The Show: While Psycho Drive-In hasn’t been obsessed with Star Wars or the animated spin-offs, we have a pretty decent track record when it comes to appreciating what Lucasfilm Animation has been doing over the past decade. Scott Delahunt sang the praises of The Clone Wars and the pilot of Star Wars Rebels over in his Lost in Translation column, and I really liked the more mythology-laden episodes in the Lost Missions release of The Clone Wars. For me personally, though, Rebels never really clicked. I checked out the premiere, but none of the characters really seemed all that interesting and I simply forgot the show even existed until getting the opportunity to review Season Two. And, for the sake of transparency, I should point out that I only requested a review copy in the hopes that somebody else would volunteer to take it on. For reasons I can’t fully understand, that didn’t happen. And I’m really glad nobody else stepped up, because Star Wars Rebels has really grown into something special and I’m glad to have this on my Blu-ray shelf. The main characters in Rebels are still kind of bland, and the episodes focusing on expanding their backstories are the weakest in the season, relying on clichés and are almost completely lacking in surprise or depth. But by the end of the season, with all of that nonsense out of the way, every character (except maybe Zeb and Chopper) gets repositioned into much stronger, more complex places to kick off the upcoming Season Three (premiering September 24 on Disney XD). The real strengths, for me, to this season, were the callbacks to Clone Wars and the returns of the strongest characters Ahsoka and Rex, plus the returns of classic characters Darth Vader and Maul. The season gets off to a strong start with a run of five straight episodes that are not to be missed. The two-part “Siege of Lothal” kicks everything off with a healthy dose of action and intrigue as Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones himself) enters the fray. When he and his former apprentice, Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein), now an experienced warrior in her own right, cross paths, it’s epic and inspiring. We can’t wait to see where this is leading, because we all know that it’s leading to the lightsaber duel to end all lightsaber duels. And hell, we even get a brief cameo by Lando Calrissian and Billy Dee Williams is back to do the voice! Essentially, the Season Two opener was all about making everybody sit up and take notice. If you love the classic trilogy, this is for you. If you loved Clone Wars, this is also for you. They don’t really throw a bone to fans of the second trilogy until the two-part finale, in what are may be the strongest episodes in the season, as they re-introduce Maul (Sam Witwer) as a creepy old creeper with designs on our young Ezra (Taylor Gray). Along the way, clone trooper Rex returns to the fold in another two-parter and two new Inquisitors are introduced, The Fifth Brother (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) and The Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar joining husband Freddie Prinze Jr. who voices battle-scarred Jedi, Kanan), adding an intriguing layer of mystery to just who and what the Inquisitors are and how they serve Vader. This season also sees Ezra’s ability to connect with animals developed in a big way, as “The Call” becomes one of the strongest episodes to date. And in what was a bit of a surprise, “The Honorable Ones” sees Zeb and Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) paired up in an homage to sci-fi classic Enemy Mine – although, to be fair, it’s a pretty common story – as the two enemies have to rely on each other to survive on a harsh frozen moon. It allows for Kallus to suddenly not be just the one-dimensional bad guy he’s been so far and opens up the opportunity for real character growth as Season Three begins. Oh, and did I mention that we get a glimpse into the possible past history of the now-deceased Grand Inquisitor? With twenty-two episodes, as opposed to the fifteen for Season One, Season Two of Star Wars Rebels really ups the ante and begins to add layers upon layers to the entire cast. And with the Rebel forces gaining ground, we’re getting a very interesting and exciting look at the world just a few years before Star Wars: A New Hope. Rogue One will be out in November, also, and hopefully there will be some backstory laid out in Rebels Season Three (especially with Forest Whitaker playing Saw Gerrera from Clone Wars), or at least some groundwork that will inform the film. I mean, we already saw a sterilized Geonosis, which means there’s a Death Star lurking out there somewhere. The Extras: Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season 2 – This is a short look at some of the Easter Eggs and connections to other Star Wars properties that you’ll find in Season Two of Star Wars Rebels. Some of them are fairly obvious, but there were a few surprises for me. Although, to be honest, I’m not the biggest Star Wars nerd. It’s nice to see the attention to detail that goes into this series. From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs Ahsoka (exclusive to Blu-ray) – This feature serves as a nice introduction to the history of Ahsoka and Anakin and Executive Producer Dave Filoni really seems dedicated to making their eventual confrontation something epic. He’s also clearly worried about letting down the fans. Rebel Recons – 20 short recaps of each episode, featuring interviews with cast and crew, comedy bits (that usually fall flat), and behind-the-scenes trivia and details. Hosted by the incredibly adorable Andi Gutierrez, these are actually a lot of fun and provide some very welcome insight into the show – particularly the connections with Star Wars: Clone Wars. See larger image Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Season 2 [Blu-ray] The epic battle to defeat the evil Empire continues in STAR WARS REBELS: COMPLETE SEASON TWO! As Ezra continues his journey to become a Jedi under Kanan’s guidance, the crew of the Ghost bands together with a secret rebel cell and ex soldiers from the Clone Wars to join a fledgling alliance to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. But the dark side looms large as Darth Vader dispatches new Inquisitors, setting the stage for a climactic showdown in which terrible truths will be revealed and the lives of our heroes will be changed forever. New From: $21.96 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.