Tag Archives: Kanan

Star Wars Rebels: Now This Is Podracing! Edition

Reminder: This is not a full review (If you want that, that’s totally fair, there are plenty of fansites that do), but rather a discussion on 2 or 3 bits of it with, of course, spoilers abounding.

First of all: not even sorry for that title.

Secondly: Woah, boy. This isn’t going to be an easy review. Not because it was bad, but because generally I just pick a few things to discuss. But I want to review all of it. Almost every second of it was perfect. But, here are my picks:

Rex and Kanan


As a brief* aside, if you’ve ever read a review and wondered where they, the reviewers, get their images from, it’s not from screencapping (as I used to think), but rather the episode gallery on StarWars.com. I bring this up because there were many Rex/Kanan pics, and I struggled to pick just one.

*Yes, thank you, I do know the meaning of the word. I looked it up on the internet.

Anyhoo, previously I have mentioned how Kanan has slowly come round and accepted Rex as, not just a person in his own right, but as a soldier innocent of any wrongdoing, and somewhat a victim, too, of the same machine that wrecked his life (Also costing the life of his master, Depa Billaba, but that’s secondary to his pain, obviously). I must admit to jumping the gun, there, because this is the episode where that emotional conflict was finally resolved. Mea culpa*. That said, if it does continue beyond this episode, I shall be firmly and strongly calling it out, no matter how much in error I am.

*I googled this, too. It turns out that I’ve been writing it wrong, as ‘mea cuppa’, which, as a Brit, means something quite different.

All that aside, I loved the resolution. Sure, it did lean quite heavily on the buddy-cop formula – no bad thing, in itself, merely that it was somewhat tonally different than what was expected. But, it did contain a real heart to the conflict, and explored the key differences in their outlook, beyond just having a conveniently explanatory line. Okay, there was that, too, with Kanan as the mouthpiece, but it did provide ample example to back up the line, both before and after. And that ‘before’ is key: we’ve all heard of the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule? Personally, I dislike calling it a rule. It’s, for the most part, a good general guideline, for those who are learning how to write fiction, but it’s just that. If you’re good enough to pull it off, you can show and tell – showing first then telling, telling and then showing, tell and not show, show and never tell and whatever other combination I’ve forgotten. If you’re good enough: Joss Whedon, who does have faults and blindspots as a storyteller, is generally thought as very good, and plays merry hob with this rule throughout Buffy and Firefly (and perhaps his other series, of which I’ve not seen so can’t say). In this episode, the writers show, tell and then show some more.

But enough of that literary snobbery. Much like real-life working relationships, and avoiding the buddy cop cliche, the two manage to arrive at a working, functional relationship, yet don’t really compromise either of their positions, and did so from their mutual disdain of the Empire, a genuine concern for their comrades, and a desire to see them home safe.

As a viewer, it helped that this was achieved with a large helping of humor, both in joking to, and at the expense of, each other, as well with some self-referential and occasionally lamp-shading humor (Kanan trying to talk code to an Imp officer and Rex wondering about the Imperial shuttle, and the poor shooting because of the helmets, were great examples of this). I took particular delight in when Ezra shot his would-be rescuers. Not just because it was a fairly humorous moment (thanks to Chopper showing his recording on repeat) but also because it highlighted, in a light-hearted yet in-depth way, how they responded to the friendly fire incident.

In the immortal words of Call of duty: Friendly fire - isn't.

In the immortal words of Call of duty: Friendly fire – isn’t.

(Although, to quickly examine one joke: I thought it was weird how the Imp officer in the elevator noted that the armor was a little snug. I realize that a non-real, dictatorship’s military might be different to our real-world military, but it seemed strange: I know many, many soldiers and military personnel who are on the very bulky side of things, there’s no one-size-for-all in our earthbound military. Beyond that, from what I gather from soldiers who’ve served in the field, they often put on a lot of weight, for a number of reasons. So that, from a realism perspective, did jar me a bit.)

I realize that I’ve perhaps spent far too much time documenting Rex, here and in the past, but the Rex/Kanan dynamic is quickly becoming one of my favorites on the show. They gel together in a way that, say, Ezra and Sabine simply don’t, and in the same way that Sabine and Zeb do.

