“Battles leave scars. Some you can’t see.” Continue reading
Greetings, fellow human! Note that this is not a full review. If you like that, cool, but here we take a look at a couple of aspects of each episode and discuss them. Best read after having watched the episode, and as always SPOILERS from here on out.
In this episode of Rebels, entitled The Forgotten Droid, Chopper gets a fwiend. And indeed that’s pretty much the only thing that happens and thus the only selling point. As I demonstrated to my not-a-Star-Wars-fan sister. Over and over again. I made it her special hell.
The benefits of telling a story in a TV show instead of a film is that you’re allowed to do so much more and do it in vastly different ways. The purpose of this show, as I understand it, is to demonstrate how the rebellion came to be. This usually takes the form of showing our Spectres fighting small scale battles against the Empire, or demonstrating said Empire to be cruel and ruthless and thus making it worthwhile to overthrow them, or highlighting how various people came to be a part of the rebellion. But there is another way – one that is quite important but not quite as flashy, and when done right is done subtly. It’s also something that many role-playing gamers may know well: resource building. This is the gradual accumulation of resources through various means. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘Press Enter to accept Cmdr Millicent into your team’ – the most common of recruitment drives known to military the world over (I assume). Sometimes it’s stealing supplies or ships so that you have an armada with which to advance ‘The Cause’, and certainly you may recall one of the previous episodes where the rebels captured the ship carrier that played such a central role in this episode. That was one of the more obvious examples of resource building (or RB for short).
RB is an absolutely necessary component to this kind of show, and the kind of story it’s trying to tell. As Zarm, a regular commenter on this website (hi Zarm!), made mention several weeks ago in the comments, Phoenix Squadron has a … let’s call it a quick turnaround. They frequently experience losses of manpower and resources – and simply showing that, week after week, does strain viewer credulity. But by indulging in RB, by demonstrating where those pilots and those A Wings come from, lends weight to their use in action scenes. They’re no longer Redshirts, or background objects to make the action seem tense, but actual beings whose presence has narrative importance. And those A Wings are no longer cheap bits of machinery that are easily replaced (that is to say, they may be, but I wouldn’t know), but that they’re valuable resources that the Rebellion has struggled hard to acquire, so that the loss of a single snubfighter has the potential to severely impact the Rebellion’s fighting strength. To briefly give a historical example, we saw this during the Second World War, during the Battle of Britain. Daily the Luftwaffe would send wave upon wave of fighter planes to harass military bases, damage industrial and civilian areas and in general be a nuisance. They had hundreds, if not thousands, of aeroplanes at their disposal – but the continual loss of planes or pilots was not something they could afford or sustain. Compare that to British and Allied pilots who, if shot down, could return to work the next day – simply because they had been shot down above friendly territory whereas if the Luftwaffe were to be shot down then they could expect a lengthy stay in a POW camp. And beyond that, these Allied pilots could fly in new planes supplied by the ATA. Their shot-down vehicles, too, would be salvaged and reused – if not as planes then as something else of value to the war effort.
By now you may have spotted something wrong with my line of thinking, and don’t worry, that’s on purpose*. This episode wasn’t about A Wings or Phoenix Squadron. It was about AP-5, the eponymous forgotten droid (yeah I said it, fight me), as well his supply ship joining the Rebellion, swelling its ranks with another ship, but more importantly the presence of AP-5 provides the Rebellion with much needed insider intel as well as a useful tactical mind. It was a great way of introducing what could potentially be a key asset to the Rebellion – and it was also done in a fairly subtle way.
It’s perhaps unkind but true to state that this show has not, on many an occasion, been the most subtle in its storytelling. Probably most viewers could spot a mile away any plot twist or character development before it had time to take full form (as evidenced by the return of Ketsu Onyo as she aided the Rebellion. I’m sure many called that she would come to aid the rebels).
Speaking of subtlety, if I may be forgiven for drawing a negative comparison (I loathe to do this, usually because it’s often tacky and unecessary), I’d like to draw your attention to another show: Star Trek.
