Star Wars releases cool new Forces of Destiny episodes from season two

Star Wars Resistance is coming this fall as Lucasfilm’s next animated show, but over the weekend the company released seven new shorts from the Forces of Destiny series as part of season two.

In March we got the first eight episodes from season two, and now we’ve gotten the final seven episodes.  And like in the first half of this second season, the final product is very good.  These shorts aren’t for everyone, but they’re nice for the role they play: as small canon stories about some beloved characters, with some of them featuring really cool tie-ins or additional material that supplements the movies and TV shows.  I think this is a really good format to do this in, and to tell some minor and short stories that add to our understanding.

You can watch the episodes here if you haven’t seen them yet.  Let’s take a look at these new episodes and the significance (if any) of them and review them.

S2E9: Chopper and Friends

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Following the Battle of Endor, Chopper is training a couple of Ewoks (including Kneesaa) with spears when Hera Syndulla interrupts and tells Chopper that a few remaining Imperial TIE Fighters are heading for the Ewok Village.  Chopper brings the two Ewoks onto the Ghost and the Ewoks man the guns, taking out the TIEs in time.

Those who don’t like Ewoks certainly won’t like this episode, as we see them manning the guns of the Ghost and destroying TIE Fighters.  But at the same time, if Ewoks are able to figure out Imperial speeder bikes quickly and are able to wage war against the Empire, them firing the turrets on the Ghost shouldn’t be all too surprising either.  Basically, this is a fine episode that explores a bit of the immediate aftermath on Endor.  And also: it’s cool to see Kneesaa in animation again, years after the Ewok cartoons.

My grade: 6/10

S2E10: Monster Misunderstanding

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A Sando Aqua beast is attacking a building on Naboo, and Queen Amidala arrives to investigate.  The soldiers tell her to leave because of the danger, but she realizes that it is not normal for one of these beasts to attack.  Once inside the warehouse, she realizes that a couple of scoundrels have captured the beast’s baby.  She sets the baby free and has the soldiers arrest the scoundrels, and the Sando Aqua monster leaves happily with its child.

One thing that I appreciated about this episode is that we got to see a Padme story that’s not centrally about her relationship to Anakin (or Ahsoka).  She’s the queen of Naboo, and there’s plenty of stories that could be told about her exploits and heroics – which surprisingly largely haven’t been told yet.  So it’s nice to see Padme take the focus here.  And it’s cool to see the bigger fish that was first seen in The Phantom Menace, too.

My grade: 7/10

S2E11: Art History

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Sabine Wren and her younger brother Tristan journey to a statue of Tarre Vizsla, an “ancient Mandalorian ruler,” and discover that the Empire has made it into a makeshift outpost.  So the siblings scale the statue and cut the restraints (Tristan using explosives and Sabine using the darksaber) to set the statue free.

It’s really cool to see more Mandalorian action, especially a nod to their history.  Tarre Vizsla was the one who created the darksaber and was the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order.  That makes it even cooler that Sabine uses the darksaber to free the statue and to take a stand for what the statue stands for.  I also like the relationship between Sabine and Tristan, and hope we get more stuff on Mandalore in the future.

My grade: 9/10

S2E12: Porgs!

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While working on the Millennium Falcon on Ahch-To with R2-D2, Chewbacca discovers that porgs have infiltrated the ship, and they steal wiring out of the ship.  Chewie and R2 pursue the porgs, only to discover that the wiring is being used to help the nest of baby porgs.  The porgs actually want moss from up the mountain, but the winds make it impossible for them to get it: so Chewie climbs the mountain to bring the porgs some moss, in exchange for the Falcon’s wiring.

So it turns out Chewbacca doesn’t just like the porgs for food.  We saw him humorously trying to eat one in The Last Jedi, but by the end of the film Chewie has taken a pet porg with him on the Falcon.  And in this short, we see Chewie’s relationship with the porgs: he doesn’t seem totally in love, but he also doesn’t hate them.

