Star Wars is a cinematic icon, but it is much more than its movies. Blaine and Josh dive right into the middle of Star Wars Rebels, the fantastic animated show on Disney XD, and will be reviewing the first half of Season 2. As a show aimed at kids, but also clearly for the kid in every adult Star Wars fan, they’ll also have a discussion section to talk about the themes covered in each show.
This might be one of my favorite weeks of Star Wars Rebels ever! One of the best secondary characters from The Clone Wars makes his triumphant return. For the uninitiated, a brief synopsis and then lots of discussion about the character reveal in this episode.
The episode begins with Ezra being strapped for time. He is blaster training with Rex when Kanan informs him he is late for “Jedi practice”. Then Hera butts in that Ezra hasn’t cleaned the carbon scoring off the Ghost, yet, and he and Chopper will be staying behind while the rest of the crew heads on a small mission to obtain generators for a planet in need. As Ezra cleans and Chopper helps, he laments this new life as a part of the Ghost crew and being pulled in so many directions; as a soldier, a Jedi, a Rebel, and as a teenager. When he was on his own, living on the streets of Lothal, he had all the time in the world to do what he wanted. Now, he was on cleaning duty while everyone else ran off.
Things are about to get interesting, as he receives a distress call from the Broken Horn, the spaceship of Cikatro Vizago, to whom Ezra owed a favor after Vizago provided information to the captured Kanan’s whereabouts at the end of Season 1. Ezra and Chopper take on in the Phantom to help Vizago, only to find no one aboard the ship. When they enter the cockpit, however, they find a strange, old Weequay pirate who turns out to be none other than Hondo Ohnaka!
For those unfamiliar with Hondo, I would suggest going back and watching multiple seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Hondo, voiced by the legendary Jim Cummings, was a staple of the show and everyone’s favorite Trickster spirit and all-around rapacious pirate. He has an affinity for money, treachery, and is the prime example of living for one’s self while still having a spirit of adventure and a tender heart for those he calls his friends. Although, who his friends are may vary depending on Hondo’s own self-interest.
In this episode, Hondo proves to be the same half-truth telling swindler he has always been. After recruiting Ezra and Chopper to help in exchange for some generators the Ghost crew needs, they go on a mission together to obtain a big payday for Hondo. However, they are betrayed, as is par for the course if you know Hondo when it is revealed their contact is Azmorigan, the crime boss Vizago does business with and crossed paths with Ezra in Season 1. Azmorigan tries to kill Hondo to collect a bounty on him and also kill Ezra as revenge for their previous encounter. Just when things look like at their worst for Ezra and Hondo, Chopper shows up and psychotically saves the day. Ezra rescues Hondo using the Force and Hondo excitedly reveals his previous friendship with a Jedi.
After returning to the Broken Horn with a pay day, Hondo stabs them in the back, again, when Ezra finds Vizago imprisoned in the ship’s holding cell. Ezra busts him out and returns Vizago’s ship to its rightful owner, but not before Hondo escapes with the credit from Azmorigan and Vizago sends Ezra and Chopper back to Garel on an escape pod. When they return to the Ghost, they find Hondo regaling the crew with the tale of what happened to him and Ezra. Hondo leaves with the money after providing well wishes and Ezra reflects on the pirate life. In a different time, Ezra would have made the perfect crew for Hondo and would have ended up just like him; out for himself. Now, Ezra knows, he is a Rebel, and at heart, a true Jedi, and his path is one of sacrifice, duty, and honor. While Hondo could get behind the latter two, sacrifice is not in his lexicon, and Ezra knows he now fights for the greater good of the galaxy and upholding the code of the Jedi.
Given Ezra’s revelations at the end of the episode, I still think this is all about Hondo. What I love more than anything else about Hondo is his quick wit, equally quick allegiance-swapping, and his penchant for making friends with the good guys who have a little bit of a deceptive streak in them. Like when Ezra is revealed to have lied to Hondo, he quips, “You lied to me! I knew I liked you!” Hondo’s morality is so backward from what we associate with a normal hero or almost any character in Star Wars. He’s Han Solo taken to the extreme. Whereas Han and even Lando, both former pirates and swindlers, prove to have a heart and join the Rebellion, Hondo never once considers himself to be out for anyone but himself. Yet, he is not like Count Dooku, Boba Fett, or The Emperor. He’s not a bad guy in the blackest sense. He has honor, fights for what is right, but only if it will further his interests. You see that much more in the later episode where Hondo makes another appearance and plays off the Rebels against the Imperials and vice versa. What to make of Hondo can be confusing, but his gregarious nature and hilarious contradictions make him a beloved Star Wars character.
Star Wars Rebels is a family show. Parents love watching as much as their kids. Infusing the spiritual with the fantastic and adventurous, Rebels continues the spirit of what makes Star Wars great. In order to foster the young minds and hearts of your Reel World Theologians, each week there are questions you can use during or after the show to talk about with your kids. Enjoy the show and then enjoy conversation, but always remember that story is powerful and Star Wars Rebels is not mindless.
- Do you ever grow tired of having responsibility? Do you ever feel like Ezra that you would want to do whatever you want? Does this episode show thinking that way is a good thing or a bad thing?
- What is Hondo’s attitude about being responsible? Would Hondo find the following phrase good or bad, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,”? What is the difference between being honorable and being sacrificial? Is there a difference?
- Is there greater value in serving yourself or serving others? As Christians, how are we called to serve? How does our service look like that of those in the Ghost crew? How is Christian service like that of the Jedi?
- I knew I recognized that ship! Azmorigan’s ship, a SoroSuub luxury yacht, is confirmed by StarWars.com to be a design lifted from the West End Games Star Wars roleplaying game to represent Lando Calrissian’s Lady Luck vessel from Heir to the Empire. It was also a prominent design in the X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter series of video games from LucasArts.
- The music you hear when Ezra enters the cockpit of the Broken Horn is a dead giveaway we are about to reintroduce Hondo Ohnaka. It is the same music playing in Hondo’s pirate den during episodes of The Clone Wars.
- When Hondo refers to having a friend who was a Jedi, he is referring to Obi-Wan Kenobi. While their friendship ebbs and flows, Hondo and Obi-Wan have a mutual respect for one another that extends throughout The Clone Wars TV Show. Man, I would love to see old Hondo and old Ben on-screen together somehow!