Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Season Two Review — Part One

Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Season Two Review — Part One

***This review of Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Season Two contains spoilers.***

You can watch Forces of Destiny now on Disney YouTube.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny is back with a whole new slate of episodes, eight in total. This fun series of animated shorts has generated quite a following, not to mention a line of toys, so it was exciting to get the news last week that it was returning with all-new episodes premiering today on Disney’s YouTube channel, followed by a TV special airing on the Disney Channel March 25 after the premiere of Zootopia.

Below you’ll find episode recaps and brief reviews for the first four of these new shorts, with the second batch here.

“Hasty Departure”

Star Wars Rebels may be gone, but Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar), and Chopper (Dave Filoni?) are back in the second episode of Volume Three of Forces of Destiny. The two are on a mission to acquire an Imperial shuttle filled with stolen medkits on board. They see the shuttle in question, they proceed to board and lift-off — However, it’s the wrong shuttle. They blast off, leaving Chopper behind.

Sabine discovers this troublesome development as she goes back to check on the cargo…. and finds a contingent of stormtroopers instead. Neither are what the other was expecting, obviously. Sabine manages to flee to cockpit and jam the door controls as she informs Hera of the situation. Hera does what she does best and kicks her piloting skills into high gear.

As the troopers try to cut through the door, they’re thrown off-balance and tossed around the hold like rag dolls. As Hera keeps the troopers at bay with her flying skills, she questions Chopper’s whereabouts — just as he comes alongside in the shuttle they were supposed to abscond.

The only thing Hera and Sabine to escape this predicament is to jump across to the safety of Chopper’s shuttle. Sabine makes the jump and as Hera prepares to go, she takes a shot at the controls as the stormtroopers continue to cut their way through the cockpit door. The troopers make it through just in time to see Sabine and Hera waving goodbye.

As they survey the cargo of medkits, Sabine apologizes to Hera for being in a rush. Hera accepts, and Chopper reminds them he saved the day — once again!

In “Hasty Departure,” we see the effects of being rushed. Sabine was impatient, short-sighted in paying attention to their surroundings, and it put the two into a dire situation. Without Chopper, who’s to say how it would have turned out? There is no room in the Rebellion for carelessness — or indeed in our real lives. All too often the costs and consequences are too high.

This episode takes place at some point during season two of Star Wars Rebels, based on Sabine’s hairstyle. In retrospect, it is neat to see them again at this time and in the aftermath of the emotional finale of Rebels. Little do they know what’s to come, and who they will have to say goodbye to. Coming back to an earlier spot in the timeline makes you appreciate all the more what these characters will go through. Their trials, and their triumphs. Godspeed, Rebels!

“Unexpected Company”

For the second episode, “Unexpected Company,” Padme Amidala (Cat Taber) is heading off on a mission, and she is accompanied by a Jedi, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) — who also happens to be her secret husband. Anakin tells Padme he had to pull a few strings to get the assignment, but they both feel it’s worth it to finally get some one-on-one time.

That is, until Anakin’s Padawan, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) shows up, at Obi-Wan’s suggestion. Master Kenobi feels she’ll be helpful.

Anakin, annoyed, sets a faster course. Ahsoka warns him that Separatists have a blockade along their new path, just as proximity alarms start to go off. Padme, instantly in control of the situation, runs back to man the guns, orders Ahsoka to do the same, and gives Anakin the command to fly. Ahsoka is impressed with Padme — so she and Anakin have something in common.

They’re nearly through the blockade, although under heavy fire. The ship takes a hit, right where Padme is located. Through the smoke and the fear that Padme has been injured, the scene clears to show Anakin holding Padme close, telling her she’s safe… and is that a knowing look on Ahsoka’s face?

They arrive at their destination, with Ahsoka at the controls. In spite of his initial misgivings, Anakin is pleased Ahsoka was there when they needed her, and the two women in Anakin’s life come to a new understanding of one another.

So, one of the big questions has always been — How much did Ahsoka know about Anakin and Padme? This confirms she had a better idea than most of the nature of the relationship between the Senator and the Jedi. Did she know they were married? If she didn’t know for sure, she surely had suspicions.

