Rebels Review: Twin Suns

“Twin Suns” featured the long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a hermit on Tatooine, and Maul, once a Sith, now a wanderer bent on getting his revenge. Ezra is also along for (most of) the ride, because this is Rebels so of course he is. Whether or not this episode lived up to the hype will depend on your certain point of view. As for me? Well, I was…whelmed.

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Making Our Own Audiobook: Our Empire’s End Reading Adventure

When you and your husband receive one copy of a book you’ve both been dying to read, and you’re both super wary about spoilers, there’s only one logical solution: read the book aloud to each other!

We received our review copy of Empire’s End on a Friday evening, when we got home from work. I immediately proposed the idea that we spend the weekend (thankfully with no pre-existing plans!) reading to each other. Brian agreed. All in all, it took about sixteen hours to get through the entire book: two hours Friday night, eight hours Saturday afternoon and evening, and six hours Sunday morning and afternoon. We took turns reading so we could eat and rest our voices. It was a great time, and we’d like to share it with you.

Minor spoilers after the cut.

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Rebels Review: Warhead

“Warhead” is one of those episodes that, after first viewing, some fans might call “filler”. It’s mostly character focused and doesn’t make huge advancements in the season’s overall plot. However, to dismiss this episode as unimportant would be doing it a disservice. While it’s not my favorite episode of the season so far, I really enjoyed spending more time with Zeb and loved his interplay with AP-5 and Chopper.

The plot of the episode is fairly straightforward. The Ghost crew, minus Zeb, leave Chopper base for some exercises. Zeb stays behind to keep watch over the base, and he’s forced to spend time with two droids that drive him bonkers. Meanwhile, the Empire has been sending spy droids to find the rebel bases. One of these droids lands on Atollon, is attacked by the giant spider creatures, and picked up by Zeb, who thinks it’s just an old protocol droid. Once back at the base, the droid impresses AP-5 with his inventory skills and is put to work…and then AP-5 mentions this is a rebel base. Once that revelation happens, the droid morphs into attack mode. Zeb, AP-5, and Chopper are forced to work together to defeat the droid and figure out a way to keep the Empire from finding their base.

Despite the fact that this is a mostly a character focused episode, important things happen that are definitely going to have a payoff later in the season. First, we learn that Thrawn is going to desperate measures to find the Rebels. Although he’s defeated at the end of the episode, he’s narrowed the search down to 94 possible planets and knows that finding Chopper Base is inevitable. I, for one, cannot wait to see Thrawn’s master plan finally take shape.

We also get another appearance of Kallus. He’s passing information to the rebels about the droid program right under Thrawn’s nose. Judging by the last scene of the episode, I can’t help but think that not only is Thrawn narrowing down the locations of the various rebel bases, but also the identity (or identities?) of Fulcrum. (Although I’m not convinced he doesn’t already know Kallus is Fulcrum.) I find myself waiting with bated breath for Kallus to be revealed as a spy. Whenever that happens…well, I don’t feel very confident for Kallus’s future in the Empire.

We learn more about Zeb, but also AP-5 and the rest of the rebel cells. Many viewers, myself included, have wondered where AP-5 has been all season. Especially in the Geonosis episodes, where having a protocol droid would have been very useful to communicate with the surviving Geonosian, Klik Klak. We learn in “Warhead” that AP-5 is in charge of inventory on Chopper Base, so it makes sense that he’s not been in the field. We also see Hera and the rest of the crew going off to run exercises. I’d love to see what these entail! Do they join with other cells? What does the rebel fleet look like at this time? (To no surprise, the Wedge and Hobbie cameos made me very happy. I’m glad they’re involved with Phoenix Squadron and hope they get more screen time in later episodes. Especially episodes involving X-wings.)

This episode was written by Gary Whitta. His humor and character work really shine, and I hope he continues to write additional episodes. “Warhead” wasn’t the best episode of the season, but it was solid, raised a lot of questions for future episodes, and shed much-needed light on some characters who aren’t in the spotlight as much. I can definitely use more of that in Rebels.

