Star Wars Rebels Season 3, Episode 15: “Legacy of Mandalore” Recap


Sabine Wren, the Darksaber, and the Star Wars tradition of rocky family relationships take center stage this week in Star Wars Rebels “Legacy of Mandalore”.

As a big fan of Duchess Satine and the Mandalorian arcs in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this episode was a HUGE treat. Star Wars Rebels’ “Legacy of Mandalore” was an animated Star Wars feature in the true Filoni style — a good mixture of Jedi, worldbuilding, politics and foreshadowing.

At first, I thought it would be a Sabine character study, but I was pleasantly surprised that the background on Mandalorian clans and the Empire came to the forefront. After last week’s Knights of the Old Republic nod to the Mandalorian Wars against the Jedi, Rebels didn’t disappoint with this deeper exploration into Star Wars lore.

Warning: The Clone Wars and Rogue One spoilers ahead!

Still from Star Wars Rebels “The Legacy of Mandalore” promo. Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

This episode explored the Empire’s colonization and imperialist tactics through the lens of one familiar character.

Through Sabine and the Wren clan, we learn that the Empire isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty in intracultural affairs, pitting clans against each other. We also get a realistic view of how loyalty to imperialist regimes works in real life.

People ask “why did everyone join the Empire if they could fight back like the rebels?” Sometimes, they have your father, like Sabine. Sometimes, you do what you think is best to preserve your culture and society, like some of the clans did. As Sabine’s brother showed us, that doesn’t mean you have to like it.

Do this episode’s parallels to The Clone Wars signal Rebels’ turn toward more complexity?

Just for fun, let’s break down the parallels:

  • Two Jedi accompany someone on a diplomatic mission, inevitably something goes wrong
  • The younger Jedi with a penchant for the dark side is really not good at negotiations
  • The Mandalorians really don’t trust the Jedi and hate that they’re there in the first place
  • There’s a throne room with a big painting of the Mandalorian leader, right behind the boss lady herself (shoutout to my girl Satine)
  • The Jedi’s lightsabers are confiscated but they get them back anyway

Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series

We all know The Clone Wars did a fantastic job at complex political plots, but the jury’s still out if Rebels can do the same. This episode is a huge step in the right direction, proving Star Wars Rebels can be both action-packed and meaningful, without even deviating from our favorite protagonists.

“Legacy of Mandalore” also begged some interesting TCW-related questions. In Sabine’s last line, she implies someone else is the Mandalorian Chosen One, but who could that be? Could they be related to Duchess Satine, Mandalore’s beloved ruler in its more peaceful days? Star Wars loves bringing old characters back from the dead and putting secret children into play …

Nothing says Star Wars like problematic family dynamics.

Star Wars may be awesome, but it does repeat many tropes over and over. In the style of Luke and Anakin, Jyn and Galen, or even Jyn and Saw, Sabine had to confront her estranged parent.

Sabine Wren’s mother is a complex (and hopefully not short-lived) character. She also has an inexplicable accent different from her daughter, but that’s just me being nitpicky.

Still from Star Wars Rebels “The Legacy of Mandalore” promo. Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

She obviously does questionable things to protect her family and clan, but isn’t exactly a stellar mom. Some might have seen her shooting Gar Saxon as forgiveness and reconciliation. However, she only saved her daughter AFTER Sabine proved herself in combat. Maybe she truly values her customs over her family, as Kanan accused.

This episode also featured some prime Ghost Crew/Space Family content.

This is a nice surprise, because they usually shy away from the “Space Family” themes in the hopes of deterring us Kanan/Hera shippers (I love Space Mom and Space Dad). Ezra stops the bickering dynamic for a hot second to laud her abilities and defend her to her clan (cue the Ezra/Sabine shippers … ugh).

Kanan stands out as a true father figure to Sabine (despite her protests), and also is validated as a Jedi trainer. In previous episodes, we see him struggle with training Ezra because he barely finished training himself.

But when Sabine has Gar Saxon by the neck, a la Anakin v. Dooku, she automatically chooses the Jedi way. She may not be powerful in the Force, but Kanan taught her well anyway.

Put on your tinfoil hat, because here comes a thought (Steven Universe pun intended). Mandalorians and Jedi historically do not get along. Sabine’s been gearing up with anti-Jedi tech, and new training. Ezra’s been leaning towards the dark side for a long time now. What if there’s going to be a final showdown between Sabine with the Darksaber on the light side versus a fallen Ezra?

My ONLY gripe with this episode was Hera and Zeb’s exclusion.

Strategically, I think it would have worked in the rebels’ favor to send a strong rebel officer and decorated Lasat warrior. Mandalorians respect strength, and a showdown between Space Mom and Real Mom in Sabine’s favor would have rocked.

Mandalorians HATE Jedi, so sending them instead felt like the show’s choice to once again favor Force-sensitive screen time. I’ll forgive Filoni for this because we got to see Sabine with a Luke-esque green lightsaber and I almost LOST MY MIND.

Despite all these questions, one reigns heaviest on fans’ minds. Is Sabine off the show?

Sabine Wren chose to stay with clan Wren instead of her rebel family on the Ghost. Does this mean her loyalties have changed? Will her absence be short-lived? How will this change the Phoenix Squadron dynamic?

Hopefully, by assisting the Wrens and Mandalore, she’ll bring them into the Rebel Alliance. This will not only bring Sabine back into the picture, but also give us the deeper history of the Alliance the show has always promised. I just hope Sabine doesn’t get written out or turned into a featured character to move the Jedi plot along.

Star Wars has a history of only allowing one lead female, so Rebels was doing a great job with both Sabine and Hera. If Sabine becomes a featured or cameo character, she’ll follow an unfortunate tradition. Steela Gerrera dies for the cause much like Jyn Erso, and possibly Ahsoka, who never got to be the protagonist anyway. Leia held down the female fort alone in the OG trilogy, as does Rey in the new one and Padme in the prequels.

I can only hope we see more of Sabine, and of Mandalore. If not, the Ghost crew will be changed forever.

Next: Star Wars Rebels finally gets the Funko POP! treatment

Catch the next episode of Star Wars Rebels on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD, and don’t miss up-to-the-minute SWR coverage right here on Culturess.