Gearing Up For Star Wars Rebels

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By: Johnamarie Macias (@BlueJaigEyes)

Every fall brings with it a new lineup of television programs, ranging in various genres and seeking to present something new to the table. There is one series this season that easily ranks at the top of my must-see list: Star Wars Rebels. Brought to you by the creators of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an Emmy Award winning series, Rebels promises rich storytelling, diversity, and a tone and approach similar to Star Wars: A New Hope. Having attended the New York City press screening of the one-hour movie special, Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, I can assure you that Rebels is everything you’re looking for and much more. The series not only captures the nostalgia of the old trilogy, but it successfully takes all of the essential elements of a Star Wars story and weaves a refreshingly clever tale of its own.

Before it debuts on Friday, October 3, at 9pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel, here are some basic points of information to bring you up to speed.

Plot

Star Wars Rebels takes place during a time period previously unexplored in canon (meaning, official material seen in the films and in Star Wars: The Clone Wars), specifically five years before Star Wars: A New Hope. The Jedi suffered a great loss when Order 66 forced clone troopers to execute their Jedi commanders in Revenge of the Sith. The age of the Republic becomes one ruled by the Empire, bringing with it dark and sinister times. Some resist the oppressive nature of the new regime, finding ways to make a difference throughout the galaxy, even when hope seems lost. The rebel crew of the starship Ghost leave their mark against the Imperial threat and begin to light the sparks that will later grow into the Rebel Alliance.

Characters

The story follows young Ezra Bridger in his journey to discover not only his true potential, but his place in the grand scheme of things. Ezra lives on his own, scouring the streets for food and anything worth stealing. He later meets Kanan Jarrus, a gun-slinging Jedi and a survivor of Order 66 with his own insecurities. Kanan’s team includes individuals with their own dark pasts and reasons to act against the Empire. Hera Syndulla, a female Twi’lek pilot and the owner of the starship Ghost, keeps the crew together and brings out the best in people. Zeb Orrelios, a male Lasat with military experience, has a knack for bashing stormtrooper heads together. Sabine Wren is a female Mandalorian explosives expert and artist, tagging the locations she attacks and leaving an explosion of colors behind. And finally, Chopper is a clunky and opinionated astromech droid with a slight attitude problem. Together, this ragtag team works together to right the Empire’s wrongs.

Cast and Crew

From the voices we hear on the screen to the voices that influence the creative decisions behind the show, Star Wars Rebels has a remarkable cast and crew. To get a feel for who’s on the show and the amount of work that goes into creating and developing the characters and the story, I highly recommend watching the character and crew introduction videos over at the official Star Wars site. Not only do we have a supremely talented group working on the series, but I respect and appreciate the diversity that exists off and on the screen. A varied and diverse team makes for a well-rounded and inclusive series and Star Wars Rebels is shaping up to be that and more.

Animation

Rebels is a CG animated series, like its predecessor, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. According to Dave Filoni, the animation style seen in Rebels was inspired by Disney’s Tangled and its stunning work with facial expressions. The Clone Wars held a more lifelike design, while Rebels is more animated and expressive in its style. In fact, another series Filoni mentioned when describing Star Wars Rebels in the past was Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fans of Avatar will make note of the similarities in terms of how the characters react and express emotions. The character designs are also softer and rounder as well as having more fluidity and elasticity in movement. Ultimately, the look of Rebels is the product of new methods and approaches, and given that this is a new era of Star Wars, I welcome the series with open arms.

Music

Emmy-nominated composer Kevin Kiner returns to the galaxy far, far away, having previously worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars for six years. “Rebels is going to have a different sound. It’s going to be a little closer to A New Hope,” he said in a video interview, “To be able to go back and use John [Williams’] themes in different ways is an exciting thing for me.” In addition to extracting certain traits from Williams’ music, Kiner also injects his own style and tastes, blending iconic sounds with a range of new ones. The main Star Wars Rebels theme premiered back during WonderCon 2014, and just recently, Kiner performed the theme with an orchestra at PlayFest 2014 in Fuengirola, Spain, where it received a positive response.

Now that you’re all caught up with the basics, make sure to tune into the Disney Channel on Friday, October 3, at 9pm ET/PT for the one-hour premiere and continue watching the rest of the series every Monday starting October 13 at 9pm ET/PT on Disney XD.


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