It’s not the announcement fans want to hear — the end of a favorite series — but “Star Wars Rebels” creator Dave Filoni delivered the news that his Lucasfilm animated series was coming to a close after four seasons in the room where he knew he’d be amongst friends.
The Saturday morning panel of this year’s Star Wars Celebration was dedicated to “Rebels,” the Disney XD series that Filoni spent years shepherding to the small screen. Joined by members of his voice cast (including Freddie Prinze, Jr., Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum and Tiya Sircar) Filoni and co. put on the sort of freewheeling and information-packed panel that the “Rebels” and “Clone Wars” creator has become known for.
And while Filoni and his cast focused on the future, including a season that will more closely tie in with the events of “Rogue One” (which mostly takes place just after Season 3’s conclusion) and the addition of “Star Wars” regular Warwick Davis as the voice of nefarious Rhuk (plus the news that fan faves like Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma and Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrara would be back for more), something lurked beneath the chatter.
After nearly an hour, a clearly emotional Filoni made his big announcement to the 3,000-plus crowd in attendance at the Galaxy Stage.
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“So, this will be interesting, I’ve never done this before,” Filoni said. “This is a different kind of announcement, and I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from … As a creator of a story, I think about these things. I think about where are we going, and what the characters need to go through. So this is where I have to tell you, it is my decision as creator of this show, with Simon [Kinberg], that Season 4 is the final season of ‘Star Wars Rebels.'”
The announcement was met with groans throughout the ballroom, as crushed fans grappled with the news after nearly an hour of getting excited for what the future held.
“I firmly believe that each generation needs to have their own piece of ‘Star Wars,’ and I feel that this show, for a lot of kids growing up with it, is as much a part of ‘Star Wars’ as any of the movies,” he continued. “I really appreciate that love from you guys, and I feel, creatively, that I can make this story about these characters the most meaningful that it can be by arcing it to where I need to get to at the end of this season.”
Filoni promised that the final season would deliver plenty that the fans would enjoy, and hinted that it was “by no means the end” of what Lucasfilm Animation creates.
“I think it’s one of the best things the animation division has ever done,” Filoni said. “It’s not like anything else that we’ve ever done. It’s gonna be different, a little dark, a little fun.”
Filoni bolstered some spirits by debuting the first episode to Season 4 to the crowd. The episode sets the stage for what looks to be a darker — and far more battle-heavy — season to come, sending the crew of the Ghost to Sabine’s home planet of Mandalore in hopes of rescuing her father, captured by Imperial forces during yet another battle on the war-torn country. Dark? Yes, and definitely different.
The final season of “Star Wars Rebels” will air this fall on Disney XD. Check out the first trailer for the season below.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration runs April 13 – 17 in Orlando, Florida.