Brom Titus

AKA This guy

How utterly refreshing to have a baddie be competent! This isn’t anything against Agent Kallus and the Grand Inquisitor (one of which, however, is currently suffering from a mild case of death), but when your heroes face off against the same baddies week after week, and not only that, but triumph, their abilities, and how they came to such positions of power, can be reasonably called into question. Of course, that’s a danger that many TV shows face. How can you resolve your episode’s conflict without a nice, neat victory? The obvious answer is to have your rebels suffer an ignominious and harsh defeat, but that raises its own problems. These heroes have to be special, in some way; special enough to win. And to have them lose constantly doesn’t make for very engaging TV. You could always not have a conflict (or at least, not just in one episode) but that can be just as problematic and disengaging to the viewer. So you have your heroes win, time and again, your villains lose – and with every loss, they look just a little bit less menacing. Even this admiral Titus loses. But competency isn’t about winning or losing.

I’m somewhat skeptical, but all ears.

Well, not necessarily, anyway.

Certainly it helps to be competent to win (well, not so much in TV Land), but showing that the villains are at least capable of getting one over the heroes does lessen the blow of the defeat to the viewer. From the very beginning, Titus proved himself: by capturing a rebel ship, to lure in a larger prey in the form of Commander Sato – which, he freely acknowledges, was down to luck. It doesn’t hurt to be honest and accept that your windfall was pure chance.

Later, he quickly infers through logical reasoning the identity of Ezra (and to a slightly less impressive extent, the identity of Rex), and when ‘Jabba’ escapes, he wastes no time in ordering his soldiers to use lethal measures. This, as he states, was to save his own reputation (and likely, skin) in the eyes of Agent Kallus, but he does at least realize his error (more on that in a moment) and tries to correct it, rather than doubling down.

But why does this entirely capable admiral make such a terrible mistake? Surely he had read reports or heard rumors about the troubles this particular rebel cell, and this Jedi, has caused? It seems likely, but I have to wonder how much the Empire is letting slip.

(Before I continue, I wish to make it clear that a lot of it probably had to do with the fact that Ezra is a child. I merely wish to explore another factor that could be at play here)

From the old EU: From its very beginning, the Empire had been disdainful of the Jedi and their abilities. This is understandable, from an in universe perspective and a thematic one. Thematically, it makes sense to have the thing that the Empire held in low regard – even after everything the Emperor knew about them – to have the Jedi be his, and the Empire’s, downfall.

In universe, the Emperor had long sought to destroy the power of the Jedi, first the physical, by wiping them out, and then the psychological: we know that the Empire did suppress quite strongly knowledge of the Jedi, to such a degree that people who were born in the last years of the existence of the Jedi Order – people like Han Solo – knew very little. More, by making them demons in the eyes of the public, and making them seem unimpressive, over-hyped kooks.

Of course, that’s the old EU, but just from what we’ve seen on this very show, it seems reasonable to believe that this is the case in the new canon, as well. As such, I think it’s entirely plausible that the admiral saw a mere child with an oversized glow stick, pretending at Jedi-ing, and thought that he wasn’t much of a threat. Thus leading to the downfall of an otherwise capable and impressive admiral.

This seems entirely likely, given that …

Jun Sato Had No Trust In Ezra’s Abilities

I have made a grave error. I left the oven on.

(Again, it may be in large part because Ezra’s a child. But, again, I’m exploring other factors, and following it to its conclusion)

On the other side of the conflict, we have our heroes (By the way, I’m not forgetting Hera and Sabine; I use the word in a gender neutral sense. But that’s a whole other conversation), who have looked to the Jedi as their saviors and as a source of hope. Admittedly I’m again leaning on the old EU for this bit. But again, it does makes sense that this would still be accurate, from what we’ve seen in Rebels. But what’s remarkable is that Sato goes against this and lacks that hope, that trust in Ezra. True, Ezra is just a kid, which may explain Sato’s lack of trust in his abilities, but all Sato knows about Ezra is that he’s a Jedi in training, and trained by a Jedi of the old Order*, and that he’s a member of one of his most highly skilled rebel cells. And yet, still there’s a lack of trust.

*Personally, I’m not sure this would hold much weight with Sato. Whatever trust he has in Kanan, it’s probably because Kanan has proved himself as a capable rebel, and nothing more.

