Editorial Note: Starting next week, these Star Wars Rebels recaps will be released to coincide with the latest episode. In the mean time, as we catch up with this season, we’re combining a couple episodes into each recap. This recap covers the first two episodes of Season Three while tomorrow’s recap will cover episodes three and four.
This review contains spoilers.
I have never liked Thrawn. It’s important for me to acknowledge this up front. He is a blandly written character from a trilogy of not-particularly-good novels that are beloved primarily because they were the first major addition to then-nascent Star Wars expanded universe (don’t @ me). I have also never liked Darth Maul. To say he is poorly written character would give too much credit – he’s barely written at all. A character devoid of substance, Maul is popular primarily because he has a cool look and was the first major villain in a Star Wars movie since Vader died in Return of the Jedi.
Both Maul and Thrawn are characters who achieved popularity not on their own merit, but merely for existing at times when fans were desperately hungry for more Star Wars. But now we have almost more Star Wars than we know what to do with, and with it a slew of far more interesting characters to explore. The fact that these two characters are paired as the primary antagonists for this new season of Star Wars Rebels poses an interesting challenge for the show: can you take these characters who have coasted for years on unearned popularity and finally give them a reason to exist? Or, more bluntly, can Dave Filoni and co. finally make me give a damn about Darth Maul and Grand Admiral Thrawn?