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.
The Rebels are searching for a squadron that has mysteriously disappeared. Sato and the crew discuss these strange happenings as they go into hyperspace, but Ezra has a bad feeling about all of this. The ship begins to rock and rumble as it is pulled out of hyperspace—a seemingly impossible feat—and into the clutches of the Imperial Interdictor, a massive experimental ship that uses a gravity well to intercept enemy operations. Ezra, Sato, and the rest of the crew are taken prisoner and brought to face Admiral Brom Titus, who is overjoyed to learn that they have captured someone as important as Sato and as elusive as Ezra “Jabba” Bridger.
Meanwhile, aboard the Ghost, Kanan, Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Rex, and Chopper hatch a plan to set the captives free. Much to their chagrin, Hera assigns Kanan and Rex to the rescue mission—the former because of his skills as a Jedi, and the latter due to his military experience as a former clone trooper. The two don stormtrooper armor and prepare to save their friends. (Chopper, who is allowed to tag along on the mission, even gets a paint job to make him look more like an Imperial droid.) Still, it is very clear that Kanan does not enjoy Rex’s company in the least.
Back on the Imperial Interdictor Ezra has makes his escape by using the force to ignite his lightsaber, distracting his captors long enough to free himself from his restraints and reclaim his weapon. He sees two more stormtroopers coming around the corner and uses the built-in blaster in his saber hilt to stun them. Unfortunately, these stormtroopers are none other than the disguised Kanan and Rex. The reluctant duo recovers quickly, and now they need a new plan. The Interdictor’s dangerous gravity well needs to be destroyed, and they also need to find and rescue Sato and his crew. The group splits; Kanan and Rex go to rescue Sato, while Ezra and Chopper go after the gravity well. In the end, of course, both plans work out for the Rebels. Chopper is able to plug into the Interdictor’s system and sabotage the gravity well (making it pull all surrounding ships in on itself, thus destroying it), and Kanan and Rex are finally able to locate and rescue Sato and his men. But just when everything seems to be going according to plan, Rex sacrifices himself by staying behind to fight off the Imperial troops while everyone else escapes. The former clone trooper is captured shortly thereafter. This act of selflessness enables Kanan to see Rex as a friend, and so he goes back to save him. Kanan saves Rex and they use an escape pod to get off of the ship just before the gravity well—sabotaged by Chopper—pulls the Interdictor to its final doom.
Stealth Strike is a highly significant character arc episode for Kanan. We know from the Kanan comic series and John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn that Kanan has a hard time trusting Rex precisely because the last time he worked with clone troopers was when Palpatine executed Order 66. The troopers turned on the Jedi, and Depa Billaba, Kanan’s master, was killed. In Kanan’s mind, therefore, he not only associates clone troopers with this tragic event, but with the very essence of betrayal and deceit. Kanan’s qualms with Rex, in other words, are not based on petty grievances; no, these are deeply embedded issues prompted by a very personal experience of tragedy and loss. Rex brings these buried issues to the surface for Kanan. It has been a struggle ever since they met the ex-trooper on Seelos slinging for Joopas. Ultimately it takes a self-sacrifice—one that mirrors the one made by his former master years ago—to open Kanan’s eyes and enables to call Rex a friend. Love covers a multitude of sins. In the end, then, this story echoes a much larger story—a true story—about the Word becoming flesh and being made sin on our behalf, about a God who forgives and calls traitors and enemies His friends.
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 does Kanan consider Rex an enemy?
- How do we know that Kanan is friends with Rex at the end of the episode?
- How does the Bible say we should treat enemies?
• The Imperial Interdictor has its origins in old EU legends. It’s yet another example of the story group canonizing old material.
• This is the first time an Imperial Weapons Technician has appeared on Rebels.