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.
This week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels is one that has been highly anticipated for its rumored Chopper-centric episode. Not to be disappointed, this week’s episode was chock full of C1-10P and also featured a new droid from Star Wars past.
The second biggest reveal in this episode was the immediate reveal of Sabine’s old friend, bounty hunter Ketsu Onyo, being a part of the Rebels plan to relocate to a new system. It is surprising for the mere fact since the episode ‘Blood Sisters’, we haven’t seen Ketsu at all. And sure enough, with no fanfare whatsoever, she appears as a rebel and an integral part of nailing down a new system. According to their most recent intel, the Rebels plan on jumping to the Yawst system in order to set up a new base free of Imperial entanglements. However, before they can leave the system, they must obtain more fuel in order for the entire fleet to complete the journey to Yawst.
The crew of the Ghost makes for Horizon Base, an Imperial port used for shipping and fueling transports, to steal fuel for their journey. After leaving Chopper behind and telling him to stay put, Chop is enticed to shop after spotting a new “ambulatory strut” in the inventory of a local Ugnaught vendor. After Chopper’s haggling falls short, when the vendor is not looking he steals the strut and tries to flee to the Ghost, only to find his friends have escaped with stolen fuel and unwittingly left him behind.
On the run from Imperials alerted to his presence by the Ugnaught vendor he stole from, Chopper stows away aboard an Imperial Cargo Ship. There, he meets AP-5, an Imperial inventory droid working under the iron fist of the Imperial Captain of the Cargo Ship. AP-5 initially wants to turn him in as a stowaway, but relents when Chopper reveals he is a “war hero” and served in the Clone Wars. AP-5 also served in the Clone Wars as a tactical assistant but was eventually restationed and repurposed as an inventory droid after the Empire took over. As their conversation continues, AP-5 is baffled by Chopper’s insistent he will be rescued by his friends. He envies a droid having someone who cares about them, something he has not experienced as a part of the Republic or the Empire, but especially now under the command of his rather harsh Imperial master.
Having received a hint of Chopper’s backstory during Hera’s episode, ‘Homecoming’, in which Hera’s father reveals Chopper was salvaged from the wreckage leftover after the Battle of Ryloth during the Clone Wars, we finally get some more backstory straight from the droid’s “mouth”. Chopper served in the Republic Army as many astromech droids do in battle, as tactical droids in starfighters. Chopper was in a Y-Wing that was shot down over Ryloth and Hera, who was a young girl during the Clone Wars, salvaged Chopper from the wreckage, restored him, and made him her own. AP-5, unlike Chopper, was not shot down but sent down after the Clone Wars. There shared a similar war story but differing directions since then. While Chopper was taken in by Hera and given a caring family in the form of the Ghost crew, AP-5 was given lesser duty and treated like garbage under Imperial rule.
Despite their dissimilar post-Clone War trajectories, the two become quick friends, a fact Chopper admits to and catches AP-5 off guard. However, through their combined work together, the two of them manage to help Chopper escape capture, thwart AP-5’s Imperial officer, and secure their link up with the Ghost crew by jumping into hyperspace with the Cargo Ship.
However, when they arrive at the rebel fleet, it has fallen under attack by Admiral Konstantine’s fleet, and the fleet is patiently waiting for the Ghost to arrive with fuel in order to make the escape to the Yawst system. Right before they can leave, AP-5 makes the stunning revelation the Rebel’s intel is either wrong or too old and an Imperial fleet lies in wait for them in the Yawst system. How this happened is left unexplained, but AP-5 has the solution. Using his knowledge of the Imperial databanks, AP-5 helps Chopper and the rebel crew secure a new location with no Imperial presence. While it goes unnamed in the episode, the fleet narrowly escapes Admiral Konstantine and escapes the Atollon system.
Although disappointment reigned when further research revealed the new rebel base would be on Atollon, not Yavin 4, this episode of Rebels was fun, exciting, and featured one of the best Rebels characters. While not everyone is a big fan of Chopper, he is so much fun because of how obstinant, psycho, and borderline homicidal he is towards enemies and friend alike. A now, he has a friend who contrasts his personality, much the same way R2-D2 and C-3PO are. While Chopper is rash, excitable, and maniacal, AP-5 is calculating, matter-of-fact, and rational. As Ezra’s story arc has grown more serious and he has begun to grow up, the show has reduced Ezra’s irascible nature clashing with Zeb’s gruff, serious tone. Even Zeb has grown, as well, and the show needed to start thinking about doing something different with the comedic elements in the show. It is brilliant to bring in a new character to have C1-10P to banter with and create a new astromech/protocol droid type pairing that worked so well in the original trilogy.
And the best part of this entire episode is the quickly formed friendship. Chopper functions like an evangelist and advocate for the Rebellion when talking to AP-5. He even mentions his free will as a droid to decide how he wants to serve. The rebellion cares for their people, as evidenced two episodes ago in ‘The Honorable Ones’, and evidenced in this episode both by Hera’s treatment of Chopper and Chopper’s treatment of AP-5. The Rebellion is beginning to have this reputation as a new community, much the same way it functioned for Luke and Han in Episode IV. In the harsh and oppressive rule of the Empire, the Rebellion stands for love, humanity, and treating others as you would like to be treated. Clearly, as seen in AP-5 joining Chopper, as well as Ketsu being linked to the Rebels, this community of resistance fighters is quickly developing a reputation as being the antithesis of the cold, imperious nature of the Empire.
- This week, Chopper makes a strong case (evangelizes might be a better word) to AP-5 of the benefits of joining his band of Rebels on the Ghost. Why did Chopper say it was better? Why was AP-5’s situation so bad on the Imperial Cargo Carrier?
- What makes a good friend? Why did Chopper call AP-5 a friend and why did AP-5 call Chopper a friend? Where do you hear or see good examples of friendship in this episode?
- Read Matthew 7:12 together. How do you want to be treated? How does the way the Rebels treat their fellow Rebels differ from how the Imperials treat their own and others? Which way seems better? How did Christ treat us? How is his treatment like how the Rebels treat their friends and even their enemies?
- AP-5 is based on the Death Star Droid, Ra-7, seen on board the Death Star and also in the Sandcrawler in Star Wars. It even had its own action figure!
- AP-5 is voiced by Stephen Stanton, a regular on both Star Wars animated TV shows. He has done the voices of Grand Moff Tarkin, Mas Amedda, Colonel Meebur Gascon, and many other voices.
- The Imperial Officer with a handlebar mustache is voiced by James Adomian. He is a comedian and actor known for his impersonation of George W. Bush for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and his frequent appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang!. He is known for his impression of Jesse Ventura, so it is pretty comical the Imperial officer has much the same look and voice as “The Body” and former Minnesota governor.