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.
Since this is such an important episode, we’re going to do something different this week. Instead of analyzing the show in a more traditional way, Blaine and I have worked together to do what we did with last season’s finale. If you haven’t seen the episode, yet, do that and then return to our review. Our conversation will, then, be presented in a Q & A style.
What was your favorite part of the episode?
Josh: It has to be the space battle. I know there are a lot of other great moments, but when the Y-Wings were attacking the Star Destroyers and the Ghost was flying around, I said out loud, to myself, “Wow, this is Star Wars!” It can be tough to capture the similar stylings and pacing of the attack on the Death Star in A New Hope, but the Rebels team does it so well on a larger scale than we have ever seen. The Y-Wing bomber run was tense and Commander Sato’s sacrifice felt necessary, earned, and made me tear up as he went out a hero. Overall, there were high stakes in the battle and it left me catching my breath as it shifted to a land battle and zero-G action set in Part 2. So maybe it was all the action? It felt faster and more intense, which is what I would expect from a Lucas disciple like Dave Filoni and crew.
Blaine: This is a tough question to answer because there was so much going on for the entire episode. I think I’m going to have to go with the moment when Thrawn “catches” Kallus making a secret transmission to the Rebels. We’ve known that Thrawn knows about Kallus for a few episodes now, and it’s been pure Hitchcockian suspense waiting for that confrontation. It was also a blast seeing him escape from Governor Pryce’s clutches, giving that little smirk when she leaves sends him off with those two stormtroopers. I think many fans, myself included, were afraid Kallus would bite the dust in the finale. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he is safe (at least for now) and we’ll presumably see more of him next season.
Blaine: To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure what Bendu means in relation to how we understand The Force. There has been a lot of talk–and we’ve even mentioned this on Home One Radio before–that Bendu may be helping the story group work towards a more neutral view of The Force. And while there’s a kernel of truth to that, the more I think about this, the more I am convinced that neutrality may not be the best word to use when talking about The Force or Bendu’s relationship to it. If something or someone is neutral, it takes no sides and really has no agenda. But The Force itself is described as having a will–an agenda, stance, or program if you will. In Rogue One, for example, Chirrut boldly declares that “All is as The Force wills it.” So The Force itself isn’t neutral, but what the story group really seems to be trying to get at of late is that different groups interpret the will of The Force differently. (Some even ignore it altogether.) So, when Bendu says–as he so often does–that he’s the one in the middle, I don’t think he’s saying that he doesn’t have an agenda or a goal or his own understanding of The Force; he’s simply declaring that he’s not fighting for the Jedi or Sith in this conflict. But, of course, we do learn in this episode that there are things that make him willing to act. I’m not sure if much of what I’ve said here is clear, but I’m still kicking these thoughts around, and I think we’ll see more of what the story group is doing with The Force over time.
Josh: Wow, Blaine did a pretty good job of answering this one. I’m not sure if the Bendu is done on Rebels, or not. It’s interesting to see the Bendu as a chaotic neutral standing in opposition to the duality of the Jedi and the Sith; the light and dark. I see the middle ground as possibly being a way to forge a new path for the Force neither corrupted by a lust for power and anger like the dark side, but also not an ultra-righteous, rigid path as the Jedi once had. Yoda seems to be aware of how the Jedi erred and led to their downfall. The Bendu could just be another Yoda-like figure, but with an ultra-protective, pacifist mindset. I think this philosophy will permeate The Last Jedi and could possibly lead to us seeing Snoke as much more of a Bendu-like character, but with a penchant for evil and power. Difficult to see. Always in motion, the future is.
Speaking of Bendu, what do you make of Bendu’s interaction with Thrawn at the conclusion of the episode?
Josh: I spent a lot of time on this during our final review of Season 3 on Home One Radio. I honestly think this shows the first chink in Thrawn’s armor. We may get more insight into this when Timothy Zahn’s new Thrawn novel releases in a few short weeks. My suggestion would be to listen to our review episode on H1R and also pick up Zahn’s book in early April. Blaine, what do you think?
