Attack of the stereotypes

Source: http://www.rotoscopers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/star-wars-rebels-zeb-and-ezra.jpg

 

For me watching the first season of Star Wars: Rebels was a huge disappointment.
It’s hard to say if this is due to my subjective expectations, which weren’t fulfilled, or due to the promise of the Star Wars part in the show’s title, which made me believe that I would get Star Wars, but gave me Disney instead. The show lacked consistence, logic, tension, interesting characters, danger and most of the other stuff that creates an exciting story.

When discussing with other people about the first season, I mostly heard the argument, that Star Wars: Rebels was more a show for children than for adults, so we shouldn’t be too strict with our judgement. Well, Jar-Jar Binks is also a character for children and not adults and we all know how that turned out.
Most of the reviews I found on the internet seemed quite positive and nice, so, besides wondering if I watched a different show, I was asking myself if my attitude was too strict.

SPOILER ALERT for “Star Wars: Rebels” S1 and S2E1.

But at the end of the day, for me it just felt like watching Cool-Aladdin-Guy with drama background (something with the parents, it’s always something with the parents) joining Cool-Jedi-Smuggler-Guy, Cool-Potential-Girlfriend and Cool-Grumpy-Wannabewookie forming Crew-Stereotype, fighting against Stormtroopers, who can’t shoot anyway and some Dark Side-ish person with pointed teeth instead of an evil master plan.

I know, I know, everything is subjective, but I think we shouldn’t turn down our demand to authors, just because we love Star Wars.

The Plot Awakens

To be fair, there were certain characters with potential and few moments that gave me a bit of hope for the show. I think the episode about rescuing Luminara Unduli was very nice and had a great plot twist. Then Hera seemed like a character, who could become the soul of the rebel crew.

That’s not much and I wouldn’t actually have bothered watching season 2, after twelve of thirteen episodes hadn’t convinced me at all. But then came the last episode of season 1, which turned the tables.
Not that it was a great episode, but there were some twists and reveals, which triggered my curiosity. The appearance of Ahsoka Tano, for example, who turned out to be a much better character than I remembered from when she appeared in the Clone Wars series.
The fact that Darth Vader appeared, suddenly felt like the child’s play was over and that the real story was about to start.

 

Return of the conflict

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Season 2’s first episode was a big relief.
The protagonists actually had problems and didn’t just rush through all the difficulties, as if they were nothing. Darth Vader was a smart and scary villain, giving the rebels a really hard time. He used tricks, tactics, lured them into one trap after the other and gave them no time to take a breath or to relax for a moment. One could say, that the rebels wouldn’t have made it without luck. The Dark Side was strong, which gave the viewer the chance to fear for the protagonists. The Stormtroopers aimed and, yes, they hit something! No more hanging out in the middle of the crossfire, having funny and “cool” dialogues.

Speaking of misplaced coolness: I was very happy, that the authors managed to turn down the “coolness” factor a little. The characters became more authentic. They struggled, feared and didn’t just cover everything up with useless jokes. Sure, their character concepts didn’t change from one second to the other and the line up of the main characters was still based on stereotypes. But the authors added some new facets which made them more human (or humanoid in this case). The situations they were dragged into actually had an effect on their behavior. Situations affect people and even the coolest guy will probably have this look of fear in his eyes when facing Darth Vader.

Overall the episode was darker, more serious, it had conflicts not only between the rebels and the Empire, but also within the Ghost’s crew. A side topic, which promises to get more interesting in future, was an idealistic dispute between Kanan and Hera.
Also the viewers will be curious to know how the back story of Vader and Ahsoka will influence the plot, and a new Inquisitor may also give us a reason to watch the next episode. Let’s just hope, that he or she is going to be dangerous.

Sure, it’s difficult to foresee how the new season of Star Wars: Rebels will evolve, because “always in motion is the future”. Still, there are signs for a more serious approach. At the moment I am very curious how the show will go on.

May the Dark Side serve us well and give us a story full of conflicts.

 


Thomas RitzingerTom is an Austrian actor and director, working in theaters since 2001. He studied acting in Salzburg and currently lives in Germany. He loves being creative, putting the crazy thoughts in his head out into the world and dreaming of being a Star Wars character. In addition he is also studying Media-Management, but only if his thoughts don´t drift to galaxies far, far away.
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