Star Trek: Voyager was rather notorious by utilising a form of RB. For those unfamiliar with the show, the premise was that the starship Voyager was, via a Deus Ex Machina device known as The Caretaker, flung to the other side of the galaxy, and it was the job of the crew to make the 70,000 light-year journey home. This sounded good – until you realised that at the end of every other episode saw one crew member or another say ‘this new technology ought to take a few years off our journey’. It was about as subtle in its resource building as Zeb in a gun factory. Rebels has a similar task at hand: it must build the Rebellion up into something that looks capable of taking on an entire fleet at the end of Return of the Jedi. And, like Voyager, it must also do quite a large amount of RB on a near weekly basis.
But unlike Voyager it occasionally takes great pains to hide this fact, usually by making them into character-centric episodes. In the past we’ve had episodes like the B Wing episode, or the Ryloth episode, where the gaining of new technology was obviously the goal from the start, but the focus was almost entirely on its characters. In the former, we explored Hera’s back-story and her love of flying. In the latter, Hera had to overcome her backstabbing, traitorous father* in order gain a base of operations for her squadron. But Forgotten Droid surpasses these attempts, because once again the narrative focus is not on the need for supplies (this quite literally takes place in the background), but Chopper and AP-5. It’s through a heart-warming sharing of character background that key information is dropped, like Chopper’s military experience and Apey’s tactical expertise. And later we’re shown that AP-5, a lowly navigator droid, knows that the Rebels’ safe port is in fact a trap. How he knows is not explained – but for now that’s not important. What is important is that he knows. These scenes are brief blink and you’ll miss it moments, but ones that delivers possibly vital information.
*Not bitter at all. Honest.
But this does come with negatives. Earlier I made a point of the necessity of demonstrating where Phoenix Squadrons gets its pilots and war materiel. I made this particular example because it focuses on the events and people in the show itself (see, I wasn’t losing it!*). As things are, Rebels tends to focus its world- and resource-building for the benefit of the movies rather than for the show itself. This is understandable – particularly as we once had an expanded universe that gave us back-stories on a number of characters who were seen for a whole two seconds on screen. Again it’s understandable and to a degree I accept this as both necessary and good. But at the same time, especially in the case of RB, I do feel that the show could do better by focusing on building up its own resources. This is mainly because the series itself has, in the second series alone, greatly expanded its scope, so that it could be thought of as a universe in its own right – and one that doesn’t really need to feed another universe, or even feed off it. (I’m terrible at metaphors, so for clarity the other universe I’m mentioning is the movie universe).
*Well, I am, but not that time.
It’s a young show so of course it needs to learn on its big brothers and sisters (to haphazardly mix metaphors), but it’s quickly moving beyond that necessary crutch to a point where it can stand on its own two feet, and at that point it ought to learn away from RBing for the movies and just concentrate on itself.
P.S. I suck at metaphors.
Just a reminder: this isn’t a full review of the episode. If you want that, that’s totally cool, but you may wish to look to one of our fellow fan-sites. Here we take a look at a few aspects of the show (be warned, in a fairly spoilery way).
As an avid Sabine fan, it takes a lot to draw my attention (not like that, you perv) away from our resident Mandalorian artist. Enter our guest star of Blood Sisters: bounty hunter and fellow street decorator, Ketsu Onyo, voiced by … Gina Torres? How did I not realise this before!
Ketsu Onyo represents a perfect microcosm: first, her design is utterly brilliant. (I realise it’s more than a little iffy to focus on a woman’s appearance, and foremost at that, and I do apologise. Unfortunately I’m not sure I can’t not say anything, it’s just too good). As we learn in this episode’s Rebels Recon, the design was lent/borrowed/yoinked (delete as appropriate) to/by Dave Filoni from the design team for The Force Awakens – which, if I’m not mistaken, marks the first time for the new movie, and the latest in a long and storied tradition* in Star Wars.
