Let’s Take a Look at Star Wars Rebels

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Rebels has kicked off and…overall, I liked it.  Last week we had the one-hour premiere with a movie on the Disney Channel.  This week the season officially got underway with its first episode on Monday night.

I loved the movie.  I thought it was exactly what Star Wars should be and how they should approach the series.  They stayed away from any characters we knew and the only glimpse we got of a familiar character was a hologram recording of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The recording was the one he released in ROTS, warning all Jedi to stay away from the temple and that the Jedi are no longer safe.

Other than that – we were introduced to a completely new band of characters.  We have Hera the Twi’lek pilot who commands their ship Ghost, Kanan the undercover Jedi, Zeb is the Lasat who is really the tough guy of the operation (and his species is based on original concept drawings of Chewbacca!), Sabine the Mandolorian who is kind of a pyro and graffiti artist, and finally we have a newcomer named Ezra.  A kid of the streets who gets pulled into this little clan and decides to stay to do some Jedi training with Kanan.  Oh, and we can’t forget Chopper: the little astromech droid who helps run the ship.  They did a great job on making him seem pretty different from Artoo, a fear I had.

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The opposition to this team on a larger scale is, obviously, the Empire.  Specifically, at this point we know of two beings: Agent Kallus, an official of the Imperial Security Bureau and The Inquisitor, a Pau’an male who hunts down remaining Jedi.  We have not seen much of him yet – only saw him at the end of the movie when Kallus reported that he had found a Jedi (Kanan).

What I liked most about the movie is that we were introduced to new areas, new people, new ships and my imagination was opened to a part of Star Wars I didn’t know, but there was “something familiar about this place”.  Ralph McQuarrie’s touch was extremely obvious and some of the landscape shots were ripped right off of what he had done for the OT.  Not saying that’s bad, in fact, it gave us the OT feel.

I was most surprised at the time period of Rebels.  Apparently it takes place 5 years BBY.  I completely missed this somehow.  That means that Luke and Leia are 14 and the Jedi have been written off the galaxy for 14 years.  What made me question this time period is that the need to have an Inquisitor means that there are still quite a few Jedi throughout the galaxy.

I don’t like that.  Jedi shouldn’t be that prevalent still, right?  Han Solo was really skeptical of the Force and Luke barely knew anything about Jedi.  If Luke and Leia are 14 at this point, and Han would be older, wouldn’t it mean that the knowledge of Jedi would be a little more common?

Also, they are making this group of misfits look like the beginning of the Rebellion.  The Rebellion should have been pretty much established by this point in the game, even if they are not completely rebellious (pun intended ha!) yet.  The crew on Ghost are smart; I think they would have heard about the Rebellion through their travels across the galaxy and at this point either joined them or aided them in some way.

Which brings me to the first episode of the TV series.  After coming off of a successful premiere movie, I cringed and got angry when I saw C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in the first official episode.  UGH.  Really?? I know that other people have no problems with this but I do.  I was hoping that Rebels would stay away from that trap of bringing in familiar characters to satisfy all audiences.

Seeing Threepio and Artoo made the galaxy seem smaller than it actually is.  Do you really think they would run into these two droids?  Really?artoo threepio star wars rebels  It was completely fine in TCW, because they had every single PT character running around that why not bring in everyone we know?  In fact, I got used to that in TCW.  But Rebels clearly seems to be reminding us that this is a new band of characters on new planets and in new situations.  The cherry on the cake was when they drop off the droids at, of all ships, the Tantive IV with Bail Organa.  (bangs head against wall)  I was expecting a teenage Leia to just stroll in and talk with her father.  Thankfully that did not happen and I was spared, but if we are going to introduce Organa this early in the series, maybe I should just brace myself and expect it to happen at some point.

The only interesting thing about the situation was that Artoo had recorded some of the conversations on Ghost and had brought it back to Organa who noted that they should keep an eye on them.  I still think they could have used other droids and a different character for this, but maybe by the time the series ends it will tie back to bringing the crew of Ghost into the Rebellion.  And, by the way, shouldn’t the droids be pushed off onto Captain Antilles at some point?  They’ve really been with Organa for 14 years?

bail organa rebels

Other than my major grievance with the droids, Tantive IV, and Organa – I think the first episode was pretty cool.  They stuck it to the Empire by stealing their prized weapons that were supposed to be illegal throughout the galaxy, and then later destroying them.  It spoke to an interesting larger lesson: the Empire can do what they want, regardless if weapons are illegal or not.  In the hands of the Empire, those laws are conveniently forgotten if it will further their cause.

