Star Wars Rebels: “A Princess on Lothal” Season 2 Episode 11 Review

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Given Star Wars Rebels‘ place in the canon, the appearances of original trilogy and Clone Wars characters has become a regular phenomenon. If anything, season two feels like it has almost entirely been about setting up the pieces for the future. Between Ahsoka, Vader, Rex, Hondo, Ketsu, Ryder, and now Leia, we’ve gotten a lot of tastes of who will probably end up being important down the road for where this series goes. This constant sense of introduction doesn’t really make for the best television. There’s very little progression, just a lot of “hey, you’ll see this person again.”

“A Princess on Lothal” suffers from this quite a bit. Leia’s first appearance on Rebels should be a landmark event, much like Vader’s was in the season premiere. Instead, it’s the latest in a run of small missions involving characters who exist in this time period as well. I just want Rebels to take its core characters somewhere new.

Still on Lothal, Kanan, Ezra, and Ryder are met by Leia, who’s currently a princess from Alderaan fighting for the rebels in secret while faking her allegiance to the Empire. Here, Leia is less wise-cracking and more trying to inspire. She gets a few lines that point to her more rough-around-the-edges appearance in A New Hope, but she’s mostly here to help build the Rebellion. Actually, she feels a bit more like Padme here than Leia, which is cool in that she’s taken on qualities of her heroic mother but disappointing in that she’s not as much fun to watch as she was in the original trilogy.

As for the progression of the Ghost crew, all this episode got to do was wash over the reveal about Ezra’s parents. That’s fine, no more time needed to be spent on that pointless plot thread. It was cool to have Leia relight the spark under Ezra though.

Action wise, the climax had its moments as the crew fought a pair of AT-ATs, but it wasn’t nearly as tense as the confrontation with them in “Relics of the Old Republic.” Still, I’m not going to do much complaining about a sequence that gives us a Jedi taking down an AT-AT.

But overall, “A Princess on Lothal” was a bit of a disappointment. The slightly boring characterization of Leia and the continuing bombardment of character introductions over plot progression made this an underwhelming entry. Star Wars: The Clone Wars went through a similar phase in its early seasons, but eventually turned around and got amazing. Hopefully we won’t have to wait very long for Rebels to do the same. We know how powerful this show can be, it just needs to achieve that more consistently. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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