Star Wars is a cinematic icon, but it is much more than its movies. Blaine and Josh dive deep into the universe of Star Wars Rebels, the fantastic animated show on Disney XD, with reviews of the third season of this exciting series. 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 episode.
A staple of every Star Wars storytelling medium, fans have always loved droids. In movies, they are a must, on TV they have been consistent, the comics and video games have introduced fan favorites, and there was even a whole 80’s TV show dedicated to them! However, within the Star Wars universe itself, it is common for droids to be overlooked or downright ignored. “Double Agent Droid” is the rare “droid-centric” episode showcasing how the droids of Rebels are critically important to the Rebellion and criminally ignored by the Empire. While a lot of people might complain about this episode, as is often the case whenever the show strays from the A-plot line, this is one of the most important second-half episodes for one reason: AP-5.
In this episode, AP-5 and Chopper are sent on a critical mission to obtain important access codes for the impending attack on Lothal by the Rebels. The only person unwitting enough to tag along with them is Wedge Antilles, so he is tasked with this important mission. After arriving, Chopper and AP-5 embark into Killun Station, an Imperial outpost, only to be identified in a security scan by an Imperial listener ship manned by Lobot-like Imperial Intelligence agents. Admiral Thrawn has identified Chopper as a potential rebel droid and his persistence in gathering data about the rebels has paid off when Chopper goes through the scan. The lead intelligence officer, Controller LT-319, takes over Chopper when he plugs into the Imperial Datanet. Chopper has been compromised.
AP-5 obtains the access codes but when they return to the ship he begins to suspect something is wrong with Chopper. He insists to Wedge, and to Zeb, Hera, and Ezra when they return from the mission, that Chopper is acting differently. Chopper has been acting nice and uses Imperial language, which Zeb says the former is “creepy” and AP-5 says the latter is outside Chopper’s normal protocol. Sure enough, when they go to investigate Chopper, he locks them in the cargo hold and begins to download the Ghost’s hyperspace logs to locate Phoenix Squadron’s base. The Imperial Controller is confident they will be able to locate the Rebel Base and inform Thrawn, but he has not fully accounted for AP-5’s usefulness. Tasked by Hera, AP-5 heads out onto the hull of the Ghost to override the locks on the cargo hold doors and he is successful, but not before a possessed Chopper sends him hurtling into the void of space. The Ghost crew deactivates Chopper, stops the download, and then it gets real. Hera, in a fit of anger over the Controller messing with her droid, reverses the feed on him and causes the listening ship to overload and explode in a surprisingly violent bit of retribution. The day is saved and Chopper is okay, but the crew quickly realizes AP-5 is not among them.
Floating in the void of space, AP-5 is completely alone. Instead of panicking, the inventory droid is surprisingly at peace. In one of the funniest scenes in Rebels ever, he has a moment singing a tranquil song with some cute, baby space creatures. The moment is short-lived, however, as the Ghost crew “rescues” him and showers their gratitude for his work in protecting Phoenix Squadron and saving the whole crew, including Chopper.
As previously stated, this episode has little consequence outside of providing an opportunity to dig more into the character of AP-5. Throughout the whole episode, he is touted as completely difficult to deal with and generally a card-carrying fussbudget. When he comments on Wedge’s inability to follow protocol, Wedge takes it as a slight, only to be corrected that AP-5 was not insulting him, merely stating a fact that his fragile ego interpreted as a slight. The droid harps on Chopper; carries on about his superior programming and intelligence; and insists on his contribution being the most important when the mission is successful. If we didn’t know better, we would probably be just as annoyed by AP-5’s insufferable. matter-of-fact routine. He is like C-3PO in his consistency of annoying his human companions, but he is less humble and deferent.
And like Threepio, who he is makes him easy to ignore, and everyone overlooks him in this episode. The stormtroopers barely register he and Chopper are there. Wedge ignores his repeated efforts to warn him about Chopper. Hera rolls her eyes and the Ghost crew only takes him seriously when they have deduced something on their own. Even the Imperial Controller, who acknowledges AP-5 is a problem, underestimates AP-5’s ability to help out once he has fooled everyone else. And understandably so. AP-5’s arrogance and unabashed honesty, which is really misconstrued attention to detail and efficiency, makes him hard to like. And Chopper is no different. The only reason anyone suspects anything is because Chopper is being nice when he is normally a jerk and completely sadistic. No wonder Zeb takes a ton of joy in zapping Chop with his bo-rifle. The only one who takes the droids seriously until it is almost too late has been Grand Admiral Thrawn, who correctly flagged the droids as a potential Imperial security threat.
However, AP-5 proves his mettle and, as we have known all along, is right about Chopper being compromised. In the end, everyone has overlooked AP-5, but Hera wises up. She puts AP-5 in charge of rescuing the crew and eventually takes her measure of revenge for messing with Chopper. It is Hera who has the greatest connection to both of the droids, on a personal level with Chopper and a leadership level with AP-5. AP-5 proves he is worthy of trust, even though he is hard to like. When she says, “don’t mess with my droid,” it’s an aggressive side of Hera we haven’t seen that shows how important Chopper is to her. The two droids are as much family to her as any of the others, programming glitches and all.
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 do you think it is so easy to overlook those who are hard to like or love? What do you think is the best way to respond?
- Who in your neighborhood, school, or city are often overlooked or ignored? What could you do to build relationships with those people? How do you think they would respond?
- Is it always easy to trust people we don’t really like? Why is that? How can we learn to love them better? Can you think of any instances in the Bible of unlikable people being loved? (*Hint* for younger kids; story of Zaccheus).
- If you thought Controller LT-319 looked and sounded familiar, you are on to something. He is modeled after Pablo Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, and is also voiced by Josh Gad, who has voiced Olaf in Frozen and played LeFou in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
- Wedge using the Refresher, the Star Wars Universe equivalent of a restroom, is the first on-screen appearance of such a facility. Although, Zeb says in the episode it’s not the first time AP-5 has barged in on someone using one.
- Wondering what those cute, little critters were in space with AP-5 while he sang his song? Those creatures are baby neebrays, a manta ray-like species related to mynocks that can survive in the vacuum of space. Adult neebrays first appeared in The Clone Wars movie and made subsequent appearances in episodes of The Clone Wars.