Kids need to see important messages on a variety of subjects, but seeing familial bonds, difficult choices being made, and life and death are at the forefront of this season. It might not always be easy to watch when characters don’t survive, but the message of moving on might just hold value for a younger audience who have already - or have yet to experience - such real-world trauma.
If you have not watched Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, please consider this your spoiler warning.
For all of the lessons my wife and I try to teach our kids, it’s also important for both of my kids to pick up some of these things from other sources: other family members, friends, and characters on TV and film they might connect with. Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 is the type of show where you connect with its characters. Not only does this diverse group aboard the Ghost take on the mighty Empire, but they depend on each other and help one another when it matters most. There’s hope when others are there to help you; there’s desperation and determination when you don’t want to let those same people down.
This season follows distinct paths with Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger: the master and the apprentice. Both have learned to believe in doing what’s right, while also acknowledging that understanding everything doesn’t always mean it’s a requirement for achieving those goals. Despite their own fears, facing what they might leave behind when sacrifice might be necessary, this type of message highlights how sometimes life will throw many obstacles our way, but it’s how we choose to stand up to those challenges that determine who we are and what’s most important.
Fighting for something you believe in, and doing what’s necessary to protect those you love, hits close to home these days. No, I’m not a Jedi fighting a galactic Empire bent on bending civilizations to its will. I’m a father who has had to make tough decisions on how to best protect my kids. Kanan, a surrogate father-figure for Ezra, had to make such a decision during the course of this season. As unlikely as it might seem to draw parallels from Kanan protecting the crew of the Ghost against a massive explosion that would’ve killed everyone, it felt like I was watching a parent protect his family. In our own world, where things haven’t always felt hopeful, moments in this series prove fictional characters are valuable and immeasurable bonds with them are possible.
DEVASTATING LOSS DOES NOT DETER MOVING FORWARD
As someone who struggles in dealing with anything related to death, this season was a monumental task. Episode 10, “Jedi Night,” is the most emotionally stirring piece of Star Wars I have ever experienced. Even during a rewatch, knowing what was about to happen, did not prevent me from feeling immense despair at the loss of such a beloved character. The value in these tough moments, although they are brutal for me, is that I hope my own kids will see the significance of watching people “fight the good fight,” and that message can be meaningful for anything.
As my kids get older, I want them to find a sense of determination for things that they love. Yes, I hope they never find themselves in a position where they’ll have to use the Force to push a ship away from the blast of a mighty explosion leaving them defenseless. But I want them to know there are things in life where feelings for something or someone is a possibility; where there’s a sense that they’d move heaven and earth to succeed. This season, and this series as a whole, focuses on a cast of characters who depend on each other in some way – and at some point, they become inseparable to each other. They need each other and they don’t want to be anywhere else. Those are bonds I want my kids to see and understand what life might be one day when they branch off on their own.
Although I don’t want them to experience great loss and the pain associated with it, I want them to know it is possible to move on after such tragedies. Even though I’ve never been great at dealing with loss, or my emotions for that matter, I want them to see others moving forward even when it might seem impossible at the time. That’s where fictional worlds, especially Star Wars Rebels :Season 4, prove the significance of telling meaningful stories where bonds of friendship, life and death, and believing in the choices you make can be some of the most powerfully impactful messages to tell.
FINDING “A GOOD FEELING” IN GREAT TELEVISION
Despite the sorrow from great losses in the show, there is always hope. Above all else, hope is monumental to the reasoning behind why #StoriesMatter. Yes, the rebels face a seemingly hopeless battle throughout, in television and film, but the price they pay over and over again carries weight. They fight for what’s right, and at the end of the day, seeing those kinds of stories play out on Star Wars Rebels is some of the best storytelling out there.
I love fictional worlds, and my kids seem to enjoy them, as well. They haven’t found their path to much of Star Wars yet, but these are the stories I want them to experience. As Dave Filoni recently shared in a behind-the-scenes clip, there’s so much more to storytelling than we imagine. Experiencing these stories in our youth translate to feeling something profound as an adult:
“You see your crew just staring at Mark, and you realize they're remembering what it meant to them. And you realize you've been a part of constructing something that's giving this experience to people. This good feeling, which fundamentally Star Wars should deliver a good feeling, an uplifting feeling.”
I want my kids to have this “good feeling, an uplifting feeling,” and experiencing Star Wars Rebels provides just that. It’s an incredible achievement in storytelling, and the love of these characters doesn’t go away, even in loss. That’s what I hope for my own kids to have, to feel such love of characters one day.
Do you love Star Wars Rebels? How did you feel about Season 4? Do you hope to see any of these characters again in a future series? Share your thoughts in the comments below or head over to Facebook or Twitter to start a conversation. If you like this article, don’t forget to like and share this post with all of your geeky friends.
Until next time, friends, happy parenting and happy geeking.