Star Wars Rebels Review: “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender” + Rebels Recon

Being on the last season of Rebels means wrapping up storylines for a number of involved characters and possibly locations as well. In this week’s two-parter, the Rebels head back to Lothal, the place where it all began, and find some bitter truths. Were these bitter truths enjoyable storytelling? Let’s find out!






What worked for me:


  • The Return to Lothal


When we last left Lothal, it was a pretty planet full of green hills and fields. Now that the Empire has settled what it intended to accomplish on the planet, it has been turned into a smoky, brown-covered dirt pile. I used to complain about staying on Lothal all the time, but getting used to those surroundings set me up for the impact of seeing it completely defiled later.



  • Seeing the Tie Defender in action.


The Tie Defender comes from the EU and it’s making its presence known on Rebels. The Empire are using Lothal as a base of operations to complete the prototype of the Tie Defender. Seeing this thing in action was a real treat. The animation movements are so Star Wars, and at the same time are quite unique to the Defender itself. It would be VERY easy to just mimic a regular Tie Fighter, but the Defender moves with a heaviness that the other classes don’t have.



  • The action and animation


Even though we are back on Lothal and the action wasn’t full-scale war, I really liked the way the show handled its action-packed moments. These episodes include some real swashbuckling, and instead of Ezra being silly with a jet pack, we get Ezra doing a great job holding his own without Kanan’s help AND not being annoying in the process. Usually when Ezra is by himself in action sequences, he tends to have too much of a childish quality (I fully understand this is a kids show, btw). The difference here, IMO, is that Ezra came off more mature and you don’t see the silliness as much as you would before.



  • Loth Wolf


Probably my favorite aspect of Star Wars is the fantasy element. I love the mysticism of the Force and the stories that are told with it as the focus. We don’t get an answer as to who or what the Loth Wolf is (IT’S NOT AHSOKA), but we get an idea that this cute little pupper is more than just a regular old creature. It seems to have an connection to Ezra. Is that because this wolf is some special Force being? Is it someone reincarnated? (I hope the latter isn’t true). Either way, its inclusion is awfully interesting and the questions only leave me wanting more.




What didn’t work for me:


  • Death Troopers speaking Basic clearly


I didn’t want complain about this on last week’s reviews, but after the second week…it bothers me. There must be some reason that the Death Troopers sound like Bane is talking as if he were on a bad acid trip with marbles in his mouth. Otherwise, it ruins the mystique of their appearance in Rogue One…at least a little (I still love Rogue One to death).




Quick Hitters:


  • Loth Cats are pretty cute. I actually prefer them to Porgs…for now.



  • Anyone else see the Last Straighter ship when you see the Tie Defender?



  • I like Puffer pigs. I am not joking.



  • It was nice seeing Vizago again. I always liked his character.


I really enjoyed these last two episodes and I think this season could be shaping out to be the best yet. The stories, action, and pacing feel more like traditional Star Wars to me, compared to some of the previous seasons. I only hope it keeps this streak going!


Can’t wait to read what you all think!



Also check out’s Rebels Recon #4.3: Inside “The Occupation” & “Flight of the Defender”





Follow me on Twitter @Hermann22
Follow my Star Wars podcast on Twitter @Blastercanonpod



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38 thoughts on “Star Wars Rebels Review: “The Occupation” and “Flight of the Defender” + Rebels Recon

  • November 1, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    The thing about speaking Death Troopers is that we, as audience, need to know what the heck they’re talking, so I kind of understand why the Rebels crew made them speak basic.

    • November 1, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      sub titles….

      • November 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm

        Too bad they can’t use subtitles, because Rebels is designed for 7-year-olds. (It’s rated Y7.)

        • November 2, 2017 at 3:55 am

          I really wonder how many 7 year olds watch it….more like 37 year olds! lol

    • November 1, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      It kind of ruined the mystery for me, because in RO it didn’t seem like they were all the way human. I will admit that it’s a small gripe to have.

  • November 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I have no problem with it when they are interacting with others that are not Death Troopers, but when conversing among themselves? They need to be garbled. I think they handled their appearance better this season by only having one Death Trooper among a squad of storm troopers, as they would need to speak to them in basic anyways.

    • November 2, 2017 at 3:08 am

      Ha. I just now read this comment. I basically said the same exact thing. Lol. Great minds I guess.

      • November 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm

        Great minds, indeed.

  • November 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I felt like the animation was off in “the occupation”. Almost like it wasn’t completed. I’m sure I’m just crazy, but it seemed much better in “flight of the defender”.

  • November 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    SPOILER: Originally, I thought the loth wolf said “doom”. However, after turning on the closed captioning (subtitles), he apparently said “Dume” as in Caleb Dume which is Kanan’s real name. I wonder what this means. :'(

    • November 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Yeah, I rewound it a couple of times just to be sure, and I got the same as you did out of it. Same mystery, too.

    • November 3, 2017 at 3:27 am

      Yeah, I always watch TV with the subtitles on so I can catch every little detail. This was one of those times when it really paid off. The wolf definitely said Dume. I feel like the wolf is somehow connected to Kanan’s master Depa Billaba. I don’t know how exactly, but I just get that feeling. Something about the wolf’s eyes as Kanan and Ezra walked away reinforced that for me at the end.

  • November 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I wonder what Thrawn was hoping to achieve by shooting at the heavily shielded tie defender with his tiny blaster. In the episode “Through Imperial Eyes” he couldn’t even damage a simple sparring-droid with it!

