Blu-ray Review: Star Wars Rebels: Season 2
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Star Wars Rebels
The Complete Season 2
Blu-ray | DVD
Starring Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, Jr. Freddi Prinze, Steve Blum
Walt Disney Studios
Release date: August 30, 2016

Picture the quality in sound, visuals, and storytelling of a television series like Game Of Thrones, and then imagine those qualities in a CGI-animated show that’s relatable to both children and adults, and you’d have Star Wars Rebels.

Set within the nearly two decades between the Episode III and Episode VI live-action feature films, Rebels introduces a new hero to the Star Wars universe — Ezra (Taylor Gray), a young orphan from Lothal, which is one of the Imperial-occupied Outer Rim worlds. In Season 1 of the series, Ezra — who previously made his way in life as a petty thief — joins the crew of the rebel ship Ghost, piloted by the Twi’lek Hera (Vanessa Marshall); Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), a Jedi survivor of the Order 66 massacre; the gruff Lasat Zeb (Stephen Blum), Sabine (Tiya Sicar), a teenaged Mandalorian weapons expert and artist; and C1-10P aka “Chopper,” an astromech droid C1-10P pieced together from scraps by Hera.

Each episode saw the Ghost crew on a mission, and the inaugural season saw the entry of new villains, as well as the returns of some old faces, such the popular astromech droid R2-D2; Lando Calrissian (voiced by original star Billy Dee Williams); Jedi Master Yoda (voiced by original voice actor/puppeteer Frank Oz), and Darth Vader (voiced by original voice actor James Earl Jones).

For Season 2 of this Disney XD TV series, Darth Vader is front and center from the start of the two-part season premiere “The Siege of Lothal,” where he shows his harsher side to the citizens of Lothal in his effort to find the Ghost crew. Now, the crew must decide whether to full-on join the massive Rebel Alliance fleet, or continue on their own as a small-scale operation.

The sophomore season, not only is Darth Vader back, but so are a few others — Ahsoka Tano (returning voice actress Ashley Eckstein), who was a big part of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series; Lando, who the crew goes to for some help; and a few others, which I don’t want to mention for spoiler reasons. New to Rebels but much beloved is the one and only Princess Leia Organa (Julie Dolan, who as you’ll recall, was actually a member of the Imperial Senate in the first Star Wars film, while also part of the Rebel Alliance. Here, we get more of what Leia did to help the Alliance.

New to this season is Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy star and wife of Freddie Prinze Jr.) as The Seventh Sister, a Mirialan Inquisitor who Ezra comes face-to-face with in a terrifying lightsaber battle.

Rebels episodes run around 23 minutes and are action-packed, with lots of callbacks to the everything we love about the Star Wars universe, and the score by Kevin Kiner is perfect — anyone of loves John Williams’ work on the franchise will appreciate what Kiner brings to this little TV show that packs a big punch. As great as Season 1 was, Season 2 takes it a step further now that the main characters are freshed-out and the Ghost crew are bonded. The series can stand on its own without cameos, but the showrunners managed to find the perfect combination of franchise fan favorites and new characters and worlds.

The 3-disc Blu-ray Edition includes all 22 episodes of Season 2, along with bonus features, which are spread out across all three discs. For “Rebels Recon,” there’s 20 short behind-the-scenes looks at various episodes that include interviews with the cast and crew regarding storylines, designs, and much more. The “Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season Two” featurette is a fun one for people who like to know all the references to the Star Wars universe. Then there’s “From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka,” a bonus featurette exclusive to the Blu-ray Edition that goes into details about Ahsoka Tano’s long-awaited confrontation with Darth Vader.

Bonus Features

Blu-ray Exclusive:

  • From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka (Exclusive to Blu-ray) – Executive Producer Dave Filoni reflects on the climactic ending of the season, when Ahsoka Tano finally confronts Darth Vader in a long-awaited, fierce and epic lightsaber battle.

Blu-ray and DVD Bonus

  • Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season Two – Uncover hidden references, easter eggs and connections to the Star Wars universe found throughout the season.
  • Rebel Recons – Blast off with 20 fun, fast-paced episode recons, featuring behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew, and more!

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