If you have not watched any of Star Wars Rebels or aren’t caught up through Season 2, please go and watch the season and come back here. If you are caught up on Rebels, don’t forget that you can also catch our Season 1 coverage here.
SPOILERS BELOW for Star Wars Rebels: Season 2
Before diving into these valuable themes, I would be remiss to ignore the importance of fictional characters in our stories. Rebels gives us many epic moments from characters who blend together so well. For me, this collaboration of characters is one of my favorite things in the Star Wars franchise. The characters and the stories being told further reflect the resounding hope that comes from a galaxy far, far away.
There’s little doubt that hope in the face of mounting odds – the rebellion versus the mighty empire – is something to cling to. As a parent, watching this band of Rebels brings about fundamental, teachable moments. In the face of devastating numbers, and even when faced with the likes of Darth Vader (as in the first episode of Season 2), our heroes consistently choose to fight for what they believe in: freeing the galaxy from the empire’s tyranny.
RIGHT & WRONG
Kids are extremely smart, very intuitive, and they have an ability to understand the bigger picture in such a way that’s sometimes scary to fathom. Thus, sometimes, the idea of right and wrong can sometimes be blurred with youthful exuberance. For example: When my kids were excited about their new bean bag chairs they got for Christmas, before you knew it, they were running and jumping onto it despite its poorly placed location next to a desk with a sharp corner. They missed it – thank goodness – but it’s a clear example of how excitement might disrupt judgment.
Ezra is a teenager, and along with his passions to learn his Jedi ways, he must navigate his feelings while still holding true to the lessons being taught to him. “The Future of the Force,” episode 10, is a prime example of trying to do the right thing, while battling feelings of inadequacy. Both Ezra and Kanan, along with Zeb and Chopper, soon realize that the evil Inquisitors are abducting infants who are capable of wielding the Force. Not only is this particular storyline wrong on so many levels, it provides a greater reason to see our heroes succeed in the face of adversity.
The Rebels must protect two children, and one is quite scared and loudly lets the world know of its feelings (i.e., the baby screams). Kanan continues to tell Ezra to connect with the baby to calm him down, despite Ezra’s reservations of not being able to. Let’s be honest: In the face of a crying baby, especially when it’s not your own child, the sense of achieving this calming goal might seem daunting. Despite Ezra’s lack of confidence, he knows that protecting a child is one of the most fundamentally right things a person can do. If there’s ever a reason to root for good and knowing what’s right, protecting children from the dangerous Empire is all we need to know. In the face of danger, Ezra is able to achieve the necessary balance to connect with the child and erase those frightened screams.
Side note for this episode: If you need something to blow your mind with an overwhelmingly epic moment, this is one of those episodes. Ahsoka Tano’s appearance to defend the fallen Rebels against a pair of Inquisitors is one of the greatest moments in Star Wars Rebels and the franchise as a whole. Right and wrong. Good versus evil. This is a moment to stand up and cheer.
TRUST VS. DUPLICITY
Star Wars Rebels and its collective crew of heroes must depend on trust. Though, there are times when trust in someone else is only guided by good intentions. In the final two episodes of Season 2, the appearance of Maul causes Ezra to question what’s right and wrong. He wants to save his friends by finding knowledge that can defeat the Sith. Despite his reservations of trusting Maul, understanding there’s something not right, his passion to complete the mission takes hold.
To be fair, a teenager who is constantly seeking acceptance and is eager to learn more stumbles upon Maul at the worst possible time. Maul uses Ezra’s desire to gain knowledge in a way where he, and the rest of his team, must depend on Maul. One of the craftier Star Wars’ characters, the thorned, red-headed former Sith Lord is convincing, because he has the same end goal as the Rebels: to defeat the Sith.
Despite reservations of working alongside Maul, Kanan and Ahsoka ultimately listen to Ezra when he tells them to trust him. In doing so, an enemy is within their midst – “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Ezra wants to help so much, wants to be perceived as capable, that he questions his own relationship with Kanan. As with any experience that parents are sure to come across at some point, Ezra is eager to be around someone who sees him or leads him in a way where he can more quickly be the Jedi he wants to be.
Ezra rushes to be antagonistic towards Kanan, because the idea of serving the mission while becoming a greater Jedi is too enticing. He wants the best of both worlds, and he believes that someone else can give that to him.
“Maul sees what I could be. You don’t.”
YOUR CHILD’S INDEPENDENCE: LETTING GO
As a parent, I’m waiting for those teenage years when our teachings as parents will help guide our children's own course when they seek independence.
Right versus wrong. Trusting people and understanding that not everyone is seeking bonds of friendship. These moments, like when Kanan and Ahsoka trust Ezra, are where we hope our own kids will know that we trust them when they have to make decisions for themselves. Although it might not be recognized by Ezra in this episode, Ezra was given a great deal of trust by following along with Maul. And despite the cost, with Maul betraying them and blinding Kanan in the process, the moment when they decided to stay was weighted on the fact that friends and family will go to great lengths to support each other.
Granted, no one wants to end up in a surprise attack where they’re blinded by a monstrous former Sith Lord. Of course not. However, there are times when parents must trust their kids to do the right thing. Or at least, there must come a point when they stop looking out the window while they play in the backyard. Or when they’re older, we’ll have to go to bed before they even make it home from working late or having a sleepover at a friend’s house.
I expect many sleepless nights once my kids get into these teenage years and beyond, but the premise behind accepting our kids, hoping that what they’ve learned along the way, will be enough to guide them through life’s journey which can be quite arduous. In those moments shortly after being blinded by Maul, Kanan sought out Ezra - not to shame him or even lend a shred of doubt that Ezra was at fault. Kanan went to help Ezra, and during the process, asked for help himself.
In such a selfless act, he was depending on Ezra’s support to make it through this catastrophic mess of a mission. In doing so, despite not being his father, Kanan showed how much he truly trusted Ezra. In any moment in our parental lives, we can only hope that our kids will know and see that such love and devotion is available to them every single day of their lives.
Side note: The final two episodes of Season 2, “Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 1/Part 2,” are up there for me as the greatest back-to-back episodes in Rebels, if not all of Star Wars. The way this series has brought in elements from The Clone Wars is simply remarkable to see unfold, with jump-out-of your-seat exclamations at what’s being shown on the small screen. From Maul’s appearance to Ahsoka’s showdown with Darth Vader, it is incredible theater to watch.
What do you think of Star Wars Rebels: Season 2? Do any specific moments reach you as a parent, watching Ezra grow as he takes on the responsibilities associated with being a Jedi? What are your favorite moments from this season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.