EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

How 'Star Wars Rebels' earns an A+ on the Bechdel test

If you’re looking for stories with strong female characters who are role models for young and adult women, Star Wars Rebels is definitely something you’ll want to check out. Not only does Rebels pass the Bechdel test, but it does so with flying colors.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bechdel test, there are only three criteria, but they’re extremely important when it comes to the portrayal of women in fiction. In short, the story must have: (1) at least two named female characters (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man.

Now, before you say, “That happens all the time,” think about it for a second. Does Star Wars: A New Hope meet that criteria? It actually doesn’t. A number of our favorite films don’t. However, many girls and women want to see more characters that look like them, especially in the world of fantasy and science fiction.

Star Wars Rebels announced its male characters first, which made me and my fellow geek women worry that we were going to miss out on having female characters. Then Lucasfilm announced Hera Syndulla, the Ghost‘s Twi’lek pilot, and a 16-year-old female Mandalorian by the name of Sabine Wren. For many of us, it was a thrill. Not only were we getting a badass pilot, but a female Mandalorian?

Still, some of us worried. We’ve gotten our hopes up before only to see potentially awesome female characters get … sidelined.

It turns out our fears were unfounded. Star Wars Rebels came out swinging in offering characters that both men and women could relate to in very real ways. Beyond that, the creators have given both Hera and Sabine backstories and personalities that make them well rounded, interesting, and relatable.

Hera Star Wars Rebels

Let’s start with Hera. First of all, Hera is not just a pilot, she’s an amazing pilot and the owner of the Ghost. Forget Maverick’s Top Gun flyby antics; if you need a pilot to get you through a canyon or keep you from getting blown up while you’re being chased by TIE fighters, Hera is the one you want flying the ship. Kanan is the leader of this group, but there’s no doubt that Hera is just as involved in the decision making. While Hera is the most nurturing and maternal of the crew, she’s also the last person on the ship you want to get in trouble with. She’s smart, funny, and capable of taking care of herself without a problem, which is great to watch. Also, while I’m of the opinion that Kanan and Hera are a couple and may likely be married (or, as my friends on Twitter like to call it, #SpaceMarried), it’s not a focal point for the show. It’s not defined one way or the other, which I find refreshing.

Sabine Star Wars Rebels

Next up, Sabine. The first time I saw Sabine Wren, I wanted to cheer. While female Mandalorians do exist in the Star Wars universe, I’m of the belief that you can never have too many of them. Sabine is the crew’s explosives expert. Her “miracles,” as she likes to call them, frequently come in handy and have numerous applications. From cunning distractions to one heck of a big boom, Sabine’s got something to handle the situation. Her extensive explosives knowledge also helps when the crew needs to improvise, and she’s extremely handy with a blaster—as we’ve seen numerous times. On top of that, Sabine is an accomplished artist and is responsible for coming up with one of the coolest new Star Wars symbols in a long time: the Rebel Phoenix.

Sabine Star Wars Rebels Phoenix

What’s also notable about Sabine is that while it’s more than clear that Ezra has a crush on her, she not only hasn’t had a talk with Hera about it—she hasn’t even acknowledged it. Sabine seems to have Ezra firmly in the “little brother she never wanted” category, and considering she’s got two years on him and she seems much more mature than he is, I’m guessing he’s going to stay there. Additionally, the show plays with the dynamic, but not in the way you’d expect. As an example, when Ezra tries to come to Sabine’s rescue in “Out of Darkness,” Ezra gets a fun lesson in just who needs saving.

If I had to pick a moment where I knew Star Wars Rebels understood how to portray female characters in both a realistic and empowering way, it’s the scene from “Out of Darkness” in which Sabine and Hera have to find a way to survive an attack by wave after wave of pretty nasty creatures. The scene is full of action, explosions, humor, and lots of blaster fire, which culminates with both women back-to-back and firing—an action-movie fixture that you rarely see women doing.

It is, in a word, epic.

Finally, let me just say this. I understand that not everyone needs something to pass the Bechdel test—it’s not even a consideration for many people. But even if you take the test out of Star Wars Rebels completely, you’re left with a show that men and women can watch with their sons and daughters and have a strong, interesting character to root for and relate to.

It gives them a hero to look up to and aspire to be, regardless of gender.

That sounds good to me.

Star Wars Rebels airs Mondays at 9/8C on Disney X D.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like