Cast: Taylor Gray, Freddie Prinze Jr., Vanessa Marshall (VOICES)
Release Date: August 30, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7/10
Amid growing Imperial oppression on Lothal, the rebels are forced to seek out new allies throughout the galaxy and additional resources to sustain their fight against the Empire. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghost bands together with a secret rebel cell and ex-soldiers from the Clone Wars to join a fledgling alliance determined to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy.
As Ezra continues his journey to become a Jedi under Kanan’s guidance, the threat of the dark side looms large over the fate of the growing rebellion. Darth Vader himself will dispatch new Inquisitors to snuff any spark of resistance, setting the stage for a climactic showdown in which past lives will be revealed, terrible truths will be discovered, and the lives of our heroes will be changed forever.
The second season of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ kicks off with a bang as our team of heroes are presented with new challenges and foes beginning with Kanan and Ezra’s inevitable encounter with the terrifying and unimaginably powerful Darth Vader. Having joined forces with another group of Rebels, the crew of the Ghost may have finally found their place with this more organized group of individuals fighting against the ever expanding shadow of the empire that continues to envelop the galaxy. Yet unbeknownst to our heroes, one of their newest acquaintances also happens to be the old apprentice of Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) which leads to a new set of issues when these remaining Jedi are forced to confront not only Vader, but two additional Inquisitors intent on eradicating them all. Get ready for plenty of action, excitement and even a few laughs with all 22 thrilling second season episodes of ‘Star Wars Rebels’.
The sophomore season of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ delivers all of the action packed excitement, intrigue and just plain fun of the series’ debut season, while also upping the ante considerably in addition to (re)introducing a number of fan favorite characters into the mix this time around, including but not limited to the ultimate villain Darth Vader, along with a few familiar faces from ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ and more; altogether contributing to a season that is easily superior to the first in nearly every conceivable way. The second season also concentrates more intently on the ongoing storylines and while there are certainly still a handful of standalone episodes this season, the majority tend to be intertwined in the bigger picture in at least one way or another which helps tremendously in adding to the overall scope of events. It also allows viewers to truly feel for these characters, even more so as we are also treated to a surprising amount of back story for (nearly) every key character on the series which provides better insight as to how each were molded into the person they have become. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ is its ability to somehow continually find the rare middle ground that allows a (largely) kid friendly show that also caters as thoroughly to adults, approaching some shockingly dark subject matter while never allowing the more violent or unsettling moments to ever be seen, let alone glorified. Season two of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ is an unquestionable improvement over the already fantastic first season and I can’t wait to see just where it may take us in the future.
Fellow ‘Star Wars’ fanatics in general and hardcore fans of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ in particular will almost surely want to make certain they pick up a copy of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two’ on Blu-ray to add to their collections. The Blu-ray release of the animated series’ second season once again delivers outstanding high definition video presentations on every episode, and while the release is unfortunately absent of any lossless audio tracks again this season, the 640 Kbps 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtracks nonetheless sound quite fantastic for what they are. The solid video and quite decent audio presentations, along with some fun extras including a behind the scenes look at every episode with ‘Rebels Recon’ and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) are certain to make this release a definite must own for the majority of fellow fans.
Overall, fans of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ and many ‘Star Wars’ fans in general will likely want to grab a copy of the ‘Complete Season Two’ on Blu-ray in order to have the ability to enjoy this fantastic series time and again with gorgeous high definition video and fairly solid audio presentations on every episode, along with a few fun bonus goodies. Those who enjoyed the first season of the series yet haven’t had the chance to check out the second will definitely want to do so as soon as you have the opportunity, as will any Star Wars fans in general who might not have had the pleasure of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ at all just yet; this is definitely an animated series that any Star Wars fan will not want to miss out on.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the second season’s episodes. The video presentations look fantastic as a whole and deliver consistently sharp and detailed presentations on every episode that perfectly capture the bright, vivid colors and hold up beautifully down to nearly every line, suffering no notable faults throughout courtesy of a more than adequate bitrate. Overall, these are solid high definition video presentations that should easily please the fans.
The Blu-ray release is unfortunately absent of any lossless audio soundtracks once again and features a 5.1 channel 640 Kbps Dolby Digital soundtrack on all 22 Season Two episodes. While the absence of lossless audio tracks again this season is definitely disappointing, these lossy multichannel soundtracks nonetheless provide a fairly sharp and clean audio presentation on every episode. Often utilizing all five available channels in order to send ships whipping throughout the various speakers, along with plenty of action related auditory effects such as blaster bolts zooming past, lightsaber blades whirring about and more, while always keeping any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously from becoming distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, these are quite capable 640 Kbps 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks that deliver an active audio presentation, although they are definitely no substitute for Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA soundtracks.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two’ includes some enjoyable extras, primarily in the way of behind the scenes explorations of the episodes with ‘Rebels Recon’ Featurettes for every episode in the season which include interviews with the cast and crew (running approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to a couple additional Featurettes for the season which include ‘From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka’ (running approximately 6 minutes), and ‘Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season 2’ (approximately 4 minutes).