Star Wars RebelsStarring: Taylor Gray, Freddie Prince Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Eckstein, James Earl Jones, Sam Witwer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matt Latner, Keone Young, Stephen Stanton, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, Jason Isaacs, Sam Witwer, Corey Burton
Written By: Various
Directed By: Various
Distributor: Lucasfilm Ltd. & Disney XD
Original Year of Release: 2015 to 2016
Total Episodes: 22

If you currently find yourself in a Star Wars drought, Star Wars Rebels Season 2 is here to save the day. Disney XD and Lucasfilm Ltd. have now released the full second season on 3 Blu-rays that continues your adventure in that galaxy, far far away. On top of that, there is an exclusive look at what it took to bring the confrontation between Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano story to the series. Lucasfilm has also included all the “Rebel Recons” (their post episode highlight show) for your viewing pleasure. This is a great look at each episode and will shed the light on how in-depth the creators of Rebels have gone to tie it to the Star Wars Cannon. Below you will find a brief breakdown of each episode of the series. I tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. The third season of Star Wars Rebels begins September 24th. May the Force be with you.

1. & 2. Siege of Lothal

Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal

Let us begin with the most obvious note first. James Earl Jones is and forever will be Darth Vader.  When Vader returned to the small screen for the special ABC screening of Star Wars Rebels: Spark of the Rebellion, it might have been considered a gimmick, a way to bring in old fans to a new property. It was beyond awesome to have James Earl Jones back in the driver seat even for 5 minutes. With the repercussions of the first season finale of Star Wars Rebels, Lord Vader is back to purge Lothal of our band of heroes. Only, this isn’t a gimmick, just the natural order of things.

This is a two-part episode of Star Wars Rebels and completely sets the tone for the universe in which they are living. The first season was full of hope and established that things were dark enough to get people to fight back. When Ezra (Taylor Gray) comes back to Lothal, he immediately remarks on how things are worse than ever and it is the Rebels’ fault.

As dark as “The Siege of Lothal” is, there were still a few great moments of humor. There is a Jedi mind trick that doesn’t go so well for Ezra, Zeb (Steve Blum) acknowledges his personal body odor, and we even get the return Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). If you are looking for the Clone Troopers that were teased in the season 2 trailer, you will be disappointed. Seeing Vader fight, however, for the first time in over thirty years, more than makes up for it.

3. The Lost Commanders

Star Wars Rebels: The Lost Commanders

“The Lost Commanders” reveals what happened to three of our favorite clones, Captain Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). Captain Rex states that his fighting days are over and that he and the others will provide several locations at which the Rebels may use to establish a base. Before that can happen, the Ghost crew must help them out in return. What do they want? To put Zeb on a hook and go fishing for dinner. That’s all. This series takes place during a dark time in the Star Wars saga. This episode is actually a lot lighter than expected and reveals how these clones can work with our Rebels. As the seeds of friendship are sown, the Empire arrives.

4. Relics of the Old Republic

Star Wars Rebels

Faith and trust were key elements in this episode. Outside of Ezra finding those attributes within himself, Kanan (Freddie Prince Jr.) had to put his trust in Captain Rex. He realizes that his problems with clones weren’t the issue here. He couldn’t let these men die in a hopeless battle. Yet, if you were a fan of the clone troopers, especially Captain Rex, did you think he wasn’t going to come out on top? No, me neither. It was satisfying to see Kanan’s distaste for the clones grow into a respect and trust (for these three, at least). We’ve haven’t had much character development this season (it has only been 3 episodes), but this is a great small step in Kanan trusting those that can help his cause. Remember, even Han Solo (Harrison Ford) had to put his trust and faith into something larger and be more than who he was.

5. Always Two There Are

Star Wars Rebels

The Star Wars mythology has always had dark side users be a menacing threat. Never has there been a novice of the dark side. The Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) is our first look at two eager to please dark side apprentices. I shall not call them Sith, as they are far from it. The rule states, always two there are, a master and an apprentice, no more, no less. As this story unfolds we may think that Zeb, Chopper, Sabine (Tiya Sircar), and Ezra are outmatched, but their advantage lays in their ability to work together. These Inquisitors are out for personal glory. One is interested in the “kill”. The other is out for the bigger prize, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein).

6. Brothers of the Broken Horn

Star Wars Rebels

Bill Wolkoff’s script here id both fun and clever. A great mix for any cartoon series that has to appeal to an older fan base and young one too. The underlined story is, does Ezra really want to be Jedi? Now that he is on his own, has he learned anything about the universe and his place in it? When all seems lost, Ezra has to reach deep within himself to save the day. Granted there is some help from Chopper, who took on more goons than R2-D2 ever did, with blasters blazing. Which was great. Ezra’s own story is one about choices. There are so many paths for him to take and he had to learn which one was the right one for him. “Brothers of the Broken Horn” is Ezra first solo step into that larger world.

