Mike: For over a year now, Star Wars Rebels has been Lucasfilm’s biggest product. Sure, excitement for The Force Awakens has always been another animal altogether, but until now, it’s mostly been an abstract item that can be teased and speculated about but not directly engaged with—and certainly not on a weekly basis. With Rebels officially on its midseason hiatus, it finally takes a definitive backseat to the film, and for many, permanent second-class status. If you were on Twitter Wednesday night, you had a front-row seat for this process, as mere minutes after “Legacy” ended a new Chinese trailer appeared and quickly swallowed up nearly all Rebels discussion—this week’s poignant long-term ramifications (and Clancy Brown) be damned.
As major television series go, Rebels is still young; it may have several seasons yet to develop its characters and relationships in a way that rivals the depth of a Finn or a Rey—it’s certainly got much more running time to work with. But if it’s going to punch its weight in a franchise that’s releasing one movie a year for the foreseeable future, Rebels can’t afford to coast on our existing goodwill. As much fun as I’ve had following the show so far, I have to admit to feeling somewhat underwhelmed by “Legacy”, especially as compared to last year’s midseason finale “Gathering Forces”. Maybe it was the return to Lothal, or the lack of a feeling of danger from the Empire and the Inquisitors (in their minute or so of screentime) compared to the confrontation with the Grand Inquisitor at Fort Anaxes, or maybe I was just bummed by the apparent cliffhanger (“Gathering Forces” was the conclusion of a two-parter, while “Legacy” appears to be the first half of one), but looking at the whole show up to this point I can’t help but see certain aspects as a step backward. Read More