If there is an overriding theme to the latest arc of Star Wars: Rebels, it’s “something wicked this way comes.” The latest episode, “Kindred,” continues to build on this sinister feeling, though the outcome is uncertain.
In “Kindred,” Jedi Ezra Bridger delivers a stolen hyper drive and data disc to the rest of his crew, but is waylaid by the Empire, and turns to unlikely allies to survive.
Of particular note in this episode is the return of a classic Star Wars villain: a Noghri assassin. First introduced in the celebrated Heir to the Empire novel by Timothy Zahn, the Noghri are a species of reptilian hunters, famed for their skills as trackers and assassins. Like the Legends novel of their origin, the Noghri assassin in “Kindred” is introduced as an agent of Admiral Thrawn, the infamous and ruthless Imperial Admiral from beyond the known galaxy.
If nothing else, the return of the Noghri is a great sign for fans of the Legends canon. More than an easter egg, the inclusion of this character along with Thrawn feels like a tribute to the older works. George Lucas and the original trilogy ignited the Star Wars fandom, but it was stories like Heir to the Empire that maintained it. These are celebrated stories in their own right, and their inclusion in Rebels leaves a special feeling for dedicated fans.
Within the story though, the Noghri serves as the least of the problems for the protagonists. “Kindred” continues to build on the feeling of dread started back in “The Occupation.” Here, Ezra learns of something darker coming to Lothal. Unfortunately for him and the other Spectres, it’s bad enough that the Force has gotten involved.
Time will tell what looms for them. In the meantime, Rebels delivers another great episode on all fronts. Of particular note is Warwick Davis, who delivers a fantastic performance as Rukh, the Noghri hunter. There’s an action moment that rivals anything in the films, and it’s worth watching for that alone. Finally, no spoilers, but a certain romantic couple finally finds the time to express their feelings, and it’s touching. Don’t miss it!