DirectorDave Filoni, Various
Release Date(s)2016 (August 30, 2016)
Studio(s)Lucasfilm/Disney XD (Walt Disney Studios)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: B-
Picking up where Season One left off (read our review here), this new season of Star Wars: Rebels finds the crew of the Ghost continuing their fight against the evil Galactic Empire with new allies at their side, including Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan, Ahsoka Tano (as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). But even as Kanan, Ezra, Hera, Sabine, Chopper, and Zeb attempt to organize the various Rebel cells into a larger force, Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) seeks to hunt them down and destroy them. Old friends return for this new season, among them Hondo, Lando Calrissian, and Yoda. We meet other familiar characters too, including Captain Rex and his men (surviving Clone Troopers from The Clone Wars), a young Princess Leia, and the dreaded Darth Maul. New characters are introduced as well, among them more Inquisitors and a strange and eccentric Mon Calamari engineer who’s been working to design a new starfighter, the B-Wing. As the season unfolds, many of the characters’ stories deepen. We learn more about Sabine’s past, for example, and finally discover what really happened to Ezra’s parents. But soon, Kanan, Ahsoka, and Ezra decide that it’s too dangerous for them to remain with their friends, as Vader and the Inquisitors are tracking them through the Force. Seeing guidance at the Jedi Temple on Lothal, Yoda appears in a vision and tells Ezra to find the mysterious world of Malachor. This leads to the season’s dramatic conclusion, revealing new secrets of the Sith and the long-awaited confrontation between Darth Vader and Ahsoka Tano.
What’s fun about Star Wars: Rebels is the way it tells great and authentic-feeling Star Wars stories, even as it continues building toward the events of A New Hope and the forthcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The show is clever and entertaining, and its best episodes are as good as Star Wars gets. If you’re a long-time fan, this season’s two-part finale, Twilight of the Apprentice, should give you chills. But most of all, this show is just a helluva lot of fun.
As with Season One, this new season features 22-minute episodes, each rendered entirely in 3D CG. The animation is simple, yet stylish. The episodes are presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high-definition in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is very good, with bold, vibrant colors and deep black levels. Edges are clean, with refined detail that renders this show’s unique background textures perfectly. Color, light, and shadow are all cleverly used here to create a rich sense of atmosphere and tone, which lends the series a highly cinematic look. Audio is available in English, French, and German 5.1 Dolby Digital, as well as Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, with optional subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, and Spanish. The Dolby Digital mix is good and nicely immersive, with clear dialogue, solid bass, and nicely atmospheric directional play in the surrounds. The John Williams-based score (including both lifted themes and original music based on the same) is well presented.
Disc One includes the episodes The Siege of Lothal Part I, The Siege of Lothal Part II, The Lost Commanders, Relics of the Old Republic, Always Two There Are, Brothers of the Broken Horn, Wings of the Master, and Blood Sisters. You also get 7 short Rebels Recon behind-the-scenes featurettes (about 5-10 minutes each – all HD – one for each episode, including one for both parts of The Siege of Lothal), and a Sneak Peak trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (the first trailer). Disc Two includes the episodes Stealth Strike, The Future of the Force, Legacy, A Princess on Lothal, The Protector of Concord Dawn, Legends of the Lasat, The Call, and Homecoming, as well as 7 more Rebels Recon featurettes for each episode. Finally, Disc Three adds the episodes The Honorable Ones, Shroud of Darkness, The Forgotten Droid, The Mystery of Chopper Base, Twilight of the Apprentice Part I, and Twilight of the Apprentice Part II. You also get 5 more Rebels Recon featurettes (including one for both parts of Twilight of the Apprentice), the Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season 2 featurette (3:30 – HD), and From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka (6:08 – HD). The set’s extras are all pretty good, if somewhat less comprehensive that you might like. The Vader vs. Ahsoka featurette is Blu-ray exclusive and one of the better extras in the batch. Note that the packaging is a little disappointing, with Discs Two and Three stacked up on each other on a thicker spindle. There’s no digital copy included with this release, but you do get a Disney Rewards code on a paper insert.
Star Wars: Rebels continues to surprise and delight, becoming an ever more rewarding animated viewing experience. Whether you’re a younger fan of the Prequel films, a veteran of the Original Trilogy, or even a brand new fan attracted to this franchise by The Force Awakens, you’ll find much to enjoy here. Rebels gets better with each new season, and it’s a ride well worth taking on Blu-ray. Highly recommended.
- Bill Hunt