Blaine: Josh, I think you spoke to this point very succinctly and eloquently in our most recent episode of Home One Radio. You mentioned that Thrawn likes hard data, but Bendu is able to unsettle him by suggesting that his ultimate defeat will come from a place or source against which data cannot defend or prepare. I think your observation is spot-on. And while I suppose I could speculate as to what Bendu meant when he talks about “many arms” surrounding Thrawn, I’m don’t really trust that he was being literal in his prophecy. Time will tell.
What do you think is in store next for the Ghost crew, now that Phoenix Squadron has perished (RIP Commander Sato) and they are on the move to Yavin?
Blaine: I’m willing to bet that we’re going to see a lot of rebuilding in the next season. There will be emotional rebuilding, as the crew continues to grieve the loss of Commander Sato and many other friends. But there will also be a more literal rebuilding. The young Rebellion took a major hit at Chopper Base, and they’re going to be in desperate need of new supplies, ships, and ordinances. Thankfully the Ghost crew is pretty adept at procuring these kinds of goods.
And while we’re speculating, I’ll go ahead and predict that Ahsoka comes back this season. I don’t have any idea as to why that will happen, but she is a very hopeful hope-inspiring character, and that’s something the rebels desperately need after this defeat.
Josh: I think we’ll see the Rebellion begin to fracture a bit more at first. I think the early part of the season will be the rebels picking up the pieces of what happened post-Atollon. We’ve had hints we will see what finally brought about the division between Saw Gerrera and the Rebel Alliance, as well see some minor victories and maybe another major defeat. The feeling we get from Rogue One is the fight against the Empire is growing, but also becoming more difficult to manage. We might also see legacy characters like Princess Leia, making a name for herself within the Rebellion, and a possible appearance of Biggs? Also, as Blaine said, it seems to me Ahsoka could have a part, but I find it interesting how Kanan plays into the mix. He has learned a lot and it could mean he either gives his life to the cause or possibly finds himself in a place where he is not welcome in the Rebellion any longer. Oh man, I’m getting so excited!
On Rebels Recon, the Star Wars Rebels after-show on YouTube, the Lucasfilm creative team teased an image from Season 4 featuring a lot of empty, scattered and battle-distressed Mandalorian helmets. What do you think that means?
Josh: You know how I feel about speculation. At Home One Radio we major and minor in talking from concrete data, like Thrawn. However, if I am compelled to use my intuition from that one image, my guess is we will see Mandalore, once again, and we may witness the utter ruin and destruction of Mandalore by the Empire. Boba Fett is not a Mandalorian but has always been described as wearing Mandalorian armor to keep the legacy of the warrior Mandalorians in the galactic memory. Has Mandalore changed? Is it referring to its neutrality and the way things were before? The Mandalorian arc was one of the major pieces left open at The Clone Wars was canceled. I think Filoni and the Rebels team will set out to close the arc and bring it into line with the events of A New Hope.
Blaine: Sabine and the rest of Clan Wren want to unite Mandalore, but it looks like not everyone is excited about that. I think we’re going to get a Mandalore arc as a kind of B-story next season. And that’s an incredibly exciting thought. Is it Fall yet?
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.
Hungry for a deeper dive? Blaine and Josh talk about the last four episodes of Season 3 at Home One Radio:
- In probably the coolest piece of silly trivia, one of the ships in the Battle of Atollon is a repurposed model from Return of the Jedi that is on-screen for not even a second. This model of the ship is called a Dornean Gunship.
- The Massassi group, which is the Rebel group General Dodonna brings to Atollon, is in reference to the ancient people living on Yavin 4 who built the temples where the rebels will have their base in Rogue One and A New Hope. In Legends canon, it becomes the home of the new Jedi Order started by Luke Skywalker. In new canon, it becomes the intriguing home of one of two remaining “force trees”, which Luke recovers in the Marvel Shattered Empire comic series. The trees are all that is left of the tree that grew at the center of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. There is much to see what kind of significance Yavin 4 holds in the future.