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.
“For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic,”
Obi-Wan Kenobi spoke these words to Luke, the son of his friend and pupil Anakin Skywalker, shortly before his death at the hands of the same friend. Kenobi speaks fondly of the Jedi Order’s solemn duty and legacy to this galactic mission, and ponders this mission in view of the darkness that has overtaken the galaxy:
“Before the dark times, before the Empire.”
Taking place only a handful of years before the events of A New Hope, this episode of Star Wars Rebels finds the few remaining Jedi–really only Kanan–and followers of the light fighting for both the future of the Force and the legacy of the Jedi. The episode opens with a rather frightening scene of our two favorite Inquisitors: the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother, boarding a ship and stealing a baby from the arms of her grandmother. Ahsoka, ever the perceptive and investigative woman she was while a padawan to Anakin Skywalker, has been tracking down who the mysterious Dark Lord she felt at the beginning of the season and has been hot on the heels of his minions, the Inquisitors. She sends Ezra, Kanan, and Zeb to investigate their next destination and she goes to investigate their previous.
It leads them both down dark paths of discovery to find the Inquisitors have been busy stealing babies from their mothers. While Ashoka is too late, the others just missed the Inquisitors, but the baby’s mother, an Ithorian named Oora (hammerhead alien species), managed to prevent her baby’s capture by sending him away in a droid. The trio from the Ghost crew split up and Zeb is the one who finds baby Pypey. They meet up and are quickly intercepted by the Inquisitors. After some fighting, escaping, and a speeder chase through the streets of Takobo, the Inquisitors corner them at the doors of their docking bay and things look bad.
However, what this whole episode, and frankly the whole second season to this point, have been building up to what comes next. The blast doors of the docking bay open and the shadow of Ashoka stands in the light pouring through. She ignites her two lightsabers, now white to show her allegiance to neither the Jedi nor the Sith, and fights both the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother. It’s a goosebump-inducing scene for fans of Star Wars and specifically The Clone Wars. He fighting style is different, less wild and passionate, but much more controlled and her force powers are clearly greater. She easily bests the Inquisitors and would probably have stuck around to finish them off if not for an arriving corps of stormtroopers. Ezra, Kanan, Zeb, and Chopper swing the Phantom around and Ashoka makes two giant Force leaps into the ship.
Besides the importance of showing off how great Ahsoka really is in battle, this episode’s title has a double meaning. One the one hand, it is a throwback to a story from The Clone Wars where Darth Sidious, who we know as Palpatine/The Emperor, was kidnapping Force-sensitive babies and keeping them hidden on Mustafar for a mysterious purpose. It has long been speculated, something Kanan and Ahsoka discuss, the Sith were using the children to enhance their powers somehow. It had also been speculated by fans the babies were fostered and turned into Inquisitors. What this episode elucidates is Palpatine is still doing the same thing he was doing during the Clone Wars and who knows how many children had been kidnapped and used by the Dark Lord. Or is it Vader doing this? We’re still not sure.
The other meaning of this episode deals with our heroes’ response to these Force-sensitive children being taken. Ahsoka had helped protect Force-sensitive children in the past and was part of a Jedi mission. It was her responsibility, along with other members of the Jedi Order, to protect the innocent and safeguard the Force from manipulation by the Sith or any other Dark Side user. After being true to this task and rescuing two Force-sensitive children, Ahsoka reflects with Kanan;
Ahsoka: “They’re Force-sensitive. I’ve seen this before. A Sith Lord attempted the same thing back in the Clone Wars, but the Jedi Order stopped him.”
Kanan: “And now there’s no Jedi Order to protect them. Ok, I guess that task falls to us now.”
There lies a small sliver of hope in the future of the Force. Could the Jedi Order survive with Kanan, Ahsoka, and Ezra finding and protecting those who are Force-sensitive and vulnerable to the Sith’s machinations? While we know the legacy of the light side lives on and the Jedi return, right now the embers of the Jedi Order still glow with this trio in Rebels.
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.
- What do Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka’s involvement in protecting the Force-sensitive babies teach us about the Jedi Order?
- Are peace and justice worth fighting for? What leads someone to help others at the risk of their own lives? How is this like Jesus’ life and his call for us to serve other people?
- What does this episode teach us about leaving a legacy? Despite their faults and failings, did the Jedi leave a good legacy?
- The gateway Ahsoka leaps on to escape is the same archway from early concept drawings by Ralph McQuarrie of Jabba’s Palace. The same archway is used on Jakku in The Force Awakens.
- I love this piece of trivia. According to the StarWars.com trivia, the writers of this story named the main planet of this episode Takobo because their dining option while working on this story was a taco bar. Hilarious!
- Ithorians were originally called “Hammerheads” during the era of the original trilogy. They did not receive the official alien species of “Ithorian” until the EU canon, now known as Legends, started to be formed.