Rebels Season One Spoilers Ahead!!!
Now that Season 2 of The Mandalorian is over, I decided to rewatch Rebels. I’ve just finished Season 1, and thought I’d just do a basic recap rather than an episode-by-episode review (there are 15 episodes in the season).
Rebels takes place in the few years leading up to A New Hope, when the Empire is in full control but some pockets of rebellion have flared up in response to their heavy-handed rule. Most of the main action takes place on or near the planet Lothal, an Outer Rim world run by the Imperials.
Obviously as Season 1 starts, we meet the Ghost crew: Hera Syndulla, the Twi’lek pilot, daughter of Cham Syndulla, who was a freedom fighter on Ryloth during the Clone Wars; Kanan Jarrus, the human male we quickly learn is a Jedi who somehow escaped Order 66; Zeb, the fierce Lassat who is often the muscle of the group, and who is the last of his kind thanks to the Imperials; and Sabine Wren, a young artistically-inclined Mandalorian woman who formerly attended the Imperial Academy on Mandalore but left when she became disillusioned with the Empire; and Chopper, their feisty, mischievous, and sometimes rude droid who sounds like the adults on the Peanuts specials. Their main mission is simply to make trouble for the Imperials and to help those who may need it; at this point, they are unaware of any other rebel cells at work. There is, however, a contact that Hera gets information from, a mysterious figure called “Fulcrum.”
They quickly pick up a sixth member in Ezra Bridger, a teenager who grew up on the streets of Lothal. Ezra interrupts one of their theft missions, and Hera and Kanan recognize that he’s special–and a bit annoying–and ask him to join the crew. He’s not sure at first, used to being on his own, looking out only for himself, but when Kanan realizes he has Force powers–powers that he unknowingly used to survive on the streets–he agrees. Kanan, who never even got to finish his own training before Order 66 killed his Master, Depa Billaba, agrees to train him in the ways of the Jedi. We even get to see a hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi sending out his message of hope to any surviving Jedi, from a holocron that Kanan has in his possession.
We also meet the Imperials and Ministers of Lothal, but the main antagonists are Agent Kallus, member of the ISB (Imperial Security Bureau)–he kind of reminds me of a blond Wolverine–and the Grand Inquisitor, who shows up after Kallus reports a Jedi in the rebel faction. I have to say this guy looks really cool: bald, burning Sith eyes, sharp teeth, and a wicked double-bladed lightsaber that spins on an axis. When Kallus and the Grand Inquisitor fail to capture the Rebels or the Jedi, they bring in the big guns: Grand Moff Tarkin shows up to lay down the law and demand results.
One of the main story threads of Season 1 is the question of Ezra’s parents: who are they, and what happened to them? And will Ezra ever see them again? We find out they were ordinary citizens who spoke out against the Empire, and as a result, they were arrested and taken away. Ezra was only seven years old at the time. He’s fifteen now (born on Empire Day), and he has no idea if they are dead or alive; although on one of their missions, they encounter an old friend of his parents, a Rodian named Tseebo, who tells him his parents are alive, but that remains to be seen.
In one of my favorite episodes, Kanan and Ezra visit a Jedi Temple located on Lothal. Kanan wishes Ezra to be tested to see if he’s ready to become a Jedi. In the Temple, Ezra must face his fears: his fear of Kanan being killed by the Inquisitor, fear that his new friends ridicule him behind his back, fear that he’s just not ready to become focused and disciplined enough to learn and will fail Kanan. He ends up hearing the voice of Yoda, who gives him a few words of wisdom before a kyber crystal falls into his hand. Kanan himself hears Yoda, and must face his own fears: the fear of not being able to train Ezra, of failing him. The fact that he couldn’t complete his own training, that he was never Knighted as a Jedi and is perhaps incapable of training Ezra, weighs heavily on him.
Ezra makes his own lightsaber from the kyber crystal, and it’s quite a unique one: it’s part blaster, part lightsaber. Clunky, but useful.
There are a few appearances of familiar characters: the crew meets R2D2 and C3PO early on, who are working for Bail Organa. Kanan briefly meets Bail when he returns the droids, but he doesn’t know who he is. Bail is keeping an eye on this particular rebel cell, to see what they do and how they may play a part in the Rebellion he’s trying to build.
They also meet Lando Calrissian and become involved in one of his schemes, which seems sort of out of the blue, but it pays off in Season 2.
As the season starts to head toward its conclusion, we meet Senator Trayven of Lothal, who Ezra in particular greatly admires. He seems to be sending out messages of hope for those who hate the Empire, but when they meet with him it turns out to be a trap. They escape, but are disappointed and Ezra is heartbroken. They decide to commandeer the Imperial communications tower to send out their own message of hope.
However, during the mission, Kanan is captured by the Inquisitor. He sacrifices himself so the others can escape. They want to go after him, but Hera receives a message from Fulcrum, who tells her not to risk it, and that they must focus on the bigger picture. They decide to go after him anyway, of course.
He’s being held on a Star Destroyer in orbit around Mustafar, and they hatch a plan to retrieve him. Kanan and Ezra end up facing the Grand Inquisitor in a lightsaber duel; in the end, the Inquisitor dies–hanging from a ledge, he lets himself fall into a fireball below as Kanan looks on.
The crew is rescued from a TIE fighter assault by Bail Organa and his fleet of ships, and Fulcrum shows up as well–revealing herself to be Ahsoka Tano.
Back on Lothal, an Imperial shuttle arrives in Capital City, and Agent Kallus greets Darth Vader, who has arrived to clean up the mess and try to capture the Rebels that have been evading capture.
And that’s Season One, which I seemed to enjoy more the second time around, probably because I already know and love these people, whereas at first I wasn’t sure. I’m looking forward to getting into Season Two, which gets even better.
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