The merry band of the Ghost crew have come a long way from their whimsical beginnings on Star Wars Rebels and the third season released today on Blu-Ray shows the team more matured with higher stakes and bigger connections to major Star Wars lore. The Blu-Ray release is fairly robust and worthy of the series but is missing one ingredient to make this set an absolute must buy.
After the epic events of the Star Wars Rebels Season Two finale, we see a more mature group of main characters that are stilll reeling from the confrontation with Darth Vader and Maul. Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is now blind after the injuries he sustained from Vader and wears a blast shield mask and struggles to become more of a spiritual leader than a general for the team. Ezra (Taylor Gray) has trimmed his trademark locks and struggles with a pull towards the dark side as he attempts to step into a leadership role.
Hera (Vanessa Marshall) is giving everything she can to keep her fractured team intact, while taking a greater role in the growing Rebel Alliance. Sabine (Tiya Sircar) on the other hand sees her destiny with her own people, the Mandalorians, grow as a legendary weapon comes into her possession. Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) finds his role in the Empire taking a dramatic shift as fan favorite character Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) storms on to the scene, tasked with bringing down the Ghost crew and the Rebels.
Season Three is full of some of the series’ best episodes and sees fascinating character development and growth uncommon on similar animated shows. The themes can at times be quite dark, the storytelling is epic and absolutely worthy of its place in Star Wars canon. The season also sees the show connect with some major moments in the Star Wars universe including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with Forest Whitaker reprising his role of Saw Guerra along with the much-anticipated return of Obi-Wan Kenobi in an arc that ends an era and left fans with much to discuss. While the overall season might not be as strong as Season Two, the implications of its events and cohesive connectivity to the bigger world make this season endlessly enjoyable.
The Blu-Ray exclusive special features have enough of interest to dig into, especially with the additions of Thrawn and the connection to Rogue One. Included are Return To Mandalore that focuses on Sabine’s journey during the season, Thrawn: A Legend Reborn is my personal favorite that gives a history of the character and discussions of things to come for the cunning villain, Apprentices to Outcasts: Kenobi And Maul is another terrific feature that dissects the journey towards these iconic character’s final confrontation.
The Original Rebel: Saw Gerrera Returns – Extended gives the phenomenal Forest Whitaker the spotlight to discuss bringing his character to life on film and in Rebels. Lastly the Blu-Ray comes packed with five audio commentaries Featuring Dave Filoni (Executive Producer), Justin Ridge (Supervising Director), Kilian Plunkett (Art Director), Keith Kellogg (Animation Supervisor) and Joel Aron (CG Supervisor: Lighting & FX).
Both the Blu-Ray and DVD feature A Rebel Alliance that details how the Rebellion featured in Rebels fits into the timeline of Rogue One with some hints at the future of the show inSeason Four, along with Rebels Recon that features all 19 episodes of the online series featuring the cast and crew that were posted throughout the season. The largest missing extra is a digital version of the season which should be an absolute standard with these kinds of releases, but the series has yet to get a single one packaged with the discs. Thankfully the Blu-Ray set looks stunning in full HD and the season is definitely one of the best yet for Star Wars Rebels in a Blu-Ray release that mostly delivers on quality extra features to earn your dollars.
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The series continues its shift into more mature stories and the connection to the larger STAR WARS lore will be irresistible to fans. The Blu-Ray boasts a smuggler's trove of goodies, but once again lacks a digital version of the show.