Star Wars Rebels: Two for Two

Nostalgic Tone Makes Fledgling Series Shine

DisneyXD premiered its first regular episode of Star Wars Rebels tonight and it took us on a journey that was filled with past references that would make any Star Wars fan excited. We have long come to appreciate the way Dave Filoni's and team have interwoven story lines but tonight gave us a glimpse of the depth these stories will go. I for one was the kid in 1990 visiting Disneyland who rode Star Tours 32 times in a row and had my trusted video camera taping every second of it. So when the Rebels gang begins their mission on a StarSpeeder piloted by a Captain Rex (or a similar model) nostalgia set in. I never thought I’d see my childhood buddy again (accept of corse for in the packaged box in the queue of Star Tours). With this incredible addition, the audience was immediately connected to the episode. On top of this, we are reunited with out favorite two droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. In this world they didn't skip a beat,  the 2 droids, as usual, are a part of an undercover mission that Threepio hasn't a clue and fight every step of the way. This leads to an exciting ploy by the team to steal weapons from an Imperial Commander that hits a few bumps on the way.  When all is about to go horribly wrong Ezra taps into an unknown resource and saves the day. 

This episode, like the Spark of the Rebellion movie, has a basic premise but it is filled with nuggets of important information about the characters and story. We get an opportunity to dig deep into Zebs past and learn about his species downfall at the hands of the Empire. His history alone links his alliance with the Rebel cause. The core of this emotion nearly gets him killed at the hands of Agent Kallus who shows his superior fighting skills and reason for being so feared. He will be a handful for the Rebels as they spread the spark throughout the galaxy. But alas, in another stellar ending, we see a familiar face, along with one of our favorite vessels get their first air time. Senator Organa makes his debut and steals the show with a few pivotal revelations. If you haven't seen it you really need to. Where the story goes from here is anyones guess but the links to the original trilogy are strong and gives me reason to pull out those old VHS tapes again and go with Rex on his first flight again, and again, and again.

What did you think? Was this ending as good as the Spark of the Rebellion ending? Let us know.

Clone Wars: Essential

Animated Series a Must Watch as Universe Expands

For those of you who missed the Clone Wars animated series I have some advice….Watch it now!! And for those that have, let’s talk! Now I know that many of you probably had the same reaction I did when Lucasfilm announced an animated “Clone Wars” cartoon. But I promise you won’t be disappointed by this installment in the Star Wars franchise. It will restore your faith in a galaxy far far away and make you giddy for the next animated chapter. 

It took me three years to get over the scars left by the Episodes I through III, and a giant leap of faith to be willing to partake in this cartoon world. My Clone Wars indoctrination came in middle of season 3 - Yoda was leading a clone command unit into Toydaria, hoping to win the support of the king. Despite my obvious confusion about a mid-season storyline, I was impressed with the well developed plot, story, and emotion. The characters and story were given tremendous freedom. I quickly decided to wait until the series concluded to watch it all, starting at the beginning. When I finally caught up to season 3 I was well immersed in this refreshing world that had sparked my love for Star Wars.  The characters and themes I had always hoped to explore were there for me to enjoy. And now, finally, with season 6 officially under my belt, I have a one word review…..Incredible!

Now before I go any further I do want to note that yes, some of the episodes are campy and kid oriented. That’s totally fine by me.  C3PO and R2-D2’s adventures are welcome distractions to some of the harsher actions going on in the universe. And delving into Anakin’s experience during the turbulence of the clone wars -- watching his developing relationship with his own padawan Ashoka, seeing him identify with her doubts and insecurities . . . it almost helps me understand how that skilled podracer became the most heinous villain of all time. 

Almost.

What I did come to understand after watching the Clone Wars, is that it is the erosion of faith in the Jedi Council had everything to do in Anakin’s conversion to the Dark Side. And what caused this erosion you ask? A perfect synchrony of the Dark Side and the missteps of the Jedi council itself. Pieced together so brilliantly throughout the series. This was most apparent in way the Council handles his padawan, Ashoka Tano accusation of being a traitor.  Although the Jedi Council eventually comes around, Ashoka’s fate rattles Anakin to the core. It’s a heartbreaking moment for the future Darth Vader - he loses his student, his friend, and a relationship with the only person that understands him. This relationship ultimately serves as a linch-pin in a story, and the emotion, that the prequels seemed to miss.

Star Wars fans will love the in-depth look Clone Wars gives not only into Anakin’s journey, but from other stories including the mystery surrounding Darth Maul and the Death Watch resurrection, Asajj Ventress, to the cover-ups of the Jedi order.  The series lets us dive deep into multiple storylines that can exclude the main characters and give us perspective on a lesser known hero or villain. Each season bests the last and intertwines us into a spectacular season finally. We hope you’ll share your thoughts with us, and we hope you’ll join us in a few weeks as we undertake an episode by episode discussion of Lucasfilm’s latest offering, “Rebels.” With Clone Wars guru Dave Fittolli back in the driver’s seat, and with the Star Wars universe expanding, we’re thinking this new installment will be outstanding. And if you haven’t seen it……SEE IT NOW!!!!

Now tell me, what is your favorite season, and in that, what is the best season finale? I have my thoughts....