It’s April 15th 2017.
We stand backstage watching the Star Wars Rebels panel on a monitor although it’s taking place 20 feet from us. We are all excited to hear Filoni and the cast talk about what we’ve seen…
but we’re even more excited to hear about what’s coming.
We watch, and wait.
We hear Filoni talk about family and what it means to this particular story. I personally take that sentiment to heart. He calls us onstage and we walk out, smiling and waving. He tells us how sorry he is that he keeps changing the costumes. We smile. He talks of how he’s seen Axel grow from a tiny Ezra into a… medium Ezra.
We thank him and take our seats excited for what comes next.
And that’s when he drops the bomb.
He tells us that Season 4 is the final season of Rebels.
My breath leaves me. It’s been suspected and whispered about but now that it’s real it’s just…
He explains that the choice is what’s right for the story and the path laid out is the one that he will finish.
We see the future, a Season 4 trailer that we now know will be the final chapter.
Then we are treated to an upcoming episode. It’s solid, gripping, and action packed.
I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead.
But for my family, Star Wars Rebels is more than just a TV show. More even, than just a piece of the Star Wars mythos that we cherish so dearly.
It’s a part of our family, and in some ways, we are a part of it.
It’s been there for my son as he has grown from a small boy to a… bigger boy.
It’s been there for my daughter as she has taken this character and built from it not only her costume, but a persona, a podcast, a part of her personality.
It’s been there for my wife and I, as we lead our younglings through these strange times and take our wins and losses, our teaching moments, and our lessons.
It’s been a journey for us and I’m sure many others who found themselves through this story.
As we stand here looking toward the end of this chapter, I can’t help but look back on this journey my family has been blessed to be on.
It’s February 20th 2014.
My family is at home and we’ve just met the pilot.
After meeting the street rat, the cowboy Jedi, and the explosive artist Liz has an idea.
We are this family.
Axel is this street rat, Liz is an artist, Victoria is our cranky droid…
…and Lizzy and I can probably pull off the rest.
Lizzy and I are less excited than the other half of our future team.
It’s February 27th 2014
I’m driving north with my wife. About to experience what I believe to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. We arrive at Lucasfilm.
We are Jedi. Aayla and Vos.
We watch the Lost Missions and Yoda’s Journey.
Afterwards Liz talks with Tracy about the future and Star Wars Rebels. They convince me that becoming this family is a good idea. I soon return home and start my work.
It’s March 2014
Time flies by as we work hard on new costumes for the family. I’m speaking with Mandalorian Mercs about helmets and armor, Liz buys a sewing machine, I’m reading threads on how to sew flight suits. I’m watching youtube tutorials on how to make foam armor. I have a goal and it’s coming up fast. pieces begin to take shape.
It’s April 19th 2014
For about 2 months I’ve worked on building this family. Liz has gone to a stylist to dye her hair. I’ve purchased my first Mandalorian helmet.
We arrive Saturday morning hoping to participate in the Rebel Legion Group photo.
As we take our places a voice calls out to me
I look over to see Vanessa Marshall waving.
Soon I’ll have photos of her with my family, we will have dinner and she will be amazing company.
The day is just starting. A few people snap our photos. We walk the floor. We meet people who will become great friends. Kevin, Jono, and Matt & AJ.
While grabbing some food Amy Ratcliffe snaps a photo of us in costume saying she’s about to interview Vanessa Marshall and she can’t wait to show her.
The photo will later show up in her write up on the Nerdist.
We run into Filoni, Plunkett, and the rest of the team. We take photos and they tell us to come to the panel.
We later find out our photos have been posted on the Star Wars twitter accounts.
Straight outta Lothal. #StarWarsRebels #WonderCon http://t.co/mDuELpfKXl—
Star Wars (@starwars) April 19, 2014
Axel’s face is priceless.
We arrive at the panel and get picked up by Mary Franklin. We sit in the front row and watch the panel we are so excited to see.
Filoni calls us onstage as the first Star Wars Rebels cosplayers. He says he hopes we like the show.
Vanessa Marshall @vanmarshall poses w/perhaps the first Hera cosplayer as the @starwars REBELS @WonderCon panel ends. http://t.co/sgjMklXQnO—
Entertainment Geekly (@EGeekly) April 19, 2014
He has no idea what this show will become to us.
This is the beginning and none of us have any idea how far we’ll go on this path.
We are asked if we’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con.
We say yes and quickly get to work improving our costumes.
It’s July 24th 2014
We’ve reworked and improved our costumes bit by bit. While we will continue to do so many more times we arrive in San Diego just in time to grab a seat at the Star Wars Rebels panel. This is the second panel we’ve ever attended.
We watch the panel and are super excited afterward to run to the theater nearby and attend the screening of Spark of Rebellion.
We arrive at the theater and see a long line. We head inside and get our wristbands. We see lots of our costuming friends and head into the theater. We sit in the front row by chopper.
About five months since we were introduced to these characters we finally watch Star Wars Rebels.
We love it.
We are amazed and taken in by the story. I get more excited about being Kanan Jarrus. At the con we also pick up A New Dawn which I won’t read right away since I’m seeing upgrades that need to be done to our costumes.
The con goes on and we meet more people who become great friends. The entire Del Rey team, Anne, and Alejandro to name a few.
It’s September 5th 2014
We are lucky enough to attend another screening at the Disney lot in Burbank. We dress in our gear and show up. We watch Spark of Rebellion and Rise of the Old Masters. Axel does his best Ezra impression and takes a few sandwiches.
