Plenty of nerds all over the world are counting down the days until "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits theaters, but for some lightsaber-loving nerds, it's the return of "Star Wars Rebels" that's really got them pumped. And for good reason! It's basically everything you could ever want out of a "Star Wars" show -- action, adventure, friendship and fabulously grumpy droids abound.
The show's second season premiered today (June 20) with a one hour special, "The Siege of Lothal," and a LOT went down. Here are the highlights:
Darth Vader's Back In BusinessDisney/Lucasfilm
As "Star Wars Rebels" executive produer Dave Filoni told us, it was a challenge making sure that Darth Vader was sufficiently terrifying while still making sure our heroes got out okay at the end -- and they definitely succeeded. Of course, the fact that they managed to get James Earl Jones to reprise his iconic role as the Sith Lord definitely helped. It's hard not to be intimidated by that voice, man.
Plus Some Other Familiar Faces, TooDisney/Lucasfilm
Not only is Darth Vader around to mess everything up for the rebels, but so is fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, who was once Anakin Skywalker's Jedi apprentice -- and now that the two know of each other's presence thanks to the Power of the Force, things are going to get pretty dire for our heroes. Not that they weren't already dire to begin with... let's face it, Vader would have wiped the floor with the whole Phoenix Squadron if it weren't for his incompetent underlings.
From now on it seems like Vader will trust his new Inquisitors to take care of Ahsoka and Kanan, but that doesn't mean we won't be seeing plenty of other familiar characters this season... like Lando Calrissian, who popped back in to help the rebels off Lothal, or Captain Rex from "Clone Wars," who appeared in the season 2 trailer.
There's No Going Back NowDisney XD
Minister Maketh Tua always seemed like a pretty reasonable person compared to the rest of her Imperial colleagues -- as evidenced by the fact that she was willing to give valuable intel to the rebels rather than face the blame for the Empire's defeat at Mustafar. Too bad Vader saw right through her plan and rigged her shuttle to explode during the rescue mission so he could blame her death on the rebels.
One things for sure: now that the rebels are wanted for murder and all their friends at Tarkintown have been wiped out by the Empire, they definitely can't go back home anytime soon. At least, not until they find out just why the Emperor is so interested in Lothal in the first place... As Tua hinted at before she was killed, it's much more complicated than we think.
Our Heroes Are Going Through Some Stuff...Disney XD
While most of the team is more than willing to join up with Commander Sato and the rest of the Phoenix Squadron (especially Hera, who was DEFINITELY this episode's MVP), Kanan seems really uncomfortable with getting involved in a big military campaign. He's more of a Robin Hood "steal from the rich" type, and he knows firsthand how terrible war can be. Which doesn't stop him from doing his job, of course (there's even a great wink to the original trilogy when he steals a Stormtrooper costume to sneak into the Imperial base), but we bet this won't be the last time he voices his concerns about "authorization" and "procedure."
Meanwhile, Ezra is clearly grappling with just how grim the "Star Wars" universe can really get. He looked visibly shaken when he saw the Star Destroyers surrounding Lothal, and it only got more intense from there -- now he's seen and felt the fear, anger, and hate inside Darth Vader first hand, which is enough to freak anybody out (Heck, Ahsoka FAINTED when she really got a good look). Sorry, Ezra, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. I guess just keep practicing your Jedi mind tricks for now.