Star Wars Rebels aired its final episode on March 5, 2018. To this day, fans of the series continue to rewatch their favorite episodes, create art and facilitate ongoing discussions surrounding the characters, themes, and ideas that have stuck with them since the series finale. And there’s a reason for that. The lasting impact of Rebels on the fan community remains because those who love it are desperate for more.
This often manifests in the form of calls for a sequel series, but that’s not the only way the show can live on. Rebels captured many things about Star Wars that are worth repeating, and is considered “peak” Star Wars by many who adore it. More shows like Rebels would give fans so much of what they crave without having to recreate something so close to perfect that trying to replicate it too closely could ruin the magic.
At its heart, Rebels is about how we change when we find people to fight for. At the start of the series, for example, Ezra Bridger was a bitter, hopeless kid who hated the Empire but had no one to help him do something about it. By the finale, he was an older, wiser leader who gave up everything he had to save his family and the rebellion they fought for. Sabine Wren, likewise, was a dark warrior with a clouded past and an uncertain future. At the end of the series, she had let go of her past regrets, discovered who she was supposed to be, and knew her exact purpose in the galaxy — all because of the friends and family who helped her grow up.
And that’s just one of many classic Star Wars themes woven throughout the show. The power of found family; the dangers of choosing fear and hate over love; the way our perception of the world changes when we experience tragedy. Star Wars has tackled these ideas many times. What makes Rebels so unique is that it takes its time establishing and developing its characters and their relationships to one another. It starts out small, a single group of rebels on one planet, and grows bigger as the seasons progress. It perfectly balances action and adventure with emotional storytelling and humor suitable for any age.
Rebels did what so many Star Wars shows haven’t: It relied on new characters to drive its story without overshadowing them with familiar faces; it spent so much time building its main characters in dynamic, powerful ways that they felt like real friends long before their final goodbye. It never rushed. It never sacrificed quality for anything that might make it more explosive, predictable, or “comfortable.” It knew exactly what it was and the exact story it was meant to tell, and it never strayed from its path.
No series, Star Wars or otherwise, will be able to replicate the exact magic of Rebels. But the show has proven that the formula works. And when steps are taken to improve a mold, it becomes its own unique entity while retaining much of what was so beloved about the original.
There is plenty of room in the lineup for shows like this. What we get in the future won’t be the same. But it can still be great.