 

State of the Book Club

Confession: I’ve been slacking on the Book Club. I can blame a lot of things for this. The Thrawncast readings have taken up more time than I expected. I’m also trying to keep up with Tor.com’s Vorkosigan saga read-through as well as the Wraith Squadron arc for Rogue Podron. Then there was Rogue One (I still haven’t read the novelization yet), family in town for Christmas, and — oh yeah — my own writing to focus on.

Needless to say, we skipped December’s pick, Radiance. But it’s a new year and I want to make a new effort with the Book Club. No more excuses! I’m cheating for the first three months and picking books I’ve already read — the Mageworlds trilogy by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. I love them (the lead is basically Jaina Solo), and I hope you will, too. (For those of you looking forward to reading Radiance, don’t worry, we haven’t skipped it for good!)

Here’s a revised Book Club schedule for 2017. As always, it’s subject to change, and as always, if you have any suggestions, be sure to let me know!

  • January: The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • February: Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • March: By Honor Betray’d by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
  • April: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
  • May: Radiance by Catherynne Valente
  • June: The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley
  • July: Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace 
  • August: Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
  • September: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • October: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • November: Ash by Malinda Lo
  • December: Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns (releases December 5)

If you haven’t joined the Book Club yet, be sure to do so on Goodreads! You’ll have to request membership before it’s approved.

Rebels Review: Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2

Rebels returned from its mid-season hiatus this week and didn’t waste any time in making connections to Rogue One. Even before seeing the film, we all wondered what (if any) references to Rebels would be in Rogue One, or if any Rogue One characters would make an appearance on the show. After Rogue One’s release, many fans wondered if Rebels would feature the formation of the Rebel Alliance proper or Saw Gerrera’s break with the Alliance leadership.

The answer to both those questions, as evidenced by the mid-season trailer and this week’s episode, the two part Ghosts of Geonosis, is yes. While I didn’t love these episodes, I really appreciate the way Rebels and Rogue One seem to be trying in together to create a unified storyline leading up to the events of A New Hope that we all know by heart.

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Rebels Review: Iron Squadron

Last time I reviewed Rebels, it was for a Maul episode. This time it’s an episode with a group of ragtag kids out to fight the Empire. Even with the inclusion of Thrawn in this episode, I feel it’s again way out of my wheelhouse. Despite the fact this episode left me saying “meh” when it was over, there were a lot of cool bits of backstory and plot elements I hope return in later episodes.

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Review: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

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Bria: Ever since Ahsoka Tano showed up as Fulcrum on Star Wars Rebels, fans have wanted to know what she’s been up to since she left the Jedi Order.  Thanks to a brand new young adult novel by E.K. Johnston, we finally get our answer.  Well, some of it.  Ahsoka picks up a year after Order 66 with the former Jedi in hiding on a backwater planet but always on alert for the Empire.  

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Rebels Review: Holocrons of Fate

rebels logoLast week Rebels came back with a vengeance, aka the canon reintroduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn. This week the threat took on a decidedly more dark side tone in the form of Maul. Last time we saw him, he was escaping Malachor. Now he’s back and on the hunt for Kanan and Ezra, but mostly the Sith holocron. He takes the Ghost crew captive in order to persuade Kanan and Ezra to give him not just the Sith holocron, but Kanan’s Jedi holocron as well. Apparently, combining the two will provide seeeekrits. After a “fun” quest in which Kanan and Ezra have to learn to work together again in order to reclaim the Sith holocron from Bendu, they rendezvous with Maul, combine the holocrons, and all hell breaks loose.