Interesting to note, Ahsoka was at the controls of the same type of ship we see her arrive in at Lothal in the final moments of the finale of Star Wars Rebels. It’s always nice to see things tie together in Star Wars. It’s also interesting that this episode has a similar message to the previous one — Namely, patience is a virtue! Never be in too much of a hurry that you put yourself or your loved ones at risk.

“Shuttle Shock”

Now we come into the sequel trilogy era with Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran ), Finn (John Boyega), and BB-8 (as Himself) as they’re headed to Canto Bight in search of the Master Code Breaker. You’ll recall from The Last Jedi, they need a code breaker to get them into Snoke’s ship so they can disable a tracker and save the resistance fleet. The fewer things that go wrong, the better. Of course, just about everything went wrong, starting before they even reached their destination.

As they’re entering the atmosphere, a massive creature takes an interest in their shuttle. One of the creature’s slimy tentacles shorts out BB-8, but Rose believes she can repair him. That leaves Finn to pilot the shuttle, and piloting isn’t exactly his forte. With no other options, Finn takes the controls.

There wasn’t just one creature, though. There’s a whole pod of them. The only way out is through, so Finn does the best he can navigating a course that hopefully won’t cause more damage to the ship, or their mission. More creatures close in, and Finn’s not entirely up to the challenge, so he pleads with Rose to get BB-8 back into working order so the little droid can get them out of this mess. Just when things are at their worst, BB-8 is back in working order and finds the right path out and away from the creatures. Now they just need to find that red plom bloom…

That tool Rose uses is pretty handy — she can knock out potential deserters, and repair roundy droids! It’s also nice to see TLJ included in these new shorts. Rose and Finn make an excellent team, even if their ultimate plan didn’t go as hoped. Both of their hearts are in the right places, but Finn does need to put more confidence in himself. He was doing pretty good job avoiding the worst of their circumstances, especially for one who says he’s not a pilot. By the Battle of Crait, he was in command of that rickety old ski-speeder, so maybe this experience — and the teamwork exhibited — helped to give him the boost he needed.

“Jyn’s Trade”

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) takes center stage in the fourth episode, “Jyn’s Trade.” While making her way through a marketplace, Jyn spots a young Chadra-Fan being chased away by one of the vendors. She asked if there’s an issue, but the vendor tells her there isn’t, if she’s got the money to pay. Jyn buys a piece of fruit, and the greedy vendor notices her kyber crystal. That would buy a whole lot of fruit, she says, but Jyn passes her credits and informs her the necklace is not for sale.

Unaware she’s being watched, Jyn takes her fruit and moves along. As she pauses to put her fruit in her bag, the sneaky little Chadra-Fan snatches her necklace and dashes away. With Jyn in pursuit, the child races across rooftops, probably imagining all the food her necklace could buy. Jyn keeps up, mostly, then realizes there has to be an easier way.

She anticipates the child doubling-back toward the market, so she heads him off and catches him just as he thinks he’s made it through scot-free. Jyn reclaims her necklace, while telling the child how important it is to her. It’s then she realizes the child is just hungry. She reaches into her bag and pulls out the fruit she purchased earlier and passes it along to the child. With big eyes and a soon to be full stomach, he thanks her and runs along.

We know from Rogue One, and from the book Rebel Rising, Jyn had a rough life early on. Her parents cruelly taken from her by the Empire, and her less than idyllic upbringing by Saw Gerrera obviously make her sympathetic toward children. She risks her life to save a little girl in Rogue One, and in a previous episode of Forces of Destiny, “The Stranger,” she comes to the rescue of a little girl being bullied by stormtroopers. Empathy is strength, and Jyn has it in spades.

As with the previous volumes, Forces of Destiny proves you can tell a simple story but still pack it with meaning. One of the main positives from this series is that both children and adults can take something away from each episode — How to be a better person, how to treat others, how to work together to get things done, and how to understand what others are going through. That’s always been one of the things Star Wars does best.

Look for Star Wars Forces of Destiny, Season Two Review — Part Two here.

Images belong to Lucasfilm.

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