With two live-action Star Wars shows in the works with The Mandalorian and the upcoming Cassian Andor series, Disney shouldn’t forget about the goldmine it discovered on its animated side this last decade. Now that The Clone Wars has wrapped up the saga’s prequel era with a highly satisfying closure, the time has arrived for its critically acclaimed animated sibling, Rebels, to get the same treatment.
While Rebels told a complete story bookended by its heroes’ actions on the Empire-occupied planet Lothal, it also left one big, tantalizing narrative thread hanging. After blasting into hyperspace with a pod of space whales, what becomes of Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn is unknown. In a cruel twist of fate, the series finale concludes with Ahsoka and Sabine setting out to locate the missing Jedi, cutting to credits just when its audience’s attention is piqued at its max. While series head Dave Filoni tells Deadline he doesn’t see another season getting made, a television movie would be a great way to resolve this looming cliffhanger while also expanding on the exciting epilogue the show teases.
Ahsoka and Sabine’s quest to find Ezra writes itself thanks to the rich characters and lore Filoni and his team established in their little pocket of the galaxy. Pairing Sabine and Ahsoka together opens up a new dynamic since the two vastly different women got barely any screen time together throughout the show’s four seasons. Putting them on a buddy road trip through the galaxy with plenty of action would offer a different take on Star Wars that is still be fun.
There’s also much more to be explored about the World Between Worlds seen in season four’s thirteenth episode, which could serve as a stepping stone for finding Ezra. If the mystic force world is a topic Filoni finds better left to people’s imaginations, pirate rapscallion Hondo Ohnaka could alternatively help the two start their mission, giving the zealous supporting character a better, more fitting send-off than his disappointingly bland end on the show.
From there on, a Rebels movie could follow in the vein of The Mandalorian and explore the direct fallout of the Empire’s defeat in greater depth. Star Wars Battlefront II vaguely explores this idea in its short campaign, but it’s muddled in Operation: Cinder and doesn’t stand out as much as it could’ve. Ahsoka and Sabine’s search for Ezra should be the film’s main focus, but Operation: Cinder could make a good B-plot for Rex, Hera and her son, Jacen.
As Ahsoka and Sabine traverse through seedy territories across the Outer Rim, a recently vanquished Moff Gideon would make an excellent villain for the movie, snowballing into a series of events that could additionally explain his acquisition of the Darksaber. From the little fans have seen in The Mandalorian, Gideon is a remorseless officer known throughout the Empire for his ruthlessness leadership during the Great Purge of the Mandalorians. Since The Clone Wars chronicles the Siege of Mandalore, it would be poetic for a Rebels movie to finish with Gideon’s attack, concluding the series with an epic set piece escalating into darker, grittier territory.
It’s only a matter of time until Sabine is forced into the conflict to defend her people and planet, and now that the show’s off Disney XD, the story is able to push boundaries farther and extend its emotional reach and action to riskier, more mature levels. If not tackled in a direct continuation of the series, there’s always room for these plot threads to be addressed in other Star Wars media. Filoni also told Deadline, “that there’s always potential for stories that involve the characters from Rebels. They’ve all earned their place in the galaxy, so to speak, so I’m sure there’s some more of them to do.”
Though Star Wars Rebels told a full story, a TV movie would be a great way to conclude its cliffhanger and tackle other post-Empire events.