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. [divider top=”no”]
The Lost Commanders kicks off the Rebels’s season-long search for a new base in the wake of the siege on Lothal. Commander Sato knows that they need to find a new center of operations (and fast), but he’s short on ideas. Ahsoka, however, says that she has some old friends who may be able to help the Rebel cell find a base. She points the crew to the isolated desert planet of Seelos, admonishing Kanan to trust her friends when they find them. Not fully understanding her advice, Kanan shrugs it off and carries on as normal, unaware of the unique challenge he is about to face.
Arriving at Seelos, Hera is dismayed to find that Chopper hasn’t fully fixed the hyperdrive, which means that Kanan, Zeb, and Ezra will have to take the Phantom down to the planet’s surface in search of Ahsoka’s mysterious contact. Kanan spots a highly modified Clone War-era AT-TE battle tank and flies in to take a closer look. What they find surprises them: a group of old, worn-out looking men. As not-so-pleasant pleasantries are exchanged, the Rebel crew finds out they are talking to none other than Captain Rex and Commanders Gregor and Wolffe, former clone troopers. Kanan’s reaction is visceral and aggressive; he pulls out his lightsaber and marches toward the trio of clones. Wolfe pulls out his blaster and fires upon Kanan, but Rex is able to calm the situation before it escalates in an all-out battle. The Rebels are then able to explain that they were sent by Ahsoka and need the clones’ help.
Meanwhile, across the galaxy, Agent Kallus is informed that a signal has been sent out from the planet Seelos, warning of a Rebel presence. A probe droid is sent to investigate. Things are completed on Seelos. Kanan doesn’t trust clones, and Wolffe doesn’t seem to trust the Rebels much either. Still, they reach an uneasy agreement. If the Rebels help Rex and company catch a joopa—a massive worm-like creature that lives below the planet’s sandy surface and serves as an excellent source of food for the hungry clones—then they will consider helping the Rebels find a base. So everyone goes slinging for joopas.
Tethered to the AT-TE by what looks like an huge fishing pole with electric string, Zeb is used as bait (apparently joopas love the smell and taste of Lassat). The team is finally able to haul in their elusive prey. But just when the tension between the two groups seems to be a thing of the past, the Rebels discover the aforementioned distress signal that was sent out to the Empire. Wolffe is the culprit, yet he quickly sees the error of his ways and signals his change of heart by shooting the probe droid that has been spying on them. The episode then ends with a cliffhanger. Although the Rebels and the former clones may have put aside their differences, the Empire is still on its way to Seelos.
The Lost Commanders is one of my favorite episodes of Rebels to-date because it works in a tremendously fun homage to one of my all-time favorite films: Jaws. The joopa fishing is full of references to Spielberg’s beloved shark flick. Like the Orca (Quint’s ship in Jaws), the front of Rex’s AT-TE is adorned with the skeletal jaws of a carnivorous beast, and the musical score through the fishing scene in this episode of Rebels is reminiscent of John William’s score in a similar scene in the 1975 blockbuster. In my mind Star Wars plus Jaws is basically guaranteed to be a winning formula.Of course there’s also a very cool Miyazaki reference, too. (see the trivia section for more details.)
But this episode isn’t all fun and games; we see some genuine growth in Kanan’s character as well. His reticence to trust Rex is deep-seated, as is the reluctance with which he discusses his motivations therein. The moment when he reveals his his reasons for mistrusting the clones—he was present when they executed Order 66 and murder the Jedi, including his master, Depa Billaba—gives us some interesting insight into his backstory. (Read John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn if you want to learn even more about Kanan.) We see Kanan’s hard visage and seemingly impenetrable exterior crack. He makes himself vulnerable by trusting Ezra. Perhaps even more significantly, we see in Kanan a willingness to forgive his former enemies and trust them to help his crew find a new base. And trusting another person is an act that signifies changed (or transforming) affections.
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.
- Kanan isn’t the only character who has problems trusting others. Wolffe alerts the Empire of the Rebels’s presence. Why does he do this?
- Can you think of a time when you had motives similar to Wolffe’s?
- How can we overcome our inability to trust others?
- The design and movement of the AT-TE are a tribute to the castle in the famous Miyazaki film, Howl’s Moving Castle.
- The logo on Gregor’s tank top shirt is that of the diner he worked at during the Clone Wars
- This is the first appearance of Captain Rex subsequent to the events in The Clone Wars TV show.