Star Wars Rebels – Season One Review

I was really hoping to have a report on how the virgin Star Wars viewing went last week…but turns out my friend’s husband decided to get appendicitis that day so they were in the hospital and had to reschedule.  Really?  Lame excuse.

So instead I’m here to talk about the first season of Star Wars Rebels, my thoughts, what I liked and disliked.

*Thar be spoilers ahead!*

You can read my initial reactions on the first episode here.

Overall, I really liked Rebels, and I definitely liked it a lot more than I liked The Clone Wars when I first started watching it.  You guys have heard me mention many times that I actually was furious at TCW when they began the show (Anakin has a padawan?  What??  What are all these random storylines thrown in??).  I didn’t want there to be the recurring, older characters.  I wanted a fresh start.  Though I grew to love and enjoy TCW, we definitely had a rocky start to our relationship.

This was not the case with Rebels.  I loved these characters that were not in the movies and I loved the settings.  It was Hera and chopperdifferent from TCW in that the animation was softer, not as angular or harsh.  For the most part, I liked the animation style.  I thought the ships were done excellently, though I believe the people didn’t flow as well as I would have liked.  Most of the time they were good, but sometimes they seemed a little jerky.

The throwbacks in Rebels were also fun to watch.  I loved that they pulled from Ralph McQuarrie, especially for Lothal, and his touch was a constant, even with Zeb and Chopper.  The lightsaber fight in the last episode screamed of TPM (it was nice to see a Prequel nod) and characters like Lando were thrown in to remind us of the OT.

The storyline was also pretty good.  Out of the entire season, there was only one episode I really disliked and that was “Droids in Distress”.  Clearly it was an episode just to throw a bone to the fans who wanted to see characters they knew (Artoo and Threepio).  I didn’t like “Path of the Jedi” (I’m not a fan of Yoda speaking to people when he’s off on some far off swampy planet) or “Idiot’s Array” that much either, but I thought they had nuggets of character development that I appreciated.

My favorite episodes were:

  • “Breaking Ranks” – Ezra joins the Empire temporarily and befriends Zare Leonis, who later becomes a spy for thestar wars rebels zare leonis band of Rebels. I still think Zare is also Finn, but maybe I should drop that point for now.
  • “Empire Day” – I loved the political undercurrents in this, as well as finding out a lot about Ezra’s family. It gave us some insight into who he is and why he is so against the Empire.  It kind of put a purpose to his mischief, as opposed to someone who just caused trouble for the hell of it.
  • “Call to Action” through “Fire Across the Galaxy” – I understand why they can’t do episode arcs that much in the beginning of the season. First, they need to find out if they are going to get renewed.  No point in investing in characters and storylines if it gets canceled.  Second, you need to pull the viewer in and the easiest way to do that is with one-and-done episodes.  Everything is somewhat resolved by the end of the episode, but there are hints to a larger storyline.  But this episode arc was really great.  The Empire (including a steady appearance of Grand Moff Tarkin – whom I actually didn’t mind showing up at all) is getting uneasy with all the Rebels and Tarkin is upset that Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor have not been able to capture them yet.  By the end of the first episode, Kanan is captured, and the next two episodes show how the crew of Ghost come together to rescue him.  What I liked is not that it was a simple, “Yes, let’s go get him!” but there were doubts, especially from Hera.  She had to decide between the mission and Kanan.  It took some convincing from the rest of the crew (and disobeying her orders), including Chopper, to finally make her see that Kanan was worth going after.  At the end of the final episode in Season One, we get to find out who “Fulcrum” is … and it’s Ahoska!  I did a little squeal, I admit it.  AHSOKA HAS RETURNED!
ahsoka star wars rebels

Ashley Eckstein’s voice too!

 

So now that Ahsoka is back in the storyline and canon, I guess it brings up a lot of interesting questions.  Does she know Vader is Anakin, her former Jedi Master?  Does she know Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive?  Or is she acting on her own in this rebellion?  She has connections to Bail Organa, and Organa knows that Yoda and Obi-Wan are alive.  Do you think Ahsoka just assumes Anakin died in the Jedi Purge?

inquisitorMy favorite character was the Inquisitor and I loved him so much.  I thought he was actually kind of brilliant, though he actually created more questions for me than anything else.  Maybe I just liked Jason Isaacs voice (ahhh so hot).  But I understood why he had to die.  Grand Moff Tarkin made it quite clear that he would not suffer failure…so if Kanan got away (which he did), the Inquisitor would not have been a welcome guest at Vader and the Emperor’s dinner party.  But now they bring in Vader…this could be interesting.  If they keep Vader in Season 2 as a steady character, I hope they stay true to his character.  Don’t take away from his scariness, add to it.  Don’t be afraid of making him as ruthless as he seems to be in ANH.  Don’t show any sympathetic gestures from him.

