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Star Wars: Forces of Destiny

Forces of Destiny - Season One, Part Two (Episodes 9-12) - Micro-Series

Series: Forces of Destiny

Type: Micro-series

Season: One

Episode: 9-12

Original Air Date: October 1, 2017 (YouTube/Disney Channel)

Runtime: 11 minutes 31 Seconds (4 episodes)

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

“The Choices we make. The actions we take. Moments, both big and small. Shape us into forces of destiny."

Overall Thoughts

Expanding Forces of Destiny through a series of TV specials is a great idea, one that I hope leads to a full time series. There’s too much potential in an anthology series centered around the saga’s most prominent female characters to simply continue with two minute micro-episodes released on YouTube. I enjoyed the first special overall, but I hope they make some tweaks moving forward. Although the mix of old and new episodes was handled well here, I hope if these specials continue past the two that have been announced that they will just focus on new stories. Also beginning with “Sands of Jakku” probably wasn’t the best move. I imagine some people thought it was just a collection of the existing episodes and stopped watching. All of the micro-episodes were tied together by introductions from Maz Kanata, which didn’t really work for me. I understand what they were going for, but the “Oh, I didn’t see there” direct address felt cheesy and outdated to say the least. Overall, the four new micro-episodes were more consistent in quality that first batch though. Despite some issues, I enjoy Forces of Destiny and I hope these television specials continue.

Episode Reviews

Newest Recruit

One of the few episodes to exclusively focus on characters from Star Wars Rebels, “Newest Recruit” is a good example of what Forces of Destiny has to offer. The episode primarily focuses on Sabine and Kestu Onyo (voiced by Gina Torres). Ketsu made two appearances in Star Wars Rebels, but hasn’t appeared since the second season. The chemistry between Ketsu and Sabine is actually better in this episode than it was in Star Wars Rebels. With the limited running time, the interactions between these two characters had to carry the episode. The improved chemistry and fast paced action made this episode a success. Honestly, “Newest Recruit” felt like it could have been the opening scene of an episode of Star Wars Rebels, and I mean that as a compliment. If the episode is set during Star Wars Rebels, then it should feel like Star Wars Rebels. If the episode is set during Return of the Jedi, then it should feel like Return of the Jedi. That kind of consistency in tone with the source material is important, and Forces of Destiny for the most part has been successful in that regard. Forces of Destiny is at its best when it adds something to the source material or fills in a blank, and this episode is a good example. Sometime between her two appearances on Star Wars Rebels, Ketsu joined the rebellion which left the impression that we missed something important. Now we get to see that missing part of Ketsu’s story. Not the best episode, but it’s a good example of what you should expect from Forces of Destiny. (Watch on YouTube)

   

The Starfighter Stunt

“The Imposter Inside” might be my favorite Forces of Destiny episode, and focusing on Ahsoka and Padme’s friendship is the main reason why that episode worked so well. So while this episode was far from groundbreaking, I was just happy to see another episode that featured Ahsoka and Padme. Padme is far from my favorite character, but she is at her best when she is paired with Ahsoka. Between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Forces of Destiny, an interesting and genuine friendship has developed between these two characters. They seem to bring out the best in each other and their relationship and interactions are refreshing when you look at the saga as a whole. It was also great to see the Naboo Starfigthers again. The Naboo Starfighter is one of the best designs from the prequel trilogy and it feels more impressive and iconic with each passing day. Overall, this is one of the most impressive episodes yet from a visual standpoint. The animation is still very simplistic, but the Naboo Starfighter gliding through the icy asteroid field was a memorable image. The character interactions, fast paced action, and memorable visuals made up for thin and forgettable story, even by Forces of Destiny standards. Hopefully we continue to see Ahsoka and Padme episodes in the future. (Watch on YouTube)

   

Tracker Trouble

This was…fine. At just over two minutes, “Tracker Trouble” is the shortest new episode and it feels like it too. There just isn’t much here. Han simply referring to BB-8 as “ball” was a delight. It might be the only time Forces of Destiny made me laugh out loud. Finn just pulling the bomb off of the wall is Finn at his most unlikable, and I like Finn. The “we make a great team” moment was a nice ending to episode, just don’t think about how Han Solo will be killed a few days later. I really don’t have much analysis for this episode considering how brief and light on content it was. It was enjoyable enough but is probably one of the more forgettable Forces of Destiny episodes. (Watch on YouTube)

   

Teach You, I Will

Easily my favorite of the new episodes, “Teach You, I Will” is Forces of Destiny at its best. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the best episode is also the longest episode. There’s a certain charm to brevity of these episodes, but it’s restrictive and makes it nearly impossible to tell well developed stories with meaningful character development. That may not be the point of these micro-episodes, but the untapped potential should be clear. “Teach You, I Will” is the only new episode to clock in at over three minutes and the extended run time allowed the writers to craft actual character growth for Ahsoka. It’s not a deep character study, but it felt honest, true to the character, and earned. Be yourself. What makes you unique, makes you strong. Take what you learn and make it your own. These are the central lessons introduced in this episode. They aren’t new ideas, but they are worthwhile and positive concepts to introduce to the intended young  audience and absolutely feel at home in Star Wars. Earlier I mentioned that Forces of Destiny is at its best when it fills in a blank, and this episode is another great example. During season three of Star Wars: The Clones Wars, Ahsoka changed her look, gained a second lightsaber, and generally became a more confident and developed character. Naturally, the character growth she experienced in the first two seasons is why she became a more confident and developed character. However, it did feel like more time could have been spent in this transitional period for the character. I always wondered why we never saw Ahsoka learn to adapt her fighting style to accommodate the second lightsaber. This episode finally showed us Ahsoka struggling with and overcoming that challenge. I adore the Ahsoka character, and the episodes that focus on her continue to be the strongest of the series. I’ll admit that I’m nostalgic for Star Wars: The Clone Wars so I was just happy to return to that time period with these characters. It was great to hear Ashley, Matt, and Tom in these roles again. Yoda is my favorite Star Wars character and he was used perfectly in this episode. Yoda dispensing words of wisdom will always get my attention. I also appreciated that this episode delved into Jedi training in greater detail. Small details helped make this episode more memorable than the others as well. For example, the X-shaped lightsaber block Ahsoka used against Yoda is the same one she will employ against Darth Vader years later. My main complaint about this episode is the animation for Anakin. It’s still horrifying. Nonetheless, this was one of the best Forces of Destiny episodes so far. (Watch on YouTube)

   

What Worked

  • Improved consistency
  • “Teach You, I Will”
  • Filling in the blanks

What Didn’t Work

  • The Maz Kanata Introductions
  • Time continues to be a restriction
External Links:
Added: October 15, 2017
Category: Forces of Destiny
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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