Let’s talk about those secrets, shall we? This episode gives us Bendu’s awesome line from the Season 3 trailer: “Once a secret is known, it cannot be unknown.” In this case, both Maul and Ezra want the Sith holocron because they want to learn the key to destroying the Sith, but for very different reasons. Maul wants revenge. Ezra wants to protect his found family. (He seems to be making a turn away from the dark side already, which I’m kind of disappointed about. I hope we see more of him using the holocron.) They both see different things: Ezra sees planets, and then exclaims “twin suns”; Maul escapes the base muttering over and over, “he lives!”

I didn’t think I’d have many feelings about this episode. I wasn’t a big fan of the way The Clone Wars treated Force mysticism, although I’m glad to say I like Rebels’ take a lot more. The character of Bendu, delightfully voiced by Tom Baker, made what could have been an eye-rolling episode a lot more palatable. I like when the Force is a mystery, a riddle, a puzzle, and it definitely is that way with Bendu around. I also liked that this episode continued to explore the repercussions of what happened on Malachor, both with simple things like Ezra explaining to Kanan what he’s seeing and more complicated matters like the two of them learning to work together again. Not only that, but Maul is free and continuing his mission to wreak havoc in the galaxy.

But the real meat of the episode comes at the end, in which a shrug-worthy story (for me) becomes Super Important. Ezra sees twin suns, but doesn’t understand what it means. We all know, of course: the key to destroying the Sith is safely hidden on Tatooine in the form of Luke Skywalker. It seems like Maul’s vision was a lot more specific, because his exclamation of “he lives” can really only refer to one person: his old nemesis, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I admit, I’m excited for the implications. While I never read “Old Wounds,” I love the idea of that story. And if they had to bring back Maul (grumble mutter forever about how I like his story arc in TCW and Rebels, I just wish Lucas hadn’t CUT HIM IN HALF specifically so he couldn’t come back in the future, but then he changed his mind and we still don’t know how Maul survived a bisection, but I digress), the least they could do is give us one final Obi-Wan and Maul showdown on Tatooine.

Of course, there is one other option. Maul wants to destroy the Sith. The holocron showed him Obi-Wan, who has defeated a Sith in combat. Instead of wanting revenge on Obi-Wan, what if Maul goes to him with a proposal: help me destroy Vader and the Emperor, and I won’t kill you.

Obi-Wan, of course, is not stupid. Unlike Ezra, he wouldn’t take Maul’s word at face value. He knows Maul cannot be trusted. Once Obi-Wan refuses Maul’s offer, knowing he has to stay on Tatooine to protect Luke, then Maul’s vengeance would take over and we might see a that final showdown.

Or I could be wrong about all this and Rebels takes the straightforward revenge route from the beginning. Or perhaps we won’t see this story in Rebels at all because this show is about the Ghost crew.  Could we get a Maul/Obi-Wan rematch in a book? Or, dare we hope…a standalone movie? When it comes down to it, the only way I’ll forgive Robo-Maul is if that arcs ends with a rematch.

Whatever happens, Rebels continues to deliver solid storytelling. I just hope this particular ball isn’t dropped.

GIVEAWAY! The Thrawn Trilogy Paperbacks

Are you a Legends fan? Are you hoping to see more characters than Thrawn brought into the new canon? Want to win a copy of the new Thrawn Trilogy paperback release?

You’re in luck! We have two copies of the Thrawn Trilogy to give away to listeners. We’d like one copy to go to a longtime Legends fan, and one to go to a fan who’s new to the books.

For the first: Comment on this blog post with a Zahn character you’d love to see brought into canon. It can be in a new book, comic, on Rebels, a movie–whatever works best. Then, tell us how you’d incorporate that character and what storyline they’d be a part of. If you feel so inclined to write us fanfiction, we will not object!

For the second: Comment on this blog post and tell us why you’re interested in reading the Thrawn Trilogy. What intrigues you most about Legends? Is there a character you’ve been wanting to learn more about? Are you just now starting to read Star Wars books, period? Inquiring minds want to know!

Good luck! This contest will be open through Monday, September 26. Winners will be announced on our next episode.

US residents only, please. Thank you to Del Rey for providing us with copies of the books!