*Which by itself is downright bizarre. I can think of no other franchise that utilises its cast-offs, for that’s what it is, to such a degree. Time and again this has happened in a Star Wars product, from the earliest novels and comics, to Star Wars Rebels itself, and even the prequel trilogy. And what’s more, we’re totally okay with it (more or less); this is not so much a testament to the skill of the designers, though they are certainly talented, but it is more an acknowledgement that some designs don’t fit one character, yet fit perfectly for others.
And I loved, too, how Ketsu’s presence essentially put up a mirror to Sabine, to show us more of the character, yes, but showed us what she was, and could have been. And then that mirror, in the form of Ketsu, then proceeded to outshine Sabine. Please don’t mistake me: I loved Sabine in this episode, I merely thought that Ketsu was much more compelling.
But enough about that. I’m excited, too, about what she represents on the show: the underworld.
Even though this show is primarily about rebels, a small band of merry men and women, taking on the big bad of Bespin, the scourge of Serenno, the … naughty … Empire (I ran out, sorry). This series, and this episode in particular, leans heavily of the ‘scum and villainous’ underworld, that which is partly untouched by, and partly created by, the Empire – and I want more of that. Not simply because it’s an interesting moral area – though that, too: by providing morally ambiguous characters, our Spectres are given a much more varied pool of storytelling. That aforementioned pool can become a source of enemies and heroes (much like the Hondo episode), heartache and heart-warming, too, by showing the morally un-ambigious in the ambiguous cess-pit. What I mean by that is, not everyone in the underworld are going to be baddies doing bad things. There could be generally decent people who are either caught up in or pushed towards a life of crime, or good people who aren’t pushed but simply have no choice in the matter, if they wish to be able to afford their next meal (not to mention elevensies. Blimey, they may be crooks but they’re hardly barbarians). And then there’s the civilians who simply carry on living simple lives, somehow, surrounded by these villains – much like Tarkintown in the first series. The show provides the space these stories need to be told.
However, it’s not just a case of ‘these baddies aren’t all bad, after all’, no no. Certainly we can have non-Imperial baddies, I’d just prefer them used in a slightly different way, one that has been done before in the show, and one that ought to be played up more often. And if we look at our own history, our own dictatorship-toppling rebellions and revolutions, we see that such people very much have their own place in the story being told in the galaxy far, far way. They aid the rebellion.
If I may be honest, Star Wars is very much a binary, light and dark story. You have the good and the evil, and – scum and villainy aside – that’s pretty much it. I feel that’s to its detriment. From the French Revolution, to Bosnia, to, well, pretty much any civil war, really, the revolutionaries often had to deal with morally ambiguous* groups to survive, to procure weapons, armaments, food and medical supplies, and even just straight up hire mercenaries to fight their battles. It doesn’t make sense that our rebels wouldn’t do this, or at least that it wouldn’t be shown more often than it has.
*or morally un-ambigious gits.
But more than that, it serves a narrative purpose. While we can’t be too clear on the exact state of affairs, it is fairly reasonable to assume that the rebels on the show are in a precarious position. They’re not a legitimate government, but freedom fighters, and it’s entirely likely that the standard citizen of the Empire, even if said people are not fans of the Empire, would think that they’re little more than petty criminals with delusions of grandeur and/or a lust for power. While, certainly, we the viewers inherently understand this to be false, what better way to demonstrate this (both to us and the general galactic public) than by putting our rebels alongside the actual scum, so that we may see what sets them apart?
And, oh look, the show just happened to (re)introduce the nefarious crime syndicate, the Black Sun. Juuust thought I’d mention it.
Communication – by that I mean, how the characters conveyed themselves to each other, not necessarily the vocal performances – between the various characters, throughout the episode, was all top-notch. (For the most part, I wasn’t a fan of Ezra’s gibbering. She’s not that into you, Ezra, move on, it’s creepy.)
