In the years since Return Of The Jedi came out in 1983, and especially after Revenge Of The Sith was released in 2005, the writers of the Star Wars books, comics, and games have often explored what happened before and after the two trilogies, but have left the time between them largely untouched. Which is part of what makes Star Wars Rebels so compelling, since this cartoon explores the early days of the rebellion in the years leading up to the first movie, 1977’s A New Hope. But while Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD do a good job presenting the show, it doesn’t do as good a job in showing how it was made.
In Star Wars Rebels we’re introduced to a group of Empire haters led by Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla. But this band of rebels have their lives and their mission thrown into disarray when they’re joined by a plucky, impetuous kid named Ezra Bridger. Which leads to them catching the attention of a Sith called The Inquisitor.
Made by the same people who did the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon — which is why it has the same angular art style — Star Wars Rebels not only explores the origins of the rebellion, but it also ties into some of the movies and The Clone Wars in ways that I won’t spoil, except to say they’re fitting and not at all gimmicky. Which is why Star Wars Rebels is yet another great chapter in the Star Wars saga.
It also looks great on the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD, especially the former. Not only does it not stop every five minutes to remind us that Teen Titans Go are coming up next, and maybe you should buy this cereal — y’know, like when the show aired on Disney XD — but it also avoids the jitters inherent with streaming a TV show while someone’s playing Star Wars Battlefront.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD does have the slightly longer version of the first episode with James Earl Jones reprising his role as the CNN announcer, as well as the “Spark Of The Rebellion” episodes that were released on DVD after those two episodes first aired.
Along with the fifteen episodes, the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD also include a number of fun and informative extras. Unfortunately, not all of them make it to the DVD.
For starters, both the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD have five minute looks at each episode called “Rebels Recon.” Originally shot for starwars.com, these featurettes not only recap the episode, spoilers and all, but they also talk to members of the cast and crew about them as well.
Next, the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD has “Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide.” Narrated by Kanan Jarrus, it spends twenty-two minutes recapping the first season. Which seems a little odd, given that it’s on the second disc of this collection, as opposed to on, say, the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season Two Blu-ray and DVD, where it would be a bit more helpful.
Speaking of which, the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD also has a seven-minute-long sneak peak at the second season, and while it’s thankfully not as spoiler-filled as “The Ultimate Guide,” it does have some big blatant hints. Along with an interview with the show’s mastermind, Dave Filoni, this featurette also features some cool concept drawings as well as the second season’s trailer.
Unfortunately, this is where the fun ends for people who buy Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One on DVD. For those who get it on Blu-ray, though, well, they’re in for a treat. Four of them, to be exact. That’s because the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray has the four Rebels shorts — “The Machine In The Ghost,” “Art Attack,” “Entanglement,” and “Property Of Ezra Bridger” — which originally aired on Disney XD. Set before the first episode, these three-minute-long vignettes are a bit more lighthearted than the show, but serve as good introductions to the five rebels.
Also exclusive to the Blu-ray of Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One is “Rebels Infiltrate Star Wars Celebration,” a four minute featurette on the Star Wars Rebel panel at the recent Star Wars Celebration convention. Though aside from a cute bit when a kid asks who voices Chopper, the rebels’ droid, this works more as a reminder to get tickets to the next convention than anything you’d want to watch on its own.
Sadly, the absence of the shorts and “Celebration” isn’t the only problem with Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One, and that applies to both the Blu-ray and the DVD. What this lacks, sorely, is a look at how the show is made, and what went into its creation. It could also use episode commentaries, especially ones where the cast are involved, as well as interviews with the stars about their characters.
The Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD could also use something about the really fun Star Wars Rebels pinball game that came out a few months ago (my review of which you can read here) and how you can get four of the characters for the game Disney Infinity 3.0. Though it does include the trailer for a live action spin-off they’re doing called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which looks pretty cool…for a non-cartoon, of course.
While the Star Wars Rebels Complete Season One Blu-ray may come up short in the extras department, and the DVD comes up even shorter, it still does a good job of presenting the first chapters of this previously unseen part of the Star Wars saga.