These reviews of Star Wars Forces of Destiny will contain spoilers. Reviews for Volume One can be found here.
At long last! The latest batch of Star Wars Forces of Destiny shorts are here. As with the previous collection, this collection of shorts features a mix of old and new. Four of the shorts aired over the summer: “The Imposter Inside,” “Beasts of Echo Base,” “BB-8 Bandits,” and “The Padawan Path.” They are joined by four new shorts, with wrap-arounds by our storyteller, Maz Kanata — this time cooking up some delicious stew to go with her tea. And it looks like she’s made a new friend, too!
In this episode, we rejoin Sabine (Tiya Sircar), Hera (Vanessa Marshall), and Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres). Sabine is putting the final touches on her speeder bike as she and Hera prepare to rendezvous with Ketsu. They reach their destination, but Ketsu isn’t there just yet. Suddenly, a speeder comes flying out of nowhere, and crashes into a wall just as the rider is able to leap off before impact. Of course, it’s Ketsu, making quite the entrance. Apparently, she’s a bit rough on speeder bikes! Hera passes along data that Ketsu needs to deliver to her informant. Sabine tells her to hop on her bike and they’ll head off together, but Ketsu informs Sabine that she needs to meet her contact alone. So, reluctantly, Sabine lets Ketsu use her bike. Ketsu zooms away. Some time later, Hera and Sabine are waiting for Ketsu to meet them at the Ghost. The mission was a success, but Ketsu is late, and Sabine is worried. Finally, Ketsu approaches… on foot. Yep, you guessed it. Sabine’s speeder is toast. Ketsu tells her the bike handled great — for a while. Hera warns Sabine not to do anything she’ll regret. However, Sabine forgives Ketsu, with the caveat that she’s going to learn about rebuilding engines over the next few days!
This episode was pretty light, content wise. It’s one of the shortest shorts, and I was expecting more. Maybe seeing Ketsu off on her own, meeting her contact, seeing how she crashed the speeder? That said, it was nice to see the character again and off on a mission for the Rebellion. The last time we saw Ketsu in “Newest Recruit” she had officially joined the cause. I like Ketsu and I feel the focus of this episode should have shifted more toward her and the circumstances of meeting her informant, rather than seeing Hera and Sabine just waiting around. Still, the messages of patience and forgiveness were telegraphed well. Sabine could have easily gone off on Ketsu for being careless, but rather she was pleased her friend was safe. People are always more important than things.
Happily, this short sees the return of Rogue One‘s Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones)! We saw her previously on Garel in “The Stranger.” Sabine is also on Garel, and we catch up with her as she’s being pursued by stormtroopers. She has in her possession valuable intel for the Rebellion, which she loses in the race to escape her pursuers. The package is recovered by Jyn, who quickly recognizes its importance. Unfortunately for Jyn, the troopers pursuing Sabine happen upon her and she becomes the quarry. Sabine soon realizes she’s lost the intel, so she needs to backtrack, which leads her on an intercept with Jyn. When Sabine sees that Jyn has hit a dead-end, with troopers on her tail, she takes action and blocks their pursuit. The two then come face-to-face. Jyn is leery, and Sabine recognizes that she is a loner. She tells Jyn that she used to be in her position, but in the current climate you can’t remain neutral. The information in Jyn’s possession is something that could help a lot of people, and Sabine needs to retrieve it. After mulling it over a bit, Jyn hands it over. She wishes Sabine good luck, and runs off.
Anyone who knows me knows that Jyn Erso is my favorite female Star Wars character. “The Stranger” has been my favorite short so far, and “Accidental Allies” is right up there as well. We know Jyn has been hardened by her life experiences, but we also know deep down she has a heart filled with compassion, strength, and bravery. Those traits are all displayed in this episode. Strength and bravery in the way she takes on the stormtroopers, and compassion when she learns that returning the intel to Sabine could help people oppressed by the Empire. And in Rogue One, we see her ultimate sacrifice for the galaxy.
Also, what a kick seeing characters from Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One interact in such a meaningful way! Yes, we’ve seen Saw Gerrera in Rebels, but seeing Jyn Erso with Sabine was very exciting for me! I don’t know the odds of seeing Jyn in Rebels, but this glimpse of her in a Rebels-era short suits me just fine.
