Watch just about any one of the 22 episode Star Wars Rebels Season 2 episodes on Blu-ray and you’ll be wondering why showrunner Dave Filoni hasn’t been given at least the partial reigns to a live-action Star Wars film yet. J.J. Abrams did an admirable job and surely Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, Colin Trevorrow, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller will follow suit. I’d argue none of them understand what makes the source material tick the way Filoni does.
Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels was instantly set up for success when fan favorite Ahsoka Tano reemerged from a self-imposed exile away from the Jedi Order in the Season 1 finale. Her presence portends an eventual confrontation with her former master that does not disappoint in a gripping Season 2 finale bestsing anything in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some characters don’t escape unharmed as the stakes appropriately rise with Ezra’s further exploration of the Force.
There’s far more to that confrontation than a simple one-on-one duel. The destiny of young Ezra Bridger continues to dance with the Dark Side, even more so when another lost character from Filoni’s excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars crawls out from the shadows with a hidden agenda. In between Ezra and Kanan battling Inquisitors, Stormtroopers and even Darth Vader himself, the other Ghost crew members are given their own backstories and links to their past. A certain Princess also makes her animated debut in an undercover role.
Like The Clone Wars, the second season of Rebels explores darker and more mature themes than its lighter inaugural season. Chopper and Zeb provide customary levity, but the lingering presence of Vader and an Empire tightening its grip on the galaxy push the story ever closer to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope in sometimes unexpected and sometimes nostalgic ways.
Chances are most fans of Star Wars Rebels already watched it on Disney XD or streamed it online from somewhere. The reasons for owning the Blu-ray would be to handle a personal hard copy or access to the exclusive bonus features. Reason one is purely subjective and reason two comes up short on being fulfilled.
Only three bonus features are included on the Star Wars Rebels Season 2 on Blu-ray and one of them has been readily available to watch online prior to this set’s release. It’s not a bad thing to have a hard copy of all 20 Rebels Recon YouTube shows and they are entertaining enough. Generally YouTube videos are most appropriate for YouTube.
Also included is Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season Two and From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs Ahsoka. Both extras excel with Filoni offering insight, Easter Eggs and hints at what’s to come in Season 3. Unfortunately they total barely 10 minutes in length combined and leave one wondering where the main course is.
Dave Filoni hit his stride starting with the fourth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He’s done the same in half the time with Star Wars Rebels Season 2. There is a lot of inspired storytelling packed into these episodes that I’m sure make George Lucas proud, especially considering Lucas created Ahsoka Tano and always intended for her to eventually collide with Darth Vader.
The Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Blu-ray is lacking in the extras department but otherwise hits all the right notes, including the audio/video department. Even sticklers for bonus features will get a kick out of these stories that effectively begin to bridge the prequel era with the original trilogy of Star Wars films.
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