    • November 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      It was just to show how much of a badass he actually is.
      Or maybe he was testing the Tie Defender’s metal …

    • November 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      You clearly have not seen Patton. This was a scene stolen directly from that film, and it was glorious! I urge you strongly to view this film. A masterpiece.

      • November 3, 2017 at 8:40 pm

        It doesn’t make the scene any less stupid though.

  • November 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    these eps were nice, felt like a return to the first two seasons of the show where it was just the ghost crew.

    -one of the things i’ve really noticed thus far this season is how much better the story flows with two part episodes. clone wars showed the way with how well multi ep arcs worked, i only wish that rebels had followed suit.
    -the tie defender is really cool. i wish they had found a way to put it in rogue one because i fear it will never see the big screen now even though it should.
    -was it just me or was the imperial march playing on a imperial holo vid in the bar? is the march canon?
    -i may hate the porgs, but as a cat owner its impossible not to be team lothcat.
    -thrawn using the situation to deduce both the tie defender’s capabilities and who he was up against. classic.

    -so the star destroyers have(finally) thermo scanners but the patrol ships on the planet don’t? wut?
    -i liked the image of thrawn holding his ground and shooting at the defender like tommy lee jones in men in black, but come on thrawn is smarter that.

    • November 1, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      It seems that the Imperials forgot they had this technology in Return of the Jedi or else they would have figured out that the command shuttle going to endor had a lot more people on it!

      • November 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm

        or when han, ben, luke and chewie were hiding in the secret compartments on the falcon in ANH.

        • November 1, 2017 at 8:39 pm

          Well to be fair, I’m sure that’s what the scanning crew was going to do. And since Han is a smuggler, it wouldn’t surprise me if those compartments were shielded from all but the most invasive scans.

    • November 1, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Yes, it was the Imperial March playing — which was clever but I was not very fond of it playing. Agreed that Thrawn was a highlight. My biggest “con” was Ezra’s apparent amnesia that kept him from remembering he can use the force.

        • November 1, 2017 at 9:55 pm

          lol, that sounds suggestive.

    • November 2, 2017 at 2:54 am

      Had to dismiss your whole comment as ignorant. Cats don’t do ‘being owned’.

    • November 2, 2017 at 3:12 am

      You also hear the Imperial March in the season one episode “Empire Day”. It sounds like it’s being played by a marching band during the parade on Lothal.

  • November 1, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I have no problem with the Death Troopers voices. In Rogue One, we see them operating as a unit and the communication seems intentionally garbled. I assumed watching the film that only they can hear themselves clearly. In Rebels, they are interacting with troopers of other classes, so it makes sense that they would communicate across an open channel. This is how I take it anyway.

  • November 1, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Was the Deathtrooper voiced by Michael Dorn? Sure sounded like Lt. Worf to me.

    • November 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm


  • November 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I like puffer pigs better than porgs.
    Also, ezra should have just lifted the hypedrive with the Force.

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Regarding Ezra and the hyperdrive: that was also my concern; why did he not do that? He should be strong enough …

  • November 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    These episodes were watchable, but extremely frustrating that Ezra refuses to use the force to do anything, even though he’s demonstrated vast capabilities in past episodes. For example, the ability to take apart a whole base by manipulating the operator of a walker to destroy everything. In this episode he can’t even pull a ladder down with the force. He looks up at it like “What do I do now?” Ugh.

    • November 2, 2017 at 2:53 am

      Hell, didn’t he at one point telekenetically wreck a door the size of the one at Jabba’s palace? The problem of writing yourself into a corner with character’s abilities.

  • November 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Death troopers.

    Before Rouge One we din’t see them. Now the galaxy is crawling with them…. So lame……

    BTW Snoke is Thrawn.

    • November 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm


      Seems a bit far.

  • November 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    A couple of pretty good episodes – at least they kept the bargain-basement slapstick gags to a minimum. BUT… Rebels finally, after all this time, managed to give me a genuine, involuntary, fist-pump-accompanied “YEAH!!!” moment.

    Thrawn’s General Patton bit!

    When Sabine begins her final strafing run on Thrawn’s shuttle, Thrawn just stands there, cool as the center seed in a cucumber, and starts taking shots at the incoming TIE Defender with his sidearm. This was a direct lift of one of my favorite scenes in the movie “Patton” (albeit one of a LOT of favorite scenes in that movie.)

    General Patton, a few scenes earlier, had confided to Gen. Bradley that his biggest fear used to be the image of a bullet heading straight for his nose. Then, a pair of Heinkels start strafing Patton’s headquarters, and while everyone else hunkers down under tables, Patton growls, “Okay, by God, that’s ENOUGH!” and hops down into the street with a Heinkel bearing down straight at him, cannons blazing, and Patton draws his .45 and starts snapping off shots at the plane as its bullets chew up the ground all around him.

    It’s one of those cliched macho moments that usually don’t work for me, but which was absolutely perfect in that movie in that context.

    Seeing that scene inserted into a Rebels episode the way it was gave me the kind of rush that Star Wars originally did when I saw it as a kid back in 1977. I’m still not a huge Rebels fan, but that little touch in this last episode was just killer. My hat’s off (or would be, were I the hat-wearing type) to Filoni or whomever came up with that idea for Thrawn.

  • November 6, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Sorry if someone said it cause i am avoiding the last videos, forums and information from the last jedi, but this lothal wolf could not be the same we saw in bts last jedi video? I think appears in one of the trailers too but i can’t say it ;p
    If is connected to the force maybe has something to say in the next movie, full of myths and force stuff

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