If you’ve never seen an episode of Rebels…if you’ve never thought the Star Wars cartoons could be for you, even though you liked the movies…if you had no faith anything on Disney XD could give you a massive nerd boner, well, then I find your lack of faith…you-know-what.
Season 2’s first episode is called “The Siege of Lothal,” because on a Disney network, you can’t call it “Darth Vader Shows up to Fuckin’ Kick the Shit out of Everybody.” But that would be truth in advertising.
Have you seen this trailer? Because about half of what’s in this trailer is ONLY THE FIRST EPISODE. [Not the Captain Rex stuff, though. That’s coming later.]
Here’s the thing: when you hear that James Earl Jones is doing a voice on a TV cartoon, you figure it means he’ll be in it for like two minutes. No. NOOOOOOO. He is the protagonist of the episode, the one who makes everything happen, and he is in it throughout, a lot. Sure, they sorta indicate that this might not be a regular occurrence, what with new Inquisitors having been shown and all. But he makes an impact here, and not like some ’80s cartoon bad guy – I can imagine if he had shown up on Droids back in the day, some no-name hero could probably hold him off with a lightsaber, in that era’s grand tradition of every bad guy being weaker than every good guy.
Here, he grabs Kanan’s wrists mid-lightsaber fight, forces his hands to deactivate his lightsaber, then still holding him by the wrist, flings him across the room. They knock over a couple of scout walkers to crush him, and Vader just lifts them back up with the Force. He isn’t fooling. And in a moment of even more significance, we get what I believe is chronologically the first appearance of Vader’s TIE fighter.
Our main characters aren’t left out – in fact, we get introduced to what will probably be a major theme of the season, in Hera’s desire to embrace the full-on Rebel Alliance, while Kanan prefers to stay solo (pun intended) and avoid military entanglements.
Oh, and there’s Ahsoka. You all want to know whether or not she encounters her ol’ pal Skyguy, right? I’m not going to answer that, except to say it’s not a simple yes or no answer. But trust me, everyone involved with the show knows you want to know. I can tell you that Vader’s scenes with Agent Kallus are pretty great.
I don’t know if Ian McDiarmid is the one doing Palpatine’s lines, but it’s a damn good impression if not. Way better than the guy playing Tarkin, whose English accent keeps going wonky.
Look, almost every time somebody bitches about the prequels, they say the movies should have shown more of Darth Vader hunting down the Jedi. You’re getting that this season. Filoni has me now.
Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.)
Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist