Hearing the news of the cancellation of The Clone Wars last year was like a galactic gut punch to the stomach. Rebels softened the blow, in the way that a cushion softens a skydive-gone-wrong.
But, I am endlessly positive about the future and hopelessly enthusiastic about seeing new Star Wars stories, and so it didn’t take me long to get into the Rebels hype. I was going to miss Ahsoka and Asajj and everyone else with the fire of a thousand suns, but I had total faith that the group working behind it all had plans. I’m endlessly scared of change, but I knew it was time to love a new thing.
So I dove straight into Rebels, though I was unsure of what it would be like. I knew I would love Hera (I mean, come on, badass lady pilot? Cute alien girl? Totally rad voice actor?) and I loved that the main crew of the Ghost is pretty Not White (though surely there are those that would argue that considering some of the Sabine fancasts I’ve seen). Now really, I don’t have the capacity to talk about this as a white girl, but fellow fangirl Johnamarie wrote about diversity recently at Coffee With Kenobi.
So there we were, poised at the beginning of a new Star Wars story filled with new characters, not knowing if we would love them like we loved Leia, or Obi-Wan, or Ahsoka. I looked at Zeb and I was like, “You know what? I don’t care about him.” I shrugged at Ezra (and I still don’t completely trust his gelatinous blob of hair, to be honest) and I didn’t really give a second thought to the Inquisitor. Sabine looked awesome and I was excited about a teen girl Mando, but she didn’t fall into the Saf’s Favourite Character Archetypes like Hera did.
But then, we all know I’m bad at thinking too into things before they are released. Did my opinions change as I watched the show? Did I end up loving Rebels as much as I’d hoped?
Hoo boy, did they, and did I.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter probably knows at this point just how much I love Zeb. My gosh, I will not shut up about his ear wiggles. The episode Fighter Flight (episode 3, if you’re curious) completely sold me on him. I made the mistake of judging him by his design before really meeting him–and I won’t make that mistake again. His humour, his struggles with the T-7 ion disrupters, his friendship with Sabine, everything made me really fall hard for him.
Speaking of he and Sabine, that is officially my favourite friendship in the entire show (and definitely one of my favourites in the entire saga). They just have this amazing ease with each other, their closeness clearly shown through their casual humour and the way they look out for each other in battle. I want a best friend Zeb, too.
Really, the whole crew has that same ease when they interact. Their being a family is clear to see through their dialogue, their expressions, their body language. I mean, sure they have tension–what family doesn’t? But it’s so easy to have faith they’ll resolve their problems and grow even closer. It’s the closeness and warmth of the Ghost crew that really sold me on the characters. So yes, I can definitively say I love them all. Even Chopper, the murderous little droid that he is. (And yes, he did kill those stormtroopers in cold blood).
I’d also like to lightly touch on Ezra and my interpretation of him, as it’s not something I’ve seen around (nor do I think everyone would read him the same way). It happened when I was watching Path of the Jedi (episode 9).
Ezra: They help people. They give everything away and I see it. I see how it makes people feel.
Yoda: Feel, yes, how?
Ezra: Alive. They feel alive, like I do now.
That last line resonated with me as someone who’s struggled with depression much of my life (and especially around the same age as Ezra). It’s not something you can understand if you’ve never been in that situation, but not feeling alive is a huge part of depression for many and it’s common to not even realise it until you start climbing out of that hole of despair (similar to a sarlacc pit, but with more comfort eating). I honestly believe Ezra went (and may still be going) through depression, which is understandable considering what happened with his parents. Thanks, Palpatine.
This identifying with Ezra in a similar way I did with Anakin definitely made me grow to love the kid, even if I can’t help but heave a colossal sigh at him at times. I personally would love to see him not fall to the dark side, just because I would like to see a character who struggles with similar things to me (depression, loss of a parent, family–even found family–struggles) not fall. I’ve mentioned it before in one of the Force Cult podcasts, but I do think that Ezra having a support group in a way that Anakin never did could help him make it through the pain and anger into someone strong and good and truly happy.
Of course nobody is surprised I love the good guys, but I actually, surprisingly, adore Agent Kallus and Minister Tua. Kallus’ voice and competence is what really gets me (alas, not the the sideburns) and I love Tua’s enthusiasm even if it’s maybe misplaced. I also very much want them to end up together and not die but I understand maybe that last one is a little much to ask.
Aside from the characters, I just love the show as a whole. The animation style is so fluid and expressive, the voice actors bring the dialogue and the characters to life, and the story has the perfect amount of drama and darkness mixed in with the lighthearted stories and humour. Alongside the stories of this new cast, we get glimpses of what old favourites are up to and reveals on the nature of the universe and the lore between the trilogies. Also, I will never, ever complain about seeing more Bail Organa.
Do I love Rebels? A thousand times yes. It’s not quite on the scale of how much I love The Clone Wars yet, but so far there’s only been a movie and 13 episodes, compared to The Clone Wars had six (or five and a half) seasons (that I may have mostly marathoned). I fully expect Rebels to become one of the new best things about Star Wars and I literally cannot wait until season 2 airs. I’ve already re-watched the series twice since the finale.
And speaking of the finale: wow. I’d already been mostly spoiled for the secret of Fulcrum, but nothing could prepare me for the moment she climbed down the ladder and spoke. There she was: the light of my life, my main girl, Ahsoka Tano.
It was exactly two years after we watched her walk away from Anakin and from us. She’s older, changed, but it’s still Snips. I’m desperate for her story, I want to see how she acts and talks now. In the latest Rebels Recon Dave Filoni speaks a little about her and her look. She’s got a “pseudo-samurai” aesthetic going, which feels very old-school Jedi.
I want it to look like armour she would have found somewhere, that she’d gone into an old temple and got this ancient Jedi armour, and her lightsabers are completely new as well … you’ll see that her blades, they’re basically white because she’s not a Jedi.
She’s no longer a Jedi, but she obviously feels enough of a link to the Jedi to go exploring through the old temples and even make her own new lightsabers–which is something I totally expected. I can’t imagine Ahsoka going without her lightsabers, and white is my absolute favourite lightsaber colour. She also works with Bail which means that there’s a good chance she knows Leia. How amazing would that be?
I love Ahsoka with my whole heart, but I refuse to let that detract from how much I love the rest of the main cast too. I want to see Hera and Ahsoka be friends, I want to see more Zeb and Sabine interactions, I want to know Sabine’s past, I want to see Hera and Kanan in their quiet moments together, I want to see Kanan helping Ezra grow and learn acceptance.
The wait for the next season is going to be torture, but at least I have Celebration to tide me over in this wait. Maybe I’ll even start my Hera and Fulcrum cosplays!