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Star Wars Rebels

Rise of the Old Masters (Star Wars Rebels - S01E03) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Rise of the Old Masters

Season: One

Episode: 3

Original Air Date: October 27, 2014

Runtime: 22 minutes

Well that was a quick rebound! After last week’s disappointing episode, Star Wars Rebels returned with its best episode yet. SPOILERS.

When Star Wars: The Clone Wars began, I wasn’t completely sold on it.  That changed after I saw the show’s fifth episode, “Rookies.” The episode followed Commander Cody, Captain Rex, and a group of rookie clone troopers as they had to defend a key outpost and stop a Separatist invasion. Many people just viewed the clone troopers as the people that would eventually murder the Jedi, but “Rookies” made the clones the heroes. The heroics of the clone troopers throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars was one of the show’s highlights and it makes the events of Revenge of the Sith even more poignant. “Rookies” made me realize Star Wars: The Clone Wars could be something special, and “Rise of the Old Masters” did that for Star Wars Rebels.


The episode began with Kanan attempting to teach Ezra in the ways of the Force. I say attempting because it ended with Chopper almost killing Ezra. What I really liked about this scene is that it demonstrated why Kanan has been reluctant to teach Ezra. Kanan believes he isn’t capable of properly training Ezra, and he’s probably right. Kanan never finished his training and still doesn’t understand some basic Jedi principles. Kanan is frustrated with Ezra’s lack of focus and admits he never really understood one of Master Yoda’s favorite sayings, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” By the way, that’s how you reuse a famous Star Wars quote. Instead of just saying “I have a bad feeling about this” for the thousandth time, Yoda’s quote served a real purpose in this episode. Not only did it serve a purpose within the episode, but Yoda’s quote also helped connect Rebels to the overall saga. Rebels primarily takes place on the seemingly insignificant planet of Lothal with cast of entirely new characters so it can feel a little detached from the overall saga at times. Having reminders that Kanan grew up in the Jedi Temple and met Yoda is far more effective at connecting this show to the overall saga than having C-3PO and R2-D2 conveniently show up.


The crew of the ghost intercept a message from exiled Senator Gall Trayvis (Voiced by Brent Spiner) and learn that Jedi Master Luminara Unduli is still alive and in Imperial custody. Including Luminara was a great way a great way of connecting Rebels to both the prequels and The Clone Wars. Kanan decides to launch a rescue operation to save Luminara and believes that she could make a better teacher for Ezra, much to Ezra’s chagrin. The rebel’s entrance into the Spire, the same prison that held Darth Maul during the Clone Wars, was a lot of fun to watch. It was the best mix of action and comedy so far from the series. This episode is pretty dark, more on that in a moment, but there were a few genuinely funny moments that complemented the episodes darker elements. Kanan and Ezra reach Luminara’s cell, but something isn’t right. She walks right past them and disappears into large container, a container holding Luminara’s mummified remains. She’s been dead for years. What Kanan and Ezra saw was a hologram. I honestly did not see that coming. One of the earliest criticisms of Rebels was that it would be “Disneyfied” or too juvenile. I was concerned about that too, especially after last week’s episode, but this “Disneyfied” show just pulled off one of the darkest plot twists I can think of in a Star Wars story. I’m not saying we’re going to get stories like this every week or we won’t get another overly simplified and juvenile episode like “Fighter Flight” but  this episode showed Rebels isn’t afraid to take on darker storylines.


After Kanan and Ezra realize that Luminara is actually dead, the Inquisitor walks in. He explains that, “Master Luminara died with the Republic and her bones continue to serve the Empire, luring the last Jedi to their ends.”  So the Empire has been using the skeletal remains of Luminara to draw in surviving Jedi and kill them? That’s messed up…and exactly the kind of brutality I expect from the Empire, not stealing fruit from local farmers. This is the first episode that actually portrayed the Empire as a threat and a lot of that had to do with the Inquisitor. Most movies or franchises struggle to establish interesting or memorable villains, but Star Wars has never had that problem. So let’s talk about the Star Wars newest villain, the Inquisitor. I thought this was a great introduction for the Inquisitor. He was menacing, provided an actual threat for our heroes, and Jason Isaacs’ voice work was exceptional. Isaacs gave the Inquisitor’s voice a perfect mixture of elegance, arrogance, and menace. I also liked the fact that the Inquisitor was able to identify Depa Billaba as Kanan’s master simply by observing his fighting style. Kanan and the Inquisitor engage in a great lightsaber duel and it quickly becomes obvious that Kanan is outmatched. Ezra tries to help by shooting the Inquisitor with his ridiculous looking laser-slingshot but it doesn’t do anything. It even hit the Inquisitor directly in the chest and nothing happened. As Kanan and the Inquisitor duel, the Inquisitor tires to get Ezra to join the dark side. When Ezra refuses the Inquisitor attempts to kill him only to be stopped by Kanan who pins the Inquisitor to the ceiling with the Force. With the Inquisitor closing in, Kanan and Ezra meet up with the rest of crew and make their escape at the landing platform. Back on Lothal, Kanan explains to Ezra that he wasn’t trying to dump him on Luminara, he just wanted Ezra to have the best teacher. Kanan then tells Ezra, “I’m not going to try to teach you anymore. If all I do is try, that means I don’t truly believe I can succeed so from know I will teach you. I may fail. You may fail. But there is no try.” If you haven't watched Star Wars Rebels yet or are still on the fence about it, do yourself a favor and watch "Rise of the Old Masters."

What Worked

  • The Inquisitor and Jason Isaacs’ performance
  • The shocking and creepy Luminara twist
  • Kanan’s reluctance to train Ezra and their dynamic in this episode
  • The humor actually worked this week and complemented the episode ’s darker elements
  • Kanan vs. the Inquisitor

What Didn’t Work

  • Ezra’s laser-slingshot not only looks ridiculous but it doesn’t do anything
External Links:
Added: October 30, 2014
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
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