Review: Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion

rebels logoToday’s the day!  Star Wars Rebels officially premieres today and unsurprisingly, we here at Tosche Station have opinions about the first episode, Spark of Rebellion.  Earlier this week, we gave our brief, spoiler-free thoughts on the show and now it’s time for a much longer spoiler filled review.  We’re doing things a little bit differently this time though so read on for our roundtable review and discussion of the pilot!

So what did everyone think about the first episode? Generally speaking, that is.

Bria: I thought it was quite enjoyable!  It had a lot of the elements that draw people into a good Star Wars story.  Plus, the crew is just so damn loveable!

Brian: I thought I was going to enjoy it, but not nearly to the extent I did. It was just such a good tonal fit with the Star Wars I know and love. Perfect mix of humor, action, and drama. Just loads of fun.

Nanci: I was super surprised by how much I enjoyed the first episode. I loved it. I laughed a lot, the action scenes were very well-done, and it fit right in with the Star Wars universe that we know and love. Plus the story seemed right on point for this period in the timeline.

What were our favorite moments?

Bria: I’m not even going to lie: I swooned when Hera casually called Kanan ‘love’.  I was also a huge fan of her using Zeb’s full name when she was angry at him.

Brian: Also going to put in a vote for Hera and Kanan’s first interaction on the Ghost. Absolutely love that they were shown in a pre-established relationship. Adored Hera’s snark. Also, the space battle. You could see the nods to the Falcon’s escape from the Death Star in that scene. Beautiful visual homages to A New Hope with the camera pans and framing.

Nanci: “Kid, I’m about to let everyone in on the secret.” Yeah, I pumped my fist in the air. Then I swooned. It was so badass.

What did we dislike?

Bria: I get why they did it but I wish we hadn’t seen nearly as much of Kanan waving around his lightsaber so much.  Actually, even Ezra not igniting it while on the ship would have helped some.  I’m just hoping that we get the Jedi moments sparingly especially when they aren’t on the Ghost.  Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the animation of the Wookiees.  Something about them seemed… off.  There was something about their eyes.

Brian: Another vote for the Wookiee animation. You can tell that the animators are still getting used to the visual style a bit with models that aren’t going to be used frequently. I actually liked how the primary cast looked, but the Wookiees just seemed a bit off like Bria said. Additionally I’m still not totally sold on Ezra, but I’ll give it time. He came off better than Ahsoka did early on in The Clone Wars. If she can escape that portrayal and become compelling, so can Ezra. Right now, though, he’s perhaps a touch on the eyeroll side.

Nanci: The Wookiee animation was pretty terrible. The animation all around wasn’t my favorite, but I can overlook it for the story. I didn’t really have a problem with the use of the lightsaber like Bria did (see my comments above, heh) or the talk about the Force. I thought it was sparingly used, and hope they continue this trend. If it becomes the focus of the show, it will be annoying. Luke is supposed to be the new hope for a reason. Ezra was borderline annoying, and I rolled my eyes at him a few times, but hopefully he gets toned down as the series goes on, similar to Ahsoka’s character arc.

Does anyone have a favorite character yet?

Bria:  Hera.  Definitely Hera.  All hail Captain Hera Syndulla of the USS Queen of the Universe.

Brian: Hera Hera Hera Hera Hera Hera. Hera. Have I mentioned Hera? Hera. Will say that I wound up liking Kanan a ton more than I expected to. I think A New Dawn helped on that front (so consider this another recommendation to read it).

Nanci: I can’t pick out a favorite yet. I liked Zeb a lot more than I thought I would. Same with Kanan. And I really liked Agent Kallus as the bad guy. I like non-Force using Imperials a lot, and we get so few of them that are really super effective.

What are we hoping to see more of in the future?

Bria: More of everyone really.  I suspect that we’ll get episodes that focus on different members of the team and I’m really looking forward to those.  Ezra’s probably the member of the crew I’m the least intrigued by so I’ll be glad to see more episodes that are less focused on him joining the team.  I’d love to learn more of what happened to Sabine’s family.  Also more awesome ‘lightsaber click, lightsaber snap-hiss’ moments.

Brian: Space battles, because those instantly bring me back to the first time I watched Star Wars. Beyond that, I want to learn more about Sabine. While I liked what I saw of her character in this episode, I feel like we didn’t really get to know her that well. I am hoping we get to see more stories about the crew as a whole and not get overloaded with Ezra. Rebels I think has the potential to be a great ensemble show if it can avoid what I call Early Dollhouse Syndrome (when the show focused too much on Eliza Dushku’s character and not enough on the brilliant cast surrounding her).

Nanci: I really want to learn more about Zeb and Sabine. And Hera’s backstory, of course. While we “meet” her in A New Dawn, we don’t really know much about her. I think the best thing about Rebels is that we’re sticking with a main crew, so we’re going to get to know them pretty well. But it would also be nice to see some movie characters every now and again, like Mon Mothma and Bail Organa–or even Expanded Universe creations like Garm bel Iblis.

Bria: Wait, I like Nanci’s answer.  Can I use hers too?

Any last thoughts?

Bria: Spark of Rebellion was certainly a good start but I think the following six or so episodes will really be telling.  I’m looking forward to a show that follows one core group but brings other characters in and out of the tale as the plot warrants it.  It’s definitely a fun show so far with a ton of promise and endless potential.  (Well, almost endless.  They can’t blow up a planet or anything.)

Brian: If Spark of Rebellion was any indication, this show is going to be a ton of fun. It’s already succeeded in doing what most shows can’t do: convince me on day one to ride out the inevitable bumps of the first season. Every show always has rough moments early on as things are felt out, but this episode showed a ton of promise and I can say I’m fully on board to see where it goes.

Nanci: I was really impressed with “Spark of Rebellion” and really, really hope that we can expect this quality of show going forward. It seems like the creators may have learned a lesson from Clone Wars and narrowed their focus onto a core group of characters, which I think will help create a much more effective story. Time will tell!

Check back each week as the staff reviews the rest of Rebels’ first season.

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