This Review Contains Minor is Spoilers
Star Wars Rebels burst onto the scene last year with all the energy and fun of the original trilogy. Gripping plots, fun characters and a fast pace combined to make it feel like we’d genuinely returned to a galaxy far, far away. The season two premiere, The Siege of Lothal, feels like a 45 minute movie and it’s natural to draw comparisons to the season one premiere Spark of Rebellion.
Such comparisons aren’t entirely inaccurate – but where as Spark had a light, hopeful feel (similar to A New Hope) Siege of Lothal takes viewers to the heart of darkness and pain in the Galactic Civil War. It’s tone is definitely darker than season one and we actually see the rebels fail in a mission for (by my recollection) the first time. The Empire isn’t sending a Jedi hunting Inquisitor after them this time. As we saw in the close of season one, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader has been dispatched to deal with Kanan, Ezra, Hera, Sabine, Zeb and Chopper and he absolutely steals the show.
This is the Darth Vader of The Empire Strikes Back. His presence is a shadow cast over the entire story and he brings fear and death in his wake. For the first time in a long time, I felt genuinely afraid of Darth Vader. No Frankenstein homages, no long “Nooooo!” – this is the no nonsense, merciless Dark Lord that we remember. He stops at nothing to root out the Rebels, attacks where it hurts the most and instills terror in his own command as well as those who oppose him. Even with the aid of Ahsoka Tano, the rebels fear for their lives and it shows.
But we get more than just a lightsaber wielding terror. In Seige of Lothal we are reminded that Darth Vader (like Anakin Skywalker before him) is an amazing pilot. We see Vader full throttle and merciless in the cockpit, as deadly with a TIE as he is with a lightsaber.
As seen in the trailer for season two, we also get a confrontation between Ezra and Kanan against Darth Vader. The battle itself is short, but with good reason: They are no match for a Dark Lord of the Sith, and all involved know the inevitability of an encounter with Darth Vader. Again, fear permiates the episode.
The episode climaxes with with a great space battle and a terrible revelation spoken in three chilling words. I literally got goosebumps when I heard it and if you watched The Clone Wars, you will too.
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In short, Star Wars Rebels is back and its better than ever. But we won’t see the further adventures of the Rebels until fall of this year. It’s going to be a long wait, but just re-watching Seige of Lothal will tide me over until then.