Star Wars Rebels Season 4 (Blu-Ray)
The final season of Star Wars Rebels arrives on blu-ray this week, and the emotional thrillride is just as fun watching again, as it was the first time. Come inside to check out my review of this week’s blu-ray release!
It's crazy to see that Star Wars Rebels, has already wrapped up. I know it's been a while, but Disney's acquisition of Star Wars still feels recent, and the idea that Rebels (our first new content under Disney/LFL) has four seasons and a planned finale is blowing my mind. Alas, it happened, and now the final season has landed on blu-ray so we can watch it again and again.
The story in season four brings things full circle (in a number of ways), and sees the Ghost crew return to Lothal in an attempt to liberate the planet and unravel the Empire's true plans. We've seen teases and glimpse of the planet's importance since all the way back in the first season, but those mysteries are finally solved.
In many ways, this final season really does a great job of tying together a myriad of different plot threads from all the seasons. Things that may have felt out of place (or filler), only popping up in one episode over the past few seasons, suddenly crop up again and serve an important purpose. It's an impressive look at how the show has been playing the long game in terms of its story and nothing is wasted.
I don't want to go into any big spoilers for those who happened to miss out on the show when it aired (or have simply been waiting to catch up on blu-ray), but Star Wars Rebels' final season really feels like a culmination of everything that came before, while still delivering on new and interesting stories on its own. The result is a final season that manages to bring some of the most engaging action and emotionally charged storytelling the show has ever seen.
It's great Star Wars and while I haven't always been the biggest fan of Star Wars Rebels (Season 2 nearly lost me), this final season feels like the most impactful addition to Star Wars canon/lore. If you have been holding out on the series it's time to dive in. Knowing just how well the final season pays off on the plot threads woven throughout the rest of the series, there's no reason to skip out on it.
The fourth season of the show returns to the smaller episode count from the first season, coming in with a total of 15 episodes. Personally speaking, I love the shorter episode count (not just for Rebels, but most shows in general). It cuts down on episodes that feel more like filler, and focuses on the meat of the story and moving the characters forward.
This season also did things differently by presenting itself more in a series of mini-arcs that ultimately tie together, with each two-three episodes feeling like their own complete tale. I loved the format when they aired on television, and it's still an effective strategy when it comes to the blu-ray release. It feels like there are built in breaks where you can watch a good chunk and come back to it the next day without missing out. This is different from the previous blu-ray releases, at least for me, where I felt the season benefited more from binge watching.
Sight and Sound
Over the years, Star Wars Rebels has continually improved it's animation and overall production values. This is highly evident in its final season, which presents some of its biggest/most dramatic set pieces. The blu-ray transfer means we're getting to see the show at the highest quality possible, and it does a great job of highlighting the series' improved visuals.
The image is crisp and clear, highlighting every piece of the action without having the blacks crush, or getting any sort of bleed through with the bright lasers flashing all over (something I've encountered with older Star Wars cartoons). The sound design is also handled well, with all the sound effects and music making it feel distinctly Star Wars. This shines through on the blu-ray transfer, putting you in the middle of the action with the sound, while still giving dialog proper priority.
All in all, the technical aspects of this Star Wars Rebels blu-ray is impressive and helps the engaging story look, and sound, the best it possibly can. It's an excellent way to rewatch the final season, giving it a more cinematic quality thanks to its wonderful HD transfer.
The Bonus Features
Star Wars Rebels Season 4 comes loaded with these special features on the disc:
Six Audio Commentaries - Featuring Dave Filoni (Executive Producer)
Ghosts of Legend - As paths come together, we explore the journey of the Ghost crew with some of the talented people who brought them to life.
Force of Rebellion - Executive Producer Dave Filoni shares insights into the Force and its importance across the Star Wars saga.
Kevin Kiner: The Rebel Symphony - Go behind the scenes with composer Kevin Kiner to discover what inspired some of the most iconic music in the series.
Rebels Recon - Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew in 8 entertaining and information-packed episode recaps!
The first couple Star Wars Rebels seasons on blu-ray were notoriously lackluster in terms of bonus features; that is to say they had none. Thankfully, the third season rectified this and gave fans plenty of extra content to enjoy. The final season is similarly loaded up, giving us six episodes with commentary directly from Dave Filoni and some featurettes that delve deeper into the characters and music.
These featurettes are neat because they're not specifically limited to the show's final season. Instead, now that we know the ending, they examine the impact throughout the entire series. The discussion with Dave Filoni on the Force is a fun inside look at how he feels about Star Wars in general, and how that impacts the storytelling all around.
Couple those with all of the Rebels Recon (the post show breakdown that aired on Star Wars' YouTube), and you have a hefty amount of interesting content for fans to check out. There's a lot here to see, with plenty of information given throughout. If you're a fan of the series, or just Star Wars in general, these special features bring the goods.
More than just some great episodes, the amount of bonus features brings together a great package with plenty of bang for your buck. Personally speaking, there's no reason I can think of to pass up on this release.