Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Volume One Review

Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Volume One Review

These reviews of Star Wars Forces of Destiny will contain spoilers.

The Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Volume One premiered on the Disney Channel Sunday night, and it showcased a mix of old and new. Some episodes from the first run released during the summer were interspersed with new episodes, along with interludes featuring the delightful Maz Kanata (voiced by Lupita Nyong’o) as our guide through these adventures.

Here are my reviews for the latest episodes:

“The Starfighter Stunt”

In this episode Ahsoka is taking Padme through starfighter combat training when they come under fire from a droid ship. As she comes under attack, Ahsoka is knocked unconscious. A somewhat inexperienced Padme is left to her own devices when the ship sets its sights on her. Quick thinking — and Ahsoka’s previous counsel to do something unexpected — leads Padme to improvise. She dips into the wake of a meteor to lose her pursuer, then comes up behind it and opens fire. Threat eliminated, Padme heads back to Ahsoka just as she starts to come around. Padme tells Ahsoka she destroyed the droid ship, and fully expects Ahsoka to be surprised. However, Ahsoka knew Padme’s instincts would lead her to success.

Much like the previous episode featuring Ahsoka and Padme, “The Imposter Inside,” this short shows the duo acting as a team, with Ahsoka expressing her belief in Padme’s skills and instincts. No one would imagine that Padme would be lacking in confidence after her experiences as Queen and then Senator from Naboo. But being behind the controls of a starfighter in a combat situation isn’t something normally considered within her skill set. However, underestimating Padme Amidala will inevitably prove you wrong.

This was a fun episode overall, even with Ahsoka on the sideline for most of it. Witnessing Padme in action isn’t something we’ve seen all that often, although she has had her moments. Letting her shine in these animated shorts is a wonderful thing.

Catherine Taber returns Padme, and Ashley Eckstein is back as Ahsoka. They’ve become masters of these characters and are always welcome. I’m looking forward to another team-up between these two!

“Tracker Trouble”

The timeline for some of these shorts isn’t always clear, but with “Tracker Trouble” we know exactly where we are — on the Millennium Falcon en route to Maz Kanata’s Castle on Takodana. That’s right, this episode we have Han Solo, Chewbacca, Rey (voiced by Daisy Ridley), Finn (voiced by John Boyega), and BB-8. (EDIT: Han Solo is voiced by Kiff VandenHeuvel)

While traveling through hyperspace, Han, Rey, and BB-8 are in the cockpit when suddenly they’re rocked as the ship drops out of hyperspace. Rey thinks it’s possible that Unkar Plutt may have installed a new kind of tracking device on the ship, so she goes to investigate. She runs into Finn and Chewie and tells them she was sometimes hired by Unkar to install tracking devices on ships, but she never put one on the Falcon. She’s not sure where to look, but Chewie gives her an idea that turns out to be right on the money. Of course! He’s that good. They find the tracking device, and when Finn grabs it they realize it is rigged and set to explode. They need to toss it out of the airlock asap. Han gets the hyperdrive back online just as they toss the bomb out into space. The Falcon gets away just in time.

It’s hard to top an episode featuring Han Solo. In the short time we got to see these characters together in The Force Awakens, we got an idea of how well they worked as a team. One of the prevailing themes of Forces of Destiny has been teamwork, and it works to full effect here. The only thing I would have liked was a bit more Finn, since they did get John Boyega to reprise his role. I was expecting a bit more, I suppose. Still, Finn’s good, and he was good here.

Seeing how well they worked as a team in this short also brought a pang when reminded of what little time they’d actually have together. Keeping that in mind, I love that we now have this little extra adventure with this particular combination of characters.

“Teach You, I Will”

Ahsoka gets another round in this series of shorts, this time alongside Anakin (voiced by Matt Lanter) and Yoda (voiced by Tom Kane). The episode opens with the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Inside, Anakin is putting Ahsoka through the paces as she trains to wield two lightsabers. As her master points out, she’s lacking focus. Just then Master Yoda enters the dojo to witness Ahsoka’s progress himself. As they prepare to spar, Yoda notices Ahsoka is quick to begin without taking time to observe the proper form. She realizes she forgot to bow, and Yoda notes she reminds him of Anakin — no doubt a reference to his impatience.

Properly admonished, Ahsoka takes up her lightsaber. Yoda wants her to use two lightsabers. She ignites both, and they begin. Everything Ahsoka attempts is clumsy, and Yoda reminds her that both blades should complement each other and reflect who she is, inside. They begin again, and this time Ahsoka finally taps into what makes her unique, and her style emerges. Impressed, Master Yoda is.

Ahsoka learns to take what Anakin teaches her, but make those lessons her own. Being yourself is a big takeaway from this episode. So often we try to mold ourselves into what we thing we should be, or what we think others want us to be, when it’s being true to ourselves — what makes us “us” — is the real lesson.

This is always one of the best things about Star Wars — showing us how to be our best selves, through teamwork, ingenuity, and embracing what makes us unique.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny returns with all-new episodes Sunday, October 29 on the Disney Channel. New episodes will also be found on the Disney Channel YouTube channel, and on the DisneyNOW app.

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