Ezra showed us some of his Force powers…he has more than I thought.  But they came into action when he was angry and scared.  Not very Jedi-like, eh?  So Kanan will have to curb that and teach him how to use the Force in a calmer state.  Or will Kanan change the rules a bit and not follow the strict Jedi Code?  Speaking of Kanan…I couldn’t really figure out how old he was.  I was guessing late 20s or early 30’s.  Oh – nevermind, Wookiepedia says he’s 28 and was 14 when Order 66 happened.

Lastly, I wanted to touch briefly upon the tone and style of the series.  I enjoyed the style and the banter between the characters, but my good friend Mr. Reticent pointed out that it was a lot lighter than TCW.  Not only with the situations and how they talked with each other, but also the animation style.  When you contrast the animation, there is a big difference.  TCW was more angular, sharp and it felt like watching a video game sometimes.  Rebels is smooth, almost more “cartoony”, which makes sense considering that it comes from Disney.  The tone of the episodes seemed to play more for a Disney crowd as well…I’m not sure if any of you guys watch The Disney Channel/Disney X D or Cartoon Network – but they are two very different styles and draw in two different crowds.  Both focus more on drawing in boys than girls, but CN is a lot cruder in my opinion.  I find CN to grate on me often and I watch the shows with disbelief that kids watch that channel as it can feel gritty.  Disney X D still seems unfathomable to me at times, but at least I can somewhat relate and understand why a boy would watch a show on the channel.  X D plays it a little safer and perhaps that’s why Rebels also seems to reflect that. (apparently I can’t write X.D. without WP changing it to a gigantic smiley face)

I find it hard to decide whether or not I will like the series based on what I’ve seen.  I loved the movie, giving it an 8.5/10, but felt the first TV show would come in at a 6/10.

 

Okay, I’m almost done, I swear.  Two side notes!

  1. Greg Weisman has left Rebels. I am most sad about this as he was the one person I was really pumped to have part of the show and thought would lead it in a smart, good direction.  But why did he leave?  I can’t find anything online so if anyone has information on this, please let me know to satiate my curiosity.
  2. Kiri Hart. I can’t go further without mentioning her.  You guys know how often I have talked about my unusual name and how I’ve never met anyone else with my name.  Well, guess what?  She is the VP of development at LFL and oversees a lot of the Star Wars content produced by Disney…including Rebels.  Look for her name at the end credits of Rebels.  SUPER WEIRD.  SUPER, SUPER WEIRD.  But I’m loving it.  I would not wish anyone else to have my name but someone at LFL.  It’s a sign.  I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.

Geek Out!

Since Celebration Europe is over, I thought now would be a good time to recap some of the announcements released there, random Star Wars news, and also go into a few life updates of mine.

In regards to casting rumors…

  • Last week, the internet was swirling with rumors that Ryan Gosling or Zac Efron could be in Episode VII.  It’s funny how things swell and then die on the internet.  It was tweeted and written about wherever I efron gosling starwarslooked last week.  Now, it’s faded into obscurity once again.  People were claiming that because both of them were linked to Disney at a younger age, they would be top choices for the new Star Wars movie.  Honestly – these casting rumors started to bore me.  When it comes down to it, what if they did pick Gosling or Efron?  Would our lives fall apart?  What is so wrong with them?  Oh yessss…I see, you are trying to bring girls into a predominantly male genre by giving them a delectable dish on a silver serving platter.  Eye candy.  Girls who would never otherwise see Star Wars, will be lining out the door.  Well, if that scares you, you are looking at it the wrong way.  It could be a way to introduce Star Wars to whole new group of people who would never have considered it otherwise.  Trust me, it’s the true fans that will stick around long after the pretty boys are gone because we are there for the meat, the good stuff, STAR WARS.  And, who knows, I’ve never been super disappointed with Efron or Gosling’s movies yet, so any kind of eye candy may surprise us.  In regards to any casting made, pretty face or not, in the words of wise Old Ben, “Your eyes can deceive you.  Don’t trust them.”