Sabine and Ketsu truly felt like old friends; their dialogue and delivery conveyed an easy familiarity, even when they were facing off against each other, delivering angst- and backstory-heavy dialogue, their shared pain over the loss of their once tight bond*. And later, as they accepted each other’s current professions, that love and mutual respect was both endearing and heart-warming.
*I’m still not entirely certain about just what kind of bond theirs was. From the title, I had assumed that they were blood relatives, but from watching the show, it seems more like they were once strangers who became, I suppose, platonic soulmates. Still, I could be wrong, so apologies for any inacurracies.
Dear Chopper, I’m sorry, but I’m not that into you.
I can’t put my finger on it, exactly, but I think I feel so because his over-active acting seems rather forced and unnatural – and yes, I get the absurdity of that statement. It just doesn’t sit well with me.
And yet, somehow, that overacting actually worked in this episode. And all it took was a walking box.
The communication, as it were, between the two was merely a collection of hooting, squaking, waving and shuddering* but it harkened back to the silent film, Laurel and Hardy-type shenanigans. Wait, no. That would be rather inaccurate: for, in one desperate scene, where Chopper, adrift in the vacuum of space, struggled to regain his place aboard the ship, he and Gonky managed to portray, quite successfully, the fear and the tension of the moment. All without a word being uttered by either. It was a great moment of silent acting, and the animators did a terrific job. It was the first time that his utterances and gesticulations felt appropriate.
*Which makes no sense to me. They’re droids, surely they’d be able to convey the entirety of their thoughts through simple beeps, dots and dits? Why the need to twirl their heads and wave their arms, or – adorably for the gonk – trample on the spot in a shy yet excited manner. While certainly I don’t rule out the usefulness in communicating with body gestures and hand movement (sign language, anyone?), I don’t understand why droids need this. Perhaps they’ve been living around biological beings for too long.
I don’t think I could really take a full Chopper-centric episode, but on this episode, this one brief instance, I became a Chopper fan.
A Rebel by Any Other Name…
Since the inception of Star Wars, names have been significant to the saga’s story lines. From subtle hints about origins to conveying more obvious character qualities, the names, and changes in names, are selected to expedite the audience’s understanding of the storyteller’s vision. For example, Deak Starkiller from the early story treatments became Luke Skywalker in the final script — a name that maintains the potential power of the character without the burden of the negative connotation inherent in the word killer. Han Solo’s surname gave us immediate insight into the smuggler as a loner who relied on himself for his success (or failure). During the three years between the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, many fans made a connection (although, in this case, an unintended connection) to Darth Vader’s claim to be the father of Luke Skywalker based on an interpretation of Darth Vader as Dark Father, based on variations of the word father in German and Dutch. Star Wars Rebels continues in this rich heritage of nomenclature with the names of its characters, both heroes and villains.
In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, the self-proclaimed “Senator-in-Exile” betrayed our heroic band of Rebels by luring them into a trap on Lothal. When his betrayal was fully revealed in “Vision of Hope”, what was expected by some as far back as “Rise of the Old Masters” was proven: Gall Trayvis was an agent of the Empire, tasked with drawing out insurgents who set themselves against the tyrannical government.
As the closing credits of “Vision of Hope” rolled, I noticed something about Brent Spiner’s character that I had failed to realize previously — the spelling of his name included part of the word betrayal. Gall Trayvis had the gall to pretend to fight the Emperor’s tyranny while intentionally bringing the wrath of the Empire down upon small cells on various systems. His bitter deception had been foreshadowed in his own name, a hint to observant fans of the new animated series. After realizing this, I wondered what other clues the storytellers have hidden in their characters’ names. Below are my thoughts about the names of the members of the crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels.
This one seems rather obvious to fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, since Cham Syndulla was a freedom fighter of the Twi’lek people in the opening episodes of the third season of the series. Most fans quickly made that connection, amplified by unconfirmed reports that she is the niece of the famed hero of Ryloth. But perhaps more interesting to her role in Rebels is her namesake, the Greek goddess Hera.
