As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have been somewhat unsuccessful in my attempts to watch every episode of every show in the Star Wars canon before the end of this month (although I’ve given it a pretty good go).
Unfortunately this 2014 successor to ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ is one of the shows I haven’t been able to view in it’s entirety.
But I’ve watched a few episodes and I’d never let a little thing like ‘not really knowing my subject matter’ stop me from writing a blog post about it.
But first a spoiler alert:
Spoiler Alert: I’m only up to about a third of the way through series 2 of this, so please don’t ruin it for me. Although if you haven’t seen any episodes, I suppose there’s still a small chance I could spoil it for you in the rest of this post.
I really like this cartoon. It’s very different in tone and style to ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ and some might say it suffers by comparison.
I haven’t seen enough to fully inform my views but I’d say that what I’ve seen so far holds up pretty well and there are definitely elements about this that I prefer.
The main things I like are probably nostalgia driven, because this show is chronologically much closer to the original trilogy. Which means that we get proper Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers and Star Destroyers.
Oh and we get Darth Vader. He’s not in every episode, but he shows up a few times and he’s voiced by James Earl Jones and everything.
And so far in the episodes I’ve watched, we’ve also had Lando (voiced by Billy Dee Williams) and C3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels but that’s less of a novelty because C3PO is in all the Star Wars cartoons and he’s always voiced by Anthony Daniels). Grand Moff Tarkin has also been in some episodes although obviously not voiced by the original actor. But it was still nice to see him feature.
There are also recurrent characters from ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’, notably Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex, who were two of my favourites from that show and who are voiced in this by the same actors.
And while they haven’t yet shown up, I’m fairly certain from the marketing I’ve seen around this show that Obi Wan Kenobi (the older version from the original trilogy) and Darth Maul (who seems to be making the most of his implausible resurrection) are both going to show up too.
But the show really hinges on its central characters. I don’t really know how I feel about them yet, but so far I’m fairly optimistic. There’s no-one I actively dislike and potentially by the time I’ve got through all of the episodes there’ll be a few who’ll be up there with my favourites.
All the core characters in this were essentially new to Star Wars when this show first aired, which means they had no existing capital with fans (which seemingly can be a problem for some Star Wars fans). It does, however, leave a lot more room for character development, which, even though I’m still not that far into it, is already apparent in the episodes I have seen.
Aside from trying to win over the fans, the main problem with introducing new characters, particularly in a show that is set a few years before the original trilogy, is the difficulty in explaining why these characters aren’t around in those movies.
Particularly as, so far, we’ve got two Jedi in Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, as well as the aforementioned Ahsoka, who isn’t technically a Jedi anymore but who still knows how to wield a lightsaber like the best of them. And there are no shortage of bad guys with red lightsabers called the inquisitors who are also not in the movies. Although at the stage I’m at with my viewing, one of those is already dead, so maybe the others will follow suit.
But will the good guys also die?
And if not, how will the show resolve itself to explain their absence from the movies, given that they are very much part of the Rebel Alliance?
Obviously I’ve done a lot of reading about Star Wars in recent weeks so, unfortunately, I have subjected myself to some spoilers and my understanding is that the show will have answered my questions by the time I get to the final episode.
To be fair, I’m not too precious about such things really, as long as the show is entertaining.
And on the evidence I’ve seen so far, ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ is a pretty good watch.
Best character (so far) – Ezra Bridger
The force is strong with this one. He’s a bit of an archetype, but I quite like him because in many ways he represents what I always imagined the young Anakin Skywalker should have been in ‘The Phantom Menace’. Rather than the Anakin we actually got in ‘The Phantom Menace’…
Worst Character (so far) – Chopper
He’s like R2D2 but with a bad attitude. Sometimes he’s funny but he’s often quite annoying and frankly he’s a liability. Given the general disposability of droids in the rest of Star Wars, it’s a wonder the other characters in this bother to keep him around.
Unsung hero – Minister Tua
Initially presented as a fairly unsympathetic official working for the Empire, not exactly evil but not especially nice. But with the arrival of Darth Vader things take a darker turn and she realises she’s out of her depth. Tries to defect to the Rebels and gets blown up for her troubles.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. Which is actually quite a lot given how few episodes I’ve seen. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be attempting to write about another show I haven’t seen in its entirety.