Saturday of Star Wars Celebration was all about Star Wars Rebels for me. First in the morning there was the panel discussing what we will see in season 2 and our first look at the trailer for season 2. Afterwards there was a screening of last season’s finale, Fire Across the Galaxy followed by the season 2 premiere entitled Siege of Lothal.
This is not a proper review of the episode, but rather a preview of what is to come. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.
The episode opens more or less where last season left off, our heroes have become part of the larger Rebellion and their strikes against the Empire have become more military based strikes rather than the smaller annoyances and thefts we saw at the beginning of season 1. However, not everyone in the crew likes the new roles they have taken on, Kanan especially wants to go back to what they were doing before. This is where we hear Kanan’s dialogue from the trailer about fighting alongside soldiers.
The Ghost is now fighting alongside Phoenix Squadron, which is comprised of A-wings and smaller command ships. They are continuing their hit and run tactics against the Empire, but now they have more fire power at their disposal and can hit bigger targets.
Because of the increased actions by the Rebels, and what has happened on Mustafar and Lothal, the Emperor has personally dispatched Darth Vader to put a stop to it before it can spread any more. Darth Vader plays a large role in this episode. This is not just a cameo like we saw in Fire Across the Galaxy or Spark of Rebellion. He is the main villain here. It seems strange but this is the most focused we have ever seen Darth Vader. He is not yet working to undermine the Emperor like he was through most of the original trilogy and he is not the conflicted person we saw in Revenge of the Sith.
Darth Vader is not a villain that is easily stopped either, he is relentless, and the Rebels are ill equipped to fight someone like him. We see how much more powerful he is than someone like the Inquisitor. He is also a mystery to everyone. No one knows who he is or where he has come from.
In the trailer we see Kanan and Ezra fighting Darth Vader. All I could think of during this fight was Darth Vader being annoyed at having to swat away these flies, neither of them represent a true threat to him. He treats them much like he treated Luke Skywalker in their first meeting on Cloud City.
The episode ends with Darth Vader and the Emperor beginning a plot that could lead them to the rest of the Jedi who survived Order 66 and help to eliminate key leaders of the burgeoning Rebellion.
In the panel, Dave Filoni compared this season to the Empire Strikes Back. This is definitely the case here. The stakes have gotten higher, the villains are more powerful, more dangerous and the story is definitely much darker. There were jaw dropping moments and unexpected turns. Much like the change in tone as the Clone Wars show progressed, I see a similar progression beginning here in Rebels as well.