*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Forgotten Droid.”
Following the events of “Shroud of Darkness,” this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels would have had to raise the stakes even higher if it had hopes of being a worthy successor. But “The Forgotten Droid” does not even attempt to do so. Rather, this Chopper-centric episode serves as more of palate cleanser for the viewer, and if rumors about what’s coming in this season’s last few episodes prove true, it could prove to be a welcome respite from all the drama and tragedy.
On its own, “The Forgotten Droid” does serve to both entertain and advance the story-line of Star Wars Rebels. To begin with, we find our heroes continuing in their seemingly endless search for a more permanent base. The Yawst system is posited as an option despite it being several parsecs away, and its merits are espoused by Ketsu Onyo–the Mandalorian mercenary last seen in “Blood Sisters.” Since the events of that episode, Onyo has apparently decided to take up her friend (and former partner) Sabine on her offer to join the Rebellion, but it is unclear at this point how deep her commitment goes.
In any case, the crew of the Ghost take it upon themselves to travel to Horizon Base in order to steal an Imperial fuel shipment so that Phoenix Squadron’s fighter carrier can make the trip to Yawst. It is here at Horizon Base that Chopper’s independence causes him to be separated from his friends as the droid refuses to follow Hera’s orders to stay aboard the Ghost as a lookout. Instead, the cantankerous astromech goes in search of a replacement leg (which he ends up stealing). And though this rebellious streak causes him to be left behind on an Imperial base, this same attribute will serve him well in the near future.
Chopper has always been a unique droid in that he begrudgingly does what he’s told at best and outright defies authority at worst. One has to wonder if this is due in some part to his programming. If so, it would make sense that Hera might have hardwired these quirks into her droid at a time when she was breaking away from her father.
We learned in “Homecoming” that Chopper was rebuilt by Hera after the Twi’lek pilot found the droid on Ryloth. This origin story is expanded slightly in “The Forgotten Droid” by means of a conversation between Chopper and a protocol droid stationed aboard the Imperial freighter. The protocol droid, designated AP-5, is a veteran of the Clone Wars–just as Chopper is–and in fact served during the same campaign on Ryloth. But whereas Chopper found himself on the side of the Rebels after his Y-wing was destroyed in battle, AP-5 remained with the Republic until it became the Empire. Like many other of Palpatine’s constituents, AP-5 has found himself a part of something he didn’t sign up for.
This dissatisfaction with his current situation has left AP-5 open to suggestion, and Chopper is more than willing to recruit a fellow Clone Wars veteran away from the enemy. After witnessing the feisty astromech outwit and dispose of several stormtroopers, AP-5 begins to believe in the possibility of free will over fate, and with this belief also comes an admiration for a cause empowers even droids to make their own choices. Ultimately, the Imperial droid is impressed enough with Chopper’s independence and determination in the face of overwhelming odds to mutiny against the human captain of the freighter and help the Rebels–even to the point of sacrificing its own existence.
Fortunately, AP-5’s selfless act is not in vain and the Rebels avoid the trap that is Yawst thanks to his intel. As a bonus, the droid’s intimate knowledge of Imperial troop movements provides Phoenix Squadron with another option for a base that will be safe–at least for the time being.
Finally, the Ghost crew has apparently gained another member as Sabine uses her mechanical aptitude to repair AP-5’s thermal sensors from Chopper’s stolen replacement leg. How long AP-5 will be a part of Star Wars Rebels remains to be seen, but what is certain is that he and Chopper comprise a team whose bickering makes that of C-3PO and R2-D2 seem downright genteel.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
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