I think Rebels has potential.  I’m interested to see if there are any tie-ins to The Force Awakens and to see how they link this back to ANH.  Already they have Tarkin playing a somewhat major role and Vader seems to be stepping into the picture as well.  I want to see more interesting episode arcs and less silly standalone episodes.  Perhaps I’m asking for too much, too soon, but I think they’ve been doing a good job, but I want to see it become great, like TCW did.

What were your thoughts on Season One of Rebels?  Did you like it?  Dislike it?  Will you watch Season two?

For some great reading on what Dave Filoni says about Season One, check out this article.

Let’s Take a Look at Star Wars Rebels

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Rebels has kicked off and…overall, I liked it.  Last week we had the one-hour premiere with a movie on the Disney Channel.  This week the season officially got underway with its first episode on Monday night.

I loved the movie.  I thought it was exactly what Star Wars should be and how they should approach the series.  They stayed away from any characters we knew and the only glimpse we got of a familiar character was a hologram recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The recording was the one he released in ROTS, warning all Jedi to stay away from the temple and that the Jedi are no longer safe.

Other than that – we were introduced to a completely new band of characters.  We have Hera the Twi’lek pilot who commands their ship Ghost, Kanan the undercover Jedi, Zeb is the Lasat who is really the tough guy of the operation (and his species is based on original concept drawings of Chewbacca!), Sabine the Mandolorian who is kind of a pyro and graffiti artist, and finally we have a newcomer named Ezra.  A kid of the streets who gets pulled into this little clan and decides to stay to do some Jedi training with Kanan.  Oh, and we can’t forget Chopper: the little astromech droid who helps run the ship.  They did a great job on making him seem pretty different from Artoo, a fear I had.

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The opposition to this team on a larger scale is, obviously, the Empire.  Specifically, at this point we know of two beings: Agent Kallus, an official of the Imperial Security Bureau and The Inquisitor, a Pau’an male who hunts down remaining Jedi.  We have not seen much of him yet – only saw him at the end of the movie when Kallus reported that he had found a Jedi (Kanan).

What I liked most about the movie is that we were introduced to new areas, new people, new ships and my imagination was opened to a part of Star Wars I didn’t know, but there was “something familiar about this place”.  Ralph McQuarrie’s touch was extremely obvious and some of the landscape shots were ripped right off of what he had done for the OT.  Not saying that’s bad, in fact, it gave us the OT feel.

I was most surprised at the time period of Rebels.  Apparently it takes place 5 years BBY.  I completely missed this somehow.  That means that Luke and Leia are 14 and the Jedi have been written off the galaxy for 14 years.  What made me question this time period is that the need to have an Inquisitor means that there are still quite a few Jedi throughout the galaxy.

I don’t like that.  Jedi shouldn’t be that prevalent still, right?  Han Solo was really skeptical of the Force and Luke barely knew anything about Jedi.  If Luke and Leia are 14 at this point, and Han would be older, wouldn’t it mean that the knowledge of Jedi would be a little more common?

Also, they are making this group of misfits look like the beginning of the Rebellion.  The Rebellion should have been pretty much established by this point in the game, even if they are not completely rebellious (pun intended ha!) yet.  The crew on Ghost are smart; I think they would have heard about the Rebellion through their travels across the galaxy and at this point either joined them or aided them in some way.

Which brings me to the first episode of the TV series.  After coming off of a successful premiere movie, I cringed and got angry when I saw C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in the first official episode.  UGH.  Really?? I know that other people have no problems with this but I do.  I was hoping that Rebels would stay away from that trap of bringing in familiar characters to satisfy all audiences.

Seeing Threepio and Artoo made the galaxy seem smaller than it actually is.  Do you really think they would run into these two droids?  Really?artoo threepio star wars rebels  It was completely fine in TCW, because they had every single PT character running around that why not bring in everyone we know?  In fact, I got used to that in TCW.  But Rebels clearly seems to be reminding us that this is a new band of characters on new planets and in new situations.  The cherry on the cake was when they drop off the droids at, of all ships, the Tantive IV with Bail Organa.  (bangs head against wall)  I was expecting a teenage Leia to just stroll in and talk with her father.  Thankfully that did not happen and I was spared, but if we are going to introduce Organa this early in the series, maybe I should just brace myself and expect it to happen at some point.