Why is this? If we take all of the above as true (and certainly we shouldn’t, but for now go with it), could it be that the Emperor’s misinformation is so effective that the rebels still hold on to this unconscious bias?

I’m not in a position to do so, but I would love to go back and rewatch the first two series, to see how rebels outside of the main group react to Kanan’s and Ezra’s Force abilities. But certainly in this episode, when Sato is freed by Kanan and Rex, he seemed to accept, without hesitition, that these two could mount an effective rescue. This could simply be because, as I say, Kanan has proven himself a capable rebel, outside of his Jedi-ness. Yet previously, Sato expressed skepticism towards Ezra’s usefulness, and later displayed surprise and downright shock at his skill. And furthermore – again I may just be overreaching on this whole thing, but – when Ezra tells Sato that Rex and Kanan will make their own escape, Sato accepts him at his word. If Ezra hadn’t proven himself to Sato, it seems entirely likely that Sato would wait for the pair, and thus seal the fate of every rebel on board.

See, it just goes to show that if you’d just take a teenager at their word, the world would be a much better place.


Michael Dare

On Rebels, Hera Gets the Episode She Deserves, and the One We Need

Hera Syndulla takes flight in the lesser known but beautiful B-Wing in this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, Wings of the Master, and I seriously do not know which of those things I’m more excited about.

Pictured: my brain

The winner, of course, has to be Hera – star of, if I’m not mistaken or currently having an aneurysm, the first episode centred around one of the female Spectres. But before I discuss the leader of the crew (don’t let that numbering of Spectre-2 deceive you), I’d like to discuss the second in command, Spectre-1. I think I may be having an aneurysm, after all.


In the beginning of the second season, Kanan very vocally resisted playing an active role in the larger rebellion, preferring to just help people here and there. This, for me, is the most memorable moment in his characterisation, and as such it bears repeating, because it encapsulates so much of what makes him tick.  A former Jedi who’s still Jedi-ing, who fought in a galaxy-spanning war but doesn’t want to do so again – yet, you know, still totally does. And in this episode he’s at it again, helping people, the hypocrite. Continue reading

Rebels Returns By Finding Some Nostalgia

Review: Star Wars Rebels: The Lost Commanders

(Quick note: Welcome! Just so you know, this review is not so much a review of the episode, but a look at one or several aspects that I found interesting.)

Star Wars Rebels saw its return last week with its first (or second or third, depending on your philosophical bent) episode of the series, entitled The Lost Commanders. This episode sees the crew of the Ghost seek out some old codgers in the hope of gaining a list of safe harbours. What makes this particular episode stand out, however, is that those old codgers turn out to be none other than Captain Rex, Republic Commando Gregor (if you were drawing a blank, as I did, he’s the Commando who lost his memory and worked as a chef), and Commander Wolffe – characters hopefully well known to viewers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

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SWR Fulcrum.004

Who Is Fulcrum? Now We All Know!

Who Is Fulcrum?
Now We All Know

For those of us who loved Star Wars: The Clone Wars from its outset to its premature end, the announcement of a new Star Wars animated series on Disney XD resulted in mixed emotions.  Many of us were frustrated that one of Disney’s first moves after purchasing Lucasfilm was not only to Ahsoka Walks Awaycancel The Clone Wars but to halt production on many several episodes which had been planned, written, recorded, and in various stages of production, from animatics to final rendering.  However, we were also cautiously curious about this new series.  We had questions, some of which remain unanswered:  Would Disney give this new series a fair chance to attract an audience?  After all, the ever-changing and inconsistent scheduling of TRON: Uprising (a Disney property) led to viewers wondering when it would air.  Would the audience be left hanging (again) by a premature, inconclusive end to the series?  Star Wars fans are still wanting an appropriate conclusion for The Clone Wars and the aforementioned TRON: Uprising came to an abrupt halt on a cliffhanger.  Most importantly, would our favorite characters from The Clone Wars be seen in Rebels (specifically, Ahsoka Tano)?

Anticipating the upcoming series, I was diligent to seek out all information regarding Star Wars Rebels prior to its release — especially interviews with Dave Filoni.  Empire Online asked him about tie-ins to The Clone Wars to which he responded, “It’s possible, I’ll just say that. I think people would be disappointed if there wasn’t some connection…”  On the official site, during a video entitled, “The Lost Missions Q&A Rebels”, he admitted, “It would almost be crazy for there not to be anything that is related to a show I loved so much in a new show I’m doing.”  These statements, combined with my admitted bias for Ahsoka, convinced me that we would indeed be seeing her return at some point in the series.

