Rebels Reconnaissance: “Ghosts of Geonosis” Review

*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Ghost of Geonosis.”

Since Lucasfilm’s announcement regarding Star Wars canon on April 25, 2014, the status of Star Wars Rebels as a major part of that canon has never been in doubt. In fact, the first major addition to the canon was the novel A New Dawna novel by John Jackson Miller that serves as a direct prequel to Rebels and is a book I highly recommend. And throughout its run, Star Wars Rebels has been the connective tissue that has augmented Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the pre-existing film series. But with the release of Rogue One, Rebels has achieved a new level of esteem due to that film’s inclusion of the Ghost, Chopper, and “General Syndulla.”

“Ghosts of Geonosis,” this week’s episode, builds on that newfound recognition by including one of Rogue One’s most important characters–Saw Gerrera. First introduced in The Clone Wars episode “A War on Two Fronts,” Gerrera has been a long-gestating character that George Lucas originally intended for the proposed live-action Star Wars television show. A controversial figure within the Rebel Alliance, Gerrera makes his return to animation voiced this time by Forest Whitaker, the actor who portrayed him in Rogue One. The Academy Award-winning actor lends his talents to Star Wars Rebels in “Ghosts of Geonosis” and portrays the character just as charismatically and unsettling as he did in the film.

This time, Saw Gerrera’s role is that of a leader of a reconnaissance unit tasked with investigating a mysterious energy source that had been emanating from Geonosis. With his team decimated, Gerrera in turn becomes the Ghost crew’s mission as Hera and company are tasked with finding the revolutionary.

“Ghosts of Geonosis” blends action and intrigue as our heroes return to Geonosis to find Saw and also discover how the Empire laid waste to its indigenous species. Unfortunately for the Rebels, they fail to discover the true reasons for the genocide despite the best efforts of a surviving Geonosian who repeatedly draws a smaller circle into a larger one to represent what even the most casual Star Wars fan will recognize as the Death Star. It’s a little frustrating to watch Kanan, Ezra, and the others misinterpret the symbol, but it’s a necessary evil to maintain the shock and disbelief that characterizes most of the galaxy and even a large portion of the Rebel Alliance before the Death Star’s ultimate reveal in Rogue One.

But there’s certainly a lot to like in “Ghosts of Geonosis.” Saw Gerrera’s reveal as he easily dispatches a group of battle droids paints the picture of a highly-capable warrior and his brutal treatment of Klik-Klak (the Geonosian native) calls to mind similar tactics he used (or more accurately will use ) on Bodhi Rook. Conversely, Ezra’s connection with Klik-Klak and his desires to protect an egg that might contain the last Geonosian queen clearly evokes the novel Ender’s Game. Sabine has some great moments too as Rebels’ resident Mandalorian first utilizes a deflector core to protect her and Zeb from droidekas and later handily defeats a group of Imperial Jumptroopers.

Also of note is Hera’s daring piloting from deep below the Geonosian surface that results in the destruction of an Imperial light cruiser. Its commander, a new character named Captain Brunson is effectively humbled in her first encounter with the Ghost as she severely underestimates the experienced Twi’lek pilot.

But my favorite moment of “Ghosts of Geonosis” was Kanan’s use of the Force in getting his team across an underground chasm. After first assisting Ezra’s jump across with an extra push and then floating a makeshift bridge for Saw and Rex, Kanan somehow topped all of that by leaping across unassisted. It was elegant in its simplicity and the casual nature with which it was executed spoke volumes about Kanan’s prodigious power.

In short, “Ghosts of Geonosis” elegantly bridges the gap between Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One while also filling in some of the backstory regarding the Death Star’s origins. Rebels has always capably added to the Star Wars mythos and this episode continues that trend. It’s encouraging that Rogue One accomplished many of the same things and the hope is that the upcoming standalone Star Wars films will follow their example.

Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at cdickinson@coffeewithkenobi.com. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”

And don’t forget to check out the latest Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis on this episode.

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