Star Wars: Rebels (2017) – In the Name of the Rebellion: Part 2, The Occupation, and Flight of the Defender

When we left Ezra (Taylor Gray), Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and Chopper (Dave Filoni) last week, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) had just rescued them from a mission into Imperial space. A good episode, but the follow-up was amazing!

In the Name of the Rebellion: Part 2 was written by Matt Michnovetz. Forst airing on 23 October, 2017, the story solidly ties in with Rogue One with mentions of Jedha, the continued development of the Imperial superweapon, an appearance by a u-wing, some of Saw’s compatriots from the film, and a Death Trooper.

Saw recruits Ezra and Sabine to help investigate a cargo carrier that he’s been told is carrying something for the Empire. Once aboard, they find a collection of scientists being held prisoner, which is not what Saw is looking for, and could care less about. But when they come across a large kyber crystal, which the Empire plans to weaponize (we know what they do with it), he’s intent on blowing the ship up, prisoners or not.

Ezra and Sabine have a different idea, and they part ways with Saw in the middle of the battle, fighting for what they know is right (saving the prisoners) instead of focusing solely on the possible weapon.

Filled with action and humour, you can see this tying this series even more tightly in with the films.

So good. But with the end of the series looming… what will that mean for Kanan and Ezra? We’ve never heard Luke Skywalker mention them, we’ve never heard of them being trained or working with him, even in some of the new canon (comics and novels) so what does that mean a we close in on the end of the series?

The Occupation is a bit of a darker story as Ezra and the crew of the Ghost return to Lothal in an effort to aid Ryder (Clancy Brown) and his faction stop the Imperial factories from continuing to turn out TIE Defenders.

But Lothal isn’t the way Ezra left it.

Written by Christopher L. Yost, The Occupation debuted on 30 October, 2017, and reveals a Lothal damaged, almost beyond repair. A planet living under strict Imperial rule, its citizens terrified, some have been executed, and Ezra and the rest are almost at a loss of where to start in beginning the fight for the planet, or finding Ryder.

It seems everything, and everyone they knew is gone, and the Imperials are hellbent on capturing them.

Chases, and encounters lead us, finally to Ryder, but Ezra is more than a little troubled by everything that has happened to his home. And as the episode ends, he, Ryder, and the rest plan their first step in retaking Lothal…

On a side note, I love that Kanan (Freddie Prinze jr.) and Hera (Vanessa Marshall) are allowed to share a brief but tender moment, that, of course, doesn’t last, but is nice to see that the writers are keeping that romance alive.

Flight of the Defender begins the real battle for Lothal in earnest. Written by Dave Filoni and Steven Melching, and debuted back to back on 30 October, 2017 with The Occupation.

Ezra and Sabine travel with Zeb (Steve Blum) and Ryder to check out the prototype TIE Defender, and hope to steal some of its flight data before they go into mass production.

Things go sideways when instead of reporting back to the rebellion, Sabine and Ezra elect to steal the tri-wing Defender instead… just as Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) arrives.

To add to their problems the loth-cats that seem to be everywhere, and happy to follow Ezra into any situation, are abundant, and seem to have a strange connection with the legendary loth-wolf that Ezra keeps seeing.

The ship theft is great, and the action sequences designed around it are executed with typical Star Wars aplomb, while the introduction of the loth-wolf, and its apparent abilities add a new mystical angle to the series, not to mention a healthy dose of mystery.

Looks like things are ramping up to deliver us a rousing final season, and I can’t wait to see what happens next week. Until then, may the Force be with you…

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