Celebration Europe II brought about a few announcements regarding Episode VII.  I think fans were hoping for more, but I’m pleasantly surprised.  Honestly – I just thought they’d tell us the three main actors were returning and that would be that.  But here are the main points taken away from the convention:

  • John Williams is returning for Episode VII!  Woo!/Phew!  Thank goodness.  What a great way to start off.  John Williams is the man and we could all benefit from him kickstarting this new series.  At this point, he said he feels like he’s never left the galaxy far, far away.  “The story is still unknown to me, the new story, but I can’t imagine that there will not be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate, and make appropriate, the use of some of the earlier themes.”
  • Kathleen Kennedy announced that the new film (I’m hoping the new trilogy as well) will try to find a good balance between CGI effects and real props and locations.  The way I read what she’s saying – it sounds like they are taking a hard look at the Original Trilogy and trying to take what worked well with that and bringing it to Episode VII; namely that the OT had real character development and less CGI/more actual props and locations.  I’m also reading this as her saying, “The Prequels were a failure.  Sorry.  We’re going to try to start anew and give you what you love.”  I think this is great news.  Of course, cynical Mr. Reticent said that they could just be saying what they know we want to hear, but I believe some of what she says.  She has a tough job of making these movies as good as possible.  There’s going to be a bit of a recovery here since I think that some fans and average movie goers were jaded by the Prequels.  Quotes from her talk:

kathleen kennedy CEU

  1. “It’s a conversation we’re having all the time in the development of Episode VII. Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects – that’s something we’re looking very seriously at.”
  2. “The story and characters are all we’re talking about right now.  We have an amazing team at ILM, who can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing.”
  3. “I do think making huge popular culture – and I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of a lot it – is really hard to do and get right. And if you don’t spend the time you need on developing characters, and finding stories, complicated stories, the audience gets tired because they think they’re seeing the same thing again and again.”
  • Dave Filoni and team debuted some concept art on the Star Wars Rebels TV show.  The show now has an official logo, along with some drawings of ships that are getting closer to what we resemble from the OT.  However, the Stormtrooper looks like a Stormtrooper to me with only the addition of a few blue lines on the helmet.  Show is still scheduled to be released in 2014 on Disney 😄 (actually, first episode will be on Disney Channel, with the rest of the series being on XD).  Doesn’t this concept art remind you of McQuarrie?  http://bit.ly/13pVb6b
  • Finally, at the closing ceremonies they announced the next Celebration in the US!  Get ready…drumroll…April 16-18th, 2015 in Anaheim, CA.  Oh.  Well, that sucks.  I’m on the East Coast and was really hoping it would be in Orlando again, just because that still seemed to make sense with the Disney thing.  Sigh.  However – it is on a long weekend AND right before VII comes out in theaters in May, so I’m sure that there was some strategic thinking behind all this.  They want to get as many fans out there as possible and hype up VII as much as they can.

Ok, whoo, that’s a lot to take in from one convention…which leads to the next speculation revolving around the D23 Expo.  Lucasfilm/KK/Star Wars/Disney decided not to have a presence at San Diego Comic Con and instead opted to be present at Disney’s “ultimate fan event”/convention.  ThisD23 was a surprise to many people (though we really should have seen it coming) and now everyone is wondering: what will they announce regarding Episode VII?  I’m thinking it will be an announcement that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are returning, though that’s already obvious and Lucas basically spilled the beans on it by mistake already.  Perhaps they will have one other casting announcement from the casting call that was released earlier, but I don’t think they will announce a bunch of new characters.  That seems too fast.  However – my money is on some kind of casting announcement, with the three original characters definitely being announced.

Thoughts anyone?

And now, you are free to stop reading, but I figured I would give a little personal update at the end of this post.

