Star Wars Rebels Review: “Wolves and a Door” & “A World Between Worlds”

Star Wars Rebels Wolves and a Door Mortis Mural
via Lucasfilm

– Spoiler Review –

As Star Wars Rebels barrels towards its series finale, the latest episodes,”Wolves and a Door” & “A World Between Worlds,” bend minds, offer new understandings of the Force, bring back a familiar face, and so much more, meaning they’ll likely be rewatched and analyzed for years to come.

This is still a review of both episodes, but instead of doing separate ones within this review, I’m just going to cover them together because they are intricate puzzle pieces that need to be discussed as one.

Star Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds Convor-sations
via Lucasfilm

Beyond Lothal’s resources for the Empire to mine, beyond Thrawn’s starfighter program, what has been the significance of the Lothal to the Emperor? Back in S2’s opener, Maketha Tua asked for asylum from the Empire in exchange for one crucial piece of information: the Emperor’s personal interest in Lothal. Her information was never delivered, she died during the Ghost crew’s retrieval efforts, but the question has hung over the series ever since, and as the seasons passed, I began to wonder if that thread would ever be visited again; I shouldn’t have doubted it in the slightest it would! I’ve always thought it would be kyber crystals, but tonight’s episodes revealed it (but took it away quickly) in spectacular fashion: the Lothal Jedi Temple contained access to a world between worlds, where one could have control over time and space if they had easy, unfettered access to it. In one of the earliest canon novels, Tarkin, the Emperor talks to Vader about how insignificant the Empire really is to his ultimate goals, and that he’s more concerned with bending the Force to his will/getting rid of it, while maintaining complete control. Compared to a Death Star, this veil Ezra and Sabine unlock is definitely a gateway (puns abound) to ultimate control of the galaxy, aligning with the Emperor’s true goals. Obviously, as soon as Ezra jumps into this world between worlds, something like this cannot remain in existence/in-use for long, as its power, and the possibilities for exploiting it are too endless to consider. It boggles the mind a bit and recalls a power I wasn’t a big fan of in Legends, flow-walking, where one could essentially travel in time, interact with things a bit, but never bring about true change. I feel like this doorway world was a much better version of the idea due to how it seemed like it was being controlled more by what the Cosmic Force wanted visitors to see and less about what they wanted to see, but at the same time was it Ezra’s desire to save Kanan what brought that door into existence, or the Cosmic Force, or…the mind is hurting. Regardless, Ezra’s time in the world between worlds is quite the journey.

Since this place connects across time and space, the voices echoing across its endless chamber are from all over the saga, from Yoda in the prequels, Kylo, Rey, Maz, and Poe in the sequels, Obi-Wan in many different eras, and even Jyn Erso for good measure. Obi-Wan’s line about the Force binding the galaxy comes to literal life here, as this world between worlds is part of the Force and binds space and time together, which was a mind-bending way to take that line from A New Hope! It was pretty damn amazing to hear all these familiar voices, echoing through, especially when they either happened a long time ago or had yet to happen, really helping connect this episode and show to the saga at large in a big, exciting, and unforgettable way. And just when I thought the voices were going to be the coolest, craziest, and most interesting thing from this world between worlds…things escalated quickly.

Star Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds Ezra Watches Ahsoka Vader DuelEzra finds himself, and the convor owl that was always nearby when Ahsoka appeared in previous episodes, at a curious doorway, one that brought back memories of a certain Sith Temple on Malachor. As the doorway activates, we’re thrown into the finale episode to be all finale episodes in this series so far, “Twilight of the Apprentice,” and suddenly it becomes apparent to both Ezra and the viewers, we’re seeing the rest of the Ahsoka and Darth Vader duel from that episode! Now we’ll finally have the answer to Ahsoka’s fate, right?! Yes…and no. As Ezra watches Vader overpower Ahsoka, the convor hoots at Ezra, who understandably has no idea what’s expected of him, and without really thinking, reaches into the doorway to save Ahsoka. Amazingly enough, he manages to yank her out of the Temple and through the doorway, saving her from Vader’s killing blow! Ahsoka lives(ish)! The two discuss what brought Ezra to the world between worlds, Dume Wolf, which leads them to echoing everyone’s questions about Dume Wolf from last week, like is it Kanan? Ahsoka’s thoughts are probably the closest to the truth, as she believes his will is still here, and that many Jedi who pass into the Cosmic Force can still interact in different ways, be it Force Ghosts, Loth-wolves, or Qui-Gon’s in between state. Was his will for Ezra to save Ahsoka? Was it for him to close the galaxy off from the portals? {*See an interview with Filoni below, where he does reveal Kanan’s purpose for sending Ezra there was to fix the past and save Ahoksa}

