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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, Chopper Becomes A Double Act

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!

Did you not get the memo?


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.

Though to be honest, I think this looks good on anyone.

Though to be honest, I think this looks good on anyone.

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.



I take back what I said earlier. Though Ketsu was brilliant, Sabine is still my favourite. HOW DARE YOU HURT HER, KETSU?

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.

*Muffled* okie doke.

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.

You rang?

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.

I’ve never been so rooted to my seat as when Chopper – wasn’t.

*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.

Michael Dare

Always Two There Are (or You Have Failed This Empire) – Rebels Roundtable #20

The Star Wars Report’s Rebels Roundtable takes on Always Two There Are.


The Star Wars Report’s Rebels Roundtable returns to check out the third true episode of Season 2, Always Two There Are.


(Inquisitors: The Next Generation)

Join Johnathan, Nathan, and Berent as they discuss the episode. What do the panelists thing of this new Inquisitor duo? Why does the Seventh Sister sound like Green Arrow? Was something done to Chopper that will come back to haunt the crew? All this and more in this episode of Rebels Roundtable

Download the MP3 of this episode HERE (right click, save as).

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Relics of the Old Republic (or Walker vs. Walker) – Rebels Roundtable #19

The Star Wars Report’s Rebels Roundtable takes on Relics of the Old Republic.


The Star Wars Report’s Rebels Roundtable returns to check out the second true episode of Season 2, Relics of the Old Republic.


(The Good, the Insane, and the Easily-Forgiven)

Join Johnathan, Nathan, Berent, and Jen as they discuss the episode. What does Rex joining the Rebelliion mean for the series? How will Rex and Ahsoka’s dynamic change from that of The Clone Wars? Weren’t those AT-ATs really dang tall? All this and more in this episode of Rebels Roundtable

Download the MP3 of this episode HERE (right click, save as).

Connect with us:

Email: rebelsroundtable@starwarsfanworks.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/RebelsRoundtable

Twitter: Twitter.com/RebelsRound

Want to bookmark this site? Simply use RebelsRoundtable.com.

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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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