Well, Rebels season 3 is here, and has begun with some of the same old rebels we love, and a few new twists thrown into the mix. It’s not a perfect episode, but it’s the beginning of what promises to be an intriguing season. Here are my seven big thoughts about tonight’s episode:
- As a season premiere, this episode was relatively unambitious. Whereas last season opened with The Siege of Lothal and included both a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader AND a space battle with Darth Vader, this season gives us another “steal ships for the rebellion” plot, which we’re now relatively familiar with from last season. This isn’t a misstep, though. The character moments that the episode wanted required the mission to be relatively routine.
- Thrawn is surprisingly creepy. The big bad for the season got teased at Star Wars Celebration, so I knew to expect Thrawn, but I didn’t expect him to be so effectively scary – cool, patient, silky voiced, and, we get the feeling, absolutely ruthless. I’m glad we’re taking a break from Inquisitor big bads, as they were getting tiresome.
- Am I the only one who’s tired of Hondo?
- The Bendu was… intriguing. For me, the most compelling part of this episode was always going to be Kanan dealing with the fallout from last season’s finale in which he was blinded by and almost lost his apprentice to Maul. Using the Bendu as Kanan’s counselor/new mentor figure was interesting and effective, even if we’re still unsure about who/what the Bendu is. I for one am worried about the fact that the sith Holocron is in the Bendu’s possession. Won’t the Holocron corrupt the Bendu, as it clearly has been doing to Ezra? Or is the Bendu a sort of Tom Bombadil character which won’t be unbalanced by such things? Time will tell.
- I honestly don’t know what to make of Ezra. It’s cool to see that he’s matured, and I’m glad that he got to learn a lesson about overreaching and failing, but I just don’t know how worried to be about him. Kanan seemed to go from being appropriately worried about Ezra’s use of the sith Holocron to overly confident that everything is alright. I think Kanan wants nothing to be wrong with Ezra so much that he’s not seeing Ezra clearly. I think that the pacing of the Ezra/Kanan scenes was a little off, too. The writers tried to fit a little too much character development into a single episode. In any case, I’m interested to see how all this plays out.
- Okay, what’s with the owls? They’re everywhere: owls ended the season 2 finale – an owl flew off from the Sith Temple after Vader defeated (?) Ahsoka; an owl was watching over the rebels when they arrived back at their base. Now, an owl leads Kanan to the Bendu, AND Sabine has an owl image painted on her shoulder-plate. Something’s definitely going on with owls.
- RIP the Phantom. I’d really grown attached to the Phantom, and it was sad to see it destroyed due to Ezra’s over-confidence. Still, I noticed that there’s a Star Wars Lego set slated for a 2017 release named “Phantom II”. I’m already excited to see what the new model looks like.