7. Wings of the Master
Star Wars Rebels
The creative minds behind the series once again paid tribute Ralph McQuarrie with the naming of the engineer, Quarrie (Corey Burton). There were two other great homages in “Wings of the Master”. Burton, a long time Star Wars voice actor, made his first Star Wars Rebels appearance. Burton was the original voice of Luke Skywalker in the 1979 Star Wars Read Long 45 Record released by Disney. It was a thrill to hear his voice now added to this series. The other great homage came from Star Wars Rebels composer Kevin Kiner. Outside of his incredible John Williams’ style of music, “Wings of the Master” had key notes that reminded me of James Horner’s Rocketeer score. More than appropriate music for Hera (Vanessa Marshall) as she piloted the B-Wing on its maiden voyage.

8. Blood Sisters
Star Wars Rebels

As it has been with the last few episodes of Star Wars Rebels, we are learning more about our lead characters. Last week, we got better insight into Hera The Ghost’s captain. This week, fan favorite, Sabine, has the spotlight shined on her. This episode also introduces a new Mandalorian character, Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres), who shares some history with Sabine.

9. Stealth Strike

Star Wars Rebels: Stealth Strike

This is the episode that fans of Captain Rex have been waiting for. Since the character has joined the series, we have seen both Rex and Kanan at each other’s throats over how to train Ezra and fight the Empire. This episode starts off no differently. We see the two don Stormtrooper uniforms and already the jabs the start flying between the two characters. We also see that Rex is the perfect match for deceiving the Empire, as he helped write many of their procedures. Clone Wars fans take note, Commander Cody gets a mention in this episode.

Again, Dave Filoni and his team nail the elements for what a  Star Wars story is supposed to have. Along the way, we see Ezra earn the respect of one of his commanders. We see the old and the new guard bump heads on what the true priority of their mission is. Finally, we see one character step forward to do what’s right for someone he calls a friend. This is a great series and worthy of the title, Star Wars.

10. Future of the Force

Star Wars Rebels
“Future of the Force” answers a question we had already figured out. Yes, the Empire is hunting down the Jedi, their offspring, and force sensitive children. This allows us to further understand why Obi-Wan Kenobi remained behind on Tatooine, to protect Luke Skywalker. This also explains why all the Jedi are extinct by the time we see the first Death Star in Episode IV. The Empire did hunt them to extinction.

11. A Princess in Lothal

Star Wars Rebels
Supervising Director Dave Filoni tapped another original Star Wars character for their Star Wars Rebels debut. This was no small feat as it had to feel real and not just be a marketing stunt. Did you love seeing General Leia Organa in The Force Awakens? Great! Now watch her in this tale of her early days fighting the Empire. In no way did it feel like a stunt, in fact, it was the perfect story on keeping up appearances.

This episode only moves the overall story of Star Wars Rebels along. This week they were resupplied, gained a new ally, and moved on to the next mission. I know that not every episode can be a character building one, I just wish that the show was an hour long so that we could spend more time with our heroes.

12. The Protector of Concord Dawn
Fenn Rau - Star Wars Rebels
This episode starts a new story arch for the Mandalorians and Sabine in Season 2. First and foremost, we learn that Sabine has ties to Death Watch and House Vizsla. If you didn’t watch The Clone Wars, this is a big deal as Death Watch took over Mandalore and, at one point, was run by Darth Maul. There is an interesting moment that occurs here in “The Protector of Concord Dawn”. For the first time, we really see  is Kanan acts more like a Jedi than ever before. This happens when one of his crew members gets injured at the hands of a Mandalorian Fenn Rau (Kevin Mckidd). This “Cowboy Jedi” is schooled in the ways of the Force, but we have seen hints of a deeper relationship with this one crew member of the Ghost. His unemotional reaction seems out of place here.

The story of Fenn Rau, hopefully, is far from over. My only concern is that in the final nine episodes for this season, are we going to have time for a whole new complicated character like Fenn Rau and the Mandalorians? The mid-season trailer showed us that Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano are going to meet again (or for the first time?). It won’t be the two bumping into each other, they will need to establish where both of those two characters are now and what they once meant to each other.

13. Legends of the Lasat

Star Wars Rebels
“Legends of the Lasat” features something we rarely see in the Star Wars universe, venturing into “wild space”. Dave Filoni and his team revealed to us an imploded star, which created some spectacular visuals. The star was also a first for Star Wars. Yet at that very same moment, the Star Wars Rebels creative team took it all back to what Lucas did in A New Hope. Zeb has to have faith in himself and what he believes in to make a difference. Again, it wasn’t about technology, but having faith in one’s self. Yes, Star Wars is in the right hands.