Hera is the goddess of love and marriage in Greek mythology. She is seen as the protector of the home and family, especially in nurturing and providing for children under their mother’s care. As the captain and pilot of the Ghost, Hera manages her “household” by seeing to their care and growth while under her protective wing. Early in the series, Hera convinces Kanan of his responsibility to train Ezra, repeatedly reminding him of his need to begin the boy’s training.
Hera is the mother figure of the crew of the Ghost. She will both protect and push her “family” to rise to reach their potential, as individuals and as a collective unit.
The young, artistic explosives-expert of the Ghost’s crew shares her surname with a character in the upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, as well as with a Cularin senator whose history is checkered with accusations of CIS sympathies as well as incidents of graffiti on warehouse walls (see Senator Levina Wren). Whether Sabine has any connection to either of these characters is unknown at this point, but with the young Mandalorian’s penchant for artistic explosions and at a hint that her family was negatively affected by the Empire, some significant connection is plausible.
Her given name, however, is rife with meaning — both historically and colloquially. The Sabine women of Italy are credited with aiding the creation of ancient Rome according to folklore passed down over the centuries. Long before the Sabines were subdued by Roman forces in the third century, the fortitude of Sabine women was recognized and prized, first by the republic and later by the empire. In certain circles, the term Sabine is used to describe a lovable girl who is artistically gifted, quick-witted with a tendency towards biting humor, and fiercely loyal. While a “Sabine” may be difficult to get to know, she is worth making the effort.
With these characteristics, it is little wonder that Sabine has already captured the heart of young Ezra Bridger. However, Sabine is certainly not cast as a simple love interest, but as the very heart of the crew. Her fiery disposition pumps energy through the rest of the team.
In a recent interview with Jimmy Mac, writer Henry Gilroy somewhat inadvertently voiced what many already felt to be the case in Rebels, that this series which seems to be told from Ezra’s perspective, bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (consult RebelForce Radio “2.20.2015”). Ezra, whose birth coincided with the birth of the Empire (Star Wars Rebels “Empire Day”), provides a new generation of Star Wars fans with insight into the times and circumstances of the original trilogy characters as he introduces Luke, Han, and Leia to the fourth generation of viewers just in time for the seventh movie in the ongoing saga.
The selection of Ezra as his common name may stem from the Biblical character who is credited by students of the Old Testament with restoring the Israelites to their former status by reminding them of the original covenant they had with their God through Moses after they had fallen into captivity because of their failure to faithfully adhere to the statutes of the Law as handed down at Mount Sinai. The Biblical Ezra called his people to return to the Law of Moses by teaching publicly, reorganizing the canonical books and psalms into their commonly accepted order, and possibly even penning the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles as a history of the nation of Israel with a focus on faithfulness with the intention of preparing the people for the culmination of their history through the long-awaited Messiah who would usher in a new hope for the world through the people of Israel.
As such, Ezra connects Star Wars of the past, both the original and prequel trilogies, with Star Wars of the future in a story that centers on the hope for a brighter future based on the promises and prophecies of the “Messianic Age” of the Force.
C1-10P (a.k.a. “Chopper”)
To put it briefly, and bluntly, Chopper is the “cut-up” of the crew of the Ghost. As Dave Filoni described him when introducing him on StarWars.com, “If Artoo is the family dog, Chopper is the cat.” Although an essential member of the team, Chopper’s actions at any given moment is solely focused on doing things his way. His muffled murmurings are patently snide, likely filled with cut-downs, and eschew an amiable grumpiness in the ‘droid who serves the group in a way that best pleases him (perhaps to satisfy some deeply-ingrained sense of self-importance — something unexpected in a unit designed to serve its creators). In a way, Chopper continues in the Star Wars tradition of making ‘droids the most human of the characters of the saga). Maybe most of us are more like Chopper than any other single member of the crew.
