Star Wars Rebels fans will be excited to hear an important character will make an appearance during the show’s fourth and final season: Hondo Ohnaka.
While speaking with Comicon.com, Filoni, usually reticent to reveal if characters are returning to the show, joked “I’m getting soft in my final season here. But I love Hondo.” The Weequay pirate voiced by Jim Cummings first appeared on Star Wars: Clone Wars, but made an immediate impression; returning time and again on that show and joining the Rebels recurring cast in its second season to baffle and confuse the crew of the Ghost. “He’s a likable guy, he loves his screen time,” Filoni continued. “So, let’s just say we’ll get a little Hondo in there before the end.”
But guest appearances by characters like Hondo and Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) are only one aspect of the show’s final season. An important theme overall is closure. “I think it’s pretty important just out of respect for the people who loyally watch this show,” Filoni explained. “I feel that people deserve answers when they are watching this stuff. And we have to come up with good ones, or we had good ones that we’ve been waiting to reveal.”
He used the season debut, in which Sabine’s (Tiya Sircar) weapon design directly threatens the rebellion on Mandalore, as an example of the way some of the conclusions this season developed organically. The story payed off threads going back as far as the first season and as recent as Sabine’s decision to leave the Ghost crew and help her family last year.
He also said it was important to resolve that story as much as possible before the show returns to Lothal, where everything started, this week. “I felt that was the correct thing to do; just because I wanted enough time to really tell the story of how this all goes. And I didn’t want to have to divert to Mandalore in the middle of it,” he explained. “I also wanted to really start to showcase Ezra’s (Taylor Gray) final path and decisions [this season] and focus a lot on that. So, I thought it was nice to give her like her own two-parter that really focuses on what she’s going through.”
Preparing for Ezra’s final path also inspired Saw Gerrera’s appearances in last week’s “In the Name of the Rebellion” two-parter. In that story, Ezra confronted the way Saw’s methods differ from the Rebellion. “Certainly Saw makes it clear that he doesn’t like the way they’re fighting and he would be more aggressive,” Filoni said. “I think that he is motivated from a more selfish angle of wanting revenge against the Empire for the way his world was treated and for everything that he’s lost. So, he might’ve lost his way in the fighting [despite] the desire to do good. Mon Mothma even accuses him of getting innocents wrapped up and not worrying about what happens to people caught in the crossfire.”
Filoni suggested that Saw’s great flaw is similar to Anakin Skywalker’s: the need to amass more power. “Saw kind of has that same thing this idea that power and might are going to win the day,” he explained. For Ezra, more interested in taking the fight home than ever before, Saw’s proactive stance seemed the best solution, especially when compared to the measured responses of Mon Mothma and Bail Organa to the Lothal crisis. But once on mission with Saw, he seemed to pull back from that aggression, particularly when Saw seemed fine with letting a group of kidnapped scientists die. Filoni said that sense of innate justice reflects the fact that Ezra was essentially raised by Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Hera (Vanessa Marshall). “I think that you can’t discount the kind of structure they gave him as something to fall back on,” he added. But, Filoni teased, “[Ezra] has several more choices to make this season, though. We have a long way to go.”
Returning to the notion of closure, Filoni added some plotlines may not resolve as clearly as Sabine’s story. For one thing: the larger rebellion on Mandalore continues. “That would take up all of the time that I have to try to make that worthy of the show than it should be,” he said. “There’s always more stories to tell no matter how well you answer [the main questions]. Sometimes you answer something and it creates a new avenue when you didn’t mean to.”
Nevertheless, Filoni said the show’s principle question about a “boy growing up under the power and control of the Empire” will be answered before Rebels concludes.
Join us again tomorrow when Dave Filoni tells us about the return to Lothal and his love of wolves.