Of course, this week is the release of Star Wars The Last Jedi. We won’t have any thoughts on that front until we see the movie, but we still want to talk Star Wars so let’s talk about Rebels.
In the past, I’ve done some episode by episode recaps of both The Clone Wars and Rebels. (I really should continue that).
I can unequivocally state that The Clone Wars is far superior to Rebels. The Clone Wars, as a friend of mine pointed out, makes the prequels means something. They are that good.
Rebels will never get to those heights. Many a fan has said so on various social media. In fact, many Star Wars fans that whose opinion I completely respect have given up on it.
I understand. The lead character can be annoying. Sometimes the force works in very illogical ways on the show and considering the force is something that doesn’t have to play by the rules of logic says something about the liberties taken with the force. The show often finds a groove and then completely takes itself out of that groove (something Clone Wars did as well but it seems to happen more regularly with Rebels). Most egregiously, Rebels kills off a major Star Wars character even though the show hasn’t really earned that honor.
Yet, even with all of its flaws, I love the show.
Ezra is annoying but so was Luke and Anakin. I’m not elevating him to their status, but he does follow their tradition. If you were basically an all-powerful being as a teenager you would have a hard time coming to grips with authority – good or bad. However, he does have a slight charm to him and you do worry about him. Because he isn’t Luke or Anakin, you have no real idea of where he is going in the story. He can die a hero or wait long enough to see himself become a villain. Or just stay a hero.
What really helps Rebels is that the rest of the characters are fantastic. Kanan has just the right amount of brooding and hope in his voice that you root for him. Hera might be my favorite leader (she cares but sees the bigger picture) in all of Star Wars and if I was in a tight situation in space, it’s her I want piloting the ship. Zeb provides just enough comic relief without becoming campy, and Chopper is a perfect droid. If I did have a complaint it would be about Sabine. Not that her character is bad; I would actually rather the show have split and watched her lead her on show in which she leads the fight for Mandalore.
The animation is very good and sometimes great. Thrawn is a great villain as was the Inquisitor, Seventh Sister, and Fifth Brother. Introducing The Bendu, voiced by the great Tom Baker, brought another dimension to the legend of the Jedi. Having a member of the Empire turn and become part of the rebellion was also a great plot addition.
Again, I think the showrunning lacks some consistency, but Rebels is a great piece of the Star Wars canon. The Clone Wars will be the gold leader for Star Wars animation, but the Rebels provide a great backstory to other cells of the rebellion. Its function is to flesh out the universe of Star Wars and it does it very well. And for the most part, it’s just fun. Star Wars is at it greatest when it is at its darkest; however, fun Star Wars can also be great Star Wars.
That being said, I also have no problem with people skipping it. I am a firm believer in make your own canon.