By Josh Melo
‘Star Wars: Rebels’ Review – S2 Ep.10 (A Princess on Lothal)
Having lost a number of their ships in a battle with the Empire, the fledgling Rebellion employs the aid of Alderaan and it’s sympathetic leadership. Leading the trade mission is the one and only Princess Leia Organa. Swept up in a impromptu battle, Leia and the band of Rebels must work together to safely acquire the ships and make sure Leia’s true allegiances aren’t revealed.
Last we saw of our young heroes, Ezra had just uncovered the true fate of his parents. Killed by the Empire, the Bridgers sacrificed their own lives to help ensure the escape of all the others. Having heard the news, naturally, Ezra is pretty shaken up. Being the teenager that he is, instead of opening up to his fellow Rebels, he closes himself off and goes about his business as if nothing happened. Having seen the midseason trailer, I can’t help but link his behavior to, what I believe, his inevitable turn to the dark side.
My major issue with Legacy (the midseason finale) was that the ending felt underwhelming for a finale. No major changes had occurred in the characters (with the exception of Ezra finding out the truth) and there were no status quo shifts in terms of the Rebellion or Empire. A Princess on Lothal feels like the natural extension of Legacy and largely fixes those problems. The appearance of Leia was an exciting moment for fans young and old alike, and the battle to restore Rebellion reinforcements acted as a worthy climax.
As for Leia’s depiction, it was really cool seeing a younger version pre-A New Hope. We get a sense of how complicated her life was, keeping up appearances within the Empire while truly siding with and aiding the Rebel Alliance. Julie Dolan does a great job recreating Carrie Fisher’s voice; honestly, it sounded almost just like the Leia I remember. If I had to nitpick at one thing this episode it would have to be her model. Translating a live-action character into a cartoon world is always a challenge. When you have to de-age them on top of the fact, it is even more difficult. She never came off as a 15-year-old girl. For the most part, she seemed like the battle tested, wartime general we met in the original film.
Her interactions with Kanan and Ezra were priceless. All of the missions the two Jedi have pulled pale in comparison to the amount of espionage work Leia has put in. Teaching them even the basics of her political situation had them feeling like amateurs in the rebellion game.
The villains this week put up little to no challenge, which is the only real issue A Princess on Lothal suffered from. No Kallus, no Vader and no Inquisitors, the Empire decided to send their B team and it showed. Bringing in 2 AT-AT’s made for some awesome visuals (one of the best action scenes this season) but the legion of Storm troopers and the Witless commander List were no match for Leia and the Rebels. When thinking back on just how useless they were, one moment in particular stands out. When Chopper and Clancy Brown’s character are busy fiddling with a gravity lock, with absolute no cover to hide behind, a squad of troopers fires on them from medium range. Only, they miss every shot. I understand that Storm Troopers are notoriously bad shots, but that is ridiculous. These are the foot soldiers of the Imperial Army, how did they take control of an entire galaxy if they couldn’t hit a target?
Having said that, it was still one of the most visually impressive set pieces the show has put forth. Kanan sweeping through an AT-AT’s leg armor with his saber was badass and Zeb’s snow speeder like runs around the gargantuan war machine had me thinking about the epic battle on Hoth from Empire. It was a really fun way to cap off the episode and a great way to showcase how quick on her feet Leia was, especially during battle.
A Princess on Lothal does what Legacy failed to do, provide us with a climactic send off that prepares us for the coming episodes. Only, this is the midseason premiere It’s not a case of too little too late, but had this been paired with the Legacy it would have made for a much better break.
Overall, A Princess on Lothal gets a 7.5/10.