star wars rebels disney season 2

STAR WARS REBELS / Disney, Lucasfilm

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

As fans salivate for the upcoming Star Wars movie they’re offered an appetizer in the latest season of STAR WARS REBELS.  Ezra and the crew of the Ghost return and they’re on the ropes after their encounter with Darth Vader.  Having lost a rebel command ship, the rebel cell is in desperate need of a permanent base to regroup and repair at.  At the behest of Ahsoka, the Ghost heads out on a mission to make contact with an old ally of hers, Rex.  However, once Kanan realizes that Rex and his friends are Clones, his anger and mistrust boil to the surface, now he’ll have to try to put aside the demons of his past in order to salvage the rebels’ future.      

While this show maintains the usual feel of Rebels, there were a few things that surprised me.  There was a blatant Lord of the Rings quote early in the episode which felt out of place.  “Questions that need answering,” is far too recognizable to be reused without instant recall and I thought that was a poor decision on the part of the writing team.  I was also surprised by Rex’s appearance on the show.  I know that we have seen other characters from The Clone Wars series, mainly Ahsoka, but in her case it felt very necessary because her fate was a giant question mark that fans wanted answered.  I don’t feel that there was the same kind of mandate for Rex; I mean, sure, we’re glad he didn’t meet a terrible fate or participate in order 66, but that doesn’t exactly mean we needed to see him again.  I like what Rebels has going and I hope it doesn’t start dragging so much in from The Clone Wars that it stops being the wonderful unique show that it is.

Besides those hiccups, I quite liked the story in this episode.  I’m pleased with the fact that the show continues to demonstrate that the post republic universe isn’t divided into Imperialists and rebels, but rather is a wide spectrum with individuals more often than not deciding on allegiance because of personal motivations rather than ideologies, as that feels far more realistic.  I’m also a fan of how they find creative ways to keep the show light and comedic, in this case by using Zeb as bait on an alien big game hunt, while still tackling the daunting reality of a universe under the harsh oppression of an uncompromising dictatorship.

The production values of the show remain high, and they certainly don’t allow the hurdles of creating new planets, characters, and environments to hinder their scripts.  This episode boasts a new planet, some very impressive gigantic worms, and a few new characters; and everything looked on par with the rest of the show, not excessively detailed but more than enough to create a look that is easy to lose yourself in for the duration of the story.  The audio quality remains high, with plenty of familiar sound effects from the wider Star Wars Universe to keep things feeling accurate and proper.  Speaking of audio, I’ve spent plenty of time gushing over the regular voice cast in my previous reviews, so I will save that until the end of the season, but I did want to mention Dee Bradley Baker (AMERICAN DAD) who provides the voice of Captain Rex and the other clone officers.  Baker does a nice job with the trio, eliciting a wide range of emotions with just his intonation and pitch, which was very impressive.

While the return of STAR WARS REBELS had a faux pas or two, the show remains very solid.  It has wonderful production values, solid storytelling, and characterization that feels far more realistic than one would think is necessary for an animated show slanted towards younger audiences.  If you are even a casual fan of Star Wars you owe it to yourself to check out this series, because it is some of the best material to come out of the Star Wars Universe in years.

Final Score: 8 out of 10