During the fifth episode, “Out of Darkness”, we heard about Hera’s mysterious contact, Fulcrum.  When Sabine and Hera go to an outpost to pick up supplies from Fulcrum, SWR Fulcrum.002Hera specifies which crate she will move to the Phantom, based on a mark on the outside of the container.  In the same episode, we heard Fulcrum’s voice, albeit altered to disguise the voice.  Some fans put together the clues and believed Fulcrum was none other than Ahsoka Tano (though I was a believer, I wanted to argue all the angles, just to challenge my own first impression).  However, these clues were certainly pointing us in her direction.

SWR Fulcrum.005As the season progressed, the makers of Rebels actively focused on turning our attention from my favorite Togrutan by showing previews of holographic images of a hooded Fulcrum speaking to Hera — a hooded form that was distinctly different from the familiar scenes of a hooded Ahsoka from The Clone Wars which clearly showed Ahsoka’s montrals and lekku.  Thankfully, we were not kept waiting for long (like a season-ending cliffhanger), but Fulcrum was revealed at the conclusion of the season finale, “Fire across the Galaxy,” when we saw the return of Ahsoka to the screen as she descended the ladder, revealing herself as Fulcrum.  We discovered who Fulcrum is, but what is the significance of her code name?

SWR Fulcrum.001

A fulcrum is the pivot point for a lever.  Therefore, Fulcrum may carry the connotation that Ahsoka is the hinge for all the work being done amongst the separate cells of rebels.  This fits the current storyline, since it appears that each rebel cell only knows Fulcrum outside their immediate context.  As Hera pointed out in “Fire across the Galaxy,” this would prevent any cell from being used against the others.  With Fulcrum as the contact point for all the cells, she could manage all the cells efforts for a greater impact in their resistance against the Empire.  In doing so, she increases the efficiency of the rebels’ efforts, enabling more work to be accomplished (like a lever) due to a well-placed fulcrum.

The Empire has amplified their efforts to quell rebel cells, focusing on Lothal because of the reported presence of a Jedi and his Padawan, as well as their successful attacks on the Imperial base and supplies (Kyber crystals).  Perhaps, they concluded that the force behind the rebels’ recent success was the Jedi they had repeatedly encountered on Lothal.  Interestingly, it is the Empire’s capture of Kanan that spurs a larger attack on Imperial forces, enlarging our Rebels’ perspective of their place in the galaxy.

A fulcrum is the balance point for a scale.  In a balance scale, the fulcrum is in the central position, perfectly set to enable each side to be equally balanced.  Perhaps, Ahsoka is able to fulfill this position, as well.  Given her history with the Jedi Council, wrongfully accused, yet turned over to the Republic’s (biased) legal system, she recognized that something was out-of-place in the Jedi Order before many others did.  She tasted the Dark Side on Mortis, was warned by a vision of her future about her Master, and made at least one true friend on the “other side” of the Clone War (Lux Bonteri).  She understands the need for balance.

With Dave Filoni’s latest comments regarding Ahsoka’s white lightsabers, SWR Fulcrum.003stating that they are neither green or blue (Jedi), nor red (Sith), we will clearly see in Season Two that Ahsoka is something different: neither Jedi, nor Sith, yet still using the Force.  (Maybe she will team up with other “third party” characters like Hondo Ohnaka or Bo-Katan.)  Ahsoka may well be the perfect person to usher in a new era of Star Wars by revealing the need for a true “awakening” of the Force with a balanced perspective of light and dark, as alluded to in the Mortis trilogy.

A fulcrum is a prop or support.  I’m sure I was not SWR Fulcrum.006alone in my trepidation going into Rebels.  Even as the series progressed, something just didn’t feel “right” about the new endeavor — likely because of my adoration for the former series, the look, the feel, the richness that had developed over the years, and above all, the characters.  The code name Fulcrum could be a signal to audience members like me who have needed an anchor to the previous series to prop up and support this new show.  The unveiling of Fulcrum as Ahsoka certainly did that for me and my family.  Now we can’t wait to see what happens in Season Two.