“Star Wars” fans got their first look at the new “Star Wars Rebels” series on Thursday at Comic-Con with a screening of the first episode, which isn’t due to premiere on the Disney Channel until October. While the animation wasn’t quite finished, and therefore not quite ready for review, it did evoke the look and feel of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”
The exclusive clip above was screened at the panel and gave fans a feel for the lighthearted, more adventurous feel of the new series.
At the show’s panel discussion beforehand, executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg appeared before fans for the first time with the show’s cast, which includes Freddie Prinze Jr., Steve Blum, Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Gray and Tiya Sircar.
The new series takes place in the “Star Wars” timeline between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” and follows a ragtag group of rebels who are just figuring out how to stand up against the monolithic power of the Empire, which has just taken control of the galaxy.
“It’s the origin story of the Rebel Alliance,” Kinberg told fans, comparing it to a story of the American Revolution. “They’re rebels who don’t imagine they’ll be part of a larger organization one day.”
Central to the new group is the Jedi Knight in hiding, Kanan (voiced by Prinze Jr.) who has managed to survive the Emperor’s order to wipe out the Jedi Knights. But as Filoni explains, this is not the world of the original trilogy, where people were desperate for the Jedi to return and defeat the Empire.
“When the Empire took over, it was stronger than what preceded it,” Filoni said. “Around the galaxy, to the majority of people, the Jedi are seen as traitors.”
With the Jedi in hiding, their famous lightsabers won’t play as prominent a role in the new series.
“It’s not like we were doing in ‘Clone Wars’ with lightsabers in every episode,” Filoni said. “Those fights are held back, so when we do have them, they’re for a pivotal point in the character’s development.”
Filoni had to be a little less clear about which characters, if any, from “Clone Wars” and the feature films would be making an appearance in the series. Obi-Wan Kenobi was spotted in one trailer, and in a special trailer for the fans at Comic-Con, R2-D2 and C-3PO made a cameo. As for others, Filoni hinted that more were coming, but left it extremely vague.
The panel revealed that Marshall was the biggest “Star Wars” geek in the cast. During the Q&A she casually displayed knowledge of the forthcoming “Star Wars” novel, “A New Dawn,” which contains additional information about her character, Hera Syndulla. Though Prinze Jr. came in a close second, announcing that the scar on his chin came from attempting a “Star Wars” lightsaber duel as a kid.
As for the chances of seeing the cast playing their characters in live-action form, Kinberg, who has a guiding hand in the planned “Star Wars” spinoff films, said, “I love these characters. I love them animated, and it would be a treat to see them live action, too.”
– Patrick Kevin Day | @patrickkevinday
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