SPOILERS for tonight's episode of Star Wars Rebels: Legacy of Mandalore!
Grab that tissue, wipe away your tears. The first major departure of Star Wars Rebels has come and gone, and yes, that really happened. After a tease just moments earlier in the episode where it seemed a lot like a major member of the crew had just been shot and killed, the team was lessened by one after all. Seriously. Spoilers.
Sabine Wren has left the Ghost crew and, at least for now, the Rebel Alliance. She elected to stay back on her homeworld, one of the planets that belong to Mandalore, and fight for her people's freedom, and vowed to find someone to wield the Darksaber as Mandalore's ruler once again. When Dave Filoni was sketching out the story of Star Wars Rebels initially alongside Simon Kinberg and the story group, he didn't know then that Sabine would be the first member to leave the team (even if she left alive).
"No, not at all. I think a big part of it is you can have a broad plan, which is obviously always good because you have a guideline to go by and rails, but you have to also take opportunities and try to instigate things to make important character moments happen. I think you just learn by doing when those moments are," Filoni told ComicBook.com. It's a lesson he learned in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, when, after being functionally betrayed by the Republic and the Jedi Order, Ahsoka chose to leave it behind - that wasn't the original plan, but the story dictated.
"Once you meet Sabine's parents, and you go all in, you create this dynamic. I thought, 'Well, she hasn't seen them in all this time. It's kind of weird if she just goes and meets them and leave.' Once we worked out the bigger politics of what's going on with Mandalore, we're like, 'Good grief. We've destabilized this entire planet now.' So there's a sense of responsibility here," Filoni said.
That responsibility is something Sabine has learned in her time with the Ghost Crew.
"I think that it really shows a maturity in Sabine that she's even willing to help this family and help these people, and I think that's why Kanan is proud of her in that moment, though he might not say it. It's that she's grown, and so much of this show has been about watching these two young characters, Ezra and Sabine, grow into becoming adults, and in their own ways more like Hera and more like Kanan. That's been really fun because Simon Kinberg pointed out in the very beginning of the series that the family dynamic would be the most important thing here to keep expressing in different ways.
"So now we have her actual blood-related relative family and her adopted family coming into play, and that's also true for Ezra. I always go back to that concept as a guiding point for me to follow story-wise. So we'll have to see. It's a fun moment."
The moment isn't just fun, or something that just pushes her character forward, but also opens up that entire corner of the Star Wars world.
"I know it's difficult to have this happen to Sabine, but by doing this, it actually is also serving the greater Star Wars universe to say that there's a lot going on in this galaxy. It's not just this one-angled thing with this rebellion, and now you meet her parents, at least her mother, and you have rescued her basically, or freed her up. So she's going to do stuff. I think it creates a great moment for the character in an unexpected moment, obviously. We'll see where it goes from there."
So is Sabine's story over? We don't have a confirmed season 4 for the series, though it is very likely, and the way Filoni talks, it sounds like that's something they've been working on for quite awhile (which, in the nature of animation, some of these episodes we're watching now have probably been in the can for over a year).
"I don't want to ruin anything," Filoni teased, "But I would think that she's a pretty beloved character. I've brought characters back from much father depths than simply 'I want to spend some time with my parents.' I actually had to sew Darth Maul somehow back together."
So that's a...?
"It's very possible that we haven't seen the last of Sabine," he finally said. Phew. "I don't think that's a massive spoiler on any level. I think it might relieve the tension for people that are having a heart attack. Not everything needs to be this bizarre conspiracy kind of thing."
With what we know about the series' final Season 3 episodes, focusing on the droids, the trip to Tatooine to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, and an all-out assault on Lothal being delayed by Thrawn finally finding the Rebel base, it sure sounds like we won't see Sabine again this season, but season 4 should bring our favorite Rebel Mandalorian back to the fold in some way.
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