Star Wars Rebels review: "Legacy"

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Like viewers of "Legacy," Ezra doesn't know what's next—but he's content.
Lucasfilm

"Legacy" stands out as one of Star Wars Rebels' best episodes yet. Not only did it answer one of the show's first questions in a compelling way, testing Ezra Bridger's maturity, but it also raised bigger questions about the nature and will of the Force. On a practical level, I enjoyed watching Ezra's journey through confusion, frustration, optimism, sorrow, and hope. On a metaphysical level, I was thrilled to get to grapple once more with the idea of the Force as a living entity, a character in a story. As fun as it is to watch space battles and cantina shootouts, it's equally fun to wrestle with how our favorite characters are connected to that all-encompassing energy field.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "The Future of the Force"

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Ahsoka's like, "Why did I agree to be in this episode?"
Lucasfilm

Even the commanding presence of Ahsoka Tano couldn't save "Future of the Force" from being a generally lackluster Star Wars Rebels episode. The story was thin, the characters received scant development, and one plot point in particular defied all logic and proper characterization. It felt like most of the characters spent most of the time running, and as a result, the episode never had the chance to settle down and take on any coherent form. There might have been a way to rework the baby-snatching plot, which first appeared in The Clone Wars, to fit in the Rebels context. But this episode's story was so thin and empty that it's a wonder it took 22 minutes to tell.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Stealth Strike"

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I salute this episode.
Lucasfilm

"Stealth Strike" might be as close to a perfect episode of Star Wars Rebels as we've seen in a long time. It ties with "Wings of the Master" as the best of season 2. Not only did it blend moments of humor with moments of gravity (pun intended), but it resolved some tension between two main characters, taught another character an important lesson about the past, and put a formerly background character in a central role in a way that hinted at the struggles of the growing Rebellion. "Stealth Strike" balanced a story full of homages with a raft of meaningful dialog and still managed to tell a fascinating story that equally leveraged the strengths and weaknesses of several fan-favorite characters.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Blood Sisters"

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Even Sabine isn't sure about this episode.
Lucasfilm

"Blood Sisters" was another uneven Star Wars Rebels episode. Chopper positively shined, Sabine's past started to come into the light, Ezra offered some welcome comic relief, and the walking, clanking, gonking MacGuffin brought some quintessentially Star Wars humor to the story. In short, most of the characters were great. But "Blood Sisters" turned on the involvement of a new character, brought in to highlight an unknown side of Sabine, and that newcomer was poorly written to the point of logical incoherence, casting a pall over the rest of the episode.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Wings of the Master"

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This episode, like the blade-wing, positively soared.
Lucasfilm

In many ways, "Wings of the Master" mirrored the experimental blade-wing at the center of its story. It was the product of many moving pieces—writing, voice acting, animation, and music—and to really deliver on its promise, all of those pieces had to fit together perfectly. Thankfully, like the blade-wing itself, this episode came out firing on all cylinders. Everything just worked. We learned a little bit more about Hera's backstory, we met a new ally of the Rebellion (and his whiz-bang prototype ship), and we were treated to one of the most breathtaking sequences of animation and music that Star Wars Rebels has ever given us.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Brothers of the Broken Horn"

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Every television show has its hits and its misses. "Brothers of the Broken Horn" was unquestionably a miss. It was fantastic to see Hondo Ohnaka again, but he was the only good thing about this episode. It began with a farfetched premise and continued in a manner that was alternately boring and unbelievable. As a huge fan of Star Wars Rebels, "Brothers of the Broken Horn" was more than disappointing—it was unsettling. The crew of this show is so good that it was almost inconceivable that they could stumble this much. Since October 2014, they've been developing Ezra Bridger in a fascinating, nuanced, and realistic way. With this episode, they seemed to forget what they were doing with him.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Always Two There Are"

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Ezra and the Seventh Sister knew that they were carrying the story.
Lucasfilm

