Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 11
“A Princess on Lothal”
Star Wars Rebels returns with the first episode of 2016 and the first outing since the release of Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens. This episode introduces Princess Leia (Julie Dolan) to the continuity of the show.
Princess Leia is a character that makes sense to introduce to the continuity of this show. When she is first introduced in A New Hope she is already part of the Rebellion and since this is set only a few years before she is a good fit to appear. Han Solo would be another solid choice but care would need to be taken to ensure he doesn’t see any of the Jedi stuff.
Leia’s appearance in this show is a good idea but it is marred by poor execution. Having her here comes across as a stunt as she doesn’t really do anything that couldn’t be done by another character. Most of the character traits we associate with her are there such as her confidence and authoritative attitude. There’s even a hint of that weird British accent she was sporting in A New Hope. Julie Dolan does a fine job voicing her but she didn’t sound like Leia. It isn’t her fault as an outright impression of Carrie Fisher would have come across as insincere and probably would have sounded terrible but the voice didn’t make me think of Leia.
Her role in the story works fine. I like that she wants to support the Rebellion but doesn’t want Alderaan to be the victim of an Imperial attack so she keeps it secret. Her plan to supply three ships for for refugee relief on Lothal and have the Rebels steam them to make it look like Alderaan has no role to play is a solid one and plays right into the overall incompetence of the Empire.
One skill that Leia has mastered is hiding her involvement with the Rebellion. The conversations she has with Lieutenant Lyste are really amusing with her exerting her authority and making the inexperienced officer feel flustered in her presence. She catches him at his most incompetent and he rightly feels embarrassed by the display she witnesses.
In general the Empire are at their most useless in this episode. The heist of the three ships completely proves that. At one point they don’t even notice a ship flying away and do almost nothing about it when it is pointed out to them by one of the people trying to steal it. The walkers aren’t used to very good effect either with one of them pretty much vanishing for much of the fight. Seeing Kanan in full Stormtrooper gear using his lightsaber to cut off its legs was all kinds of awesome though. I wonder if a Stormtrooper using a lightsaber was a deliberate reference to The Force Awakens.
Ezra is still dealing with the information he found out in the last episode. This story follows almost immediately after that one and we see Ezra trying to deal with the emotions associated with what he learned. This is making him angrier as shown by his fairly brutal beating of a Stormtrooper. I wonder if he’s heading down a darker path without Kanan really realising how bad it’s getting. I’d like to see that play out.
An attempt was made to forge a connection between Ezra and Leia through their responsibilities. Leia knows that it feels like to have so much expected of you when so young so that would make her an ideal choice to console him. The attempt is too brief and feels very flat. Getting this right is all it would have taken to have this specific character’s appearance feel worthwhile. To contrast the sympathy shown to Ezra by Sabine comes across as very sincere and helps show how close these characters are.
The lack of confidence among the Ghost crew when trying to execute the heist really didn’t work for me either. It’s a tough situation sure but they’ve been through worse and managed to confidently forge ahead. Leia’s proud speech about not accepting failure and only wanting to hear solutions was a really obvious attempt to make sure that she had some authority over them and could build their confidence like a true leader should. The crew of the Ghost have demonstrated that they have more than enough agency to deal with these sorts of things themselves so they should never be portrayed as lacking in confidence to make another character look better.
A reasonably solid if flawed episode that makes a solid attempt to properly introduce an important Star Wars character into the continuity of the show.
Princess Leia is a character that makes sense to introduce to this show as she is already active in the Rebellion by the time she is introduced in A New Hope. Unfortunately her appearance is marred by poor execution as she doesn’t really do anything that couldn’t be done by another character. Most of her character traits are intact and Julie Dolan does a good job of voicing the character but she didn’t sound like Leia. Doing an impression of Carrie Fisher would have sounded insincere but it’s hard to get around the fact.
Her role in the story works fine and I like the idea that she wants to make it appear as if the Rebellion stole the ships so that Alderaan isn’t suspected of helping the Rebels. Leia has perfected hiding her involvement with the Rebellion as shown by her amusing conversations with Lieutenant Lyste who is flustered by all of her demands.
The Empire are at their most useless in the episode. Not noticing a ship flying away and doing nothing about it when it is pointed out to them shows that. One of the walkers seems to disappear during the battle as well. I did like seeing Kanan in full Stormtrooper gear take a walker down with his lightsaber.
Ezra is still dealing with the information he learned in the last episode and he is definitely getting angrier as a result shown by his brutal beating of a Stormtrooper. I hope that a journey to the Dark Side plays out for him as it would be interesting.
An attempt is made to forge a connection between Ezra and Leia through expectations placed on the young. It should have been the perfect reason to have Leia around but it’s such a brief moment and falls flat.
The lack of confidence among the Ghost crew when planning the heist of the ships makes no sense. It only exists so that Leia can give them the necessary confidence when they should be really skilled at planning things like this. Downplaying existing characters to make another look better is always a bad way to do things.