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Star Wars Rebels

Droids in Distress (Star Wars Rebels - S01E01) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Droids in Distress

Season: One

Episode: 1

Original Air Date: October 13, 2014

Runtime: 22 minutes

The first official episode of Star Wars Rebels, “Droids in Distress”, premiered this past Monday and featured the return of a few fan favorite characters. SPOILERS.

“Droids in Distress” continued the promising start that began with the premiere, but there’s still room for improvement. When the episode opens up, Kanan and the crew of the Ghost decide to steal a weapons shipment for the arms dealer Vizago because they’re running low on supplies. To do so they had board a star commuter shuttle and trick Imperial Minister Tua to reveal the location of the weapons. Basing the star commuter shuttle on the Star Tours shuttle was a nice touch. They even had Paul Reubens return as the voice of RX-24, the pilot of the original Star Wars Tours ride! There were some great McQuarrie designs used as well, like the droid based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original design for C-3PO. While I found the nods to Star Tours and McQuarrie exciting, the big cameos in this episode were none than C-3PO and R2-D2. It turns out that C-3PO is Minister Tua’s translator. One thing I really liked about Spark of Rebellion was the Obi-Wan cameo. It felt natural and fit in really well with the rest of the story. C-3PO and R2-D2’s cameos on the other hand felt a little forced at times, particularly in the beginning of the episode. With that being said, you can always count on C-3PO and R2-D2 to provide a few highlights. For example, the interaction between R2-D2 and Chopper was a lot of fun. When Kanan gets all the droids sent to the back of the shuttle, Sabine volunteers to translate for Minister Tua and learns the location of the weapons shipment. When crew of the Ghost reaches the weapons shipment, Zeb recoils in fear when he realizes the weapons are T-Z ion disrupters. C-3PO and R2-D2’s appearances may be the big story for a lot of fans, but this was Zeb’s episode. When the Imperials arrive, Zeb launches into a fit of rage and takes down an entire squad of Stormtroopers by himself. It was not only a fantastic action sequence but it was also a great character moment for Zeb.


The crew of the Ghost escapes with the weapons and a couple passengers, C-3PO and R2-D2. A visibly disturbed Zeb pleads with Kanan to destroy the T-Z ion disrupters. It turns out that the Empire used them to wipe out most of the Lasat population when they captured Zeb’s homeworld. Zeb is one of the last of his people. Zeb’s tragic backstory perfectly illustrates the brutality of the Empire and helps us understand why Zeb is the way is. Despite Zeb’s objections, Kanan still plans to sell the weapons to Vizago. Vizago, doing his best Hondo Ohnaka impression, steals half the shipment when the Imperials arrive and escapes. The Imperials discovered the rebels’ location after C-3PO sent out a distress call that was picked up by Agent Kallus. While Kanan and the others deal with Imperial walkers, Zeb battles Agent Kallus. Kallus was the one who oversaw the extermination of Zeb’s people. The battle between Zeb and Kallus was another standout action sequence and one of my favorite scenes in this episode. Kallus gains the upper hand and is about to kill Zeb but Ezra intervenes and Force pushes Kallus away. This is first time we actually see Ezra use the Force. It was a big moment, and one they pulled off incredibly well. After escaping the Imperials on Lothal, Kanan decides to return C-3PO and R2-D2 to their rightful owner, Bail Organa. It was great to see Bail Organa pop up in a show about the early days of the rebellion. R2-D2 reports to Organa that he recorded everything that happened. Organa then says he’s interested in learning more about these Rebels. I like the idea that Bail Organa is keeping tabs on rebel cells, like the crew of the Ghost, but the ending felt rushed. So Bail Organa assigned C-3PO and R2-D2 to an Imperial minister and gave Artoo the secret mission of recording a group of rebels so he can learn more about them. But how did Organa know that the rebels would have contact with that Imperial minister? I feel like they tried to do too much in one episode. I forgot to talk about Kevin Kiner’s score in my last review so I wanted to bring it up this week. While the John Williams cues help make the show feel like Star Wars, the score as a whole feels disjointed. Based off his work on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I know Kiner can do better. I brought it up last week, but the animation is really lacking. Hopefully it will improve as the show goes on. 


What Worked

  • Zeb’s backstory
  • Zeb vs. Agent Kallus and Ezra’s save
  • Star Tours and McQuarrie Easter eggs
  • R2-D2 and Chopper

What Didn’t Work

  • R2-D2 and C3-PO cameos felt forced at times
  • The ending was rushed
  • The animation and score are still lacking
External Links:
Added: October 16, 2014
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
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