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 Season 2 as it progresses. 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.
Since it was confirmed early in Season 1, fans have been clamoring to see Hera’s father and favorite character from The Clone Wars TV show, Cham Syndulla. While not carrying the same hype and anticipation of the eventual appearance of Ashoka Tano, this week finally delivered when the Ghost crew finds themselves in dire need of supplies and people. After the loss of another pilot, Commander Sato sends the team to the planet Ryloth, the home planet of Hera, to connect with a rebel cell there and steal an Imperial ship. The leader of this rebel group, as Hera reveals, is led by her father, Cham Syndulla, the famous liberator of Ryloth, whom she hasn’t spoken to since she left years ago.
After some initial introductions of both the Ghost crew and Cham and his crew, where Kanan is clearly nervous to meet a Clone Wars hero and father of Hera, the crew hatches a plan to steal the ship. A clever plan using a stolen TIE Bomber, the first appearance of the ship in Rebels, and some Jedi know how to jettison the crew, form the core of the plan with Cham’s group as additional support. Cham rebuffs the plan in favor of destroying the ship for the people of Ryloth, but he reluctantly agrees with Hera’s plan.
They arrive at Ryloth, board the ship with no resistance or suspicion, and part of the plan was to crash land in the docking bay of the Imperial cruiser because it, in Hera’s words and recalling an earlier episode “has to look good.” The most original and best-looking part of the episode is the inside of the TIE bomber and the cruiser hangar in the post-crash landing carnage. The whole area is smoke and emergency lights and lends a fun and different aesthetic to an otherwise routine artistic episode. One thing Rebels has going for it is a production team willing to take risks and do something different episode to episode. Very rarely is an episode visually boring or unimaginative within an already established universe.
Amidst this flame and smoke, the true intentions of Cham and his crew are revealed. Sabine discovers a satchel of explosives and she and the rest of the Ghost crew, minus Hera, are stunned by Numa and Gobi, Cham’s crew, and Cham sees to disabling Chopper and shackling Hera to the Ghost’s dash. Their plan is to detonate the ship as a symbol to the people of Ryloth and incite the Twi’leks of Ryloth to join their resistance to Imperial rule. It is an unexpected double cross by Cham against his own daughter and indicative of his singular and selfish focus on Ryloth and his own objectives.
At first, it seems like the famous general’s plan might succeed. But the Ghost crew respond with their own plan to continue with the mission and thwart Cham’s counter-initiative. Using the combined muscle and ingenuity of Zeb and Sabine, as well as the power of two Jedi, the Ghost crew manage to take the cruiser’s bridge and stop Noma and Gobi from setting the detonators. One fun aspect of the bridge takeover is Ezra and Kanan using the force to throw each other through hallways and using the force together to push back stormtroopers and take down doors. We’ve never seen anything quite like their teamwork before between two Jedi, the closest being Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan working together in Episode I in their fight against Darth Maul. It’s super fun and makes the prequels seem like a missed opportunity to have more of what Kanan and Ezra pull off. The Force, when used by Jedi, always has seemed so personal when used by the likes of Luke, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace Windu, Ashoka, and even the Emperor. However, in Ezra and Kanan’s case, their Force powers work better together and in cooperation. Their symbiotic relationship when fighting together is a unique portrayal of the master/padawan relationship that showcases both their growing expertise but also their continually deepening connection and friendship.
This takeover of the Imperial cruise will only provide another opportunity for a relationship. Not to deepen but to be rekindled. When the Imperials call in the inevitable reinforcements to take back the commandeered cruiser, Cham and Hera must put aside their rocky past and coordinate a defense of the ship. Cham appears on the bridge after disabling the ship’s hyperdrive. Hera must convince her father to abort his plan and help them. She appeals to the greater cause of the rebellion being one that cannot be won on only Ryloth. She left to fight for the greater good, which not only includes Ryloth but the entire galaxy, which is suffering under the oppression of the Empire. Noma and Gobi, who can hear over the comm, concur with Hera’s sentiment and Cham seems to soften, as well, and they agree to help. With their assistance, the Ghost crew and the Twi’leks are able to fight off the Imperial reinforcements and even take out the other cruiser bearing down on them. The downed cruiser both allows the rebels to escape with the new ship and serve as the clarion call to rebellion Cham had hoped for. In the final scene, Cham embraces his daughter and states how proud he is of her skill and passion for fighting back against the tyranny of the Empire. In a touching moment, he says, “I’m proud of you, Captain Syndulla.” She is not just his daughter but a respected freedom fighter, like her father before her.
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.
- Forgiving someone can be really hard. How do both Cham and Hera show forgiveness to one another in order to work together? Have you ever had to forgive someone like Hera and Cham have to? Is it easier or harder to forgive someone close to you? How is their forgiveness like Christ’s forgiveness of our sins? How is Christ’s forgiveness unlike theirs?
- In this episode, teamwork and working through differences is an important theme. Does working together make things easier or harder? Do we always agree 100% on what to do when we have a problem? How does Ezra and Kanan’s teamwork show how working together is good? What does Cham and Hera’s teamwork show us?
Star Wars Rebels Trivia
- All three Twi’lek characters; Noma, Gobi, and Cham are from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 episodes taking place during the liberation of Ryloth. Both Noma and Cham have direct connections to the Jedi Order. Cham and Mace Windu work together to free Ryloth and Noma, as a little girl, is rescued by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Clone Troopers from Ghost Company.
- The Twi’lek accent is specifically a French accent, as established by George Lucas during The Clone Wars TV show. Hera slips back into her accent when flustered in a conversation with her father. This explains the long-standing fan speculation that Hera abandoned her natural Twi’lek accent.
- In a small, throwaway comment, Cham mentions Chopper was salvaged from the fighting on Ryloth and Hera spent her time repairing and putting together Chopper. This is the first on-screen mention of Chopper’s origins and establishes him as being Hera’s droid for many years.