Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three
Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Vanessa Marshall & Tiya Sircar
Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
As the resistance grows stronger, the Empire’s new leadership spells greater challenges for the Ghost crew in Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three. Following the fatal conclusion of last season, young Ezra, now even wiser with the Force and adopting more responsibilities in the fight against evil, faces the fleet’s most daunting adversary to date in Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Suffering physical and emotional setbacks on Malachor that left Ahsoka dead and Kanan blinded, Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three finds the Ghost crew healing their wounds while restrategizing their fight against Imperial forces. Growing restless with the rebels’ ongoing interference, the Empire instates the strategically deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn to take down the resistance fighters once and for all. Further tempted and deceived by Sith Lord Darth Maul whose desire to possess the holocrons boarders on obsession, Ezra’s mistrust in Maul weighs heavily on his development as a Jedi while, Thrawn's methodical assault on the resistance slowly begins to take shape. Continuing to excellently develop the characters in new ways with the scars of battle weighing on their psyche, Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three follows its sophomore year with a general sense of the same excitement fans have come to expect while, several episodes involving an Imperial droid sneakily attempting to infiltrate the rebel’s base and another where Chopper comes under the Empire’s control, albeit entertaining enough, serve as mere fodder and deter from the season’s ongoing narrative.
Although these one-off character centered tales are few and far between, true highlights of the season find Hera and the crew facing Thrawn during an intense face-off on her home planet, Sabine’s wielding of the Darksaber and her eventual decision to reunite with her Mandalorian family plus, the nail biting suspense of the Empire discovering Agent Kallus as a rebel spy keeps the show’s quality at a premium. Furthermore, the welcome return of Obi-Wan Kenobi (during a rather underwhelming confrontation against Maul) on Tatooine makes a fan-pleasing nod to the chosen one before the program’s most epic season finale to date takes to the skies. As the rebels prepare to stage an attack on Lothal, Thrawn discovers their plan, resulting in a cinematic battle amongst the stars that brings old friends, Force wielders and the Empire’s deadliest fleets head to head. Yet another striking chapter in the rebel’s efforts to overthrow evil with few miscalculations to be had, Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three balances drama and action with refined skill ensuring another season’s worth of intergalactic adventure is on the way.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents all 22 episodes of Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three with 1080p transfers, sporting 1.78:1 aspect ratios. Once again delivering sterling clarity and highlighting sensational color grades from the many lightsabers to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s glowingly blue skin, the show’s visual presentation continues to impress. Equipped with Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, dialogue is nicely refined while the many intergalactic sound effects and dramatic scoring cues please immensely.
Special features on Disc 1 include, Rebels Recon (51:26) where Star Wars Correspondent Andi Gutierrez acts as your guide in this overview of the show’s first 8 episodes. In addition, Sneak Peeks at Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2:10) is also included. Next up, supplements on Disc 2 continue with two Audio Commentary tracks on “Trials of the Darksaber” with Executive Producer Dave Filoni and “Legacy of Mandalore” with Executive Producer Dave Filoni, CG Supervisor/Lighting & EFX Joel Aron, Animation Supervisor Keith Kellogg, Art Director Kilian Plunkett & Supervising Director Justin Ridge. Furthermore, Rebels Recon (46:24) continues with coverage on episodes 9-16 while, Disc 3 features A Rebel Alliance (6:10) that details the show’s place within Rogue One’s timeline and beyond into its next season, Return to Mandalore (6:59) (Blu-ray exclusive) explores the fan-favorite culture and Sabine’s personal struggles this season with uniting her people against a common foe plus, Thrawn: A Legend Returns (6:59) (Blu-ray exclusive) celebrates the rebels mighty new adversary and what his future may hold throughout the series. Additionally, Apprentices to Outcasts: Kenobi and Maul (8:47) (Blu-ray exclusive) covers the history between the two characters and the epic conclusion to their tale.
Also on Disc 3, The Original Rebel: Saw Gerrera Returns - Extended (3:19) (Blu-ray exclusive) catches up with Forest Whitaker as he discusses bringing his character into both live-action and animation, three additional Audio Commentaries on “Through Imperial Eyes” with Executive Producer Dave Filoni, CG Supervisor/Lighting & EFX Joel Aron, Animation Supervisor Keith Kellogg, Art Director Kilian Plunkett & Supervising Director Justin Ridge, “Double Agent Droid” with Executive Producer Dave Filoni, CG Supervisor/Lighting & EFX Joel Aron, Animation Supervisor Keith Kellogg, Art Director Kilian Plunkett, Supervising Director Justin Ridge & Co-Executive Producer Henry Gilroy and “Twin Suns” with Executive Producer Dave Filoni are also on-hand. Finally, Rebels Recon (44:48) concludes its coverage on the season’s final six episodes.
While several one-off adventures, albeit entertaining ones, slightly take away from the season’s larger picture, Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three greatly captivates with the arrival of the brooding Grand Admiral Thrawn, Sabine’s personal struggles and yet another thrilling season finale to keep Jedi enthusiasts anxiously wanting more. Meanwhile, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment ensures another first-rate technical package with a supplemental supply that easily bests its previous seasons.
Available now from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Three can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.