Galactic Hunter Video Theater Presents: Star Wars Rebels - Idiot's Array

By Adam Pawlus — Monday, January 19, 2015

This is great! Tonight's episode of Star Wars Rebels is "Idiot's Array," which lets you know right from the start that this is an episode for the hardcore loyalists from the 1980s. Originally appearing in the novels and some other Expanded Universe materials, the episode title lets you know that a familiar face will make an appearance, voiced by one of two special guest voice actors. And it was really fun, too!

If you liked the more episodic one-shot stories of old and love easter eggs aimed specifically at fans like you, this is a real gem of an installment. I daresay it's my favorite of the season and those who hate spoilers, well, too bad. Read on for more!



The story - like most of the better old 1980s stories - is a little silly, so let's get right to it. Zeb loses Chopper in a card game. Our rogue guest star joins up with the crew to obtain and smuggle an inflatable pig creature by stealing it from a character based on 1980s concept art for Jabba the Hutt, who just happens to be voiced by the great American character actor James Hong (who you've probably seen on The X-Files, Seinfeld, Blade Runner, and elsewhere.) Blah blah blah good times ensue and everything is back to normal in about 22 minutes.


In this installment you get to see Hera be Hera, Lando be Lando, and Chopper not be a completely destructive murderous jerkwad. While admittedly our characters to not grow in any meaningful way, that's OK - seeing them all bounce off a singular, familiar threat for a change is a lot more fun from merely being on the run from a guy in a black suit with an English accent.

Lando Calrissian's introduction is delightfully awkward. Gambling is tough, as is bluffing - and our heroes are terrible at it. Before our special guest makes his appearance from in the shadows, we see Zeb up the ante by betting Chopper on a hand of cards. Kanan says "don't do that - oh wait, your cards are awesome, yeah go for it" out loud, loudly, directly in front of Zeb's opponent. It's utterly ridiculous - I know it's tricky to convey this information to the audience, but if this were a poker movie you wouldn't have a guy walk up to another guy and go "Wow! Straight flush! Hey man, bet the works, this dummy won't know what hit him." It's incredibly sloppy and probably could have taken place completely off-camera, but the remainder of the episode is so much fun I forgot all about this really awful introduction almost immediately.


Despite being an integral part of Star Wars since 1980, Lando Calrissian didn't get to do much on-screen that really played up his younger scoundrel days. It seems the writers decided to give us everything we could possibly want in this one episode, as Mr. Dee Williams returns to voice his famous character in a performance that overshadows what would be a fun episode even if he wasn't present. It's fan service through and through, but it's quality fan service and that's what matters. Lando's costume looks like a mix of McQuarrie art and early 1980s cartoon designs which helps to keep it in tune with the 1980s nature of the episode. The guest star brings a lot to shake up the crew and while it does hit numerous familiar beats - Hera's BS-detectors, Ezra's crushing on Sabine, Chopper's general disdain for people - the elements fit together all thanks to one of the most ridiculous creatures in the Star Wars TV canon - the puffer pig.


Lando's strategy to split up the crew takes on a more literal manifestation when this goofy, cuddly porker is set free on the ship. The idea is that like pigs on Earth, this one can ferret out valuables in the ground. Lando himself refers to the beast as "mining equipment" which he attempts to smuggle past Imperial goons, shortly after we find out that by frightening the creature it blows up like a puffer fish. This separates the crew and results in cartoony chaos, a staple of any good TV show. While it may be a little broad, it's a proud tradition to bring weird animals into the franchise - who could forget the spotted jugadoo?

The creature is used primarily for comic effect, but we need that in this show. The humor to be found in Zeb, Ezra, and Chopper punching each other wears a little thin and let's be honest - when focusing on the same characters and planet nearly every week, any injection of newness helps make the show just that more exciting.


Last but not least is Azmorigan, the James Hong-voiced, Jabba-concept-based, red quasi-Vogon who appears for your amusement. We've had no shortage of fat crime boss type characters in this franchise, and to be honest his isn't a terribly meaty role. He's a bit of a whiner, and doesn't seem to know what to do with Hera when Lando up and trades her for the pig. I want to know more about this guy - in such a short show, there's not a heck of a lot you can do in one installment. Like Jabba he's a little gross, but not quite as helpless. He's got a crew of thugs, a surprisingly dark spaceship, and the ability to defend himself in a firefight should the need arise. This episode served more as an introduction than anything else, and I'm guessing that unless the show's budget got upped a bunch, we'll have to see him again real soon. Mostly he just serves as a secondary antagonist after Lando, greasing the wheels of this flying pig mining scheme. I should note, it's not quite as ridiculous as it sounds as you read it.


Goodwill is easy to get in Star Wars - give me something new, something old, and something I didn't know I wanted. Smooth-talker Lando was only really alluded to in the movies so seeing the character in action in his prime is a real treat. Having Billy Dee Williams voice this younger character model - which looks a lot like a living action figure - is icing on the cake. I can't deny that this is fan service of the tallest order, but that's OK, I really am that easily won over. I hope everybody in this installment returns - even the pig. I'll take a fun episode to week after week after week of brooding any day. This may be the new high point of the season!

Takeaway from this week:
Ezra's lightsaber shoots, just like a real staple gun! Toy selling moment: Kanan says "HEY! Mine doesn't do that."
The strange Imperial interest in Lothal is referenced, and we find that Lando's land formerly belonged to Vizago. Remember Vizago? He's got an action figure coming out still.
This episode would've made for a great action figure wave. Between Azmorigan, Lando, the pig, and the Azmorigan troopers this would have been fantastic as a toy set.
While seeing Lando was initially jarring, it was a good time.

Next time: "Vision of Hope," which is more Jedi training. Whoopee. See you in fourteen!