Every group of heroes needs a group of villains to keep them on their toes. The relatively simple first season of Star Wars Rebels pitted the Ghost crew against one Grand Inquisitor, but with their allies multiplying in Season Two, the rebels needed more enemies, too—and in "Always Two There Are," we met two of those enemies. There wasn't much to this episode; it was neither complex in theme nor grand in scope. But its central conflict—the clash of personalities between a young, unrefined Jedi and a young, sadistic Jedi-hunter—was entertaining enough to carry the story.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "Relics of the Old Republic"

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The tension between Rex and Kallus is palpable—and it was key to the episode's success.
Lucasfilm

"Relics of the Old Republic" was everything I could have wanted from an episode of its name. It advanced the story of Kanan's tense relationship with the clones, as well as Ezra's more easygoing friendship with them. It brought back memories of The Clone Wars animated series by giving Rex a few bouts of nostalgia. And it did something that no canon Star Wars story has done before: It showed us clones reacting to the new and darker regime that grew out of their own war, offering a contrast between the competent and loyal "relics" of the Republic and the shiny but heartless war machine of the New Order.
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Star Wars Rebels review: "The Lost Commanders"

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Rex and the rebels seem to be asking, "Was this really how we wanted to start the season?"
Lucasfilm

Star Wars Rebels returned to television with an episode that felt almost as plodding as an AT-TE on a big-game hunt. If the relationships that developed on that aging walker had involved anyone other than fan-favorite clone troopers, I probably would have been sorely disappointed by "The Lost Commanders." As it was, I enjoyed the fact that meeting the clones brought out important qualities in Ezra and Kanan. Despite lacking anything truly exciting, "The Lost Commanders" played a valuable role by reintroducing Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor, whose very existence challenged Kanan to move on from the past — or risk being bogged down by the pain of distant conflicts.
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Moving On

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Today is my last day with TheForce.Net, Rebelscum.com, and The ForceCast.

I joined the team on May 2, 2009, having been recruited to help with social media. In the six years and six days since then, I've had some incredible opportunities, met some fantastic people, and gone to exciting places. I've interviewed talented Star Wars creators, reviewed Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, reported news, written book reviews, managed our book reviews team, and coordinated giveaways. I've covered three Celebrations, two Star Wars Weekends, and one New York Comic Con, along with many smaller events. I've also helped remotely with our coverage of events like San Diego Comic-Con and Toy Fair.

I helped rebuild the ForceCast podcast network in early 2013 and hosted or co-hosted multiple shows on the network, including the flagship program. It's great to see the network continue to expand and bring in new hosts.

I've had fun doing all of this, but all good things must come to an end. No matter how great things are at the beginning, time takes its toll. In the words of Sam Cooke, "a change is gonna come."

While I am leaving the team that led me to a world of fantastic people, I am not saying goodbye to those people: the Twitter and Facebook friends, the Star Wars actors, the Lucasfilm employees, and everyone else I first met through TFN or the ForceCast. Meeting awesome people has been the best part of this whole experience for me, and I'm glad that won't end just because this chapter of my life is closing.

I really do consider TFN and the ForceCast to be an important chapter in my early life. In ways big and small, professional and deeply personal, I can't imagine where—or who—I would be right now if I hadn't joined the team. As strange as this may sound, I honed many of the skills that led me to my current day job while trying to apply journalistic principles and practices to my Star Wars work. I am better at things like interviewing people, dealing with confidential sources, and taking notes during fast-paced events because I did so much of that for TFN and the ForceCast.

But now I'm here, and I have an important day job that demands my full attention.

Speaking of that day job, I'm happy to say that the Daily Dot wants me to do some Star Wars writing for them. Although my official job responsibilities are editing and politics/policy reporting, you will occasionally see my byline on Star Wars stories as well. On May 4th, a.k.a. Star Wars Day. we published my comprehensive overview of the state of the franchise. I'm really proud of that piece, as I am of everything I write for the Daily Dot. You should check out my stories sometime.

Oh, and don't worry, I'll still be reviewing Rebels, but now it'll be on this blog.

