WARNING: Spoilers below! If you haven’t seen the final season of ‘Star Wars Rebels,’ then you may want to turn back now.
Even though ‘Star Wars Rebels’ has been off the air for quite a few months now, fans are still wondering about a few loose threads from the final season, as well as some of the creative choices made. Most agree the show went out on a high note, but there is just a lot of curiosity about certain decisions, such as why they chose to kill Kanan when they did, and what that meant for everyone involved. Luckily for those seeking answers, Cinemablend recently sat down with ‘Rebels’ Executive Producer Dave Filoni to talk about the show and the subject of Kanan.
When asked about killing off Kanan when there were still half a dozen episodes left of the series, Filoni said:
“Well, it was something we knew was going to happen from very early on. It’s something that Freddie was adamant, he felt needed to happen. And he was right. But you have to do it in a way that’s not like, ‘Well, of course that was going to happen because he’s the mentor character.’ George [Lucas] had taught me a long time ago [that] when you kill off a character, especially a main character, that it has to be meaningful. The kids watching especially have to understand why we’re doing it, why was that necessary, how does it feed the story. So something that we spoke about very early on in the story was that I wanted to do this episode but I wanted to have several episodes after that deal with that event, that they could not just go back to being on an adventure the next episode, that the characters had to really feel the loss, because I felt the audience would feel the loss. And I wanted them to understand why Kanan does what he does and that it’s a selfless choice, that it’s out of love and compassion for his friends.”
And Filoni then went on to explain why Kanan died the way he did, sacrificing himself so his friends could escape:
“And so you just try to start to formulate, to get him in a position where you believe that he can’t get out of it, and then later I stressed that in ‘The World Between Worlds,’ when Ezra sees the whole thing unfold again, and I think naturally thinking that ‘I wish there was something I could do, if I could just done something differently’ are natural things, so I kept comparing it not to events in the Star Wars universe but in our universe, in our real world. How do you feel when these things happen? And at the end of the day, very personally, while I was in the middle of directing those episodes and staging them, my father passed away, so you’re suddenly confronted with these very real feelings and what it’s like to be on the other side of that, losing a parent, which is a very very different thing. And I talked a bit with Freddie about it while I was doing it, while I was staging the actual scene, because I wanted it to be important and heartfelt and meaningful, because we all liked that character and I think that you can relate to it and then it has meaning. Because if you’re doing it, you have to do it not just for shock value. That’d be pretty meaningless to me, so if it was heartfelt and sad for people, I think that’s good, but I think they hopefully got through it with the rest of the crew who survived and went on to help everyone else and you see the outcome of it.”
Personally, I liked the idea of getting the “major death” out of the way earlier in the season, as it did not get shoehorned into a finale as many other series try to do, and it upped the suspense for the rest of the season as from that point onward, no one was safe (minus Hera and Chopper who we knew appeared in ‘Rogue One.’) And the idea of giving the characters/ the audience time to grieve makes a lot of sense to me, and it made it all that much sweeter at the end when they got their victory to know all they had sacrificed and gone through to get there. But that’s just me.
What did you think of how they handled Kanan’s death? Were you satisfied? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below!