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Star Wars Rebels: Season Two

“I guess there is no going home.”

In season two we find the crew of the Ghost in a very different place. This marks the beginning of the rebellion, with a small fleet and far more important missions for the crew. The stakes are greater and the challenges are far more dangerous, including two new inquisitors and Darth Vader himself.

(This review covers the entire season and includes spoilers!)

When this series first released I had heard season two was a big deal, not just with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Darth Vader, but that it was when the show solidified its format and started to take off. Without the context of later seasons, I can say that is very much true. While the mildly kid-friendly aesthetic isn’t entirely dropped, there is definitely a darker tone to this season, starting with the gripping two parter where the crew has to escape Lothal with an Imperial blockade and Vader on their heels. The initial fight between Ezra, Kanan and Vader was absolutely one-sided as our heroes are not just out-classed but very nearly killed. If it wasn’t for the rest of the crew, they wouldn’t have survived. It not only sets the tone for what is to come, but changes up the formula in a good way.

What follows are several standalone episodes. We are introduced to our main villains for the season: Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Both are intimidating and creepy with Seventh Sister being a really nice foil for Ezra and Kanan. Less can be said for Fifth Brother, who was mostly just a lumbering, almost dim brute who was frequently mocked by Seventh Sister. Her drones were also an interesting addition, like little flying monkeys occasionally causing more problems for our heroes than either of the inquisitors.

On that note it was confirmed that the Grand Inquisitor was killed in the season one finale, which took me by surprise. I hadn’t expected there to be those kinds of consequences, and they are mirrored at the end of this season. We are also introduced to the fleet, with Admiral Sato as our main Rebel leader. Hera is also given a position of leadership, as commander of the Phoenix squadron. These kinds of continuing characters make the Rebellion seem more real. Their small fleet of ships are constantly put in danger, they have to fight for everything, including new ships, fuel and eventually a new planetary base of operations. The season is really built around the crew helping this fledgling rebellion get their legs under them, and it works for the most part.

We were also introduced to Rex, a former clone trooper and close friend of Ahsoka. They served together during the Clone Wars, and she was responsible for saving him from the control chip that forced all the clones to betray the Jedi during the purge of Order 66. The crew finds Rex with two other clones on a Clone War era crawler. While the episodes were fine, I didn’t really get into the story until the big battle at the end with the AT-AT walkers. The strategy they used to defeat them and the visuals were very impressive. Rex also ended up as a continuing character, much to my surprise. He added something to the crew whenever he joined them, almost like an honorary member that added some battle prowess and wisdom.

There were also some experimental episodes, namely the backstory involving Zeb whose people have not all been killed. Turns out they escaped to a planet outside the charted area of space, beyond a maelstrom of swirling galactic energy. Even though the episode was a bit tropey and should’ve been hokey, it somehow worked and there was a weight to the story. We also got an episode featuring space whales called Purgills, creatures that Hera considered a nuisance. Over the course of the episode Ezra connected with the creatures, learned about them and eventually recruited them to help destroy a mining operation that was helping the Empire. I was pretty impressed that they managed to do an environmental message episode without it being preachy.

There were a few more cameos, I’ve already talked about Vader, who was simply amazing. Utilized basically to bookend the season, he felt like this unstoppable force from which you could only run away. Lando had a small appearance early in the season, and it was better than in season one. Yoda made a physical appearance, and basically stole the entire episode he was in. The character model for Yoda was a bit wonky, but that hardly mattered when everything else about the appearance was wonderful. Princess Leia showed up for an episode to deliver some ships to the rebellion, and I thought it was a fun episode. It did feel marginally strange to see her, but this was before Carrie Fisher died so it wasn’t like watching her ghost in Rise of Skywalker.

Lastly Darth Maul, or I guess just Maul, showed up and was way better than I expected him to be. He was crafty, engaging and terrifying. He also helped kill off the inquisitors which allowed Kanan and Ezra to return to the crew, as they were considering going off for an extended period of time due to the inquisitors' ability to track them down using the force. If we never see Maul again, I thought it was a lovely way to bring him back. But I bet this isn't a one-off appearance.

We got a small window into Sabine’s backstory with an episode involving an old... friend, Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres). While the episode itself wasn’t the strongest, I did like the dynamic that evolved between the two of them by the end of the episode. There was also some fun stuff with Ezra and Chopper in this one, and I liked the poor taxi droid who unfortunately met a tragic end. While we didn’t learn that much more about Sabine, it was nice to get even a small window into her backstory.

