The official Star Wars site announced the upcoming Resistance animated series this week and all signs are pointing to the show being colorful, fun, and something significantly different from The Clone Wars and Rebels. This mini-episode features John’s reactions to the announcement and hopes for the show.
In this latest episode of the Blockade Runner Podcast, John and Dan bid farewell to Star Wars Rebels as the show’s four season run comes to a close. We look specifically at Rebels’s final three weeks (in a detailed, SPOILER FILLED discussion) and weigh in on some of the more controversial choices made by Dave Filoni and the rest of the creatives at Lucasfilm.
Blockade Runner Links:
Kevin and John tackle the big announcements on Rogue One, Star Wars Rebels Season 3, and Episode VIII coming out of Star Wars Celebration Europe.
Intro and outro music for The Blockade Runner is “Hedonism” by Ash.
Kevin, Dan, and John devote this entire episode to discussing the Star Wars Rebels season two finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice.” We share our favorite elements as well as some criticisms of this very special episode of Rebels, and we definitely delve deep into the major events from the show, so please don’t listen until you’ve watched at least once (though as we get into in the show, an episode this big probably requires at least two viewings).
Intro and outro music for The Blockade Runner is “Hedonism” by Ash.
“The Protector of Concord Dawn” featured a number of compelling visual designs and shots including the half-destroyed planet of Concord Dawn and that system’s Mandolorian fighters and pilots. For me however, the above screenshot (sourced from starwars.com) is my favorite single image from the episode. The emphasis on the core themes of Rebels in “The Protectors of Concord Dawn” results in an episode with more emotional depth than I expected from a story focusing on hyperspace lanes, Mandalorian armor, and gunslinger showdowns.
Every aspect of this chosen shot communicates the importance of the familial bonds between its three characters. The vignetting effect of the central light above Sabine and Hera envelopes them (and to a lesser extent Kanan), obscuring the background and placing the viewer’s focus squarely on the characters and their connection to one another. It’s simple and straightforward, but it’s also a crucial and well-executed visual representation of the most important aspect of “The Protector of Concord Dawn.” Season 2 of Rebels has been very much about expanding the show’s lore by visiting new planets, introducing new characters, and providing backstory for existing ones, but my favorite moments thus far are those that center on the meaningful connections that make up the family at the heart of its story. In my mind Rebels is its best when it remains centered on the bonds between the members of the Ghost crew, so this episode worked most for me in these final moments when its storytelling circled back to the family at the show’s core.
“Legacy” is one of the most memorable and moving episodes of Rebels yet, and its final moments are among my favorite in the show’s entire run. As stories that are in some ways produced for kids, both Clone Wars and Rebels are unafraid to explore weighty, emotional material, a trend that continues in “Legacy,” an episode the show has been building toward from the start. It provides closure for Ezra’s search for this parents and further explores the meaning of family, a theme that has always been a focus for Rebels, while also proving brave enough to supply answers that are neither easy nor safe.
As a mid-season finale, this episode needs to feel more important than an average one; it needs to be a small conclusion, wrapping up at least some plot threads and perhaps sowing the seeds for future ones. “Legacy” does all of this, but I was also struck by how much of the show’s DNA was present in its final scene. Thematically, it addresses fathers and sons, teachers and students, hope and loss, light and dark, but it also acts as a concise summary of the show’s visual mission with its beautiful, McQuarrie-inspired landscapes and carefully composed shots.
I usually try to write about just one image from any given episode of Rebels, but the final scene in “Legacy” is an extended moment that works best when considered as a whole. Ezra’s vision of Lothal and his parents is composed of multiple shots, first of Ezra alone before his joined by his father first, then his mother. As day turns to night, Ezra is for a moment again alone before being joined by Kanan. The two shots I’ve chosen as the primary images for this post feature first Ezra and his father looking out over the familiar Lothal landscape and Ezra and Kanan sharing a similar moment as the moons set (a clear, but subtle nod to “Binary Sunset”). These shots, and those that make up the scene that links them, are a poignant and lyrical way of saying goodbye to the family Ezra has lost while acknowledging the one he’s now joined. They also immediately call to mind the Ralph McQuarrie art that is so influential to the design of Rebels. It’s a touching ending to this episode and the first half of season two as well as an example of the incredible art, design, and composition of the show.
I’m including a gallery of a few more individual shots I grabbed while prepping this post here too. Each of them is wonderful and would’ve been memorable enough to act as the primary image for the post, but viewed together I think they communicate most of the scene’s narrative and demonstrate how the Rebels team is staying true to George Lucas’s visual storytelling philosophy.
Rebels has been on a bit of a break for the past month or so, but I’d actually fallen behind on these Rebels Screenshot Spotlight posts a few weeks before the show’s brief hiatus started. With a new episode set to premiere in just a few days, I thought I’d better take the opportunity to weigh in on my favorite shots from the episodes I’d missed.
First up is “The Future of the Force.” The most compelling image in Rebels season two’s tenth episode features the show’s new villains the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother attacking the passengers of a dimly lit shuttle. The “Red Blades” (as the passengers refer to them) show up in the episode’s first scene to abduct a force-sensitive baby for unclear, but clearly nefarious, reasons.
The shot I’ve pulled from this scene is comprised of the grandmother of baby Alora in the foreground with her back to the camera attempting to both sooth and protect her granddaughter. She’s looking down a corridor populated by a few fearful passengers but her gaze, like theirs, is on the approaching Inquisitors exiting an airlock bathed in red light. The camera is tilted at a Dutch angle which contributes to the sense of dread and tension permeating the shuttle. This scene is one of a number this season featuring these new Inquisitors that focuses on fear and borrows from the language of horror films to clearly communicate that these villains are dangerous, evil, and worthy of taking up the Grand Inquisitor’s role as the show’s chief antagonist(s). Writing, design, voice actors, and music are of course all part of successfully presenting these imposing characters, but I’ve found this kind of horror film framing to be an excellent contribution to their development as well.
I’m looking forward to posting in the next few days about a beautiful and moving moment in “Legacy,” one of my favorite episodes this season, and then getting back on schedule when Rebels returns with “A Princess on Lothal” on January 20th.
The newest episode of Rebels, “Brothers of the Broken Horn,” is the lightest and most humorous we’ve seen since probably “Idiot’s Array” in season one, so for this Rebels Screenshot Spotlight I’m choosing an image that highlights the always entertaining weequay pirate Hondo Ohnaka.
“Brothers of the Broken Horn” ends with Ezra’s realization that a pirate life is not for him as he knows he has a more selfless path in front of him. Still, Hondo and Ezra shared a brief adventure and though this shot of the two of them together is simple and straightforward, I thought it was a nice moment between the two of them and a good representation of the episode as a whole.
As a Clone Wars character returning on Rebels, it’s also interesting to look at how Hondo’s design has been simplified to match the aesthetic of the newer show. I’ve always loved Hondo (and I’m not alone, as he’s certainly a fan favorite), but I find him even more charismatic and appealing in his Rebels incarnation. I prefer the more cartoonish feel of Rebels and a character like Hondo exemplifies how warm and welcoming the show’s look is in comparison to the approach of Clone Wars.
Some fans expressed disappointment in “Brothers of the Broken Horn” because it lacks the drama and weight of other episodes of Rebels, but I was happy to see Hondo return and I don’t mind a lighter episode now and then to balance out the darker ones. I’m happy to have the old pirate back, and while I hope they use him sparingly going forward, I’m hoping to see him again when the arc of the show calls for a bit of levity.