I have absolutely no idea where Zeb gets his name. His is the least recognizable name among all the characters in the series. Zeb embodies strength and loyalty combined with a childish mindset that enables him to connect with Ezra like a big brother in the “family unit” on board the Ghost. Not known for his intellectual aptitude, Zeb is at his best when bashing Stormtroopers or teasing his mates. A combination of Wookiee and gecko, his agile strength provides Rebels with a unique character that rounds out this small band of freedom fighters.
Kanan Jarrus (Caleb Dume)
Kanan’s name may have the most complex and intriguing origin of all members of the crew of the Ghost. First introduced to Star Wars fans as a padawan in the Jedi Temple before the Purge, Kanan was formerly known as Caleb Dume (see A New Dawn).
Another name derived from Hebrew Scriptures, Caleb was one of twelve spies sent into the land of Canaan to determine how the Israelites would conquer the land God had promised to them through Abraham. Of all the spies, only Caleb and Joshua returned with an optimistic appraisal of their situation. Even against seemingly insurmountable odds, with fortified cities and giant inhabitants, Caleb tried to rally the army of Israel to invade the land promised to them, saying, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it,” (Numbers 13.30). However, due to the people’s lack of faith, God prevented Israel from entering the land for another forty years. In the end, of all the soldiers of that generation, only Caleb and Joshua were permitted to enter the land when those forty years of wandering ended. At the age of eighty-five, Caleb led the attack on the city of Hebron, trusting that even in his old age, God would give him the strength to conquer the giants before him.
Even as a padawan, Caleb embodied the same “can do” attitude of his namesake, recognizing the possibility of using the Jedi homecoming signal to warn Jedi away from Coruscant in case of immanent danger. Once Order 66 had been issued, Obi-Wan Kenobi put Caleb’s idea to use, sending out the signal to all Jedi about their betrayal by the Emperor and charging them to conceal themselves in exile for an unspecified period of time. It was at that point that Caleb became Kanan (a homophonous reference to the land the Biblical Caleb was assured he could conquer with supernatural assistance).
Kanan spent the years after Order 66 distancing himself from the Jedi Order, not merely assuming a new name, but casting off many lingering vestiges of the Jedi Code and avoiding using his Force abilities, and specifically his lightsaber, for fear of drawing attention to himself. When Star Wars Rebels premiered with the hour-long televised movie, Spark of Rebellion, Kanan revealed himself as a Jedi by brandishing his lightsaber in the battle to release a group of Wookiees from slavery and allowing his crew mates to escape the Imperial forces converging on their position. His reemergence as a Jedi permitted Yoda to “see” him again, as the Jedi Master stated while Kanan meditated in the Temple on Lothal (“Path of the Jedi”).
As the Biblical Caleb was of the princely tribe of Judah, a tribe from which the greatest leaders of Israel would arise, Kanan is recognized by his team as a leader, especially by Hera herself, who conveyed her trust in his leadership when she confided in Sabine that “Kanan…he knows what he’s doing,” (“Out of Darkness”). Kanan’s renewed trust in the Force that moved him to take on a padawan, even while doubting his own qualifications for doing so, reveal himself to the Empire’s agents set on destruction of the Jedi, and self-sacrifice in staving off the Inquisitor and Tarkin to enable his friends’ escape (“Call to Action”) will eventually result in Kanan taking the lead in allying his team with other Rebel cells, bringing about the emergence of the Rebel Alliance.
Kanan emulates the help this small band of Rebels needs if they are going to survive against the growing Galactic Empire and eventually bring about the fall of Palpatine’s tyrannical rule.
…Would Smell as Free.
While there are other names in this animated series that suit their characters well — Kallus is truly a calloused individual and it seems that much of the rebellion hinges on the mysterious character known as “Fulcrum” — the evidence that the names of the main heroes of this series fit their personas is a testimony to the depth of writing present in the conceptualization and realization of this addition to Star Wars canon. I, for one, am looking forward to more tributes to the mythos of Star Wars which has lent to its longevity throughout my lifetime. Certainly, “Star Wars is forever!”