Out with the old, in with the new!
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My schedule for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim

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I'll be at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (April 16-19) covering the convention for TheForce.Net, Rebelscum.com, and The ForceCast. I'll be splitting my time between public panels, press events, and activities at the ForceCast booth.

I've posted my schedule below, in case you're interested in meeting up with me. You can also follow me on Twitter to see everything I'm doing at Celebration.

Thursday, April 16

11:30 a.m.: ForceCast Booth (Details coming soon!)
12 p.m.: ForceCast Booth (Details coming soon!)
4:30 p.m.: ForceCast Booth (Details coming soon!)

Friday, April 17

10:30 a.m.: Bryan Young: Star Wars Journalism (Fan Stage - 303ABCD)
3:30 p.m.: One Big Story: Working Within the Star Wars Canon (Fan Stage - 303ABCD)

Saturday, April 18

2:30 p.m.: Star Wars at Del Rey (Behind-the-Scenes Stage)
4:00 p.m. Star Wars Rebels Red Carpet (Digital Stage)

Sunday, April 19

11:00 a.m.: Conversations with Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank (Celebration Stage)
12:30 p.m. Star Wars Rebels: Past, Present, and Future (Digital Stage)
1:30 p.m.: ForceCast Booth (Details coming soon!)
2:30 p.m.: ForceCast Booth (Details coming soon!)
3:30 p.m: Star Wars Celebration Closing Ceremony (Celebration Stage)

Be sure to stop by the ForceCast booth, in the Official Pix autograph area of the Exhibit Hall, for great programming throughout the convention. The autograph area is in Hall C, as seen below.


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Recalibrating

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The ForceCast, the podcast that I've co-hosted for the past two years, unveiled a new format in this week's show. At the end of the episode, I made an announcement: Beginning next week, I will no longer be one of the voices welcoming you to the ForceCast.

I'm not leaving the network, and you'll still hear me on the flagship program on a regular basis. But beginning with ForceCast #341, Justin Bolger will be the main host, with Erik Blythe as co-host, and I will assume a new role as a contributor. (More on that in a second.)

I will continue to host the Rebels Roundtable, with Spencer Brinkerhoff III as my co-host. I will continue to appear as a regular panelist on Echo Base, hosted by Erik. I will continue to produce special reports for the ForceCast, including long-form interviews and convention coverage. (Celebration Anaheim approaches!) The only change will be on the main show.

A lot has changed in my life since Erik and I released our first episode on February 14, 2013, which will be exactly two years ago tomorrow. The biggest change is that I graduated from college and started a full-time job. I'm incredibly fortunate to be employed so soon after college, doing exciting work with amazing colleagues. The problem is that there are only so many hours in the day. As I've settled into my job, I've found, unsurprisingly, that I have less time for extracurricular activities. By far the most time- and energy-intensive of those activities is hosting the ForceCast.

This is the right time for me to recalibrate my role on the ForceCast. Having discussed this change with Justin for the past two months, I can tell that he knows exactly what he's doing. The show's new modular format revolves around pre-recorded segments, which makes planning a lot easier for Justin and Erik—and me.

Yes, although I won't be a host anymore, I will be pitching, scheduling, recording, and producing segments that will appear on the ForceCast. I won't be introducing episodes or reading our closing credits, but I will continue to be a regular voice on the show.

This new arrangement really is the best of both worlds for me. I'll still be participating in exciting Star Wars discussions that you'll hear on Fridays. I'm happy to let someone else spend all of Thursday trying to give the latest episode the perfectly witty title.
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The Force Awakens video interview about whether the film can deliver for die-hard fans

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I appeared on the TouchVision network to discuss George Lucas' recent comments about having nothing to do with The Force Awakens and whether the movie is in good hands at Lucasfilm.


I had a great time talking to Ken, the producer of the segment, and hope we can connect again in the future. It was also nice to see Chris Seekell, a fellow podcaster, appear in the segment.
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