Star Wars Rebels will return for a full season in the fall but, in the meantime, Disney XD premiered the first episode, The Siege of Lothal (an hour-long special), in June. And boy did it deliver!
Episode 1 Recap
The episode opens on board the Ghost in which we find the crew in an outer space dogfight alongside the Phoenix Squadron, recovering valuable cargo from the Empire. The crew knocks some supply crates out from underneath a ship, secures the cargo, and jumps into hyperspace.
Elsewhere, Darth Vader, angry that Minister Maketh Tua was unsuccessful in capturing the rebels on Lothal, tells her that she will account for her failures to Governor Tarkin. Fearing for her life she makes a panicked call to the Phoenix Home and pleads for help. She tells them that her life is in danger, and she is defecting from the Empire. In return for safe passage off Lothal, she will give them a list of rebel sympathizers on Lothal and other nearby systems. She tells them that she knows the true reason that the Empire came to Lothal, a reason known only to a few and ordered by the Emperor himself. After deliberation the rebels agree and the Ghost crew heads back to Lothal aboard a shuttle, leaving the Ghost so they won’t be tracked.
On Lothal, Kanan disguises himself as a stormtrooper, while the others try to rescue the minister who is being escorted by Agent Kallus (as ordered by Vader himself). As the rebels fight off Kallus and make their escape Tua runs for the shuttle, which explodes as soon as she boards and sends the Rebels flying. Zeb flies in with a shuttle so they can escape, but they are shot down and must go into hiding. Kallus reports these events to Vader who orders that the spaceport be locked down and any ship attempting to leave be shot down.
The crew, with no way out, go into hiding and see a news report blaming them for Tua’s death. With no other option, and knowing that the Empire will look everywhere for them, they hatch a plan of escape which will take them straight into the Imperial complex to steal a shuttle and make their escape.
Ezra and Kanan, disguised as a cadet and a stormtrooper delivering two giant crates of power cells, make their way into the complex. Once safely inside, they open the crates and release Hera, Zeb, Sabine, and Chopper. As they make their way to the landing platforms they find a stash of military grade shield generators and decide to grab all they can carry for the Rebel fleet. As they load them into a shuttle, Vader appears leading a battalion of stormtroopers. Kanan goes after Darth Vader, yelling for Hera to go on. Ezra follows Kanan, while the rest follow Hera (with stormtroopers firing after them). After fighting Vader, they realize they cannot beat him and make a narrow escape.
Knowing they cannot escape Lothal in the Imperial shuttle, Hera contacts Lando Calrissian and bargains three of the shield generators they just stole so he will smuggle them off the planet. He sends them to his farm where he has a droid waiting to will help them. There, Sabine takes a bunch of old transponders and tunes them to the transponder codes that match their shuttle. As they fly off they drop off transponders, making their escape from the planet and jumping into hyperspace.
As the Ghost crew arrives back at the Phoenix Squadron, Chopper discovers that a tracking sensor was activated aboard their shuttle. Knowing that they were discovered, the squadron deploys and engages the approaching TIE fighters. As the squadron is occupied, one fighter (Vader’s) focuses its attack on the Phoenix Home and causes massive damage. Ahsoka, looking on, realizes that the force is very strong with the pilot of that particular fighter. As Ahsoka reaches out with the force, Ezra realizes it’s the same Sith Lord they faced on Lothal. Ahsoka, making some sort of contact with Vader, screams and falls unconscious as Vader realizes, “The apprentice lives.” Hera lures Vader’s fighter into the trap set by Vader’s fleet and enters hyperspace, which leaves Vader trapped by his own men.
Ahsoka tells the Ghost crew that she does not know who the Sith was, but – when the others are not looking – her face contorts with worry.
Vader, knowing exactly whose presence he felt, tells the Emperor that it was the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker working with the rebels. The Emperor tells him that this is an opportunity they cannot pass up. Knowing that she could lead them to other lost Jedi, such as Kenobi, the Emperor tells Vader to dispatch another inquisitor to hunt them down.
Episode 1 Review
This episode was one of the best the series has had to offer since its debut. With the fate of Ahsoka Tano completely unknown for the past two years, it was a joy to see her return and become a central part of the action. The revelation at the end, that Vader recognized her, was a complete game changer. While the show will probably still focus on the Ghost crew, having this brilliant side plot, which ties Rebels right back to The Clone Wars, will really bring the show to a whole other level.
Rebels started out a bit slower than I would have liked, and focused a little bit too much on the planet Lothal. I missed the expansive, galaxy exploring plots of The Clone Wars. After this episode I think that might start to change. While I don’t expect the focus to disappear from Lothal entirely, I think that after these new developments the Ghost crew will be forced to branch out a bit further than they have before. The more we explore the Star Wars universe the better. Tying this show into the greater mythology will only help to bring Rebels to the heights that The Clone Wars achieved and this episode proves it. I can’t wait for the fall.
What did you think of this episode? Are you excited to see where Rebels will take Ahsoka?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes