Star Wars: Rebels
July 1, 2016
The latest binge-watch has been Star Wars: Rebels. I confess to being super out of date on all the animated Star Wars offerings. I watched and very much enjoyed Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars, which I thought delved into Anakin’s darkness and ambivalence in a way the movies didn’t capture. But then later Clone Wars series seemed to explode and expand in ways I couldn’t keep up with. And I’ll confess I’ve never been a fan of that style of computer animation, which always seems stiff and expressionless to me.
That’s what kept me away from Rebels, until friends urged me to watch. (Which hasn’t really happened with Clone Wars, which is telling.) Still not a fan of that animation style. But. . .Rebels has that same dynamic that hearkens back to my old role-playing campaigns, the same ethos that means I can’t watch the Rogue One trailer without bursting into tears. A diverse group of people on the fringes, overcoming dark pasts, trying to do good.
It took me a few episodes, but I’m into it now. And surprisingly, my favorite part may be how the show handles the Jedi. (The episode that won me over is the one where Ezra visits the hidden Jedi temple and gets a message from Yoda. Just lovely.) The Jedi and Force users were never my favorite part of the game — I think because a lot of gamers I played with seemed to treat those characters more like D&D mages and wizards than their own thing. Jedi in the games seemed to lack gravitas. Rebels, on the other hand, really seems clued into the theme of these lost, scattered followers of a broken faith trying to hold on to the good parts of what they learned while overcoming what the old Jedi Order did wrong.
And that may be why Kanan is probably my favorite character. (An aside: I know I’m getting older because these days I relate more to the parent figures in shows than I do to the kids, and that’s a switch. (And I think it’s really smart for a show like this to have characters kids can relate to, and ones their parents can relate to.)) If I’ve got my timing right, Kanan was a teenager when Order 66 went out. A newly-minted Jedi Knight — or maybe not even officially a knight. And then he lost everything, and he’s got a bad case of survivor’s guilt, and he’s trying to be a good Jedi and now he’s got this kid whom he feels obligated to train while not being at all confident of his own abilities. . . Really good story meat here.
I’ve got about half of season 2 left to go. So no spoilers, please! I hear it gets kind of dark. Hmm….
Other notes: I love that their R2 unit is actually kind of chaotic neutral. No charming little cute droid here. Sheesh.
That baby Ithorian in that one episode is about the most ridiculously adorable thing I’ve ever seen.
I’m really enjoying being a Star Wars fan again.