While much focus has been placed on Ezra Bridger's journey in Star Wars Rebels, going from lowly street rat to Jedi-in-training who's struggling to hold onto the light side of the Force, the show's other Jedi may be having an even more interesting journey. Kanan Jarrus, voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr. on Rebels, had obvious changes last year, like finally officially achieving the rank of Jedi Knight and being blinded by Maul in the season finale. But his more subtle changes in Season 3 have sparked an interest.
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Over the last several episodes, fans may have noticed Kanan's abilities have been changing, and seemingly enhancing. Kanan has been able to sense objects and living creatures in the Force much more accutely, for example. In the mid-season finale, he sensed the Geonosian Klik-Klak long before Ezra did, or anyone else could hear him. He knew there were land bridges in the large tunnel on Geonosis, as well, and was able to catch one and hold it with the Force without too much strain on his face. His abilities to accurately throw Ezra, to leap himself without sight were both uncanny as well. So is this all building to something? It sounds like it, as Prinze teased on twitter.
"Trust in the Bendu," he replied when I asked generally on twitter if his building powers were in fact notable. That's of course referring to the ancient Force-sensitive creature called simply Bendu, who lives with the middle of the Force, and knows more about it than the Jedi and Sith combined. The Bendu is able to manipulate both the light and dark with ease, and seemingly without either affecting him and his judgement personally. Prinze says Kanan's fear has definitely been a problem.
@LucasSiegel @FJDesanto trust in the Bendu— Freddie Prinze Jr (@RealFPJr) January 10, 2017
"Kanan's fears of inadequacy have been what's held him back. Fear of being a bad teacher, fear of incomplete training," Prinze said. However, he's been getting training, from unexpected sources. "He's been trained this whole time, he just didn't know it; his teachers just happen to be evil: the Grand Inquisitor, Darth Vader, Maul."
@LucasSiegel @FJDesanto Kanan's fears of inadequacy have been what's held him back. Fear of being a bad teacher fear of incomplete training— Freddie Prinze Jr (@RealFPJr) January 10, 2017
@LucasSiegel @FJDesanto fear of 'now what? I can't see.'— Freddie Prinze Jr (@RealFPJr) January 10, 2017
The Bendu removes all that emotion from the equation. Fear, confidence, all of it
@FJDesanto @LucasSiegel he's been trained this whole time he just didn't know it.— Freddie Prinze Jr (@RealFPJr) January 10, 2017
His teachers just happen to be evil.
Inq', Vader, Maul
It's an intriguing perspective: by learning how they harness their power, and thus also learning what it is they do wrong, Kanan is able to gain new insight into his own abilities. It all comes alongside his training and conversations with the Bendu, and of course him losing his physical sight. As he continues his training, just what path is he on? To paraphrase Saw Gerrera in the Rogue One trailers, what will he become?
"He keeps getting closer to the middle," Prinze teased.
@LucasSiegel @FJDesanto My pleasure. He keeps getting closer to the middle.— Freddie Prinze Jr (@RealFPJr) January 10, 2017
Could Kanan be headed to a new "Grey" area? Is he going not towards death, but some level of ascension? We'll just have to keep watching Star Wars Rebels to find out, but the journey sounds like it will be a thrill.
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Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD, and follows the adventures of Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar), Zeb (Steve Blum), and the Jedi Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray), a small crew that's finding their way in the nascent Rebel Alliance a few years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Executive produced by Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni, the in-canon series helps to connect the worlds of the films and the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with guest appearances so far by characters like Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Leia Organa, Wedge Antilles, and more.