Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS!] of Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 5: “Hera’s Heroes”
The crew of The Ghost returns to a familiar setting, where a new presence is making itself at home. Star Wars Rebels brought us back to Ryloth, where a legend of The Clone Wars, Cham Syndulla, needs assistance. Enter his daughter, Hera, captain of The Ghost, who decides to take a break from her work with The Resistance to get everyone involved in a matter of family pride.
“Hera’s Heroes” was a pleasant break from what we’ve become accustomed to with Rebels. It wasn’t an episode that featured The Resistance against The Empire, but instead gave us a look at one character’s issues with the enemy and why she fights for change. There was a flip side to that coin, where we finally got the proper introduction to the newest threat the series has to offer.
– The Thrawn We’ve Been Waiting For
Don’t let anyone fool you. The episode might have been named after Hera and included a look at Twi’Lek culture, but this episode was about one person: Grand Admiral Thrawn. When it was announced he would be joining Rebels season 3, there was a great deal of well-deserved excitement. We’ve seen sinister villains (the Grand Inquisitors), Empire loyalists (Agent Kallus) and nut job ex-Sith Lords (Maul), but now we have the perfect antagonist for the current setting of the show.
When he first made his presence known on Ryloth, an incognito Exra wondered, “Who is this blue guy?” By the end of the episode, we knew exactly who Thrawn was; a calculating and menacing adversary who held (and still holds) a deep respect for his opponents (as we saw with his handling of Hera’s family heirloom, now residing in his trophy case).
During his interaction with a captive Hera, Thrawn is opposed during his interrogation (unlike the actions of other Empire officers who go straight for torture.) While his intentions are clear — destroy the Rebels at all costs — it’s his approach that differs. He respects his enemies, and he also doesn’t believe in The Empire’s scorched-Earth (or scorched Alderaan?) policy, reprimanding his subordinate for wishing to destroy Twi’Lek art. He is unlike any member of the Empire we’ve yet to see in the Star Wars Universe.
It’ll be interesting to see how Thrawn plays out during the rest of Rebels Season 3. We probably won’t get to delve deep into his background (since that story will be reserved for a prequel novel set to be released next year). Instead, we get the fully-formed Thrawn who is slowly spinning a web to capture The Rebels. Sure, he could have secured them at the end of the episode instead of just letting them safely fly away, but there’s a bigger game at play. Now we just have to wait and watch everything unfold.
– The Clone Wars Won’t Fade Away
Star Wars Rebels has had a deep fascination with its animated predecessor, The Clone Wars. Aside from the return of Twi’Lek warriors Cham Syndulla (a crucial role in Clone War episodes), as well as Numa and Gobi, the show has been scattering references to the war between The Republic and Separatists over the course of the first few episodes. “Hera’s Heroes” most memorable shot was Chopper staring down the ship that crashed on Ryloth, intertwining his life with Hera’s. Expect the significance of that shuttle to be investigated during the next Chopper solo episode.
Now, Rebels isn’t the only Star Wars production dipping a toe into The Clone Wars pool. Rogue One will also be heading back to the series when Forest Whitaker brings the show’s role of Saw Gerrerra to the big screen. There are plenty of fans who are not fond of reminiscing over the events that unfolded throughout Episodes I through III, however, it doesn’t appear Star Wars is going to let its fans forget the war that led to the end of The Jedi and The Republic. (I mean… next week’s episode is set to feature a droid army… so The Clone Wars references aren’t going anywhere!)