Or as Ezra sees it, Kanan wants Ezra to save him too. I immediately knew two things: this was another bad idea in a long list of bad Ezra ideas and that this show would not be undoing Kanan’s death. Ahsoka’s life has been in question for a long time, so showing her survival wasn’t inconceivable, but the finality of Kanan’s passing was too strong for it to ever be undone. Ezra almost tries it, but Ahsoka offers some sage advice that manages to prevent him from giving into the temptation, as she mentions how Kanan’s sacrifice was vital to saving their lives and the mission, and messing with that would kill them and leave Kanan alive, undoing his selfless act and betraying everything Kanan stood for. By letting go, by not giving in, Ezra’s grief over Kanan’s passing is finally resolved, something he didn’t quite get like the other characters last week. And this moment also helps Hera, though I’ll get to that in a moment.

Star Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds Palpatine's a-knocking
via Lucasfilm

Emperor Palpatine, voiced by Ian McDiarmid himself, finally graces the show in person (he previously was an off-screen hologram), making his power and presence felt across time and space. In the first half hour, Palpatine is talking with a Minister Hydan, who has been dispatched to unlock the secrets of the Lothal Temple, and it was crazy and interesting to hear him say stuff like “Mortis gods” and “Kanan Jarrus,” especially when he mentions Kanan’s death is a great disturbance in the Force, as it has altered everything. Let that sink in for a moment. Sith Lord Sidious aka Emperor Palpatine, virtually unmatched in his power over the Force during this time, as been affected by Kanan’s sacrifice. Is it that Kanan’s death begins the chain reaction of getting Ezra to save Ahsoka, putting Ezra in place to help the rebels get off Lothal, getting Hera to live to the Battle of Scarif and beyond, i.e. basically undoing all his plans? One moment has giant ripples through space and time, as we see quite literally here, but who knew Kanan’s life could mean so much more. Once Palpatine is made aware that Ezra and Sabine opened the doorway, after the Minister has captured Sabine and is grilling her for help on opening the doorway again, he uses some arcane magic to bridge his own way into the world between worlds. Using the same blue fire trick he did to project visions and whatnot to Moraband and mess with Yoda in the final arc of The Clone Wars, he manages to use the portal Ezra opened by watching Kanan’s death and begin attacking Ashoka and Ezra with the blue flames. Neither of them, not even together, are a match for Palpatine’s power, and they have to flee, leading Ezra to go back through the portal he came in and Ahsoka back through the one he saved her from. Thankfully Palptine doesn’t gain control of this realm, but it was certainly a close call!

tar Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds OWL-REALLYThis leads to one of my only gripes with this episode. Now, I didn’t expect this world between worlds to be around or accessible after this show ended, as this seemed like a big endgame they couldn’t leave unresolved, but all Ezra has to do is interact with the Mortis mural again, which he did to open the portal to the gateway world, and it not only shuts the portal, but it destroys the entire Temple, burying it for good. Just as this amazing, brand new understanding of the Force is opened to us, it’s immediately shut, and in the most simplistic of ways possible. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want this gateway world around for too long, and I look forward to learning who and how it’s been used before by other Force users (if ever it was), but for this giant new thing to be introduced and then vanish made me wonder if they had been planning on maybe at least one more season to begin really setting this idea up, and then unleash this, as otherwise this felt too big to be resolved so quickly {See the Rebels Recon for how this has been set up, somewhat, since the early days of the show}. Then again, the show has operated like this throughout the years, so I probably shouldn’t have expected anything different. Plus, if they did spend any more time with the gateway world, it could’ve gone too far or felt too far out there, and would’ve taken us away from the Ghost crew and resolving their stories, to some extent. In the end, I guess my gripe is more about how simplistic the solution was to stopping it, and less about wanting more of the gateway world.

