Amid growing Imperial oppression on Lothal, the rebels are forced to seek out new allies throughout the galaxy and additional resources to sustain their fight against the Empire. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghost bands together with a secret rebel cell and ex-soldiers from the Clone Wars to join a fledgling alliance determined to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy.
As Ezra continues his journey to become a Jedi under Kanan’s guidance, the threat of the dark side looms large over the fate of the growing rebellion. Darth Vader himself will dispatch new Inquisitors to snuff any spark of resistance, setting the stage for a climactic showdown in which past lives will be revealed, terrible truths will be discovered, and the lives of our heroes will be changed forever.
I was a big fan of the first season of 'Star Wars Rebels', believing it brought back a lot of the fun that was missing in George Lucas's three 'Star Wars' prequels, as well as in the prior animated series, The Clone Wars. Sadly, Season Two of this series seems like it would rather be another season of 'The Clone Wars' than the next season of 'Rebels'. Executive Producer Dave Filoni can't help but use this new Disney show to try and wrap up some hanging threads from his old animated series. A little bit of that happened in Season One and I was just fine with it. Far too much of it happens in Season Two, and it hurts the series overall.
The first season of 'Rebels' wrapped up with the return of popular 'The Clone Wars' character Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), which implied that she would finally square off against Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) as some point in Season Two. Rest assured that the face-off does indeed happen (although not until the season finale) and I was satisfied with that bit of 'The Clone Wars' legacy creeping its way into 'Rebels', as the Ahsoka character never got the chance to finish her story arc in that series and it makes sense that she'd be somehow involved with the characters we know from 'Rebels'.
However, it's Finoni's insistence on bringing back all his other favorite characters from 'The Clone Wars' that becomes annoying: Captain Rex, Hondo Ohnaka, Cham Syndulla, and even though he didn't originate (obviously) on the old animated series, even Darth Maul. Both Princess Leia and Yoda get episodes too, although not very good ones. All this 'guest starring' (for lack of a better term) only prohibits the development and relationships between our main characters, who often seem like co-stars in their own series.
Which is not to say that Season Two of 'Rebels' is completely devoid of any enjoyment. There's a great episode towards the end of the season called 'The Honorable Ones' in which our hero Zeb (Steve Blum) gets stranded on one of the moons of Geonosis with the Empire's Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo), and the two sworn adversaries must learn to work together in order to survive. The story is obviously a homage to the movie Enemy Mine (which, in turn, is based on a novella), but that doesn't make it any less entertaining and it's one of the few episodes we get this season with any significant characterization.
I suppose one's like or dislike of Season Two is going to depend largely on one's like or dislike of 'The Clone Wars' series. I know many who love that show, and those who do will probably enjoy this season of 'Rebels' quite a bit. I was never enamored with 'The Clone Wars' the way others were, and feel this latest season of 'Rebels' is a step in the wrong direction. I enjoyed it much more last season when the characters were making their own way across the galaxy. This time out, they're part of a larger story, which makes their own characters, sadly, somewhat smaller.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
Season Two of 'Star Wars Rebels' launches onto Blu-ray in an eco-Lite Vortex keepcase, which houses the three 50GB discs, with the first disc of the set on the inside left and the remaining two discs stacked on top of each other on the inside right. The case also contains a pair of inserts: one containing a code for Disney Movie Rewards points and the other an advertisement for the Disney Movie Club. An embossed slipcover with artwork matching that of the keepcase's slick slides overtop.
There are no front-loaded trailers on any of the Blu-rays, whose main menu looks similar to the Season One set: a computer panel with a montage of images from episodes playing on the monitor. Menu selections run horizontally across the bottom of the screen.
The Blu-rays in this release are region-free.
Each episode of 'Star Wars Rebels' appears in its television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is presented in the same animation style that was used for the first season of the show. I'm happy to report that the video quality of this second season also matches that of the Season 1 release. Colors really 'pop', black levels are excellent, and there's no issues with noise or banding – something frequently seen in other animated titles on Blu-ray (including some of the old 'Clone Wars' titles).
There is some mild aliasing in the image if you look hard, but it's not a frequent enough occurrence to be a distraction. Other than that minor quibble, these episodes look about as good as one would hope on Blu-ray and fans won't be disappointed.
It continues to boggle the mind why Disney/Lucasfilm won't release these seasons with lossless audio. Once again, we get English 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks, which sound okay, but honestly aren't much better than what one would hear when watching the series on Disney XD. The dialogue is still clear and there's still plenty of use of the surrounds for spaceships whooshing by, etc., but obviously these tracks don't pack quite the punch that DTS-HD Master Audio tracks would. Hopefully this continued oversight will be corrected on the Season 3 Blu-rays, but I'm not holding by breath.
In addition to the lossy English tracks, 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are also available in French and German, as are 2.0 Dolby Digital Spanish tracks. Subtitles for each episode are available in English SDH, English, Spanish, and French.
Unlike the first season of 'Rebels', which seemed to have an overall arc and contained a lot of fun along the way, Season Two of the show seems to just want to see how many 'guest stars' from other incarnations of the Star Wars universe it can bring in. The result is a uneven batch of episodes, with more misses than hits. This season, I'm sorry to say, falls into rental-only territory. You're not likely to watch any of these entries more than once.