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.
Saw Gerrera is the first new Rogue One character to make an appearance on Rebels, and he’s voiced by Forest Whitaker to boot. Rebels Saw is based on Whitaker’s appearance in flashback shots; he sports a bald head and doesn’t have his respirator yet. Rebels is now two years before A New Hope (and Rogue One), which makes you wonder exactly what happens to Saw between these episodes and the film. The Specters are sent on a mission to recover a rebel team that has gone missing on Geonosis while trying to find out what the Empire had been doing there. The team finds Saw, the only surviving team member, a long with a Geonosian they call Klik Klak, who seems to be the only surviving member of his species. Not only do they find Klik Klak, but he’s guarding a one Geonosian egg. (Other fans have pointed out that this egg turns into the Queen seen in the Darth Vader comic. I didn’t read those, but again I commend the Story Group for this sort of storyline cohesion.)
Drama erupts when Saw’s desire to take Klik Klak back to the Rebellion for questioning clashes with the Specters’ desire to let Klik Klak stay on Geonosis. This is where I had the most of my problems with the episode. At first they seem to come to a compromise – question Klik Klak before returning him home – but once he reveals the existence of the egg, the conflict escalates as everyone seems to forget the compromise. Ezra especially is insistent that Klik Klak remain on his home planet to guard the egg and allow his species a chance to be reborn. Saw, meanwhile, wants to destroy the egg and force Klik Klak away from his home. It was one of those moments when I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle everyone. Especially when they end up leaving Klik Klak and dropping the Imperial insecticide canisters during their escape from the planet. Now they have no physical evidence of genocide, nor can Klik Klak reveal what the Empire was truly doing on Geonosis.
Other fans have pointed out that the rebels couldn’t have found out about the Death Star this early, and that’s very true. However, I feel like they could have written the episodes a bit differently so that Klik Klak is unable to go back to the Alliance, he escapes and hides on his own, or something else to that effect. Leaving him there, knowing what the alien knows, was super frustrating. But I guess that’s the point, right?
Random things I really liked about these episodes: a female Imperial officer of color (FINALLY), Hera’s awesome flying, Sabine’s jetpack in action, the team working together.
Ghosts of Geonosis Parts 1 and 2 weren’t my favorite episodes, but they made me excited for the rest of the season. In that way, they were a rousing success.