Remember how I said Ashoka lives? Well, after she jumps back through her doorway, she’s on Malachor once again and right where “Twilight of the Apprentice” left her, marching into the underworld. At least we know she lives, but when and where we’ll ever see her again, who knows (again), but I’m curious if her final scene in “Twilight of the Apprentice” and here takes place in the past, or actually it was both in the future. As in, did the doorway transport her not only back to Malachor, but back to the timeframe of S2?  If so, it’s possible that Ezra’s request for her to come find him when she gets back could be fulfilled in next week’s series finale…or some moment beyond, like the next animated TV show? {*See the interview with Filoni below, but he confirms it transports her back to the S2 timeframe…I’m not editing out my idea, but please note, it is incorrect!} Looks like we’re back aboard the theory train for Ahsoka’s next appearance, but at least we can be assured she’ll appear again. The best part about Ahsoka’s inclusion this episode, and much like how the gateway world is so quickly taken care of, is how these are two things left unanswered not only got answers, but still leave room for the Ghost crew to take front and center in the finale. I’ll take the answers, as vague as they might be.

Star Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds Sabine and the MinisterSpeaking of the Ghost crew, Hera, Zeb, and Chopper get the short end of the stick these episodes, but at least Sabine has an important part to play. Her love of art is key to unraveling the mystery of the Mortis mural, a depiction of the Mortis gods from a series of episodes in TCW, even if the solution was pretty obvious. But to see her excitement, and to know that Ezra couldn’t do it without her, really hammered home how important this family is to one another, especially after Kanan’s death and I’m happy to see a non-Force-user get a little more involved with these mystical Force shenanigans, letting the rest of the Ghost crew be less sidelined than usual. Sabine’s reluctance, but part excitement in discovering the mural’s purpose, while captured by the kind but intimidating Minister, was great to see and I’m happy we’re not only getting her warrior side this season, but her artsy side as well. Also, her navigation of the little pop-up base after Hera and Zeb rig it to flip over was a thing of beauty.

As for Hera, while she, Zeb, and Chopper are vital to helping Sabine and Ezra complete the mission and escape alive, the extra closure she gets here is pretty awesome. While debating whether to continue the mission once they know the Emperor is involved, Kanan appears as a semi-Force Ghost, holding his hand on her shoulder, and she places her hand over his (well, through it, but still)! The shot instantly made me cry and even later on, in the final scene, we see her holding her hand on her shoulder, looking for his comfort again, but he doesn’t appear. Was he really there, in a type of Ghost form, or was it a figment of her imagination? I’m going to bet he was there, somehow, someway. {*Again, see the interview with Filoni, but he confirms this is more her memory of him, not him being some type of ghost! Again, my guess is incorrect, but I’m happy with the answer!} Regardless, after they complete the mission, the Temple is completely buried, gone from the face of Lothal, never to be used or abused again, and this is when Hera realizes, despite having no connection with the Force, that the loth-wolf communiques are over and that means Kanan’s last will is gone as well, making him fully one with the cosmic Force. Together, Ezra and Hera come to realization and are happy they both fulfilled one of his last wishes, especially Hera, which allows her to come to terms with continuing on without him and fighting the good fight.

For Ezra, it teaches him one final lesson…and we’ll find out what that exactly is and what he plans to do with it in the series finale. My guess is the lesson is just be selfless and that sacrifice, if it must come to it, isn’t anything to be afraid of.

Star Wars Rebels A World Between Worlds Final Goodbye to Kanan

Here are a few other things:

  • *Here’s the Filoni interview, over at Nerdist, that I keep mentioning in the review, which dives into Ahsoka’s return and why Kanan sent Ezra to the world between worlds to save her.
  • Ahsoka named the Daughter/Convor: Morai! She saved Ahsoka’s life, hey? Interesting…
  • Kevin Kiner…he better get a chance to compose music for the live-action shows or even a film at some point, because he’s been an unparalleled master in the TV realm of Star Wars for quite some time and these episodes were even further proof of that!
  • Curious what quotes from across the saga were used throughout the episode?!? Over at Skytalkers, Charlotte Errity complied a list and there are ones I didn’t even catch (Chirrut!) the first time watching the episode!
  • While Mortis was vital to some of what happened here, and they dropped some details on Mortis being connected with the Jedi Order forever/other instances of it in the archives, but the episode never made watching those episodes necessary to enjoy what was happening within Rebels. This was a vital thing, something I was slightly worried about the moment we saw the Mortis family in the S4 trailer, as there’s no guarantee fans who are watching Rebels watched The Clone Wars yet. This might be another thing to make them want to watch now though, beyond just for more Ahsoka.
  • Speaking of that, the symbol on the ground where the Jedi Temple of Lothal used to be is the same symbol seen around Mortis, which represents both the light and dark side of the Force, intertwined.
  • I really liked how Palpatine’s fire literally melted the walkways, showing unnatural and destructive he is in such a majestic, Force-rich realm.
  • UPDATE: Rebels Recon and episode guides are up! The episode guide for “Wolves and a Door” reveals who the Minister almost was going to be, among other things, while “A World Between Worlds” offers some sweet BTS images! As for the Rebels Recon…this is, much like they have been all series, very important to watch, with plenty of intriguing BTS details, including that Ezra’s been to the world between worlds before, when he got his kyber and chatted with Yoda. So the seeds have been there longer than we’ve I’ve realized!

