Ever since its premiere in 2014, Star Wars: Rebels has been a massive success, picking up where Star Wars: The Clone Wars left off. Because it airs on the youth-focused Disney XD, some folks may be under the erroneous impression that it’s “just a kids’ show.” That, however, would be a regrettable mistake. Sure, it may take an all-ages approach when it comes to action, but you’d be remiss if that was what’s keeping you from watching this awesome Star Wars tie in.
The rag-tag group of heroes featured in Rebels are fully relatable to other characters you’d see in the Star Wars universe. You’ve got Ezra Bridger, the con artist turned Jedi apprentice who’s an instrumental part of the group; Kanan Jarrus, a troubled yet devoted Jedi who fights to keep his team in one piece; Hera Syndulla, a no-nonsense Twi’lek pilot with a powerful leadership ethic; Sabine Wren, a run-and-gun heroine who’s handy for combat; Zeb Orrelios, a tough Lasat whose heart is sometimes bigger than his brain; and Chopper, a sassy astromech droid who can hold his own when called upon.
They’re a likable bunch, but don’t be fooled into thinking these characters are one-dimensional. Ezra and Kanan’s attempts to resurrect the Jedi Order are a noble touch (considering what happened to the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith). Hera can hold her own when it comes to space flight and combat, but also struggles to maintain leadership over her group of willful warriors. Sabine has a shady past–she’s running from something–but demonstrates great techniques in fighting. Zeb makes bad choices sometimes, but is as lovable a sidekick as that big hairy Chewbacca (and, hey, you can understand him!). And of course, let’s not forget Chopper’s ability to fit right in with other droids, namely C-3PO and R2-D2, though frankly, he’s kind of a jerk.
With such an appropriate cast of characters, it’s only fitting that Rebels has done a tremendous job with its story arcs so far. Throughout the series, we get to see the repercussions of the events of the prequel trilogy on the galaxy at large, as well as more a more intimate picture of the crew of the Ghost. While the series isn’t even finished with its second season, we’ve already seen some great progression in character development as the main gang continues their trials and tribulations. Rebels also welcomes new characters to the Star Wars canon, including the villainous (and bad-ass) Grand Inquisitor, the Seventh Sister (played by Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Fifth Brother, and “introduces” some of our original favorites, like Lando Calrissian and Princess Leia. And even though The Clone Wars animated series is long gone, its spirit lives on as Rebels continues the stories of some of our favorite characters, including Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. Oh, and, uh… a certain Sith Lord makes a reappearance.
What really ties everything together is the show’s great voice cast. Luckily, Rebels gets to see people like Ashley Eckstein and Dee Bradley Baker reprising their roles from The Clone Wars, but what really makes Star Wars fans giddy is the returning talent from the movies. After all, where else can you hear Frank Oz resurrect his role as Yoda? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The return of James Earl Jones is nothing short of magic, and Lando still sounds as smooth as ever thanks to Billy Dee Williams. And who knows who’s on deck for the third season…
As with The Clone Wars, Rebels has terrific animation, with executive producer Dave Filoni and his team delivering a slam-bang job when it comes to recreating the look of Star Wars with more modern computer design. The look of Rebels has matured and softened a little bit, creating a more realistic take on the universe than The Clone Wars, making this the best-looking animated Star Wars product to date.
If you’re a fan of animation, fun storytelling, or just Star Wars in general, this show is definitely worth a watch. Whether you’ve seen The Clone Wars or are just looking to get in some more western space opera goodness during the long wait until Episode VIII, you owe it to yourself to tune in to this not-just-for-kids series.
The second season of Star Wars: Rebels is currently airing on Disney XD.
Featured Image Credit: Disney XD