Star Wars Rebels: “The Last Battle” Season 3 Episode 5 Review

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Nostalgia is a funny thing. Star Wars: The Clone Wars only truly ended when the Netflix season was released in early 2014. But with The Force AwakensRogue One, and Rebels steadfast on recreating the feel of the original trilogy, the prequel era has been tossed aside, existing only in memory. Well, until “The Last Battle” that is.

When Rex, Kanan, Ezra, and Zeb explore an old battleground from the Clone Wars, they discover a fairly sizable group of Separatist battle droids that are still activated and intent on destroying the Republic. Upon capture by a tactical droid, Rex barters for one final battle between the Republic and the Separatists. If you choose to overlook the silliness of this agreement, there’s great nostalgic fun to be had for viewers of The Clone Wars. Rex leading Jedi into battle. Clever ways of destroying droidekas. Even the silly one-liners from the battle droids, which were annoying years ago in the moment, but oddly comforting and familiar here. It was all around great just to get this giant wink to a great series that didn’t get the ending it deserved. Did this episode really have anything to do with any of Rebels‘ current storylines? Not even a little.

That said, once the Empire arrived, a whole new dimension to the fun was added. Droidekas fired upon AT-ATs and Jedi fought alongside battle droids in an electric fan-service that intersected trilogies and fundamental differences that started a war. It was interesting to hear Ezra’s take on the events of Revenge of the Sith, which would end up uniting Rex and the tactical droid. But hearing him put so bluntly to both sides of the conflict that they were fighting a war no one was designed to win was an eye-opening moment that freshly acknowledged some integral Star Wars mythology.

In the end, both the rebels and the remaining droids get away. The tactical droid chooses not to partake in the Rebellion, which means things go back to normal next episode. “The Last Battle” was clearly just meant to be a fun diversion back to Rebels‘ incredibly strong predecessor. At that, it was nothing but successful. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • There is something worrisome about how warm this episode made me feel. Disney’s mandated rebranding has done wonders for Star Wars, but its rigid rule to seemingly forget the prequels is still betraying what many fans see as an important, if flawed, piece of the classic mythos. I do hope Disney warms up to this era more in the future. If The Clone Wars proved anything, its that the prequel era was not for naught.
  • Man, I kind of wish this episode came out in season two. Just imagine the feels if Ahsoka had been involved.
  • Ugh, the end credits music got me a little misty-eyed. Rebels is great and all, but I miss Clone Wars.

By Matt Dougherty

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