Catch Up With the ‘Rebels’ Before They Return

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There’s a fairly big film opening on December 18, right? I think someone mentioned that to me. Does that ring a bell for anyone else?

Listen, I know. Waiting is hard. Thankfully, we’re all in this together… and we have something fantastic to occupy our collective attention: Star Wars Rebels.

On October 14, the crew of the Ghost (and a few new allies… and villains) returns for a second season on Disney XD. As the new season begins, the galaxy has gotten a little bit bigger, and the rebellion against the Empire has gotten a little bit stronger.

But if you’re not already up to speed with the show (and, seriously, why aren’t you?), now is the perfect time to catch up with Ezra, Kanan, Hera, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper. The complete first season was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

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Star Wars Rebels exploded onto the scene last year when it premiered on Disney XD. From the beginning, though, it faced a relatively uncertain future since it followed the massively successful six-year run of The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network. Many fans wondered how it would compare to the epic storytelling that The Clone Wars was able to tell.

However, Rebels was more or less an immediate hit with fans. Set between Episodes III and IV, Rebels takes place roughly five years before the events of A New Hope, when the rebellion was still in its infancy. This means that some characters we know and love from the original trilogy are very much alive and active, which makes from some incredibly fun cameos.

The entirety of The Clone Wars is one of the few non-film properties that remained in official Star Wars canon after Disney/Lucasfilm relegated nearly 40 years of Expanded Universe stories (that were previously considered canon) to an “alternative timeline” of sorts now known as Legends.

The Clone Wars survived, which means that many of its most popular characters and storylines did as well. Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress, Captain Rex, and many others held their place in official canon, though none of them played a (significant) role in the first season of Rebels.

Created and executive produced by Dave Filoni, who had the same dual roles on The Clone Wars, Rebels feels very much “of the same world” as that earlier show. However, whereas The Clone Wars focused heavily on Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and a whole host of other familiar faces, Rebels took viewers into uncharted waters with a brand-new cast of characters.

From the first episode, it quickly became apparent that the creative team behind the show was firing on all cylinders. Rebels felt more like Star Wars than anything we’d seen since Return of the Jedi.

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There’s probably not much I can tell you about the show that you don’t already know or haven’t read before. If you’ve watched it, you know how good it is. If you haven’t seen it, you’re likely aware that you’re missing out on something truly special.

But like I said, there couldn’t be a better time to catch up. The complete Season 1 set contains two discs with 15 episodes, along with four shorts that aired on the Disney Channel before the show began. (The premiere movie, “Spark of Rebellion,” is split over two episodes.)

Special features include 14 behind-the-scenes featurettes, a brief look ahead to Season 2 with Dave Filoni, a 22-minute “ultimate guide” that recaps Season 1 (and is narrated by Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan), and a fun 4-minute look at how Rebels played a role at this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.

I should note that a longer film aired over the summer that bridges the two seasons. Titled “The Siege of Lothal,” the film includes some key plot developments, but it is not included on this set. I assume it’s considered to be part of Season 2, much like the premiere film, “Spark of Rebellion,” is considered to be part of Season 1.

I, for one, am itching to get back into the cockpit with Hera, Sabine, and the rest. October 14 can’t come soon enough. Won’t you come along for the ride?

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