  1. I reached my one year anniversary of blogging on WordPress last week.  The good thing is that I still love WordPress and it’s exactly what I was looking for when we were kicked out of starwars.com Hyperspace.  Wordy blogs (no pun intended) are common enough here that I don’t feel like at times I am writing too much.  The cons are that it’s been a lot harder for me to find followers or find blogs that I’m interested in following.  I had it easy on starwars.com when everyone was there for Star Wars.  But at the same time – I like a challenge and though I naively thought I could gain as many followers as fast as I did before, I like the idea of slowly but steadily gaining followers.  It almost feels more satisfying because I know that people are choosing to read about my point of view on Star Wars out of millions of other blogs about parenting, art, photography, sports, etc.
  2. My mother dropped off tons of Star Wars stuff a few months ago that I had from when I was a child up to when I moved out of the house.  I put it in my basement with plans on creating a small Star Wars devoted section down there this winter.  Wellllllllll…my basement flooded last week.    So much of my Star Wars stuff was ruined that my heart broke.  Some of it was cheap stuff that I didn’t care as much about anymore, but then some things (like my 3D Millennium Falcon puzzle that took me SO long to put together when I was younger) were completely ruined.  My cardboard standup of Luke Skywalker has a 6″ watermark on his feet, but I’m hoping that he’ll recover and I will be able to keep him standing tall (pun intended).  I still have a lot of stuff to sift through and see what was ruined and what wasn’t.  I’m worried by the time I get to it, a lot of it will have mold and can’t be saved anyway.  THE TRIALS OF HOMEOWNERSHIP CONTINUES.
  3. I am finally going to get my tattoo.  I came to the decision a few months ago and realized, “Well, damn, I’m not getting any younger and there are not many years left that I can wear bikini’s and have people see it.”  I’m getting the tattoo I always wanted, the most standard one of Star Wars fans: the Rebel Insignia.  I was holding back because I kept wondering if I would still love Star Wars enough when I got it.  And then it hit me that I had been saying that for 15 years!  If I’ve liked Star Wars for 15 years and my obsession hasn’t gone away, then I’m quite fine with getting a tattoo declaring my love.  It’s going to be on my ribs on the right hand size and probably just the size of a quarter (my husband strongly disagreed with this and said it should be a lot bigger, but whatever, it’s my tattoo not his) and in black (yes, I do know that the Rebel Insignia is red) so that it MIGHT be seen when I wear a bikini.  I’m excited!  I’m 99% sure I won’t regret it, but if I do regret it, then at least it’s in a place no one sees.  Woohoo!

rebel insignia black

And that’s it…

Star Wars Rebels

With the announcement a few days ago of a new animated series to premiere in fall of 2014, Star Wars fans are once again starting speculations and murmurs about whether or not this will be a good thing.

I refuse to go in angrily as I did when The Clone Wars premiered in 2008.  By declining to watch TCW for the first two years, I denied myself some great Star Wars action that had been sorely missing from my life.  In my defense, I had seen the movie in the theaters beforehand, and was completely unaware of what TCW was going for.  I was so disappointed that I boycotted the series.  However, if I had been a little more cognizant of what the TCW team was aiming to produce, maybe I would have been more understanding.

The new series is titled “Star Wars Rebels” and will take place between Episodes III and IV.  Premiering first on the Disney Channel, it will then move to Disney 😄 for its permanent home.

Now – as we know – that’s a good 19 years of time span to cover.  That gives Disney a lot of room to play with characters, situations, and major plot developments.  Will they deviate from the main Skywalker storyline right now or will they stick with what we know?

Obviously, the title gives something away as it’s during this time period that the Empire is strengthening its reach across the galaxy, but a small band of resistant leader’s form what is later known as the Rebellion…or perhaps better known as the Rebels of Star Wars?

And who is one of the first founders of the Rebel Alliance?  Bail Organa.  And who was Bail Organa?  Leia’s adoptive father.

Bail Organa

So does that mean we will get to see Leia during her youth?  Disney is not known for its subtlety (I mean, for Pete’s sake, Miley Cyrus only changed her hair color and became pop star Hannah Montana) so my guess is Disney’s line of thought is: Leia was part of the rebellion = Leia is an OT character = more Leia = means more people watching = means more ads = more money.  Ca-ching!  So yes, my theory is that Leia will make an appearance, if not multiple appearances.

Personally, I’m very interested in where they go with this because I have always loved the deleted scenes in ROTS that shows Padmé meeting with Organa and others and starting this small faction of rebels.  Damn, that took a lot of guts on Padmé’s end to do that behind Anakin’s back, which makes me believe she knew deep down that something was unraveling fast within their relationship.  As part of a married couple, there is not much I do that my husband does not know about because any secrets you have breaks down the trust between you both.  But look at what she was part of!  Though she dies soon after the Empire takes over, she has begun a group that lives on well after her death and has a hand in dismantling an entire political system.  I’m hoping Disney takes this and uses it to turn it into a very interesting show, at the rate the TCW started to become before it ended.

Forming of Star Wars Rebellion

One of my fears is that I have yet to see anything on the Disney 😄 channel that keeps my attention as an adult.  Disney 😄 was created for more action oriented shows geared towards boys ages 6 to 14.  Kathleen Kennedy says, “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”  I hope she speaks true, because if they do this right, it will be a strong deviation from what is normally aired.  I’m no expert on this, and have definitely not watched much Disney XD, but I’m crossing my fingers that Disney doesn’t let us down.  They can learn from the TCW to see what worked and what didn’t regarding an animated TV show.  TCW was definitely on a children’s channel, but it handled adult themes and seriousness with a maturity that I found surprising and I think Disney could benefit from having a TV show like that.

