As the last Rebels episodes come closer and closer, I find myself looking back a lot, going back to those early days on Lothal, when we were just getting to know the Ghost crew. Back when we were all taking our first steps together into a time previously unexplored in the canon. Back before we knew of wonderful things like space waffles and purrgil! I find one of the best ways to venture back into this time and space is by watching the delightful character-centric shorts that were released in preparation for the series. Join me as I rewatch each one and then discuss what made them so great! Get ready for some serious reminiscing 🙂
Contains spoilers from many elements in Star Wars Rebels. Don’t recommend reading if you aren’t caught up.
THE MACHINE IN THE GHOST: THREE’S COMPANY
So in case you haven’t heard the story, this was the only of the shorts I saw before the series debuted. I thought originally they were clips instead of original shorts, and being the really-likes-to-keep-things-a-surprise fan that I am, I waited. I don’t remember what convinced me to watch Machine, maybe it was on the socials or something and made it clear it was a short. But either way… this one gave me one of the best tastes of what was to come in Rebels. And also the utter preciousness that is Kanera ❤ ❤
The threat of oncoming TIEs is real, and it gets you on the edge of your seat. But it's clear quickly that this crew can handle it, so the battle takes a backseat while the characters take the stage. And what a performance we get! Most of us wouldn't consider an argument like poetry, but every retort and reply is perfect, with the most harmonious bits of sarcasm weaved in. And even though they argue, you get a sense of warm familiarity in it that says there's infinitely more to their relationship, even before they exchange compliments at the end. And then you have Chopper in the middle of it all, greatly irritated, but seemingly used to this sort of thing as he puts up with their oft-opposing commands. But ultimately he steps up and gets the job done, proving to the audience he can do more than just fix shields and comms. It's all so classically Star Wars and it all comes together smooth as kaadu butter!
“As I recall, raiding an Imperial supply convoy was your plan, love…”
“Well, it made sense at the time.”
If you’ve read my posts on Rebels for any amount of time, you know I refer back to the novel A New Dawn a lot. I won’t spoil anything on it here, but it sheds so much light on who Kanan once was, and makes watching his character growth these last four years even more amazing. I’m highlighting that lovely bit of banter here for more than just that it makes me chuckle, but for the fact that this whole incident began with Kanan taking charge. Because once upon a time, Kanan didn’t have any interest in fighting the Empire. I might be stating the obvious, but it’s such a great story element that I have to state it again and again. He wasn’t always Spectre One; he earned that rank. And he deserved it… even if sometimes things like this happen.
And also on the topic of the novel, though Machine takes place much closer to the events of the series than New Dawn, the short still is a nice glimpse into what life with just the original three crewmembers might’ve been like.
Anyway, Machine is such a fantastic little treasure, flawlessly introducing the Ghost crew’s founding members by giving each character just the right amount of time in the spotlight… and giving us more reasons to laugh and smile than we could count 🙂
ART ATTACK: A SABINE WREN ORIGINAL
Though this was not the first time I’d met Sabine, Art Attack is a great way to introduce her to the audience. We catch her at her best and most Mando-masterful, nimbly and swiftly leading the stormtroopers on an impossible chase. She doesn’t even pull out a weapon until the end; for most of the short, she simply relies on her smarts and agility to pull off the perfect Rebel distraction. It brings a lightly comedic tone as she darts around, always one step ahead of the bucketheads, delivering stellar jabs as she goes. But even more so, it makes very clear that Sabine is a different kind of warrior than we’ve seen before; she is a true artist. Not just in the lovely purple starbird she adorns a TIE’s panel with, but in the way she carefully crafts her plan. Like a brush on a canvas, every move has purpose, and the end result is a dazzling piece that surely inspired all the innocent Lothalites who witnessed it. And you can tell it was a piece the artist was proud of as she remarked “…look at the color!“, which remains one of my favorite Sabine lines to this day. The notion of an artist Rebel was something so new and different at the time, but being an artist myself (or at least an aspiring one), it was the coolest thing to see someone in Star Wars who shared that interest with me and used it to make a difference. Like say, by the time I first watched this short, I already knew Sabine and how awesome at Rebelling she was, but it never hurts to be re-reminded of the facts, especially when you’re waiting for the season two to arrive.
“Always by the book. I read your book… it’s a short one.”
