Editorial: Star Wars Rebels Season 2: What’s at stake here?

Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels started so strongly, I question if it was actually too strong. Did they put the best up front? At present, it doesn’t feel like the season is working towards a crescendo. It feels like we got Darth Vader in a huge opening. We saw the headlining act. Now we’re seeing the opening acts and in the afterglow of such an event, it is difficult to impress.

I love seeing Rex and Ahsoka back. I really truly do. But then I see a strong cast aboard the Ghost that is not being utilized to its fullest potential. Hera and Sabine generally feel underused and appreciated on the show. While it is awesome that Rex and Ahsoka have returned, I have to wonder if it is at the cost of the characters already introduced on Rebels. 

The Inquisitors are interesting to an extent, but they would have fit better in the anthology format of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Here it feels like the writers have introduced an obstacle that is formidable and allows for the Jedi on the show to fight opponents with lightsabers. However, it just doesn’t feel like a real “Forming the Rebel Alliance” type of issue to me. The balance of the show almost makes it seem like the Rebel Alliance would be better off without the two amateur Jedi because it’s bringing in some crazy Jedi hunters that are disrupting their plans.

What’s at stake? As I watch this season unfold that has been my question. In the opening Siege of Lothal we see Hera and Kanan arguing about how to proceed into the future. Kanan doesn’t want to be a part of an army and Hera knows they need a stronger force to successfully accomplish their goals. But what are those exactly? To keep blowing up TIE fighters? What’s the mission at present?

The “what’s at stake” mystery has been about the identity of Darth Vader. When Ahsoka finds out it is going to destroy her, it seems. Rex has built up the Jedi he served with over the last few episodes as well. When he finds out the Jedi he once loved as a brother is Darth Vader, it should not be a good day for that clone. But does the crew of the Ghost care? Is the season’s mystery and emotional weight being delegated to what might equate to two guest stars on the show?

Animation is a fickle beast. Rarely do shows get to complete a run. I fear that Star Wars Rebels will end without making a solid contribution to the galactic civil war. I want these character’s lives to have mattered in the big picture. I hope as we move forward in the show, the emotional emphasis is reverted back to the crew of the Ghost as well. I also hope we start to see they’re working towards a central goal like setting up the base on Yavin or that the Death Star is a thing that needs to be dealt with.

I’m not being critical of Star Wars Rebels because I dislike the show. I’m being critical of the season so far because I love the show. There’s a lot of season left and I hope my fears and concerns are only valid for the first part of the season. The episodes we have had have pleased me on an instant gratification level. But we need to learn what the direction of the crew is going to be here pretty soon because learning the identity of Darth Vader is not really that important to the crew or the war itself, especially when we know what that part of the story amounts to.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cut off and stopped right as the best was yet to come. The remaining work we got from the show was stellar. The powers that be did not care because they had a bigger plan. I fear that if Star Wars Rebels doesn’t get moving, it might not ever get the chance to make the contribution to the big picture it should have or could have otherwise. Any wasted time or episodes that meander are going to matter if this show’s life is cut short because the powers that be want to make a Star Wars: The Force Awakens era show or something more current to the film’s goals and promotion.

I do appreciate the potential “real ending” for Star Wars: The Clone Wars we are getting here. Wrapping up two of the most important Star Wars characters of 2008-2012 is important and I don’t mean to belittle that. But with most superhero genre shows getting very short runs, Star Wars Rebels can’t afford to meander, stall, or take too many detours or we’re going to be left with a series that didn’t matter in the big picture. Star Wars fans know The Clone Wars matters in the big picture and I want Star Wars Rebels to matter as well.

I hope Star Wars Rebels gives a light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t mean the characters have to survive. It just means they contribute to finding the base on Yavin IV or something like that. At least then when we watch A New Hope we know the crew of the Ghost made that possible (not that it actually offered any strategical value to blowing up the Death Star). In my perfect world, next year we will watch Star Wars: Rogue One and we have another season of Star Wars Rebels under our belt and when we watch Star Wars: A New Hope we will feel those tales impacting and bettering our viewing of a film we have watched all our lives. With the first five episodes of Star Wars Rebels’ second season I fear that might not happen (but I’m very optimistic still).

What do you think? How are you feeling about the first five episodes of Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels so far?

Jason Ward (editor-in-chief)

Owner, Editor and content supervisor of MakingStarWars.net

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