All we do know for sure about this latest development is what came directly from Starwars.com: “Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape. Details about the show are a closely guarded secret at this point.”  I can’t see hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights really taking that long in the TV show and I hope they don’t drag that out.  It also surprises me that they are talking about hunting down the last Jedi Knights, as that could be really violent.

Lastly, I will also be watching this closely because I’m realizing that everything is pointing to something else, especially now that Disney is controlling everything Star Wars related.  In one episode they could plant a nugget of information that will help in further understanding something in one of the standalone movies or new trilogy.

I recommend watching this video below for a little bit more information.  Not much, but it sounds like they are definitely using some of Ralph McQuarrie’s work as a foundation and it makes me happy to see Dave Filoni back on board.  Like I just mentioned, hopefully he can use what was learned from TCW and guide this show in a way that will benefit everyone.

Here is the starwars.com official announcement: http://starwars.com/news/new-animated-series-star-wars-rebels-coming-fall-2014.html

Announcement from Greg Weisman (worked on Gargoyles!  Anybody remember that show??  That show was awesome): http://bit.ly/13LG8mg

What do you guys think?  Anyone have thoughts on where they hope to see this show go?  Are you even going to watch it?

Goodbye to The Clone Wars

It’s one thing to guess and speculate that The Clone Wars might be ending after the season finale where Ahsoka left the Jedi Order…but it’s another thing to know it won’t be returning.

And so today we received the news that ended, The Clone Wars has.  Or, as I like to say, it was given Order 66.

The Clone Wars helped me leave my little shell of Star Wars purity.  When the series began, I refused to watch it and refused to acknowledge it.  The fact that Anakin had a padawan angered me so much that I would speak scathingly about the series whenever someone brought it up.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I started watching TCW when I was bored with TV and flipping through the guide.  There was a rerun on and I watched Ahsoka and Anakin battle someone in this weird fantasy-like planet.  I can’t even remember the episode now, but I was so starved for anything Star Wars that I reluctantly was drawn into it.  I believe I started watching in either Season 2 or Season 3.

Well, guess what?  I started to DVR the episodes and before you knew it, I was hooked and actually ended up loving Anakin’s padawan: Ahsoka.

The Clone Wars says goodbye

The Clone Wars says goodbye

TCW not only grabbed my attention but it helped catapult Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka) into a business primarily for fan girls.  She helped lend strength to us geek girls with her company Her Universe: a clothing site full of Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, and much more geeky wonderfulness.  She recognized the need to create merchandise for female sci-fi fans and it has since skyrocketed.  What started out as one business devoted to Star Wars clothing expanded to other sci-fi franchises, but it’s also paved the way for other websites and stores to create geeky, fitted clothing for women/girls.  I’ve noticed an increase in women’s sci-fi clothing ever since Ashley started her company.  I do hope she continues expanding Her Universe, though I don’t see why she wouldn’t.

Ashley Eckstein

Ashley Eckstein

So what’s happening now?  Lucasfilm said it was “exploring a whole new ‘Star Wars’ series set in a time period previously untouched in ‘Star Wars’ films or television programming.”  They said there would be more details in future months.  They also mentioned that “Star Wars Detours” is also delayed (perhaps never to see the light, in my opinion) because “Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense.”

When we first found out that Disney was acquiring Lucasfilm, I briefly touched upon TCW and Detours and what that would mean for both series.  I thought that maybe it would move to Disney XD.  Now we see that is not the case, but I’m sure this new Star Wars series will be on Disney XD.  Back in October, I checked to see if we had Disney XD.  We do!  Phew, so I guess I can follow the new series from the beginning this time around.

The only point of confusion for me is that it looks like this new series may be animated as well.  I wish they would just move TCW to Disney XD, but if this is not to be the case, what are they going to do?  There are tons of options, but I was kind of hoping for someone to finally say that we are going to see the live action TV show.  We can still hope right?  Though that may be more likely to show up on ABC.

So many changes going on in our Star Wars world!  Just have to hold on and enjoy the ride as best as possible.

Official starwars.com announcement of the Clone Wars departure: http://starwars.com/news/a-new-direction-for-lucasfilm-animation.html

A goodbye post from James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in TCW): http://jamesarnoldtaylor.com/jamesarnoldtaylor.com/Clone_Wars_Thoughts.html

Her Universe: http://www.heruniverse.com/