After the events of season one, season two was off to a wonderful start. Phoenix squadron are getting used to their new missions within a bigger rebellion. After getting a distress call from Minister Maketh Tua, who wants to defect from the Empire, the Rebels go back to Lothal only to find themselves in an imperial trap. With the planet under imperial occupation and on the run from the Empire, they must smuggle themselves off Lothal and rejoin the Rebellion. In their travels, they have their first experiences of a true Dark Lord, a Sith called Darth Vader (James Earl Jones).
Despite this show being part of a large universe, the first season was very small scale. Season two expands their reach and we see it become something bigger. Phoenix squadron often did their own thing but this time around they are firmly a part of the growing Rebel Alliance. Often, our heroes would send for reinforcements for support, whilst travelling to numerous new worlds familiar to those who have invested themselves in the Star Wars films, as well as the show’s prequel, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The season’s openers introduced characters from Clone Wars and the films, including Rex (Dee Bradley Baker), Hondo (Jim Cummings) and Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). There’s a lot of focus on our Jedi Kannan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray). I really enjoyed these episodes. They were strong openers, yet one could argue they focused too much on the Jedi. With all that said, the rest of the season is fairly distributed between the Jedi and the rest of the characters. What was once thought a playful children’s show has now turned into something darker, a show that I think adults will enjoy more than its young audience.
With each episode my love for this show only increases. Each of the main characters gets the development that deserve. Last season, Zeb (Steve Blum) was the least talked about character. This changed this season. He got at least two episodes that were focused on him, with one of them being shared with Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) where they have to work together to stay alive. Also, we dabble in a bit of Sabine’s Mandalorian past and we are witness to more backstory of Hera (Vanessa Hera), as she’s reunited with her father. We get up close and personal with numerous characters, and it’s fantastic to see their different backgrounds.
When it came to the introductions of familiar characters from previous works, it was done well. Though, I somewhat felt it would better to give us one present at a time than give us a whole clump in one go. Furthermore, they remained supporting characters and didn’t hijack the series from the likes of Hera, Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and the others. Hondo will forever be an asshole and an aged Rex was a welcome return. Though, Hondo, as much as I despise the skin he carries and everything about him, it’s impossible not to laugh at his schemes. It’s like watching slapstick comedy.
Ahsoka is one of my favourite Star Wars characters. She ducked in and out of the season. Though, her appearances were very Obi Wan-Kenobi: meaningful and stimulating. And she has one great scene where her and Vader sense each other’s presence. She has a wonderful bout of swords with the inquisitors and shows her skill. Well, she was trained by Anakin Skywalker. This isn’t her first rodeo and her few scenes with Vader were great. He appears in the premiere and the finale. When he did appear, he was everything a sith should be, perilously frightening.
All the events of the season led up to the best finale of the entire series, a showdown with the dark and captivating Darth Vader, seamlessly voiced by James Earl Jones (Lion King). By the end, the stakes are high and the Rebellion is only just getting started. With ace voice performances, animation and a grand musical score, season two is more Star Wars than Star Wars.