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.

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?