I am so sorry this was as late as it was and I'm desperately gonna attempt to keep this coherent, but there is so much to talk about and not tread into spoiling everything so with that let us begin. We knew this show was coming, we knew it would be all about finding Ezra and Grand Admiral Thrawn, and still and STILL it gave us fans so much to be entertained by and love! Son of a krayt dragon, where do I even start? Literally before act one scene one I was a happy boy seeing a red Lucasfilm logo and red text crawl. We are quickly introduced to our principal protagonosts and antagonists, Ahsoka and Sabine after a falling out in jedi training reconvene with hopes of finding Ezra Bridger and stopping Thrawn's return after retrieval of an ancient map, while Morgan Elsbeth hires two...I have no damn clue what to call them cause they're not mercenaries and they're not sith and I dare not even call them dark jedi, Lord Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati who are looking to traverse to a galaxy far far away to retrieve the Chimaera and it's captain as heir to the Empire. Now I actually only have one singular qualm with this show and even then it really isn't all that much but I wonder how does Ahsoka know the map she finds leads to the precise location of Thrawn? I know it's a simple Macguffin and there is indeed a time gap between when Din met Ahsoka and now so whatever, just a nitpicky thing. And for a show that's only 8 episodes long with varying runtimes for each episode, what it juggles and how the story progresses ain't half bad. It's quite tentative how each link gets Ahsoka and Sabine closer to Ezra but far from plot breaking, and I can see that some might claim the show to be slow and it is indeed far from action packed but I feel that's necessary for the story that needs to be told. There's a lot of character backstory and baggage that gets sorted, and yeah it's damn near pivotal to see Star Wars Rebels to fully get the picture. You can still watch this show uninitiated but I don't feel like it would have as much of a draw or impact, it's essentially a fifth season of a television show just swapping from animation to live action. I mean they do a competent job getting across what each character is like and their history with one another but it's one thing to infer from it and another to experience it. Now that being said they got some fuggin' GOOD actors to play these roles, and I'll tell you something right now I can't imagine being the casting director for this because not only do you have to pick the best candidate but you also got to get the right looking person to be this animated character come to life. That is unbelievably difficult but they pulled it off in spades for my money's worth. Rosario gets to finally spread her wings and explores the boundaries of this fan loved character and delves into her psyche a bit, you see an arc with Ahsoka as she gets some very much needed closure and acceptance of her past. Natasha couldn't be more of a dead ringer for Sabine Wren if she tried and effortlessy captures the still rebellious sassy attitude that masks some grief and pain, she was an easy sell for me. Mary Elizabeth Winstead did take a hot second for me to get as Hera but once we were there all was well, she takes way more of a mom stance and while she does have her son Jacen around you can tell she wants to get Ezra back after so long too, and she ain't taking no nonsense from certain republic senators, so I say rock on. Okay this is gonna go on for a minute but fuck it, Ray Stevenson...good God. This is a greater tragedy than Darth Plagueis, the fact he never got to see the fans adore his character and even greater the fact we won't see him again continuing the quest of Baylan Skoll, it just hurts man. Del Rey books, Pablo Hidalgo, whoever I need to make a case to, please for the love of all things grand and amazing make a book on Baylan Skoll, either his break off from the Order and how he found Shin or a continuation of where we see him last or friggin' both! Baylan Skoll jumped up to my second favorite Star Wars character of all time in just 8 episodes (sorry Kylo I still love you) and I'm pretty sure I could write an entire character study on him but to keep it brief, he is a strong enigma but the best way I can describe him is he seems to put the emphasis on knight in former jedi knight, we really don't know what his endgame is though we get hints and breadcrumbs but he was perfect from beginning to end. I fell so head over heels for this character I fashioned my Halloween costume after him. Just wow, 12/10, 200/100, goddamn it I miss you Ray. Ivanna Sakhno though we don't get a firm grasp on her character's standing in the larger scale of the story, was an effective villain and my lord the eye acting of this woman was nothing short of phenomenal and pants wettingly terrifying. And I know a good sect of the internet who wants Shin and Sabine to be an item, I hold no grudge against that so I'm rooting for your dreams over there you romantic oddballs. Big time plot twist with Morgan Elsbeth played by Diana Lee Inosanto, turns out she got some Nightsister blood in her even though we had no inkling to believe so beforehand, but they fiddle and change stuff all the time in Star Wars you get used to it. But it's really damn cool to see her have such a prominent role from basically a cameo in The Mandalorian, she even gets to flex her sword fighting skills and I'm just happy to see her back in this role. Now if you go back and read my Mando season 2 reviews there was a little breakdown moment over the mention of a Chiss strategist by the name of mothertrucking Grand Admiral Thrawn so you would think I'd practically launch myself from my chair into the stratosphere upon his arrival but I kept quite a icy cool demeanor like the man himself, mainly because it was just a given. Of course we're gonna see Thrawn, of course we're going to see the star destroyer Chimaera, everything is proceeding as I have forseen, so it wasn't a matter of if we're going to see Thrawn but rather when are we going to see Thrawn. I mean can you believe it took over 30 years for this character to make the jump to live action? Heir To The Empire came out in 1991, we've had Thrawn in games, in comics, in animation, damn near every medium except live action until this year. Of course I'm utterly thrilled they got Lars Mikkelsen to do the performance rather than just dub his voice, and you can indeed see he is having the time of his life playing this role to the max in person and it's everything you both expected and wanted from it. I barely have to talk about him because you know it's great, I know it's great, the New Republic is gonna get wrecked and that's great! I genuinely do hope we get a second season of Ahsoka, I know Dave is gearing up for a film and that's wonderful but there clearly is some things to resolve by the end of this season, so please and thank you Lucasfilm. It's kinda mental how good the production is here, it really does seem like each show just keeps getting better in quality of effects to where you kinda forget it's supposed to be a TV show, the costumes are beautifully realized, the sets go from intricate to sprawling and look grand, the fight choreography feels in touch with each character and has some directorial flourishes which I love, we get a lot of emphasis on ships and space so obviously they excel at that over at ILM, it's just proper good production. Plus there's just a lot of new ground that was broken that I never thought Star Wars would do, I mean they have the balls to push the setting to a galaxy even farther away and yet it still feels appropriately Star Wars. If I had to pick favorite episodes, there's no bad episode for sure, they space each one out to where nothing ever feels like filler, that's a tough decision because there are solid candidates and I'm split on episode five and the finale for two very different reasons but I will go with the finale because they throw a lot of cool stuff at you and you want to see how it all ends and it leaves you with ample questions for next time. Regardless you're in for a treat with this show, I have no friggin' clue what the next Star Wars show will be, my want for The Acolyte is unrivalled so fingers crossed for that! Final scores I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10! And I shall return next week for a historical drama so stay tuned. Long live the Empire.