And I thought the first season schedule for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a bit jagged. I was lucky to catch the premiere of Star Wars: Rebels‘ second season last night; I only heard about it by a chance tweet Friday afternoon! Previously I’d read about the second season happening in the fall-which is it; we have to wait that long for the rest of it! Which ain’t a short wait, especially considering the last ten minutes of the hour-long premiere, during which, by the way, this show went up a whole new level of quality, though it concerns me a little that the character who *really* broke our hearts s the one from Clone Wars which we may or may not see much of during the rest of the season.
Not that the rest of it wasn’t pretty good too. It was especially interesting to the complicated reaction of the main characters to getting involved with a bigger army, and to see Kanan chafe under it and be reminded of the Clone Wars; I hope we haven’t seen the last of his emotional struggles there. Or the utter heartbreak that was Lothal’s fate; we leave it in far worse shape than it was and abandoned by our heroes who are now seen as murderers by the populace(though how many of them really object to the killing of the leader who helped with the oppression? That’s got to be a more complicated matter). It does seem we haven’t seen the last of it, if only because of the revelation that there’s a secret reason for the Empire being there that now really needs to be found out, but this is definitely darker than one would expect for a kid’s show. That they killed Tua off the way they did, and so unexpectedly, reinforces that too.
And yeah, the Lando cameo was fun, but smacks of pandering too, although his spokesdroid was priceless. And they got James Earl Jones to voice Vader, which was really fortunate. I sympathize with the people in the behind the scenes vids, though, talking about the pressure they were under to get him right. And while I can say they didn’t exactly get him wrong, and it was appropriate to see him being so cunning and so nasty in his cunning, for most the episode, I felt on the fence about him, like I should be more terrified of him. Yeah, he sent Kanan and Ezra running with their tails between their legs, but they still escaped, and when the shuttle could have led Vader to the rebel fleet without the two Jedi on board.
That is, until that moment, when we found that yes, we are having him and Ashoka run into each other, and yes, they are going to find out who each other are, and their reactions to it…I know I’m not the only viewer who screamed at that line and at Ashoka’s face as she got the worst news of her life, and when she’d probably thought nothing could be worse than hearing about the Jedi Order being destroyed. Devastated probably doesn’t even begin to cover how that poor girl is feeling after learning the horrible truth about the fate of her Skyguy.
And then, one crowning moment of awesome from Hera later, we get her keeping it to herself, which just makes it even more painful, and when Hera was going and telling Kanan how she and the others were there for him, all I could look at was Ashoka, who must have felt so lonely in that moment, the leader detached from the others, and more alone in the universe than she’s ever been, now that she knows what happened to her Master. You just want to hug her.
And now there’s going to be a new inquisitor, which makes sense; the use of Vader as a villain against heroes who really can’t beat him is limited. But what I care about most after last night is what’s going to happen between him and Ashoka. I suppose we may have to wait maybe the entire season to find out…