Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Star Wars Rebels reviews here.
“The Last Battle” was an excellent standalone Star Wars Rebels episode and a wonderful tribute to its predecessor, The Clone Wars. As a huge fan of that show, it’s no surprise that I ate it all up. But even without the nostalgia factor, “The Last Battle” was a strong and enjoyable installment.
The plot was quite a fun scenario. A group of remnant battle droids from the Clone Wars, convinced the war hadn’t ended, saw in Kanan, Ezra, and Rex—two Jedi and a clone—the opportunity to end the Clone Wars on their own terms. Holding Zeb captive, they challenged the trio to the titular “last battle”.
Naturally, the episode was full of fantastic battle scenes. Blaster bolts zapping, lightsabers cutting through droids, teaming up, splitting up, strategizing—it was all a lovely throwback to a beloved show. Plus, the controlled environment of the droids’ elaborate game made for great action beats and a fun capture-the-flag feel.
But it wasn’t the action that made this episode memorable. It was the character work. At its core, “The Last Battle” was about two veterans—Rex and the super tactical droid Kalani—who still hadn’t moved on from the war, coming to terms with not simply the end but the futility of the very war they were bred for.
This message has real-world resonance, of course, but it also works in-universe very well. Kalani is a droid, Rex is a clone. Both were literally programmed to fight a war that was nothing but a ruse. Even knowing that, with all the hindsight in the world, their first instincts were still to battle. It took an outsider—Ezra—to show them the big picture that allowed them to move on. “The Last Battle” was an excellent look at the psychology of droids, clones, and veterans in general.
The only complaint I have is that the ending was a little on the nose. “You ended the Clone Wars, Ezra!” That was a bit of a stretch but I was able to go along with it. This gripe is something to be expected in a kids’ show, so it’s not a major issue.
Finally, how cool was it seeing battle droids fighting stormtroopers? “Eras” mean nothing anymore, Star Wars is one continuous story and I absolutely love it.
“ROGER-ROGER.” “Wait, who’s Roger?” Best line of the series!