14. The Call

Star Wars Rebels
This was a shorter episode for Star Wars Rebels, and not much for the overall story of the show, but was a highlight for Ezra. Ezra uses all that Kanan had taught him about making a connection in a way that was simple and natural, and it was refreshing not to hear Kanan say to do it. Ezra just did it. We had seen him use this ability before, with dark ramifications. Now we witnessed him using it for the light side. It showed real growth in the character. Yet, as we watched the Rebels follow the Purgill into deep space, I can only wonder how long until Vader returns.

15. Homecoming
Star Wars Rebels
The lesson of “Homecoming” was good for the kids. We are stronger when we work together, something both Hera and her father, Cham (Robin Atkin Downes), have to come to terms with, as they realized they are both fighting for the same thing. The power of family is also too strong to ignore. Thanks for pointing that out, Ezra. The little snippet of history on Chopper was also much appreciated. Seeing a Jedi get nervous about meeting his “friend’s” father was a nice little bit of humor for the episode. All in all, there was some fine storytelling here.

16. The Honorable Ones

Star Wars Rebels
This episode was nothing short of a home run for Star Wars Rebels. Alright, I am showing you my hand, but this was a perfect episode for the series. We had a mystery with ties to the Star Wars films. We received a lot of backstory on two major players for the series, Zeb and Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo). What really made this episode great was that one of these two characters had a profound moment a the end.

17. Shroud of Darkness

Star Wars Rebels
In this episode, fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and now Star Wars Rebels finally get some backstory answers, at least the start of them. Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) learns the truth that Darth Vader is her former master, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter).

“Shroud of Darkness” is clearly a setup for the final 4 episodes. It felt very much like a prelude to a four act story. We have the problems of the Rebels and finding a secure location. A problem that we know will be resolved. After all, the Rebellion does, in five years time, destroy the Death Star. What we don’t know is the fate of Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra. Here we have three Jedi whose fate is clearly blowing in the wind. Whatever their outcome, the minds behind this series will not let us down.

18. The Forgotten Droid
Star Wars, Star Wars Rebels: The Forgotten Droid
What we have in “Forgotten Droid” is the bonding of two old war veterans who were once better respected. They bond over their service time and share stories of their former masters. When the last Imperial crew member attempts to take the ship back, we learn where AP-5’s (Stephen Stanton) loyalties really stand. The power of this story lies in the subtle nuances that the animators and actors give these two characters. I expected a good episode, but what I was given a heartfelt story of a droid that needed to feel part of something again.

Fear not, parents, the lessons for the kids are obvious. For the fanboys, you’ll love the relationship developed here between Chopper and AP-5. You’ll also relish in the fact that Ketsu Onyo returns this week as a member of the Rebel fleet. This was not the episode I wanted to see after what happened to the Jedi, but great nonetheless.

19. The Mystery of Chopper Base
Star Wars Rebels
“The Mystery of Chopper Base” also allows us to see more of the personal relationship between Kanan and Hera. Finally, we get to see a moment where they embrace, not out of friendship, but love. This is an underdeveloped part of Star Wars Rebels. I know that there is a novel, “A New Dawn” by John Jackson Miller, that extrapolates more on their relationship and I think that it is high time I read it. I know that novel is considered cannon, but I was just hoping to see more of what we saw tonight for these two characters in the series.

Outside of, perhaps, reading too deeply into the show, the episode is a “bug hunt” to quote another character from another great sci-fi series. Genuinely creepy, but not too scary for kids, “The Mystery of Chopper Base” allows our heroes to find a new home and, if anything, have a great defense against any Imperial spies.

20. & 21. Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 1 & 2
Darth Maul
This episode of Star Wars Rebels was, in actuality, two episodes split to tell the story of “Twilight of the Apprentice”. It’s a clever title because you don’t exactly know which apprentice it is referring to. Is it Maul (Sam Witwer), Ezra, or perhaps Ahsoka? This brings us to the meeting of Darth Vader and his former padawan Ahsoka Tano. We are given nothing short of epic in their confrontation. Kudos to Ashley Eckstein for invoking everything that her character feels for her former master after Vader reveals that he has destroyed Anakin Skywalker. Our look into Vader’s/ Anakin’s twisted soul was also much appreciated by this fan of Star Wars.

This is The Empire Strikes Back episode of Star Wars Rebels. Fitting, as it is the season finale and we have so many unanswered questions. How will Kanan endure after what has transpired between him and Maul? Ahsoka’s fate is unknown, we see a glimpse of her, but nothing reveals what happened.That final look from Ezra, leaves us wondering: has he started down the dark path? 

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 is out August 30th on Blu-ray and DVD.

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 begins September 24th on Disney XD.


[review]

Our Score

By Robert Trate

In my career as a writer, I have made Doctor Who giggle, asked Ahsoka Tano what underwear she was wearing, and spoke with a Raptor from Jurassic Park.

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