The only interesting thing about the situation was that Artoo had recorded some of the conversations on Ghost and had brought it back to Organa who noted that they should keep an eye on them.  I still think they could have used other droids and a different character for this, but maybe by the time the series ends it will tie back to bringing the crew of Ghost into the Rebellion.  And, by the way, shouldn’t the droids be pushed off onto Captain Antilles at some point?  They’ve really been with Organa for 14 years?

bail organa rebels

Other than my major grievance with the droids, Tantive IV, and Organa – I think the first episode was pretty cool.  They stuck it to the Empire by stealing their prized weapons that were supposed to be illegal throughout the galaxy, and then later destroying them.  It spoke to an interesting larger lesson: the Empire can do what they want, regardless if weapons are illegal or not.  In the hands of the Empire, those laws are conveniently forgotten if it will further their cause.

Ezra showed us some of his Force powers…he has more than I thought.  But they came into action when he was angry and scared.  Not very Jedi-like, eh?  So Kanan will have to curb that and teach him how to use the Force in a calmer state.  Or will Kanan change the rules a bit and not follow the strict Jedi Code?  Speaking of Kanan…I couldn’t really figure out how old he was.  I was guessing late 20s or early 30’s.  Oh – nevermind, Wookiepedia says he’s 28 and was 14 when Order 66 happened.

Lastly, I wanted to touch briefly upon the tone and style of the series.  I enjoyed the style and the banter between the characters, but my good friend Mr. Reticent pointed out that it was a lot lighter than TCW.  Not only with the situations and how they talked with each other, but also the animation style.  When you contrast the animation, there is a big difference.  TCW was more angular, sharp and it felt like watching a video game sometimes.  Rebels is smooth, almost more “cartoony”, which makes sense considering that it comes from Disney.  The tone of the episodes seemed to play more for a Disney crowd as well…I’m not sure if any of you guys watch The Disney Channel/Disney X D or Cartoon Network – but they are two very different styles and draw in two different crowds.  Both focus more on drawing in boys than girls, but CN is a lot cruder in my opinion.  I find CN to grate on me often and I watch the shows with disbelief that kids watch that channel as it can feel gritty.  Disney X D still seems unfathomable to me at times, but at least I can somewhat relate and understand why a boy would watch a show on the channel.  X D plays it a little safer and perhaps that’s why Rebels also seems to reflect that. (apparently I can’t write X.D. without WP changing it to a gigantic smiley face)

I find it hard to decide whether or not I will like the series based on what I’ve seen.  I loved the movie, giving it an 8.5/10, but felt the first TV show would come in at a 6/10.

 

Okay, I’m almost done, I swear.  Two side notes!

  1. Greg Weisman has left Rebels. I am most sad about this as he was the one person I was really pumped to have part of the show and thought would lead it in a smart, good direction.  But why did he leave?  I can’t find anything online so if anyone has information on this, please let me know to satiate my curiosity.
  2. Kiri Hart. I can’t go further without mentioning her.  You guys know how often I have talked about my unusual name and how I’ve never met anyone else with my name.  Well, guess what?  She is the VP of development at LFL and oversees a lot of the Star Wars content produced by Disney…including Rebels.  Look for her name at the end credits of Rebels.  SUPER WEIRD.  SUPER, SUPER WEIRD.  But I’m loving it.  I would not wish anyone else to have my name but someone at LFL.  It’s a sign.  I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.

Geek Out! Star Wars Rebels Edition

I haven’t given a Geek Out! in a while, so I thought I’d devote this one entirely to Star Wars Rebels, since more details have been coming out here and there in the past few months.

I’m excited for Star Wars Rebels, the new TV show coming out this fall.  After being so hesitant and angry with The Clone Wars when it was released, and then enjoying it once I actually started watching it, I won’t be making the same mistake with Star Wars Rebels.  I mean, this is a time period in the Star Wars that I’ve always wanted to know about.  Clone Wars, not so much, but the formation of the Rebellion?  Totally!  I have an Alliance Starbird tattoo for a reason…

Before the Prequels were even released, I wanted to know how the Empire had begun, when the Jedi disappeared, and about Luke and Leia’s childhood.  Will we know all of that?  Probably not.  Luke and Leia’s childhood would be pushing it, and I’m not sure if I even want to know about that. I would like there to be still SOME mystery about Star Wars, even with all these new movies and new TV show.

