Blu-ray/DVD, Disney, Lucasfilm Animation, Reviews, TV

[Blu-ray Review] ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Complete Season One

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Star Wars Rebels season one arrived on DVD and Blu-ray this month and with all 14 episodes, (15 if you count the two halves of episode one) as well as some substantial bonus features. Fans of the series are going to want to check this set out.

When Star Wars Rebels premiered I didn’t know what to think about it. Like most Star Wars fans, I was upset when the absolutely brilliant Star Wars: The Clone Wars was cancelled, and I was a bit wary of this new show that replaced it. The Clone Wars was one of the best animated series on TV at that time, and the fact that it was replaced really seemed to solidify some fans’ fears that Disney was “destroying” the franchise. Thankfully, those fears were calmed for most after the first few episodes of Rebels.

Star Wars Rebels is set five years before A New Hope, and follows the adventures of the crew of a small ship called the Ghost as they run missions against the Empire. The main character is a teenager named Ezra Bridger who grew up an orphan on the planet Lothal. After entangling himself in an anti-Empire mission by the crew of the Ghost, Ezra finds himself on board the ship and is tentatively accepted as one of their own once it’s realized that he is force-sensitive.

The crew of the Ghost consists of Kanan Jarrus – a human and the leader of the crew. Kanan is a Jedi who was still a Padawan at the time of Order 66 (the order from the empire to destroy the Jedi Order). The pilot of the Ghost is a Twi’lek named Hera Syndulla. Hera is also the Ghost’s contact with Fulcrum, a mysterious figure who gives the Ghost missions from the Rebel Network from time to time. The other members of the Ghost crew are Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian and an artist/explosives expert; Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, a Lasat who serves the Ghost in an almost bodyguard type role; and C1-10P “Chopper” a feisty droid with a rather cantankerous personality.

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Episodes

The episodes are mostly self-contained stories, but they all serve a plot that arcs over the entire series. The whole series feels a bit like one long story to me, but I’m going to do my best to try to pick out and highlight just a few of my favorite episodes for this review.

Episode Two – “Droids in Distress”

In this episode we are reintroduced to a pair of old friends, C-3PO, and R2-D2! The two droids cross paths with the Ghost crew as they intercept a weapons shipment. The droids are there, seemingly in an official capacity for the Empire, but at the end of the episode it is revealed that they work for Senator Organa (who uses them as spies). This episode was memorable, if for no other reason than because we got to see some of our favorite Star Wars characters (even if only for a little while).

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Episode Four – “Rise of the Old Masters”

This episode has a pretty massive and shocking twist, so it’s very hard to describe without spoiling too much. It’s one of the most memorable for me though, so I’m going to try to be as vague as possible for those who may not have watched the episode yet. The Ghost crew intercepts a message from a senator who speaks out against the Empire and reveals that a well-known Jedi is alive – and has been held captive for years. The crew heads to the location provided in the message, and has to get into an extremely high security prison in order to rescue the Jedi. Things are not as they seem though, and it is quite possible that they are walking into a trap.

Episode Nine – “Path of the Jedi”

This episode follows Kanan and Ezra back to Lothal, where they are led by the Force to a hidden Jedi temple. The first part of this episode plays out like a fever dream, as Ezra’s worst fears are manifested as he tries to navigate the Jedi temple on his own. This episode is especially notable because we see, or rather hear, Frank Oz return as the voice of Yoda! Yoda, communicating through the force, leads Ezra, who has no idea who he is, through the temple and calms Kanan as he waits for Ezra to return. With Yoda’s help, Ezra finds a kyber crystal, the heart of a lightsaber, which he uses to create his own lightsaber that may have some extra features hidden within.

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Episode 14 – “Fire Across the Galaxy”

This episode, being the season finale, is huge. Continuing the events of previous episodes, which have really begun to blend into each other by this point in the season, the crew of the Ghost is on a mission to rescue Kanan, who was captured by the Empire and is held on Mustafar. Many loose story ends from the season are tied up in this episode, including the true identity of Hera’s contact, Fulcrum. And, when his or her identity is revealed, fans of The Clone Wars TV series will be out of their minds with joy. I know I was.

Extras

Aside from the episodes, this set had quite a few extras. It has many more than most discs released by Disney in recent memory, especially for a boxed set of a TV show.

“Rebels Recon”

“Rebels Recon” consists of 14 behind the scenes featurettes (one for each episode). These featurettes give a bit of insight into the creation of the show, and the interviews with the writers, artists, and voices give the stars behind the scenes a chance to shine.

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Star Wars Rebels – The Ultimate Guide

This 22 minute featurette uses clips from the show, and narration by Kanan, to fully recap the entire season to get viewers caught up in time for season two.

Star Wars Rebels Season Two – A Look Ahead

This feature consists of an interview with Dave Filoni, who talks about the future of the show and what we can expect to see in season two. The interview is illustrated with concept art that shows a few of the stories and characters we will see next season. The interview ends with a trailer for season two, which shows off a lot more footage than I expected. It really got me pumped for next season!

Blu-ray Exclusive Features

The Blu-ray also contains a few extra features not found on the DVD set.

“Rebels Infiltrates Star Wars Celebration”

This feature contains footage shot at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. It’s rather short, but it’s a fun look at the cosplay that happened at the event and some footage from one of the panels.

Season One Shorts

This was one of the best extras in my opinion; all four shorts that preceded the premiere of the show were included in this set. These include: “The Machine in the Ghost,” “Art Attack,” “Entanglement,” and “Property of Ezra Bridger.”

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Final Thoughts

Star Wars Rebels is a great show, and is worthy of any Star Wars fan’s time. While it may not have quite the scope of The Clone Wars (yet,) it’s still a great story and a worthy addition to the mythos.

Star Wars Rebels season one is an excellent presentation of the series, and makes me wish that Disney could do the same for all its TV shows. If you consider yourself a fan of the Star Wars universe, then you definitely should look into this set!

Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-Ray: US | CA | UK

What do you think of Star Wars Rebels so far? Will you check out this set?

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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