Tag Archives: Zeb

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Rebels: Legends of the Lasat and Other Alliterations

Star Wars Rebels:
Legends of the Lasat and Other Alliterations

Teased as a look into Zeb’s past, “Legends of the Lasat” has a great deal more to it than simply telling us a bit more about the background of the Rebels’ hulk.  Centered on a Lasat prophecy and flavored with a touch of piracy via fan-favorite Hondo Ohnaka, this episode could well be called “Prophecy and the Profiteer”.  While one individual is motivated by the profits he could obtain by selling captives and information, others seek a paradise promised through an ancient prophecy.  Or perhaps in reference to the various manifestations of the Force in different cultures, as evident in Chava’s reference to “Ashla”, this episode could find meaning in the title, “Flavors of the Force”.  Ok, I admit, that’s a bit of an alliterative stretch, but hey — it gets to the heart of it, doesn’t it?  The fact of the matter remains: this episode has much more going on than a 22-minute episode can possibly contain.

Mysteries and Mystics
The word mystery is a transliteration of a Greek word that simply means “something hidden”.  Paying subscribers of Season Two of Rebels are certainly familiar with the idea of “something hidden”, having discovered that their subscriptions to the second season of this animated Star Wars series was for only half the episodes they had expected to receive when they purchased their subscriptions through iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.  In fact, the backlash against this hidden fact has been so negative that the ratings of Star Wars Rebels (Volumes 2 & 3) have suffered tremendously on Amazon, not because of the quality of the show itself, but because of the justly perceived deception of cutting Season Two into two volumes for those who purchase the series digitally.  Had these online services simply been upfront with what was to be included in the original purchase price last fall, these negative responses could have been entirely avoided.

However, mysteries are generally well received among Star Wars fans.  Hidden gems, surprises, and unanswered questions generally give rise to enjoyable discussions and numerous speculations about the potential plots in the future.  After all, everyone has been buzzing about Rey’s heritage since her name was officially released early last year.  As fans, we love to analyze and debate the possibilities about this galaxy far, far away.  Last week’s episode of Rebels has certainly given us plenty to consider with all that lies beneath the surface of the story presented entitled “Legends of the Lasat”.

Many fans (especially “first generation” Star Wars fans) remember Glenn A. Larson’s amazing television show from 1978 that capitalized on the clamor for sci-fi during the initial run of Star WarsBattlestar Galactica captured the imaginations of kids yearning for more of what they had seen in movie theaters.  We were introduced to the tragedy of a people whose home planets were destroyed by a rising empire (Cylons with their Imperious Leaders) and their quest to find a home from legends long passed.  Over the years, we have witnessed many tv shows and movies that profited from the success and popularity of Star Wars.  With “Legends of the Lasat”, the circle is complete, as Rebels borrows from the program that borrowed from Star Wars.  While the central plot of “Legends of the Lasat” is more than reminiscent of the plot of the entire Battlestar Galactica series, elements of this episode also hearken back to the first few episodes of the 1978 series.  In the first few episodes of Battlestar Galactica, a story arc now known as “Saga of a Star World”, remnants of the Colonies escaped the Cylons by traveling through the Straits of Magadon, a dangerous routStraitsofMadagone through the Megadon Nova.   In the next arc, “Lost Planet of the Gods”, the Galactica travels through a mysterious void to discover an ancient tribal habitation and possible birthplace of the Tribes.  “Legends of the Lasat” capitalizes on both of these story arcs, combining them into one voyage through an imploded star cluster to find Lirisan, the ancient homeworld of the Lasat.

Fan-made trailer for Battlestar Galactica “Lost Planet of the Gods”

Kevin Kiner attributes his inspiration for “Journey into the Star Cluster”, an oft-acclaimed musical addition to Star Wars, to Philip Glass.  By perusing the Philip Glass catalogue, one can find a similar track from the 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi entitled “Pruitt-Igoe”.  Apart from the distinctive mysterious tones of the string ensemble, the origins of Pruitt-Igoe reveal a story similar to the Lasat in Rebels.  Due to overcrowding and poor living conditions in St. Louis in the late 1940s, officials embarked on a hopeful project to build modern low-cost housing to accommodate the growing population.  Essentially, the older, decaying complexes were to be replaced with newer, better apartments.  In 1955, thirty-three eleven-story apartment buildings were completed and named “Pruitt-Igoe” after two prominent St. Louis natives.  Economic “refugees” from the deteriorating neighborhoods found a new home in Pruitt-Igoe.  This musical cue from “Legends of the Lasat” has an underlying, hidden message in Kevin Kiner’s choice to use this Philip Glass composition as inspiration for the Lasat journey to their new home.

Video of “Pruitt Igoe” by Philip Glass from Koyaanisqatsi
Compare it with this track on StarWars.com

Beyond the theme and themes of “Legends of the Lasat” are the names of the key characters in this episode.  At the outset, viewers are introduced to two other members of Zeb’s species.  Those of us who, like Zeb, believed that he was the only remaining Lasat were excited to find out who they were and how they had survived the devastation of their homeworld, Lasan.  Once liberated by the crew of the Ghost, we discover their names — and on further inspection, uncover their names’ potential significance (as we’ve noticed before in Rebels).  Gron and Chava the WiseGron reveals that he had formerly served in the Honor Guard under Captain Garrizeb Orrelios.  Gron’s name sounds a bit like “ground” or even “green”.  Its Dutch etymology stems from this sound in its meaning, “from the earth”.  Gron is “rooted” in Lasat culture, and therefore seeks another homeworld for his people.  Furthermore, the Kabalarian meaning of his name has to do with being parental and generous — a father-figure for all Lasat.  When combined with Chava the Wise, whose name in Hebrew refers to life and, according to some, wisdom gained through life experience, becomes very telling when one considers that “Chavva” is the Hebrew transliteration of the Biblical character, Eve, who was given her name by Adam (which refers to coming “from the earth”) because she was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).  That this connection is not by accident is accented when Sabine voices her assumption that the two Lasat are all alone on Lirasan.  That these names were not randomly assigned is clearly evident, as even Zeb’s name takes on significance when we consider its Hebrew importance as “gift of God” and “dwelling of honor”.  Zeb is the embodiment of the Lasat Honor Guard, as we have known, and is revealed to have a special “gift” that enables him, and him alone, to show his people the way home.  The incredible detail that underlies every aspect of this episode is astonishing!  By the way, I was surprised to discover that Hondo’s name has African roots and means “warrior” in Egyptian.  And I thought he was “the fool” in the Lasat prophecy.

The Bottom Line
Regardless of how the additional, unexpected expense of purchasing the second half of Season Two (essentially, that’s what happened) has affected us personally, and in spite of not knowing just how profitable Hondo’s various attempts at remuneration for his efforts were to him, “Legends of the Lasat” has undoubtedly given us much more than our money’s worth for a single episode.  Lengthy reviews have been penned and published online, podcasts have devoted hours of time discussing the themes and events of this episode, and ramifications that this single half-hour of Wednesday night television will be discussed and debated for days, weeks, and months to come.

BONUS HIDDEN MESSAGEStar Wars Rebels Blue Milk Ad
Translating from the Aurabesh text in the corridor reveals an advertisement for “Blue Milk”, saying that it’s available “at markets everywhere”.   It even hints at another message for those lamenting the destruction of Lasan in its graphic depiction of spilled blue milk over a yellow background not to cry over spilt (blue) milk.

Inside the Star Wars Rebels Mid-Season Trailer – Shot by Shot

Star Wars Rebels returns with a vengeance.

During the era of the Clone Wars airing on television, Star Wars fans received the treat of many connections with the greater Star Wars mythology. However, we’ve never seen such an interconnected fireworks display of the Star Wars myth on television until the Star Wars Rebels midseason trailer dropped. With direct connections to the Clone Wars, the prequels, the original trilogy, and The Force Awakens, Star Wars Rebels graduated to an absolute must see for any Star Wars fan.

Rebels is transcending what any Star Wars TV show has ever accomplished previously. Let’s take a look at the trailer:

What follows is a *almost* comprehensive shot by shot analysis of the Star Wars Rebels Season 2 midseason trailer.

Note: TFA spoilers to follow!

Let’s dive in. Continue reading

On Rebels, The Inquisitors Learn Not To Play With Their Food

Just a reminder: this isn’t a full review of the episode. If you want that (that’s totally fine :) ), there’s plenty of reviews elsewhere on the internet. Here we just look at a few things from each episode. Also, please do check out Rebels Recon, the official tie in video.

The title of this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels is ‘Always Two There Are’, a Yoda quote for the two Inquisitors that happen to drop by for a nice chat, some creepy hebephilic flirting, and some slicing and dicing of various body parts. Nice people, those inquisitors. Though can I just say, it’s a little bit funny how the the only thing about the title that applies to this episode is the ‘two’ bit. First, the quote, in context, references the number of Sith at any given time; and second, there’s very probably very many more inquisitors than two.

This sounds like a minor quibble (and you’d be right) but, dang hell it, if I can’t use an awkward segue to begin my review then I don’t want to live in this universe. Send me to the alternate reality where I can, and preferably also where everyone has octopods for servants.

Anyway: these distinctions are important, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The main draw of this week’s episode is, of course, the inquisitors, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister (voiced by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and Sarah Michelle Gellar), but that’s not how this episode begins, and that’s not the entirety of the show (though, of course, a large part) and I felt it would be remiss of me to not discuss The Other Part.

Emotional Growth

The show starts with Zeb and Sabine going off to get some supplies at an old, abandoned medical station – and let’s unpack this. I think it’s very odd how the show has spent 3 episodes dedicated to this plot. ‘Let’s spend two episodes getting a list of bases! Now let’s go to a base from the list!’, I’m hoping the next episode isn’t them doing inventory and Tarkin coming along to note how it’s all dusty and a how a good planetary explosion would clean things up nicely.

Would it have killed the Alderaanians to take a hoover to the place? Really, I did them a favour.

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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A Rebel by Any Other Name…

A Rebel by Any Other Name…
–shazbazzar

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.

Gall Trayvis
In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels, the self-proclaimed “SenaVision-of-Hope-Gall-Trayvistor-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.

Hera Syndulla
Home
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 seasonStar-wars-rebels-hera 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.

Sabine Wren
Heart
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 coSabine_Panel_Shot.pngnnection 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.

Ezra Bridger
Hope
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.Erza-Star-Wars-Rebels

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”)
Human Nature
To put it briefly, and bluntly, Chopper is the “cut-up” of the crew of the Ghost.  As Dave Filoni star-wars-rebels-chopper-viddescribed 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.

Garazeb Orrelios
Hulk
I have absolutely no idea where Zeb gets his name.  His is the least recognizable name among zeb-orrelios-star-wars-rebelsall 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)
Help
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 chc55beedb16e8cf5a003b3f39be19c413arging 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!”