There was SO much geeky news coming out of Comic Con that it was hard to follow! But, one of my favorite trailers I’ve seen coming out of all this news was the “Star Wars Rebels: A Look Ahead” trailer. This trailer was debuted especially for Comic Con at “The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels” panel.
The trailer starts with the Lucasfilm Ltd. image (I’ve always loved how that sparkles), and jumps straight into our heroes (Ezra, Sabine, Hera, Kanan, Zeb, and Chopper) of the show being chased by TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer in a manner that definitely reminds me of “Star Wars: A New Hope”.
In fact, as I watched the trailer the first time, I thought it reminded me quite a bit of “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back,” both in setting and in style. The cockpit setting of some of the scenes was reminiscent of “The Empire Strikes Back,” especially some of the cockpit banter, and seemingly constantly being chased by the Empire.
With all the sneaking around, being chased by the Empire, guerrilla warfare style of fighting, and the simple fact that the Empire is what’s in control in this series, the flavor of the fight will be quite different from some of “The Clone Wars” series I believe. It seems unlikely there will be any long battles between large forces in this series. The remnants of the Jedi are few and far between, the Rebellion likely hasn’t grown to be as strong as we see it in the original trilogy, and the Empire I assume is still aiming as some sort of pretense of benevolence (the board of governors should still be in existence at this time).
In-spite of all this original trilogy feel and influence that I felt strongly when I first saw the trailer, this trailer also reminds me how much of a “The Clone Wars” flavor the show has. The appearance of the characters, plus the good animation, both really give me a TCW feel.
The younger characters also give the show a younger feel, and will hopefully do as much for “Rebels” as Ahsoka did for TCW. Plus, some of the planets and locations featured in the trailer reminded me a lot of the different worlds we were able to explore in TCW.
Other characters reminded me of TCW as well. Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, Kanan, and Ezra all remind me of some of the Jedi in TCW, and having these characters tells me (hopefully) that “Rebels” will prominently feature Force-users. This thought was reinforced for me because of the trailer clips showing both Kanan and Ezra using the Force, and of Ezra learning from Kanan. Also, the Inquisitor showing up for a lightsaber duel with Kanan reminded me of the many lightsaber duels of TCW: non-fatal, and likely to be between the same opponents several times.
The Inquisitor reminds me a lot of Darth Maul (the TCW version), Savage Oppress, and the Secret Apprentice. This is also a connection to TCW for me. With a feel as powerful as those three, a double blade like both Maul and Oppress, and the glowing eyes of those two, the Inquisitor will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. His armor and manner of calm deadliness reminds me of the Secret Apprentice, who was voiced by Sam Witwer, who also voiced Darth Maul in TCW. The Inquisitor’s spinning lightsaber was even an unused design from “The Force Unleashed”. The episode also featured its fair share of droid humor, a la TCW.
When “The Clone Wars” series started, Ahsoka Tano was a young, snippy, and somewhat naive character. She could handle herself in battle, but seemed unfamiliar in that environment. The series became slowly darker in nature as Ahsoka aged, the characters saw more battle, and Anakin Skywalker flirted more with the Dark Side (and with the approach of Order 66). From this trailer and other clips, interviews, and discussions though, I think “Rebels” will start in a darker place. The galaxy is under the shadow of the Empire. Desperate, battle hardened rebels without a home fight back. While there are younger characters, there is little innocence or discomfort I see (currently) in them when they’re in battle, being shot at, chased, and fighting for their lives against overwhelming odds. This makes sense given the time period, but what will this do to characters that we, the fans, are already getting attached to? Will this series last long enough for the characters to develop a new hope within themselves? Or will we see them suffer more from personal losses (“I have no parents…”), the Jedi being nearly extinct, and the Empire having one? If we thought TCW was taking a dark path towards the fall of the Republic, what will Rebels look like after it has fallen? What happens to children who grow up as warriors on the seemingly losing side?
Let me know what you think of the new trailer!
~ Bethany Blanton