There’s so much more to unpack than what I’ve already covered, but since I’ve unpacked so much, I’ll leave my thoughts as they are now. “Wolves and a Door” & “A World Between Worlds” have some unforgettable new ideas on the Force, answer some lingering questions, and get use ready for the series finale.

+ The gateway world and how the sound design really brought it to life, connecting to the saga at large

+ Ahsoka does actually live!

+ Ezra and Hera getting finality, closure over Kanan

+ Answering some questions

 Resolves things a bit too simply

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

Season Four: Ep.1/2: “Heroes of Mandalore” Part One / Part Two | Ep. 3/4: “In the Name of the Rebellion” | Ep. 5: “The Occupation” | Ep. 6: “Flight of the Defender” | Ep. 7/8: “Kindred” and “Crawler Commandeers” | Ep. 9: “Rebel Assault” | Ep. 10/11 “Jedi Night” and “Dume” | Ep. 14/15 Series Finale “A Fool’s Hope” & “Family Reunion – and Farewell”

Season Three: Steps into Shadow | Ep. 2: “Holocrons of Fate” |  Ep. 3: “The Antilles Extraction” | Ep. 4: “Hera’s Heroes” | Ep. 5: “The Last Battle” | Ep. 6: “Imperial Supercommandos” | Ep. 7: “Iron Squadron” | Ep. 8: “The Wynkahthu Job” | Ep. 9: “An Inside Man” | Ep. 10: “Visions and Voices” | Ep. 11: “Ghosts of Geonosis” | Ep. 12: “Warhead” | Ep. 13: “Trials of the Darksaber” | Ep. 14: “Legacy of Mandalore” | Ep. 15: “Through Imperial Eyes” | Ep. 16: “Secret Cargo” | Ep. 17: “Double Agent Droid” | Ep. 18: “Twin Suns” | Ep. 19: “Zero Hour

Season Two: The Siege of Lothal | Ep. 2: “The Lost Commanders” | Ep. 3: “Relics of the Old Republic” | Ep. 4: “Always Two There Are” | Ep. 5: “Brothers of the Broken Horn” | Ep. 6: “Wings of the Master” | Ep. 7: “Blood Sisters” | Ep. 8: “Stealth Strike” | Ep. 9: “The Future of the Force” | Ep. 10: “Legacy” | Ep. 11: “A Princess on Lothal” | Ep. 12: “The Protector of Concord Dawn” | Ep. 13: “Legends of the Lasat” | Ep. 14: “The Call” | Ep. 15: “Homecoming” | Ep. 16: “The Honorable Ones” | Ep. 17: “Shroud of Darkness” | Ep. 18: “The Forgotten Droid” | Ep. 19: “The Mystery of Chopper Base” | Ep. 20: “Twilight of the Apprentice

Season One: Spark of Rebellion | Ep. 2: “Droids In Distress” | Ep.3: “Fighter Flight” | Ep.4: “Rise of the Old Masters” | Ep.5: “Breaking Ranks” | Ep.6: “Out of Darkness” | Ep.7: “Empire Day” | Ep.8: “Gathering Forces” | Ep.9: “Path of the Jedi” | Ep.10: “Idiot’s Array” | Ep.11: “Vision of Hope” | Ep.12: “Call to Action” | Ep.13: “Rebel Resolve” | Ep.14: “Fire Across the Galaxy

Kanan (Comic)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)

A New Dawn (Novel) | Thrawn (Novel)