Star Wars Rebels Season 2 (Blu-Ray)
With season three of Star Wars Rebels almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to catch up with the animated show on blu-ray. The complete second season recently landed on store shelves and despite a weak offering of bonus features, it’s worth picking up. Come inside for my full review!
The second season of Star Wars Rebels took everything up a notch. Rather than keeping the group stuck on the same planet of Lothal, they expand into the larger galaxy and brewing Rebellion. In a lot of ways, this move marks a new era for the Ghost crew as they join up with other the bigger 'cause' and do everything they can to survive and take the fight to the Empire.
The first season of Rebels was a great start, giving us fun characters to engage with and follow, while teasing the bigger conflict. The great part of season two, and its expanded episode count, is how they take the groundwork and set in motion the events to create the Rebel Alliance as we know it from the original films. The stakes are exponentially higher (one of my primary issues with the first season was lack of tension) and the state of the Galaxy is really coming into focus.
All 22 episodes for the season are present on the disc, and the format of the story really lends itself to binge viewing. One of the things that works best for star Wars Rebels has always been it’s ability to be entertaining episode-to-episode with short contained stories, while also working for the ‘bigger picture’ story at play. It all ties nicely together, meaning you can binge and get a great overall story or take it slow and still enjoy each episode for its own merits.
When the episodes were originally airing i took issue with a handful of episodes feeling like nothing more than filler. While the episodes were, in and of themselves, enjoyable and fun, a few of them felt like they had nothing to do with the larger narrative. Watching them all together alleviated some of this problem, but a couple still feel out of place in the grand scheme of things.
Ultimately, Star Wars Rebels season two was a big improvement upon the first season (even though the first season was great as well) and took the characters, story, and ideas to another level. If you missed out on the series when it aired, they’re more than worth your time and really add to the overall Star Wars story/experience.
Sight and Sound
On top of expanding the episode count and the stories, Star Wars Rebels really made the galaxy feel more expansive in the second season with more visual flair. Where the first season seemed to be working with more limited assets (look in the backgrounds and you'll see the same character models over and over again) and more simplistic visuals, the second season really took things up a notch.
The color palette is vastly expanded, with brand new characters and epic battles throughout several of the episodes. Our exploration of the greater galaxy takes us to some cool places presented in unique ways. The more dynamic visuals really shine on the blu-ray transfer, with all the colors popping, and giving crisp lines to everything. The detail is sharp, and allows audiences to fully appreciate the show's art style. Though it appears fairly simple at first glance, there's a surprising amount of details to pick apart if you're paying attention (especially in the subtleties in the facial animation).
The sound design on Star Wars Rebels is incredibly well done. A big part of making something FEEL like Star Wars has to do with the overall soundtrack. Rebels does a great job of giving audiences the sound they expect, and it's presented wonderfully on the blu-ray. In general, this blu-ray set really presents the show in the best possible way, highlighting an already great series and making it stand out beyond how it plays out on television.
Unfortunately, the bonus features is where the Star Wars Rebels S2 blu-ray kind of falls apart. The package includes a featurette (From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka) that takes a look behind the epic season finale battle. It was a showdown fans had been waiting for since Ahsoka was revealed to be alive during this time period, and it didn’t disappoint. The featurette takes a behind the scenes look at how it all came together. It’s a nice little treat for fans, but nothing too revealing either.
The other primary featurette, Connecting the Galaxy, walks you through the various Easter eggs and references hidden throughout the series and how they all connect to one another. If you’re getting caught up on all the new stuff in the Star Wars canon this is pretty neat and helps connect some dots you may not have known about. Die hard Star Wars fans, who gobble up every piece of information possible (like me) won’t find it nearly as useful.
Lastly is the entirety of Rebels Recon. This aftershow hits online shortly after each episode aired, offering insights to the episode and various other goodies. It’s a great show and brings a lot of solid information and interviews...But they’re also all currently online on their YouTube channel, making their inclusion on the blu-ray a little redundant.