the mask would come off and it was going to be Barriss Offee.) But the noob and his two "siblings," the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother, were all killed.

We also learned that the spinning lightsabers Inquisitors use have a secondary function: helicopter blades! If the episode hadn't been so brilliantly executed, this could have come across as super cheesy. But I bought it, and I'm betting you did too.

We've been promised more information about the Inquisitorius somewhere down the road, so we haven't seen the last of them.

06
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A Peek Behind Vader's Mask

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Didn't see that coming! How better to up the dramatic stakes for Ahsoka than giving her a glimpse of her former master's face behind that evil mask? Genius storytelling move. The audio mix of Matt Lanter's Anakin combined with James Earl Jones' Vader was really well done, too.

Old-school Star Wars fans had to wait through three movies to finally get a look at what was behind that mask. Giving Rebels viewers a little glimpse of the man inside was an unexpected treat.

Vader was obviously injured by his encounter with Ahsoka, limping and wheezing his way back to his ship. But why would he leave her if she's still alive? Was he too physically damaged to continue the fight? Or maybe, just maybe... did he leave her alive on purpose? Perhaps a tiny part of Anakin seeped through Vader's cracks to turn a blind eye or show her mercy.

I hope someday we get to see exactly what happened in that temple after Ahsoka and Vader were trapped inside.

Also: Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper were all present when that bit of Anakin's face was visible, and Ahsoka said his name aloud. Did any of them realize the truth that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker?

07
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The Holocron

Sith Holocron
Sith Holocron. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka's entire motivation for going to Malachor was to find some vague, illusive "knowledge" that would supposedly help them defeat the Inquisitors. That knowledge turned out to be the Sith Holocron, an "artifact" that's coveted by both Maul and the Emperor. (And the fact that Palpatine wants it suggests that he doesn't already have one.)

A Sith Holocron can only be opened with the dark side of the Force. That tiny bit of red in Ezra's eyes in the final scene underscored the new ease with which he's able to access the dark side. And did you notice that Kanan turned his head in the direction of Ezra's quarters right before Ezra opened the Holocron? He totally sensed the dark side in his apprentice.

Aside from what all this means for Ezra, which frankly is kind of scary... What kind of "forbidden knowledge" is buried in that Holocron? Will it really help our heroes, or bring more ruin upon them?

08
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What the heck, Yoda?

Ahsoka faces Vader
Ahsoka Tano faces Darth Vader on Malachor. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Ahsoka's lost, Kanan's blind, Ezra's heading toward the dark side, he lost his lightsaber, Maul is back...

Tell me again why Yoda sent the Jedi to Malachor?

Yoda has the ability to see the future using the Force. Did he know this stuff would happen? Yoda would never do anything to hurt his friends... unless he saw further into the future and knew this was a necessary step forward for their respective journeys.

But still, what exactly did he send them there looking for? The Holocron? Maul? Destiny? Yoda's got some 'splaining to do.

09
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As the Convor Flies...

Convor
Convor. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The ever-present Convor (the owl-like bird) showed up for a fleeting moment as the episode ended, and it's known that this creature has special significance to Dave Filoni. It's named after his wife, and originated way back in The Clone Wars during the story arc where Ahsoka was abducted by Trandoshans to be hunted for sport.

So every time it shows up, Filoni is dropping a hint, either literally or thematically, about something significant. What do you suppose the Convor stands for? I'm thinking it's a symbol of Ahsoka's resilience, or maybe it's an avatar for Yoda, watching things from Dagobah via this bird.

10
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"Something Big" is Coming in Season 3

Darth Vader
Darth Vader on Malachor. Lucasfilm Ltd.

On Rebels Recon, showrunner Dave Filoni teased that something huge is going to happen in Season 3, something he's "wanted to do for a long time," and that fans have long wanted to see as well.

What could that be? (And really, what could be bigger than Ahsoka fighting Darth Vader?)

It's a no-brainer that elements from Rogue One are likely to show up in Season 3, especially considering that Rebels and Rogue One are set during the same time period -- and Rogue One will be in theaters about halfway through the show's third season. I'll be surprised if we don't see a character or two from the movie on Rebels, probably members of the main cast/team that go after the Death Star plans.

But what is the "something big" that Filoni was referring to? The Death Star under construction? An appearance by a familiar character like Han Solo? The return of Obi-Wan? The Millennium Falcon? The crew sneaks into the old Jedi Temple on Coruscant? (They'd be in for quite a surprise.) Or maybe the introduction of a beloved, blue-skinned Legends villain, as the rumor mill believes?

There's so many possibilities. I'm dying to see what comes next!

 

Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels will debut sometime in the Fall of 2016.