My grade: 7/10

S2E13: Perilous Pursuit

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Finn and Rey ride in a speeder on Starkiller Base when First Order snowtroopers pursue them in speeders.  Rey fires back while Finn pilots, but once in the forest the two switch places.  Finn shows off his shooting skills by taking out the pursuing speeders, while Rey shows off her flying skills in maneuvering the terrain and ultimately getting past the final speeder.

The cool thing about this short is that it’s actually showing a deleted scene from The Force Awakens.  In-between opening the doors to the oscillator for Han and Chewie and arriving to the oscillator just in time to see Kylo kill Han, Rey and Finn encounter snowtroopers (and Rey puts on Finn’s jacket).  And I’ll admit: this animated short is better than the deleted scene for the movie, so it deserves credit.  It’s nice to see both Rey and Finn provide useful to the mission and how they work together – something that we’ll hopefully see more of in Episode IX.

My grade: 10/10

S2E14: Traps and Tribulations

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Following the Battle of Endor, Wicket and Kneesaa come to Luke and Leia asking for help resetting their traps.  It’s too late, however, as a Gorax arrives.  The beast first goes for the Ewoks, but Luke distracts it by throwing a rock.  He instructs Leia to assist the Ewoks in resetting the traps, and ignites his lightsaber to distract the Gorax.  The Ewoks throw Leia a spear, but she finds it too dull – so Luke throws her his lightsaber, which she uses to cut the trap free and send the Gorax into the mud below.

This was one of my favorite episodes of Forces of Destiny, and there’s a lot here that is noteworthy.  First of all, Mark Hamill returning to voice Luke Skywalker is always amazing, and since we’ve been given little of what Luke was up to post-Endor, it’s cool to see him hanging around Endor and helping in the aftermath (as well as seeing him with his green lightsaber again).  Second, it’s great to see Luke and Leia together interacting and working as a team – and it makes me want even more an animated show about Luke, Leia, and Han post-ROTJ.  Third, it’s cool that these shorts are highlighting some ancient Star Wars stuff, like Kneesaa the Ewok (who appears in two of these shorts in the second half of season two) and the Gorax.  Kneesaa first appeared in the Ewoks cartoons, while the Gorax appeared in the Ewok Adventure movie.  Fourth, I like how this short shows us what the Ewok traps were intended for: Goraxes!  They use them against the Empire in Return of the Jedi, but they were orignally designed to stop the monsters.  And fifth, LEIA USING LUKE’S LIGHTSABER!  We saw Han use a lightsaber in the original trilogy, but we had never seen Leia wield one until this episode.  Luke throws her his lightsaber, and she uses it to cut free the trap.  That alone is really cool.  And then, at the end, she’s still holding the lightsaber when Luke sheepishly asks for it back.  This aspect of the episode is even stronger knowing that Luke wanted Leia to be his first pupil.  So there’s a lot going on in this episode that is cool and really enjoyable.

My grade: 10/10

S2E15: A Disarming Lesson

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Ezra is training with his (first) lightsaber shortly after constructing it, and Ahsoka approaches him to ask about it.  She removes the crystal and examines it, and then throws it into a field after Ezra says that it makes him powerful, saying, “So you’re not powerful without it?”  Ahoska then ignites her lightsaber, saying that she’s teaching him a new lesson, and forces Ezra to realize that he can use the force to concentrate and find his crystal in the midst of this lesson.  He eventually does, and ignites his saber to meet Ahsoka’s blade.

Ahoska in this episode takes on the role of master and trainer, which is fun to see after seeing her trained by Anakin during The Clone Wars.  She wants to teach Ezra that he cannot rely solely on his lightsaber, and he gets the point when he learns that he doesn’t need his weapon to evade her attacks.  I like the stuff we’ve gotten about lightsaber training (including Sabine in Rebels and now this short), and it’s awesome to see Ahsoka being the one to train Ezra for this moment.

My grade: 10/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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