Star Wars Rebels – S3E1/2 – Steps into Shadow

There’s a lot to be excited about with the return of Star Wars Rebels. New threats! More powerful heroes! Disney canon taking on hugely exciting aspects of Legends canon!

It’s been an indeterminate but sizeable period of time since Season 2 finished on Malachor and the effects of that battle between our heroes and the Sith clearly haven’t been dealt with.

Before we get into the positives, of which there are many, I’ll get my biggest issue with ‘Steps into Shadow’ out of the way. It felt rushed. Apparently apart from Ezra’s clear improvement in skill not much else has changed, as though it was waiting for us to quickly begin changing. I can’t go into detail without completely wrecking the spoiler wall I place on these reviews but despite this being a double episode I couldn’t get away from the feeling that our reintroduction to these characters, whilst very cool in places, has been mishandled.

So…positives? Oh yes! Thinking about it, the positives do seem very much tied into the last of my ‘things to be excited about’ at the beginning. I believe most people were worried when years and years of stories were brushed away and consigned to ‘Legends’ status after the Disney takeover. Kyle Katarn…Dash Rendar…Luuke and the Clone Emperor. We may all disagree on what was good but there was a lot of good stuff there. But the new canon has seen fit to take a good look at the past and is doing a cracking job of bringing back certain elements and fitting them into the more streamlined and less confusing world that Disney is working on.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is the biggest thing to come of this in the premiere episode. An adored character from Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy (the first of which was released in 1991!), we don’t see much of him but it’s made very clear that he is far more capable than those who have been attempting to apprehend the Rebels so far. He sounds right and I hope the show gives a new generation the chance to think of highly of him as us older fans do.

Throughout season 2 there was a change in the tone of Rebels as the show opened up and started to tie into the larger story more and more. It’s progressing to a darker place already with this episode laying down the ideas that will permeate the season. Ezra does come off rather ‘whiny Anakin’ at points but he is young and getting increasingly powerful. He’s downright chilling at times, willing to do what must be done and throwing tantrums about needing to be more powerful to protect his friends. Remind you of anyone? Keep an ear out or the musical cues too. Very nicely done.

We’ll get into the other characters and how they’ve changed (or not) as the season progresses. A quick word to Kanan though; I know you’ve got problems but you’ve dropped the ball here.

Perhaps I’m not as amazed as I thought I would be. There’s plenty to get stuck into though. Is it just me or does it look more detailed and polished? Regardless, Rebels Season 3 is off to a good start with a strong sense of foreboding.

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