Watch the Force awaken in this new trailer for Star Wars Rebels

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Rebels

If you’re looking for the best Star Wars content around, don’t look at the movies. Rather look at the animated series which have sprung up over the years (Except for that Ewoks cartoon, because they can die in a hail of AT-ST lasers as far as I’m concerned). In the early 2000s, there were the micro-episodes from Genddy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars.

A beautiful combination of tight pacing and minimalism, this was the action promised by the prequel trilogy and realised on a smaller and more intimate scale. From there, the franchise evolved into Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a full CGI series that stretched across seasons and filled in so, so many gaps during the two-year galactic civil war. Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’’ Skywalker’s apprentice was introduced, mysteries of the Force were solved and the Clone Troopers developed into more than just mere soldiers as the Order 66 enigma was unravelled.

And right now, you have Star Wars Rebels. It’s a series that is smaller in scope, but just as big when it comes to character development and plugging a few gaps in the Star Wars chronology. Centered around a small band of misfits, five years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV, Rebels nails the idea of a tightly-knit group of renegades fighting an impossible fight against the Empire.

It’s also resuming its second season at the end of the month. If you haven’t seen any of Rebels yet, then turn away, as this trailer is filled with spoilers. As is the rest of the post, because I’m about to wax lyrical:

Wow. There’s a lot going on in that trailer. Kervyn also has a nice analysis going up later today on it, but I’ll focus purely on a key moments from that teaser:

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Yup, that’s a crossguard lightsaber! Kylo Ren’s lightsaber from Star Wars: The Force Awakens may be based on an ancient design, and I’ve got a feeling that Ezra may be holding some inspiration in his hands that eventually ends up crossing paths with the future knight of Ren.

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The Jedi weren’t the only Force users who made use of holocrons as repositories for their knowledge. Sith Lords such as Freedon Nadd and Marka Ragnos eft behind their teachings after death, waiting for the day when a pupil who was string in the dark side of the Force could awaken this information from its slumber. And that’s the danger here.

Sith Holocrons would generally only open up to worthy acolytes of that order…Or Force-users who had the potential to fall to the dark side. If Ezra is opening up one such Holocron, that’s going to leave him closer to the dark side of the Force than ever before.

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Just who is this old master? He sounds familiar, but could it really be…

Old-master

Darth Maul? Yep! The former apprentice to Darth Sidious survived his bisection at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, eventually resurfacing with a new pair of cybernetic legs and a serious haterection for the Jedi who left him in that state. Maul would eventually seek to establish his own Sith Order, a move that attracted the attention of Sidious himself, who promptly defeated the Dathomirian and revealed that he still had plans for him.

Look, somebody had to train those inquisitors. My money is on Maul.

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Hey, and now that you mention it, the Inquisitors are out for blood this season. With Kanan having killed the Grand Master of their order, new Inquisitors such as the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother were dispatched to deal with the remaining Jedi. Formidable and deadly, it looks like the Jedi are catching up to them in terms of power and resourcefulness, with Ahsoka managing to best both of them at the mid-season close of the second series. Time for reinforcements then, in the form of a mysterious third Inquisitor.

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Whenever Darth Vader appears, it’s a big deal. Unlike the Inquisitors, Vader has been portrayed as an unstoppable force, an enemy that cannot be beaten with a mere lightsaber or a blaster. It’s not about defeating Vader at this point in the series. It’s about surviving long enough to escape the cybernetic boogeyman of the Jedi.

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She may be a princess, but Anakin Skywalker’s daughter has certainly inherited his taste for action, despite her royal upbringing in the Organa household. In the current batch of Marvel comics, Leia is more than just a princess, but a symbol of the Resistance who elads the charge against impossible odds after the destruction of Alderaan. And seeing her in action here, is a sign of her skill in aggressive diplomacy.

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Not every Jedi fell when Darth Sidious initiated Order 66. Some survived the battlefield, while others went into hiding. The Jedi were also cunning warriors, and knew that offworld sites to train a new generation of warriors would be needed. And it looks like one such training facility survived the purge, as the Inquisitors find themselves deep within a temple of padawans who are aching for justice.

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And the Jedi responsible for safeguarding the last of their order? That’s another mystery that I’m waiting to see answered.

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The great thing about the Force, is that it’s pretty much a free long-distance calling plan. Force visions have no roaming charges apparently, as Yoda makes an appearance before Ezra and urges him to follow the light side of the Force. Ignore that Dagobah swamp smell.

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The key driving force behind the Clone Wars series that came before Rebels, was the master and student relationship between Anakin Skywalker and his apprentice Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka was the Jedi we all wanted to be: Resourceful, cunning and skilled in the Force. But she had one hell of a rough ride throughout the Clone Wars, with her breaking point coming after she was framed for a murder she didn’t commit and hunted by her order.

But throughout all of that, Anakin Skywalker never stopped believing in her. It’s that relationship, where Clone Wars was at its very best. So you can imagine just how heartbreaking it’ll be when Ahsoka finally comes face to face with her former master, the Jedi Knight that she idolised.

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Because there ain’t no Ahsoka in Star Wars when Episode IV begins. And there’s a reason for that, which will most likely leave me sobbing giant tears that ruins my couch. The new episodes of Star Wars Rebels kicks off later this week.

Last Updated: January 18, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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