“The Happabore Hazard”
Back to Jakku! This episode begins with Rey (Daisy Ridley) confronting Unkar Plutt about a job hauling a scrapped ship back to Niima Outpost in exchange for ten portions — a job he says she can’t do because she’s a girl and she doesn’t have anyone to help her. Well, Rey is made of some pretty tough stuff, so she tells Plutt he’s wrong and she’ll prove how wrong he is, while paying her twice the amount of portions. He gives her the coordinates, all the while confident she’ll fail.
As Rey approaches the location, she discovers why the job might be too difficult to handle alone. A happabore is sitting on the ship. With a determination we’ve come to love, Rey sets out to overcome this obstacle. She pushes, and pulls, and pushes some more. It’s no use. Then she realizes the happabore is having a hard time breathing. One of its nostrils is plugged up, and Rey knows what she needs to do, as unappealing as it may be. She sticks her arm where no arm should have to go, and frees the obstructed airway. And gets slimed in the process. Gross. Still, the happabore is feeling better and able to move out-of-the-way. Rey hooks the scrap up to her speeder, but it’s too heavy to pull. As an expression of gratitude, the happabore puts its weight to good use and pushes the heap. The look on Unkar’s face is priceless as Rey stands before him, with her new friend, triumphant. Pay up, Plutt!
In her previous appearances in Forces of Destiny, “Sands of Jakku” and “BB-8 Bandits,” we saw Rey’s kindness toward the nightwatcher worm and how that kindness was repaid when she and BB-8 needed it most. It’s the classic “what goes around comes around” scenario. When you are kind and helpful to those in need, they could return the favor in ways you never expected. As far as Unkar Plutt goes, he should never underestimate Rey’s abilities and determination. She won’t be told she can’t do something. It’s a lesson he never seems to learn, and it eventually costs him his stolen ship in The Force Awakens (not to mention his arm).
“An Imperial Feast”
Rounding out the new shorts is a return to Endor, post Return of the Jedi. The Empire has been defeated, and celebrations are underway throughout the galaxy. On Endor, the Ewoks are getting ready to prepare a feast…. by roasting captive stormtroopers. Yeah, Leia (Shelby Young) isn’t a big fan of that idea. You don’t eat your prisoners. It’s not so easy trying to convince the Ewoks of that, however. As seen in “Ewok Escape,” they’re not big fans of Imperial troops. Leia figures if she can get them an alternate food source, the troopers will be spared a dreadful fate. So, she turns to Han Solo (A.J. LoCascio).
Leia suggests Han ask General Syndulla for a few crates of rations to feed the hungry Ewoks. Yes, you read that right — General Syndulla. Hera is on Endor! She has her ship, the Ghost, and her faithful droid Chopper at her side. How incredibly cool is that? We know Hera was referenced in Rogue One, Chopper was seen on Yavin IV, and the Ghost was at the Battle of Scarif. To know that Hera was also at the Battle of Endor is a truly wonderful revelation.
Han dutifully goes to Hera to strike a bargain for rations. Hera decides to have a little fun. She’ll give Han the rations, IF he concedes the Ghost is superior to the Millennium Falcon. Oh, boy! This is where we realize how much Han loves Leia. He swallows his considerable pride in his ship and admits the Ghost is tops. Hera, no doubt enjoying watching Han squirm a bit, agrees and lets him have the rations. The troopers are spared, the Ewoks are happy (Although, giving up a hot meal for dry ration sticks? Hmmm…), and Leia assures Han the Falcon is the best.
Okay. I said earlier how much fun it is to see Star Wars Rebels characters interact with characters from Rogue One. That goes double for seeing them with original trilogy characters. Seriously, seeing the Ghost side by side with the Millennium Falcon, not to mention seeing the captains of those ships face-to-face — Just wow! These are thrills Star Wars fans live for. Right? I know I can’t be alone in that. This was a great episode, not only for Hera, but also for the humor. Han’s expressions, the tug-of-war between Leia and the Ewoks over a stormtrooper (and his great sigh of relief as he finds out he’s no longer on the menu), and the banter between the characters made this short a joy to watch.
Well, that’s it for this round! Star Wars Forces of Destiny is finished for this year. Will there be more in the future? Fingers crossed! Even the “weakest” episodes have been excellent in quality and presentation. The characterizations were authentic to what we’ve come to know through the saga films, The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Rogue One. There is still so much to explore, and many more adventures to be had. Let’s hope Forces of Destiny — and Maz — will continue to tell those stories.
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