It’s another great Sabine line, but it’s also a really neat little clue to her past that’s amazing to find looking back. Though she may not have specifically read “their book”, she had trained under Imperials and knew plenty of their rules and protocol. I’d always loved that quote but hadn’t remembered it was spoken so early-on. They’re clever, those writers at Lucasfilm 🙂 It’s almost hard to remember what things were like before Sabine’s backstory was fully told, but this short definitely takes me back, and of course, makes me so very proud knowing how far she’s come since.
It’s astounding what Art Attack was able to accomplish in three minutes’ time — lots of action, some solid laughs, but still every moment has meaning in the grand story surrounding it. That is definitely what I’d call art!
ENTANGLEMENT: YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD HONOR GUARD
OK so rewatching this one has me smiling so hard right now. It fills me with so much joy I hardly know where to begin.
But that’s the beauty of this one: where it begins.
It’s a blast watching Zeb take down buckethead after buckethead, but it all started because he couldn’t stand quietly in the face of injustice. That endlessly noble spirit has always been one of my favorite things about him, and watching him put everything on hold for one poor shopkeeper makes that part of him plain as day, whether you’re meeting him for the first time or you’ve been following him for four seasons. And with that all-important trait in mind, the most wonderfully explosive story unfolds in spectacular fashion. The speed at which all the action happens is the best kind of dizzying. And every twist and turn of the fight showcases both Zeb’s incredible strength as well as his finesse and ability to plan on the fly. It’s an unexpectedly beautiful sight, and for those new to the series, it’s not quite like anything we’d seen in Star Wars before. I mean, when Zeb grabs that one ‘trooper and flings him into the other?? That’s just WHOA on so many levels.
“Well that’s great! You get lost in the middle of a mission and decide to start your own battle — again!”
“I didn’t decide, it just… happened. This time.”
But like with the last two shorts, the action ultimately takes a backseat to the characters, and the end result is priceless. Zeb is enjoying every minute of this battle, you can tell. And Kanan is more than a little frustrated that his friend and fellow Rebel has strayed away from the original plan. This hilarious back-and-forth carries through almost the entire short and is nothing short of fantastic writing and a fantastic performance. The fact that this has obviously happened more than once makes it all the funnier, but also continues to say so much about who Zeb is. You know he’s not just bashing bucketheads for sport; it’s because of his burning desire to protect the innocent. Just like he did once as an Honor Guard, he continues to do for the people of Lothal, and that is nothing short of admirable… even when it miiiiiiight cause a few delays 🙂
Whoops now I went from being all giddy to being all feelsy. But that’s just what happens with shorts this great!
PROPERTY OF EZRA BRIDGER (or: NOT WHAT YOU THINK):
NO SIR, THANK YOU
It was impossible not to rewatch this short and proclaim “OH, HOW EZRA HAS GROWN!!”. A lot of it for me was just remarking over how young he was back then (even his voice sounds younger somehow!), but it’s Ezra’s character growth that truly astounds me. We watch here Ez playing the role of a “helpful, concerned citizen” as a cover for a good steal. But over time, we’ve seen him transform into a truly selfless, generous, driven young man who has no ulterior motive for doing the right thing. It was almost as though this jaded young thief is a totally different person — except maybe for the fact his sense of humor and irony hasn’t changed much 🙂
“Now remember, sir, no ‘thank-you’s. You didn’t need my help. And besides… I didn’t come to help!”
It’s easy to see though that Property really does make a good introduction for Ezra. It’s hard not to be won over by his clever wit and smooth moves as he rather puts this incredibly belligerent Imperial in his place. He doesn’t immediately strike the audience as a “hero” type, but soon as we watch him dodge the TIE’s guns with what could only be help from the Force… we know there might be a chance of heroism in his future. And it has a lot to do with that cargo ship he caught a fleeting glimpse of that day… or more so, the people on that cargo ship. Rewatching it really is a wonderful feeling, because seeing him cross paths with the Ghost for just the smallest, tiniest moment is a reminder of how beautifully things have come together since then. So much wow, you guys.
Plus, is there anything more satisfactory than watching the pilot’s overconfident smile disappear once Ez sends that energy blast his way? That might be my favorite part XD
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these little three-minute gems are amazing. All of them thrilling and laugh-out-loud funny, but with so much more beneath the surface that gives it so much more meaning, especially the longer you follow this precious family’s story. Together, these four shorts make the perfect mini-prequel to Spark Of Rebellion, and the perfect quick nostalgia trip. Also again, I just love this show so so much ❤ Though the end is near, I'm still beyond excited to see where the story goes next, and that's likely when I'll post again in a couple weeks. Though keep an eye out, 'cause post inspiration may strike again even before that…
Keep The Peace,