REVIEW: Star Wars Rebels – Season One (2014-2015)

StarWarsRebels

The following is a review of the first season of Star Wars Rebels.

I was never sure that I was going to watch Star Wars Rebels. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t enjoy every season of The Clone Wars. But I decided to give Rebels a chance, and I was hooked almost instantly. I loved the first season so much that I bought it on Blu-Ray in December 2015, even though the entire season was available on Netflix Denmark. The first season of Rebels is perfect for all ages, and you definitely don’t need to have seen The Clone Wars to enjoy it. I had some problems adjusting to the animation style of The Clone Wars, but have had no such problem with Rebels, to be perfectly honest.  

Taking place 14 years after the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Rebels follows the crew of the spacecraft the Ghost as they fight back against the evil Empire and the Sith. When the crew attempts to steal blaster rifles from the Empire on the planet Lothal, their operation is interrupted by a young orphan named Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray).

Ezra is a survivor, for better or worse. Before meeting the crew of the Ghost, he would survive by stealing from vendors and the Empire. His reckless nature gets him in trouble multiple times, and is quite a nuisance for some of the crewmembers. But their interest is piqued when they learn that Ezra has Force abilities.

Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr.) decides to teach and guide Ezra in the ways of the Force, using what little he remembers of his own training. Kanan, a Jedi who survived ‘Order 66’, is a very untraditional Jedi, which is perfectly understandable once you remember his training was never finished. But he is the de facto leader of the Ghost, and, I might add, is the best new character in Rebels.

The other leader of the Ghost is the impressive Twi’lek pilot, Hera Syndulla (voiced by Vanessa Marshall). Hera is very much a maternal figure to the rest of the Ghost, and she is always the more levelheaded in the group. I like her character a lot, and she, along with Ezra and Kanan, are definitely the characters I prefer on the show.

I don’t love the rest of the crew. There are elements to the characters that I really like, but I prefer when the plot isn’t focused on Sabine Wren (voiced by Tiya Sircar), Zeb (voiced by Steven Blum), and C1-10P (nicknamed ‘Chopper’). However, as the season progressed, I started to like Sabine and, especially, Zeb more and more.

Now, the first season of Star Wars Rebels is somewhat brief, containing one film (Spark of Rebellion; which I call episode zero) and thirteen 20-minute episodes. But there is a lot to take in over the course of the season, and there are a lot of cameos.

The original/prequel trilogy cameos were hit-or-miss for me. Sure, it’s cool to see C-3PO, R2-D2, Lando, and so on and so forth, but there are such things as wasted cameos. If the cameo doesn’t really improve on the story, then I don’t want to see it. They didn’t always feel organic to me.

In fact, my three favorite episodes aren’t really about outside cameos. Rise of the Old Masters, Breaking Ranks, and Fire Across the Galaxy are really, really good. Rise of the Old Masters focuses on Kanan’s issues with his own capability as a master to Ezra, leading them both into major trouble, and I would say that the season finale, Fire Across the Galaxy, concludes a pretty cool rivalry that takes form in Rise of the Old Masters.

But Breaking Ranks is my favorite episode of the season, and, strangely, it isn’t really about the Force, and is really an episode focused primarily on Ezra. This was the episode that really sold me on the character, and seeing him infiltrate the Imperial Academy was really cool. If you’re worried about this show not being as good as you would like, then I’d definitely recommend that you check out either Rise of the Old Masters or Breaking Ranks, and if they don’t hook you, then I don’t think the show is for you.

B+

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

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