Star Wars Rebels season 2, episode 15, “The Call”, is based on an environmental story that’s been told over and over. Don’t underestimate nature. Trust nature. Embrace nature, natural process, and it’s beings. If you do, you can use nature to your advantage, you’ll succeed, and/or you’ll be fulfilled. It’s a theme that countless popular movies, books, and shows have explored. Avatar, The Lorax, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Pocahontas, or nearly any nature-themed Disney movie. For a show about a group of misfit Rebels trying to defeat the evil Empire, the Rebels come across as “Environmentalists” in this episode.
The title group of Rebels are attempting to steal fuel from a gas mine controlled by the Empire. When they arrive near the mine, they encounter a group of Purrgil, which are essentially space whales. The crew’s pilot, Hera, considers them dangerous and worries that they will destroy their ship. The young Jedi-in-training, Ezra, senses that they should cooperate with the space whales. They connect with the whales, team up with them, and the whales help them out. By gaining an advantage through a connection to nature they are able to defeat the miners and steal the fuel from the Empire.
I was actually a bit disappointed at first that they resorted to this theme. It’s a low-hanging fruit of environmental storytelling. But, I’ll take it. Star Wars Rebels is a cartoon on Disney XD. That means it’s primary audience is kids. When I realized that, I was less disappointed. One episode with an environmental theme, even an easy one, is a good thing. The environmental field needs good storytellers. If Star Wars Rebels is one of our narrators, we’ll take it.
At the end of the episode they see the space whales going into hyperspace. They are shocked and awed by this – that a natural creature can go into hyperspace. They realize that this may be where the earliest ideas came from to make a ship go into light speed. As a Star Wars fans, these are the moments of Star Wars Rebels that I enjoy. I like the stories and moments that help shape and explain the Star Wars galaxy. Now if Ezra grows up to be an Environmental Professional Jedi, then all is good…