[This is a review of the Star Wars Rebels season 2 premiere. There will be SPOILERS.]
After a thrilling first season, Star Wars Rebels returns with another exciting episode in the form of a one-hour special titled 'The Siege of Lothal.'
The Star Wars universe continues to gather momentum as we edge ever close to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December. For fans who wish to delve deeper into the mythos, this reviewer recommends checking out Marvel comic's new series, Kanan: The Last Padawan. If you want to know more about Hera's father, Paul S. Kemp's action-packed Lords of the Sith novel is a fantastic read. Star Wars is most assuredly back, and it's better than it's been in a long time.
So, back to the episode at hand. According to creative director Dave Filoni, the Rebel Alliance is not yet fully formed and is still in its infancy. Sure, there are groups of resistance fighters, but their organization is nowhere near what we see in Episode IV: A New Hope. Kanan is conflicted about this new alliance of cells, as the more formal aspects of military power come into play. Perhaps this organizational structure reminds him too much of his time as a padawan? While the comic book focuses on his youth, it will be interesting to see if the show ventures down that path as well, like in the form of a flashback.
The season 1 finale revealed who Hera's informant was in the form of the now fully grown Ahsoka Tano. A long time fan-favorite from the Clone Wars series, the more mature Tano carries around the weight of her master's loss, along with her memories of walking away from the Jedi order. There is a sadness to her that's difficult to watch if you are familiar with how she used to be. Well, that is the price of growing older in a galaxy torn apart by war. Her days of fun-filled adventures with Anakin Skywalker are over, and all she is left with is a chilling sensation and the burden of responsibility over the early stages of this galactic revolution.
Speaking of sensations, Ahsoka's feinting was triggered by her connection to Darth Vader, but in what way? After being asked if she knew who the Sith Lord could be, she said that she didn't know, but it appears that she may be in denial. With her eyes going wide during the point of realization, it was almost as if she knew exactly who was flying that Advanced Tie-Fighter. Next to Obi-Wan and Yoda, there is no one who is better able to detect the presence of Anakin Skywalker than our lovely red Togruta warrior. Like Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Anakin are sure to meet again, perhaps some time during this season, but will it mean the end of Ahsoka? We know Vader lives until the end of Return of the Jedi, but Ahsoka's fate is not so clearly written. Only time will tell.
On the Imperial side of things, Vader is, for lack of a better phrase, "The Man!" In every epic story there are those moments when it's fun to root for the bad guy and Vader delivered in spectacular fashion. He owned Ezra and Kanan in their duel, as we expected him to. While a future confrontation with these men is inevitable, it doesn't carry the same weight as Ahsoka's relationship with the dark lord. Either way, it was awesome hearing legendary actor James Earl Jones giving voice to one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history.
Even Emperor Palpatine made his presence known in this episode. Veteran Sam Witwer was the man behind the voice, but he sounded so similar to Ian McDiarmid that it was startling. Witwer is diversifying his voice-over portfolio, as he goes from Darth Maul in the Clone Wars series to playing the most dangerous man in the galaxy in Rebels. Also, let's not forget Minister Tua's failed defection to the Alliance. She would have made a valuable asset. Explosions aside, do you think she's really dead?
If 'The Siege of Lothal' is any indication, Rebels should be one of those series you look forward to seeing in the fall. It's just a shame we have to wait a few more months for new episodes. Stay tuned to see what happens next.
Star Wars Rebels continues with 'The Lost Commanders' this fall on Disney XD. Check out a behind the scenes look below: