TV Review: Star Wars Rebels – Season 2
Continuing with my asides from my reviews of the Star Wars Legends universe, I’ve finished watching Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels, and would like to give my thoughts.
Rebels Season 2 continues with the dynamic of season 1 of the series, with the crew of the Ghost being pursued by the Empire, both in terms of the ISB as represented by Agent Callus, and through Imperial Inquisitors, here represented by The Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister. However, this season also starts bringing in some more dramatic ties with the main Star Wars films, with Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin taking a more active role in the hunt for the Rebels.
On the side of the Alliance, we see Princess Leia Organa undergoing missions for the Alliance (using diplomatic and humanitarian work as a cover – tying into Vader’s line of dialog from A New Hope), and Mon Mothma organizing the Alliance behind the scenes. However, what we also get here is more significant connections into the Clone Wars series, with the return of Rex and several of the other named clones from that series, and the return of Ahsoka Tano.
The fluidity of the animation in the series fight scenes has improved some, though there is definitely a case where some fight scenes clearly get more work than others. In particular, the season finale features a fight between Ahsoka, Kanan, Ezra, and a returning Darth Maul (now simply known as Maul), against a trio of inquisitors, and a long awaited confrontation between Vader and Ahsoka, which features some of the best animation of the series to this point.
This season also ends on a darker note than last season did. The elephant in the room with Rebels was that it was a show with two, and now three, Jedi who are not present in the original trilogy, and who are known to the Alliance. While there is nothing really stopping Rex, Chopper, Hera, Sabine, and Zeb from surviving the entire war (and the Forces of Destiny shorts confirm that Hera at least survives Endor) – Ahsoka, Ezra, and Kanan have a much rougher road in store for them.
In turn, this leads to one of the points I really liked about season 1. Season 1 didn’t feel like it was dumbing down it’s material, and Season 2 doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is Star Wars, and in Star Wars people die or get maimed. In turn, it trusts that younger fans will get that concept – and to the credit of Disney, they get that we are in a post-Avatar: the Last Airbender world, and you can have stories for younger audiences that acknowledge topics like death, as opposed to the animated TV series made for kids when I was that age, when death never really happened.