I’m going to take a break today from my usual topics to talk about the ending of one of my favorite TV shows, Star Wars Rebels!
With Kevin Kiner’s Season 2 soundtrack playing in the background, let’s settle in to discuss this masterpiece of Dave Filoni.
My family watched the final three episodes last night, and my, what a finish! It lived up to all my expectations! –except in one thing…
The finale gave us a satisfying ending for each major player. It masterfully completed Ezra’s story arc – reminding us of why he’s fighting, what he’s lost and found, who he has become, and it even – bonus! – gave us his trials! (I honestly didn’t expect that) It brought all the themes together seamlessly – Sabine’s artwork, what they’re all fighting for, what makes it worthwhile to fight, the wolves and Purrgil, the owl painted on Sabine’s armor for good measure (which changes to the Purrgil later), and even the Jedi Temple! And it provided closure on all the existing villains – Price, Thrawn, and the Emperor himself. (Vader’s timeline was already tied up in A World Between Worlds when Ashoka acknowledges to herself and Ezra that she cannot save her master.)
So with all that amazing storytelling, what was the one thing that disappointed me? Dave Filoni and his team crafted a complex narrative with many twists and turns, set-ups and pay-offs that brought so much satisfaction to me as both a Star Wars fan and a lover of stories, but then they decided to throw something big into the very end of the show with absolutely no set-up — Jacen Syndulla.
Now granted, I am very excited about Kanan (or Caleb) and Hera having a child together. That’s pretty awesome, and opens up worlds of possibilities in future stories! But where was the set-up? As fans, we are left to imagine, futiley, where and when this child could have possibly come from? Kanan and Hera were not physically affectionate with each other until just before she left Lothal, leaving Kanan behind. Hera does not say “I love you” to Kanan until five minutes before he dies. (cue heartbreak – it was such an epic death!) Kanan knows, deep down, how Hera feels about him, but he’s not been able to get her to admit it. He’s surprised when she kisses him before taking off. Maybe that’s because she’s doing it in public and Kanan didn’t think she was comfortable with that, you say? Maybe, but now we’re grasping at straws. As an audience member, that shouldn’t be our job, and we haven’t had to do that for anything else in Filoni’s saga, so why for this?
I’m really not sure why there was no set-up for this sudden child. Maybe they wanted to keep the romantic tension tight for the audience, and weren’t considering the awkward timeline, or maybe the child was a last minute addition. Those are the only two options I can think of. The only other option left is to consider that Kanan and Hera had a casual relationship together, purely physical, in which they never talked about the fact that they loved each other. But first of all, that does not at all line up with their personalities, high moral code, and personal self-restraint, and secondly, we are once again grasping at straws and making up our own answers.
But since that is the only route left to us, I will present the answer I like to believe, even though it does not entirely line up with everything.
My Fan Fiction for Kanan and Hera’s Relationship
Sometime around the end of season 1, Kanaan and Hera go on a mission to a distant planet. While there, their feelings for each other escalate, and they wonder why they’ve never been together. Kanan brings it up and Hera pulls back, but then in the course of their mission, Kanan nearly dies and Hera realizes how much he means to her. They have a private wedding according to the laws of that planet and a single night together. But in the morning, Hera tells Kanan they can’t do this. His most important mission right now is training Ezra, and they can’t get in the way of that. “But when he doesn’t need you anymore,” she tells him. “I’ll be here.”
Years go by. Kanan is blinded and draws deep into himself. Hera feels she has lost him and throws herself into the rebellion, renewing her dedication to the cause at the expense of all else. After a long while, they both acknowledge in their hearts that they are further apart than ever romantically, even though they are so close personally. Kanan is a Jedi now, Ezra is able to handle himself, and even Sabine has found peace with her people. But Hera has only one goal in mind – defeat the Empire and protect her family. She is denying herself the strength she needs to see this through, and Kanan can see it. He decides to pursue his wife.
When they return to Lothal, he remembers they’re earlier relationship, what they felt for each other. He starts to get sappy, and to his joy, he finds that she responds. Slowly, she opens up to him, though he feels the walls that still closely ensnare her heart. One night, while on Lothal (after episode 4), she opens to him and they have a romantic evening, but once again, in the morning, she says they should return to camp and they do not discuss their future. Kanan knows she is all he wants and he’s tired of this rebellion that keeps them apart. Suddenly, he accosts her with his frustration.
“When are you going to feel you’ve done enough for this rebellion?” he asks her when she prepares to leave.
“I guess when the empire is overthrown and people are free to live their lives they way they want again.”
“And when that time comes, how do you want to live your life?”
“Hm, I don’t know. I guess I never really thought about it.”
He realizes she does not take their previous marriage into account. “So I guess you never really thought about us.”
“Kanan, we’ve talked about that before.”
“You know how I feel.”
They’re cut off, but later, Kanan brings up their conversation.
“Hera, about what happened before…I don’t want you to think…” He doesn’t want her to think he’s pressuring her. He knows they agreed to not talk about it for awhile – maybe ever. “I just…” It’s just that he’s miserable without her, and he thinks she’s miserable without him, and suddenly, she kisses him and it throws him off guard. He realizes she has let down her walls, and when she returns, they will have a real marriage.
So there you have it, a window in which Jacen came about and Hera and Kanan adhere to their high moral codes, although it’s a bit far-stretched. But it’s romantic and let’s us inside their heads.
May the Force be with you!