“A kids gotta eat.”
It’s September 27th 2014
It’s the red carpet premiere. We show up with a few more improvements. The Kanan armor has been substantially improved. Lizzy has drawn pictures for the cast.
Axel nails every Ezra photo.
It’s October 3rd 2014
We have our first Star Wars Rebels night with friends.
We will have many Rebels nights as the show airs in the future. Sometimes lots of people come, sometimes just us, but the Rogue Rebels will always watch it together.
Liz gets her Sabine costume approved as an offical Rebel Legion member and a Mandalorian Merc.
My Kanan Jarrus costumed was approved with both Saber Guild and Rebel Legion
Along with the kids we continue to watch and dress like the Ghost crew. As the show goes on Liz and Lizzy begin to connect very strongly with each others characters. We hand Sabine down to Lizzy and begin working on a Hera for Liz.
The season 1 finale airs and our family screams as Fulcrum is revealed.
There are happy tears and we are breathless for whatever comes next.
But we don’t have too long to wait.
It’s April 16th 2015
The first day of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim has begun. After a season of Rebels, A New Dawn, and a few issues of Kanan: The Last Padawan, Kanan’s story and character has grown on me much more. I’m wearing a new costume version based on the novel and some Doug Wheatley art done for the John Jackson Miller story.
This is our first Celebration and it’s better than any con we’ve ever been to. We are very excited for the Star Wars Rebels Panel and The Siege of Lothal screening on Saturday! Just before that we debut our new Star Wars Rebels costumes at Athena Portillo’s honorary 501st Legion induction.
Finishing Liz’s Hera Just in time, Liz and Lizzy have now officially switched costumes.
Our family has found our places at last.
We have so much fun seeing everyone. Plunkett pulls me aside and looks at our costumes.
“You’re all going to have to make a few adjustments.”
It’s not until the next day that we’ll see what he means.
Saturday we attend the panel.
They drop a season 2 trailer on us.
The entire room EXPLODES when Rex is revealed.
Later that day we watch Siege of Lothal and see just what our Rebels are up against as they join that bigger fight.
My family is happy. Invested. Loving the new characters and being able to do their best to personify them.
And so am I.
We get to work on updates.
… and easiest.
Liz and Victoria are safe but Lizzy and Axel have got a bit of work to be done.
It will take a while and Axel will outgrow his season 1 belt but we’ll finally get his upgrades.
Lizzy will need a brand new bucket and a whole new armor set. But… eventually… she’ll have it.
It’s March 30th 2016
We have had many Rebels nights and we are ready to watch the season 2 finale at a special screening. For once we go a bit more casual. We wear everyday versions of our costumes. We see lots of familiar faces and have some great moments!
We are on pins and needles as we journey to Malachor with our heroes.
After we see the episodes we are speechless.
So much to process. My daughter looks at me her eyes glassing up. Wondering like the rest of us if Kanan will ever see again. We won’t learn for a while that Kanan will learn to see things much differently.
It’s July 13th 2016
The kids are visiting grandma and it is me alone who is the first to see the Star Wars Show and the first reveal of season 3.
I’m not sure how they will take it.
I text the kids.
I show them.
Lizzy seems excited.
Axel… less so.
Axel is a bit unhappy with Ezra’s new look. He says he quits. He calls Ezra a hobo.
I begin to worry about Kanan’s hair.
Three days later at Star Wars Celebration London, the season 3 trailer is dropped.
And we all see that there are changes in store for everyone.
It’s September 24th 2016
We are home and ready to watch Steps Into Shadow. We get our first taste of where our heroes are now.
And the consequences they are dealing with.
After seeing Ezra in action Axel is beginning to accept Ezra’s new look. We all begin our work on our new updates.
It’s March 17th 2017.
I’m driving north with my wife. This time, the kids are with us and we head to Lucasfilm as a family. This time we are able to share the experience with them. We arrive at our hotel and quickly get changed up. Our season 3 costumes are ready.
We arrive at Lucasfilm just as Twin Suns begins. We take our seats and watch. Then, Zero Hour. As we watch we cheer with everyone else. Afterwards we enjoy a meal with a few of our northern buddies. We take the next day to enjoy a bit of the city. Then road trip back home.
It’s April 12th 2017
We are flying to Florida to attend our second Star Wars Celebration. We have our costumes packed and we are so ready to see what Rebels has in store for us.
But that’s not all.
It’s Celebration, and we are excited to see all the friends that we have met through all of these experiences. Fans of our costumes, listeners of our podcasts, followers of our social media.
Even the first day we go casual with our new Rogue Rebels vests.
People stop us to say hi, or they ask about when we’re going to wear our Rebels costumes, or they can’t wait to see our new Season 3 costumes, or they want to snap a selfie.
The kids are so happy. Sabine and Ezra have grown so much and their personalities have so much of the positive influence and lessons they’ve learned from Star Wars Rebels.
So many memories. Things we will keep with us for the rest of our lives.
Star Wars Rebels is our Star Wars. It connects with each of us. Mother, father, son, and daughter. It’s brought not only unforgettable experiences into our life, but brought our little family together. It’s helped us find our place here. Find our place together.
I’m sad that it’s almost over but I’m ready for this last chapter.
And the Rogue Rebels will be right there for all of it.
We fight for each other. We fight for those who cannot.