Elaine Tveit: Though it may sound morbid, I think my favorite moment from season one of Star Wars Rebels was when the Inquisitor sliced off the heads of Taskmaster Grint and Commandant Aresko, by Moff Wilhuff Tarkin’s command. Okay, that doesn’t sound morbid, it sounds psychotic, so let me explain!
For me, it was in this moment, following the reveal of Master Luminara Unduli’s corpse in “Rise of the Old Masters,” that Star Wars Rebels really upped its game. Not that I thought it was holding back before; but the fact that Dave Filoni and company were willing to “show” two beheadings brought home to me how they aren’t diluting this show in any way to make it more “appropriate” for children. That brings me to another point: Star Wars was, is, and hopefully always will be for children, and the creators of Star Wars Rebels are showing respect to that by not being condescending or overly protective of what may be the largest portion of the Star Wars fan demographic. They’re presenting an adventurous, edge-of-your-seat series with real villains, real dangers, and very real (even shocking) consequences.
Further, this scene showed Tarkin in excellent (as excellent as a weasel-ish man like Tarkin can be) form. Bringing Tarkin onto the show in this episode was the perfect decision, in my opinion; his familiar presence, made infamous by the flawless onscreen work of Peter Cushing and amplified by the voice-acting prowess of Stephen Stanton, brought another dimension of power and evil into the ranks of the rebels’s Imperial enemies. Tarkin, and the events that followed his entrance onto the show (such as the two beheadings), proved still more that Star Wars Rebels has the magical storytelling power of pure guts, and should be taken seriously.
Kyle Warnke: Many of the best moments in the Star Wars franchise have come about from intense one-on-one duels between two characters, usually involving a lightsaber. That stayed true for Star Wars: Rebels‘ first season, but my favorite scene was actually a battle that didn’t involve a Jedi or a Sith.
The fight between Zeb Orrelios and Agent Kallus came at the end of “Droids in Distress,” and it did an effective job of setting up the rivalry between the two. We learn that Zeb’s people were massacred by the Empire by the very weapons his crew is trying to smuggle, adding a tragic backstory for Zeb that forces him into a conflicted role in his present-day situation.
But what really gave the scene power was the revelation that Agent Kallus was the agent behind the slaughter of Zeb’s people on Lasat in the first place. The resulting fight is thrilling and charged with emotion, all because of the dynamic established between the pair.
One of the more disappointing aspects of Season 1 was that this friction was essentially placed aside for the rest of the season, but that does leave plenty of territory to explore for Season 2.
David (Razor): I have always been, and will always be a fan of Force users in the Star Wars universe–a believer in the Force as a fictional and mystical religion, and in Star Wars: Rebels, that tenet still held true, for me. What immediately drew me into the show was Ezra’s obvious connection to the Force, and the fact that he is already so powerful at such a young age, makes his story that much more dynamic. Kanan’s history also has kept be enthralled to Rebels, as I want to know as much as I can about this Jedi in hiding.
My favorite moment in the show, thus far, has to be Ezra’s creation of his unique lightsaber in “Path of the Jedi.” That episode was amazing on two fronts because not only did Ezra find his kyber crystal in that very cool Jedi temple on Lothal, facing different incarnations of the Inquisitor as he overcame his fear, but Kanan (guided by Yoda), finally decided that he was more than ready to be a Jedi Master, and would be the one to train Ezra in the ways of the Jedi.
Having watched the Star Wars: Rebels Season 2 trailer, many times now, and knowing that Kanan and Ezra will be joined by one of my favorite characters from Clone Wars (Ahsoka Tano), in their fight against the Empire, and that they will be facing off against Darth Vader, makes the anticipation for the continuing story of the Rebels, that much more palpable.
Star Wars: Rebels is set to return for an hour length movie on June 20 (9 p.m. ET/PT).