Blu-ray Review: Star Wars Rebels: Season Three!

The third season of Star Wars Rebels is the best yet – and the Blu-ray comes with some very good bonus material.

Season three of Star Wars Rebels opens with Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray) performing Jedi stunts that are way beyond his usual capacity; introduces Grand Admiral Thrawn voiced by Lars Mikkelsen) – who is a fan favorite from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire Trilogy; gets to the middle of the Force with an unknowable character, the Bendu (voiced by Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker); and even springs much more Maul (Being Human’s Sam Witwer) , and an appearance by Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor).

It’s a pivotal season in many ways – the manipulation Ezra by Maul; Sabine Wren’s (Tiya Sircar) return to Mandalore; the first appearances of Wedge Antilles (Nathan Kress); the revelation of Fulcrum’s identity, and even a couple of capers featuring Ezra’s old pal, Hondo Ohnaka (Jim Cummings).

The season moves deftly from action to the spiritual; from comedy to hints of romance (yes, we’re looking at you Kanan and Hera!); to family drama both biological and surrogate).

The explanation for Ezra’s newfound abilities leads into an almost season-long arc that finds him going from confused and acting out, to becoming mature enough (for the most part) to make significant contributions to the crew of the Ghost – and gives us some really good Maul character moments.

Sabine’s story takes us to Mandalore – where everyone thinks she’s a traitor – and her reunion with her mother, Ursa (Sharmila Devar) and brother, Tristan (Stitchers’ Ritesh Rajan). Fenn Rau (Kevin McKidd) may play a part in the arc…

Speaking of family reunions, Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshal) is reunited with her father, Cham Syndulla (Babylon 5’s Robin Atkins Downes), in an arc that gives us more insight to their planet’s culture.

James Hong returns to voice Azmorigan; Josh Gad voices the Controller of an Imperial spy ship; Ray Stevenson’s Gar Saxon makes a couple of appearances; Senator (soon to be General) Mon Mothma puts in a pivotal couple of appearances – voiced by the actor who plays her in the movies, Genevieve O’Reilly, and Forest Whitaker voices the original rebel, Saw Gerrera in two eps that have far reaching consequences, as well.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is, without doubt, the series’ best antagonist to date – a tightly controlled, curious and scholarly man who matches his intellect with a ferocious physicality (a sequence with him facing down a couple of assassin droids for practice is particularly cool).

He completely overshadows Governor Pryce (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) – who shows herself to be no slouch, either.

Geonosian bug Klik-Klak (Matthew Wood) gets to shine in a couple of episodes and provides a clue to the next great Empire weapon. His appearance sparks anger in Gerrera…

One of the most intriguing arcs involves Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo), but to say anything more might be to say too much.

Droids AP-5 (Stephen Stanton) and Chopper (Himself, according to closing credits) provide a lot of comic relief, but even they get to have some great dramatic moments.

The twenty-one episodes of season three are tightly plotted and beautifully executed. Most of the characters grow and change (Maul will always be Maul, though), and that growth is carefully nurtured.

The action is always part of the storytelling and usually a lot of fun to watch.

Features include:

Five Audio Commentaries: Trials of the Darksaber – Executive Producer Dave Filoni; Legacy of Mandalore – Filoni, CG Supervisor/Lighting and EFX Joel Aron, Animation Supervisor Keith Kellogg, Art Director Kilian Plunkett and Supervising Director Justin Ridge; Through Imperial Eyes – Filoni, Aron, Kellogg, Plunkett and Ridge; Double Agent Droid – as for Through Imperial Eyes, plus Co-Executive Producer Henry Gilroy, and Twin Suns – Dave Filoni. Note: When it’s just Filoni, the commentaries are very informative; when it’s a group, they’re very entertaining but not as informative.

Featurettes: Rebel Recon (one featurette for almost every episode – two-ep stories only get one Rebel Recon ep); A Rebel Alliance; Return to Mandalore; Thrawn: A Legend Reborn; Apprentices to Outcasts: Kenobi and Maul, and The Original Rebel: Saw Gerrera Returns – Extended.

Note that each of the non-Rebel Recon featurettes teases season four…

Grade: Star Wars Rebels: Season Three – A+

Grade Features – A+

Final Grade – A+