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.
Using Ibaar as a pawn to lure Phoenix Squadron into a trap, the Empire has cut off the planet’s food and ration supplies. However, when Eesh Fahm, a leader of an Ibaarian underground group, contacts the rebellion in search of help, Hera and her friends answer the call. Wings of the Master, therefore, begins with a massive dogfight, as the Rebels attempt to fight their way through a much stronger Imperial blockade led by Agent Kallus. Outgunned, Phoenix Squadron is quickly forced to retreat, leaving Ibaar to suffer longer under the heavy imperial yoke. The problem is that the Rebels simply do not have enough firepower or speed to make it through the blockade and onto Ibaar. They need faster, more advanced, and more powerful starfighters.
Captain Rex directs the crew’s attention to the isolated and dangerous planet of Shantipole, when he has heard rumors of a mastermind engineer creating an entirely new class of ship. Given that this mysterious planet is so dangerous (it has a volatile gas and lightning-based atmosphere that tends to destroy incoming vessels), Phoenix Squadron sends Hera and Zeb on this desperate mission. Moreover, time is of the essence if the Rebels are going to be able to regroup in time to liberate Ibaar.
Once Hera and Zeb enter Shantipole’s atmosphere, the Phantom is immediately assaulted by the planet’s atmosphere, but they find a platform just in time and are able to perform a safe crash landing. Here Zeb and Hera meet Quarrie, a Mon Cal who is apparently the mad scientist mastermind behind this new starfighter design. Quarry shows them his precious creation: it’s sleek, with a thin profile and plenty of firepower, its gyroscopic cockpit serving as a distinguishing feature. It is a Blade Wing prototype—B-wing for short.
After some debating about the Twi’lek’s worthiness to fly the new starfighter and some attempts to repair the Phantom, which was damaged on the journey into Shantipole, Quarrie finally allows Hera to take the B-wing out for a test run. It is exactly what the rebels were looking for: fast, agile, and powerful. In the end, the Rebels are able to use the B-wing to break through the Imperial blockade and deliver supplies to Ibaar. And Quarrie’s prototype impresses higher-ups (including Bail Organa) so much that they order the production of more B-wings—under the Mon Cal’s supervision, of course.
One of the things that Star Wars: Rebels does so effectively in season two is offer up some character-centered, character-driven episodes. Such shows provide little vignettes into the lives of these beloved Lothal Rebels, adding nuance and depth to the characters. In other words, episodes like Wings of the Master, though they may not advance the narrative arc all that much, keep Rebels from turning into a one-dimensional show. Prior to Wings of the Master, we already knew that Hera was an ace pilot and somewhat elusive leader of the crew, but this episode gives us a more significant glimpse into her past, showing us why she loves to fly. Hera tells Quarrie that she was child on Ryloth during the Clone Wars—which was, ironically, primarily a site for ground-based combat—and remembers looking up at the starfighters. For her, it seems, flying is a symbolic way to escape the chaos that marked her early life, a theme that will be developed more later on in season 2.
Perhaps the real star of Wings of the Master, however, is the B-wing. This starfighter made its debut in Return of the Jedi, and although it had very little screen time, it quickly became a fan-favorite. Numerous EU books and games featured the B-wing; these legends are even responsible for the nickname Blade Wing, as well as inventing clever origin stories that explain why the starfighter was not present at the Battle of Yavin. What Pablo Hidalgo, Dave Filoni, and the rest of the creative team at Disney have done in this episode, then, is to essentially canonize old Star Wars Legends. And this willingness to build upon the old EU is a great service to fans that is just another indication that Star Wars is in very capable hands.
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.Why is Quarrie hesitant to let Hera pilot his prototype?
- Why is Quarrie hesitant to let Hera pilot his prototype?
- Why was it so important for the Rebels to deliver supplies to Ibaar?
- Agent Kallus says that he knows his plan to trip the Rebels will work because they cannot resist helping others. What do you think this says about the Rebellion?
- What does the Bible say about helping others?
- The idea that a Mon Cal was instrumental to the design of the B-wing has its origins in an old EU RPG called Strike Force: Shantipole. As you can probably guess, that is also where Quarrie’s home planet derives its name.
- Quarrie gets his name from the famous concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, whose fingerprints are all over the Star Wars universe.