I was perhaps a bit less impressed with Hera’s backstory, but I did like that the conflict behind her personality and life choices were related to her father and deeper Star Wars lore. Cham Syndulla was introduced in an episode centering on the battle of Ryloth in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He was voiced by Robin Atkin Downes who reprised the role for Rebels. I thought Cham came across as reckless, arrogant and thoughtless, especially when it came to his daughter’s feelings. He never took her plans seriously, until the crew forced him to change his mind.

Ezra finally got some answers and closure with an episode that revealed what happened to his parents. Much like their son, the Bridgers were the voice of resistance on Lothal, and were arrested along with the governor of the planet, Ryder Azadi (Clancy Brown). Ryder survived, and was reluctant to get back into the fight against the Empire. His reasons made sense, what with the death of the Bridgers and his own time in prison making him feel it wasn’t worth fighting for the rest of his life. While the plot was somewhat predictable, I really liked that through his actions, Ezra managed to change his mind by the end of the episode.

As for Ahsoka, she was used sparingly and when she did show up, it felt important. Stand out moments were when she took on Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister to save Ezra and Kanan, and of course in the two-part finale which had her facing off against Darth Vader. Although this was confusing when we saw Darth Vader leaving the temple without Ahsoka, meaning he likely killed her during their duel. Except she is alive in The Mandalorian which takes place roughly eighteen years later. I guess we’ll find out as the story progresses.

What was emotionally powerful about that duel was the moment where Ahsoka destroyed part of Vader’s helmet and his true identity was revealed. Her reaction to him and her need to try and save her former master were incredibly wrenching for anyone invested in their relationship from The Clone Wars, although I’m not sure how it played for anyone who hasn’t seen that series. Her attempt to save him may not have worked, but she did manage to save Ezra and Kanan who escaped with a Sith holocron which I imagine will factor into future episodes. While her end remains a mystery, her presence in the season was a welcome one.

As far as the aesthetics of the animation, while not a tremendous improvement, it did jump up in quality. Specifically the backgrounds and vistas were both imaginative and often quite beautiful. The characters all got small touch ups, although Ezra’s hair is still the worst offender. I especially liked some of the unusual environments and new ship designs, such as the docking bay vessel and the giant triangle cargo barge. The attention to detail and continuity were also very well done, with little touches and call backs to season one making everything feel like it was established and real. I didn’t expect so much care to be put into this production, but it is very clear that the producers, writers, animators and directors poured their love of Star Wars into the series.

Standout Episodes:
"The Siege of Lothal (two parts):" This opening two-parter set the stage for the rest of the season. It introduced the continuing conflict, the rebel fleet, and pushed the crew off Lothal. It also established Vader as a completely different kind of threat that couldn't be defeated by our heroes.

"The Future of the Force:" This was a silly episode, until it wasn’t, with a deeply creepy subtext involving the inquisitors stealing force-sensitive babies. This is the episode I mentioned above involving Ahsoka stepping in and saving Ezra and Kanan.

"The Honorable Ones:" A stand-alone episode that featured Zeb and an injured Kallus stranded together on a frozen moon. It showed how honorable and compassionate Zeb can be, and even showed some depth and surprising layers to Kallus. I also loved the ending with the juxtaposition of Zeb returning to the Ghost with hugs and smiles, and Kallus returning to a lonely bunk without even a kind word spoken in his direction.

"Shroud of Darkness:" Ahsoka, Kanan and Ezra go in search of answers to figure out how to stop the inquisitors from tracking them. There they encounter Yoda and the Grand Inquisitor who we learn was once a Temple Guard for the Jedi. This was a follow up to a season one episode at the same temple on Lothal, but this time it was even more involved and impressive.

"The Forgotten Droid:" While I recognize this may not be for everyone, I loved Chopper’s misadventure on an imperial cargo ship, meeting AP-5 (a Republic era tactical droid) and turning him against the Empire. They took on a sort of dark version of R2D2 and C3P0 by the end of the episode, and their dynamic was really lovely. I also loved that we could see Chopper is capable of selflessness as he sacrificed his new leg to restore AP-5.

"Twilight of the Apprentice (two parts):" This finale was incredible. From the multiple lightsaber battles, to the emotional stakes including Kanan getting blinded, to Darth Maul showing up and trying to take Ezra as his apprentice. The stuff with the Sith temple was really interesting, and of course there was that amazing ending with Ahsoka versus Vader. Truly a turning point in the series and a fabulous way to end the season.


Leia and Ezra would be around the same age, so their connection did make some sense.

