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'Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two' Blu-ray Review: Rise of the Rebellion

September 7, 2016Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
After contending with the relentless Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) and vanquishing the merciless Grand Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs) in Star Wars Rebels season one, the crew of the Ghost find themselves up against a much more formidable adversary in season two — namely, the Sith Lord Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) himself.


Now, fighting side-by-side with the Rebellion's Phoenix Squadron, Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum), Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) and Chopper the Astromech are teaming up with The Clone Wars' Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) and her old ally, Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker). Meanwhile, Vader dispatches his vast legions of Imperial forces, as well as more Inquisitors (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and Sarah Michelle Gellar), to hunt them down, in the hopes that capturing Anakin Skywalker's former Padawan will lead them to the other missing Jedi, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Along the way, the Ghost crew engage in a few side-missions, like getting entangled in a quarrel among space pirates in "Brothers of the Broken Horn," rescuing younglings from the Inquisitors in "The Future of the Force," and recruiting an elite Mandalorian warrior to join the Rebellion in "The Protector of Concord Dawn." What's more, in addition to the iconic Darth Vader, season two also includes appearances from original trilogy characters like Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia Organa and Master Yoda. Plus, there are more fun, little Easter eggs for Star Wars fans to discover, as in "Wings of the Master," which reveals the never-before-told origins of the Rebel fleet's B-Wing.

All in all, season two of Star Wars Rebels proves to be a rousing continuation of the series, delivering more of what Star Wars fans love, as well as drawing integral connections between the show and The Clone Wars, the original trilogy, and even The Force Awakens. As for this season's twenty-two episodes, they break down as follows:

  • The Siege of Lothal (Parts I and II) - The Inquisitor is dead. The Ghost crew has connected with other rebel cells. And a new ally named Ahsoka Tano has emerged. Despite these successes and developments, the fight against the Empire takes a deadly turn, as the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader comes to Lothal.
  • The Lost Commanders - Ahsoka Tano sends the Ghost crew to Seelos in search of an old friend — one whose leadership and strategy skills could help the fledgling rebellion. But will this legendary commander be willing to join the fight?
  • Relics of the Old Republic - While Kanan continues to struggle with trust issues, the other rebels begin to form friendships with the old clones. And when Agent Kallus arrives, all must join together to battle the Imperials.
  • Always Two There Are - Thanks to Rex's intel, Ezra, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper head out to an abandoned Republic medical station with the hopes of finding much needed supplies. When they encounter new enemies, however, the stakes become much higher.
  • Brothers of the Broken Horn - When Ezra answers a distress signal from the Broken Horn, the young Jedi finds someone unexpected waiting: the legendary pirate Hondo Ohnaka. But is he friend or foe?
  • Wings of the Master - With the rebels in desperate need of a ship with heavy weaponry, Hera seeks out a master engineer who has built a powerful new starfighter prototype.
  • Blood Sisters - While on mission to rendezvous with a courier holding secret information, Sabine encounters someone from her past: a bounty hunter named Ketsu. But is she friend or foe?
  • Stealth Strike - When the Empire uses a powerful new weapon to capture Ezra and Commander Sato, Rex and Kanan must put their differences aside to save their friends.
  • The Future of the Force - After the Empire’s Inquisitors begin targeting select babies for abduction, Ahsoka Tano and the Ghost crew investigate. What they find is unsettling, and it all leads to a deadly confrontation with the children’s fates hanging in the balance.
  • Legacy - After seeing his parents in a strange vision, Ezra believes they may still be alive. He heads back to Lothal for answers, while the Empire comes to Garel hoping to crush the rebellion.
  • A Princess on Lothal - While Ezra grapples with the news about his parents, the rebels make plans with Senator Bail Organa to secure three much-needed cruisers. Leading the mission is an agent hand-picked by the Senator: his daughter, Leia.
  • The Protector of Concord Dawn - Looking to secure a new hyperspace route to Lothal, the rebels head to the Mandalorian-controlled Concord Dawn to negotiate safe passage for their fleet. The warrior Protectors of the system prove to be less than welcoming, however, and it’s up to Kanan and Sabine to turn this group into friends... or enemies.
  • Legends of the Lasat - Thanks to intel from the space pirate Hondo, the Ghost crew rescue two Lasat from Imperial clutches. These survivors believe Zeb is the key to a prophecy that will lead to a new home for their kind — but Zeb, conflicted and ashamed of his failure to save Lasan, has little faith.
  • The Call - Low on fuel and power in deep space, the Ghost crew encounters massive, mysterious creatures whose lives are threatened by a mining operation.
  • Homecoming - The Ghost crew joins forces with Cham Syndulla, father of Hera and Clone Wars legend. But will his thirst for revenge — and fractured relationship with his daughter — cost the rebels a victory?
  • The Honorable Ones - Zeb and Agent Kallus find themselves stranded on an icy moon of Geonosis after a failed Imperial ambush of the rebels. Bitter enemies, they must put aside their differences and work together in order to survive.
  • Shroud of Darkness - Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka return to the Jedi Temple on Lothal, seeking to learn how the Inquisitors continually track them. Each has a different experience, and nothing will ever be the same.
  • The Forgotten Droid - When Chopper steals a replacement for his original leg, he separates from the Ghost crew and finds himself stranded on an Imperial ship. The grumpy astromech meets an inventory droid in service of the Empire, but will this new acquaintance become friend or foe?
  • The Mystery of Chopper Base - The rebels finally locate a potential site for a secret base, but find their new home is not as isolated as originally believed...
  • Twilight of the Apprentice (Parts I and II) - Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka arrive at Malachor, a seemingly dead world and home to an ancient Sith Temple, but they are not alone. Paths cross, destinies change, and fates are fulfilled.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
As with season one of Star Wars Rebels, season two boasts a flawless 1080p image presentation. The show's CG animation is crystal-clear and razor-sharp; colors are robust, from the varying shades of grey and neutral tones of the Empire, to the more vibrant hues of the Rebellion; and black levels and contrast are top-notch, from Vader's sleek black armor to the stark black-and-white color scheme of the Stormtroopers. As for the audio, however, season two is outfitted with yet another Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. And while dialogue, the familiar Star Wars musical themes, and sound effects like blaster fire, spaceship fly-bys and the low-frequency humming of lightsabers sound just fine with lossy audio, the lack of a lossless option is simply a missed opportunity.


EXTRAS: 
Disney's three-disc Blu-ray release includes the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Rebels Recon (2:10:07) - StarWars.com's Andi Gutierrez hosts these brief, behind-the-scenes looks at each of season two's 22 episodes, which feature interviews and Q&A tidbits with LucasFilm Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo, Executive Producer Dave Filoni, and the cast and crew behind the show.
  • Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season 2 (3:30) - A look at the "Easter eggs, hidden stories and epic connections" that link the show to the rest of the Star Wars universe, such as the ties to The Force Awakens and an homage to artist Ralph McQuarrie.
  • From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka (6:08) - Executive Producer Dave Filoni talks about the epic confrontation between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader that caps off season two, as well as the chain of events from The Clone Wars animated series that led to it.


Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of August 30th, 2016. Episode synopses above provided courtesy of Starwars.com. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Digital Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 and German Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 8 Hrs. 5 Mins.








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