WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the series finale of Star Wars Rebels, "A Fool's Hope" and "Family Reunion and Farewell," which debuted Monday night on Disney XD.
Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Rex, Kallus, Ryder, Mart, Loth-wolves, even Hondo and his little Ugnaught friend -- each had a crucial r0le to play in the liberation of Lothal from the Galactic Empire. But Star Wars Rebels was always about Ezra Bridger's journey, and in the end it all came down to the young Jedi and his choices.
The final hour of the beloved animated series was about family, and sacrifice, and choosing not the easiest path, but the right one. It was about Kanan's final lesson for Ezra. But, most of all, it was about hope.
Star Wars Rebels could have very well ended in fire, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with much of the Ghost crew and their allies meeting their ultimate fates in defense of Lothal. Instead, co-creator Dave Filoni left the futures of most of the characters up in the air, and perhaps held open the door for whatever comes next.
We can quibble about whether the public activities of Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger on Star Wars Rebels jibes with the characterization of the Jedi as an extinct, near-legendary order in Star Wars: A New Hope. But we knew both characters would have to be removed from the playing field by the end of the animated series. For Jarrus, that moment came last week, when he sacrificed his life to save his friends; for Ezra, it was in the finale, when he remained aboard Grand Admiral Thrawn's damaged Star Destroyer as the purrgil ("space whales") whose aid he enlisted made the jump to hyperspace, with them in tow.
It was part of Ezra's elaborate plan to finally accomplish what he'd so longed for these past four seasons: the liberation of his home world Lothal from the Empire. "Hera, I have to see this through to the end," he said, as his friends pleaded with him from the planet's surface. Later, in a recorded message, he explained, "There were several paths in front me. While this wasn't the one I wanted to take, it's what I had to do." Indeed, it completed Ezra's character arc, took him out of play for the original trilogy, and left open the possibility that he might yet survive, somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. (Filoni insists that he does.) "I couldn't have wished for a better family," he concluded in the message. "I can't wait to come home."