Kanan and Seventh Sister did have one small exchange. The voice actors are married in real life.

Speaking of Seventh Sister, there was a very subtle reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in one episode.

While necessary and convenient, I didn't care for the way the inquisitors were killed off after being such a big presence throughout the season. This wasn't like the Grand Inquisitor whose death fit perfectly into the finale of season one.

Maul's big plan to use the Sith temple as an ultimate weapon for his enemies was a bit too mustache twirling, but I'll give it a pass because he is a mainstay villain who has lost everything.

Guest voice actors this season included: James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Billy Dee Williams (Lando), Sam Witwer (Maul, Emperor Palpatine), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Seventh Sister), Keone Young (Commander Sato), Gina Torres (Ketsu Onyo), Clancy Brown (Ryder Azadi), Kevin McKidd (Fenn Rau), Jason Isaacs (Grand Inquisitor/Sentinel), and Frank Oz (Yoda).


Darth Vader: “The apprentice of Anakin Skywalker lives and is in league with these rebels.”
Emperor: “Are you certain?”
Darth Vader: “It was her.”
Emperor: “This is an opportunity we cannot let pass. Skywalker's apprentice could lead us to other lost Jedi.”
Darth Vader: “Such as Kenobi?”
Emperor: “Perhaps. If he lives. Be patient, my old friend.”

Darth Vader: “Anakin Skywalker was weak. I destroyed him.”
Ahsoka: “Then I will avenge his death.”
Darth Vader: “Revenge is not the Jedi way.”
Ahsoka: “I am no Jedi.”

Ezra: “I don't fear you!”
Darth Vader: “Then you will die braver than most.”

Rex: “You know, I could have ordered you to take me along.”
Ahsoka: “You, don't exactly outrank me anymore.”
Rex: “In my book, experience outranks everything.”
Ahsoka: “Hm. Then I definitely outrank you.”
Rex: “May the Force be with you.”

Kanan: “I survived one war. I'm not ready for another one. I saw what it did.”
Hera: “To the Jedi?”
Kanan: “To everyone.”

While some of the episodes were not as interesting, for the most part this was a better season overall. The antagonists were stronger, the writing and dialogue was better and the big episodes were even more impactful with lasting repercussions for the crew.

3.5 out of 4 Ships, aliens, and inquisitors, oh my.

Images sourced from: Starwars.com.

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. Samantha, thanks so much for reviewing Rebels for us. I'm not an animation fan (putting it mildly) but I've been surprised repeatedly by how good this show is.

    I was particularly impressed that they resisted what must have been a strong temptation to overuse Darth Vader. Instead, there was just enough of him, creating a strong impact in the season finale. Maul was frightening and cringe-worthy, too.

  2. A very good season. I binged all four, so now I have to think back on what happened in season 2. There were lots of exceptional moments. And, oh my gosh, I, Who Always Read The Credits, must’ve totally bailed on this season. I completely missed SMG as the 7th Sister. And since I’m admitting cluelessness, can you tell me the very subtle reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

    I’m looking forward to your S3 & S4 reviews. :). This one was excellent, per usual.

    And I think I’ll watch Disney’s recommended list of important Ahsoka episodes from Clone Wars.
    Oh, that reminds me, you wondered about the intensity of Ahsoka’s desire to reach Anakin, to someone who hasn’t watched Clone Wars…it did strike me as intense, an apprentice wanting to save her master. Made me think of Luke’s desire to save Vader, and Obi Wan’s pain for his apprentice.

  3. Mage, thank your for all your lovely comments. I honestly cannot remember where the reference is, because it was subtle and fleeting. I just remember it making me smile. Same for the little nod to Sarah and Freddie's marriage.

  4. Forgot to mention I really liked the episode about the purgills. In The Mandalorian, they are the same creatures Grogu saw swimming in hyperspace, and they frightened him. Nice to get an explanation of what they were!

  5. I rewatched the second season, and I’ve gotta say, I would never have recognized SMG’s voice. I think it had an added mechanical sound to it really disguised it for me. I also listened for the Buffy reference, but didn’t pick up on much. Maybe this?
    7th Sister: What a handsome face.
    Kanan: I don’t do crazy - anymore.
    7th Sister: That’s ok, I prefer brains.
    There was also a reference to a good hunt for one day…….
    Maybe I’m just used to the overt Buffy references with James Marsters reading the Dresden Files. Like …
    Harry: “He wore a black T-shirt with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer logo on the front.” Or…
    Harry: (telling someone how to stake a vampire). “Just pretend you’re Buffy.”



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