But what do we actually know about this show?  Since Disney has acquired Lucasfilm, things have been very hush hush around Star Wars.  I’m perfectly okay with that, as I love being spoiler-free and having surprises, but they have been a little more willing to let details leak regarding Rebels.

So what do we know?

Timeline

  • The series begins about 4-5 BBY, fourteen years into the reign of the Galactic Empire.  So that means Luke and Leia are around 14 years old.

Ships

  1. There is a ship called Ghost.  Ghost is actually shaped a little like the Millenium Falcon with that circular-ish shape.  Lego sets to be revealed this year say “Pilot The Ghost with 2 cockpits, 360-degree rotating gun turret, spring-loaded shooters, detachable escape pods, Holocron and more.”
  2. There is a ship named Phantom.  According to Lego sets, Phantom is known as an attack shuttle with an “opening cockpit, 2-way spring-loaded shooter, rear cargo compartment and more.” They actually say “detachable cockpit” later in the description so that’s interesting.  A cockpit that is like an escape pod almost?  But how do you get the cockpit back to the ship?
Ghost

Ghost

Characters

  1. The Inquisitor.  Ladies and Gentleman, we have a villain!  Sounds like this guy was hired by Darth Vader to finish the dirty work he started: hunt down the remaining Jedi that survived the Great Jedi Purge.  He is a Pau’an, the species that lived on Utapau and let Obi-Wan know where General Grievous was hiding in ROTS.  According to the EU*, Pau’ans were not friendly with the Empire, so it’s interesting to see that the Inquisitor could be the black sheep.
  2. Ezra Bridger.  We don’t know much of this character as he was only introduced by Lego as a character paired with the ship The Phantom, and is a “young Rebel hero” who has a cadet helmet and blaster.  Cadet helmet?  Cadet usually means someone in training for the military, so perhaps they mean training for the Rebellion?  It would be interesting if it meant something else though as we know the main military at the time is obviously the Empire.
  3. Zeb.  No last name for this guy.  Again, this comes from Lego as he is paired with Ghost.  It says to “Join the Rebel heroes…” when referring to this set, so we can take a safe guess at knowing that Zeb is also part of the fledgling Alliance.
  4. Chopper aka C1-10P.  Oh, it’s so cute.  Chopper was just introduced a few days ago as the new droid who helps out on Ghost and described as a “cranky” astromech droid.  The design for this droid was inspired by an early concept drawing of R2-D2 taken from Ralph McQuarrie.

 

Miscellaneous Plot Points

  • According to Dave Filoni, Rebels is going to stick to “one story and one main group of characters”.  Hmmmm…a little reminiscent of the OT, huh?
  • There are two primary female leads.  Ezra is not a female, as the Lego synopsis says “his” in it.  There is no reference to sex with Zeb, so perhaps Zeb could be a female?  I’m interested to know the role these two female leads will play, as Ahsoka was such a hit in TCW.  I’d love to see the main villain also be a female, but I guess I can wait on that one.  Either way, girls kicking butt is awesome, so I’ll take it.  Disney 😄 is primarily geared towards young boys; it’ll be good to see some females taking part of the action.
  • According to Athena Portillo (Line Producer), we will see some familiar faces.  Does that mean the obvious, like Darth Vader?  Or could it mean glimpses of our original heroes?  Or even Boba Fett?  Characters from TCW (Cad Bane anyone?!)?  Or even throw in some EU stuff?
  • Greg Weisman points out that we won’t see what we know as the Rebel Alliance yet, because right now, it’s just a group of rebels (notice no capital R).  He says this show really is about the origin of the Rebellion.
  • Ghost hosts a “clever and motley crew” where “this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, have thrilling adventures, and become heroes”, according to action figure packages revealed at NYCC this year.  Could this be the group that forms the Rebellion?  I’m guessing it might be, based on how we have seen more of the ship Ghost than anything else from Star Wars Rebels.
  • The Inquisitor is hunting down the remaining Jedi, so that means we could see some of those Jedi he finds.  How the Inquistor ties into Ghost and the forming Rebellion could be interesting.

So that’s the latest edition of Geek Out! Rebels edition.  What seems like only a little bit of information that has been leaked out in the past few months, is actually a lot more informative than you’d think.

Based on what we know now, do you think you will watch the show?

 

 

 

*The EU is apparently going through some reworking.  A Lucasfilm Story Group has been created to keep track of “all facets of Star Wars storytelling, including movies, TV, games, and publishing.”  In a nutshell, they are trying to move forward and have everything be part of one canon.  I’m sure it will become more clear over time, but it may mean that the Pau’ans history with the Empire means nothing.