“Star Wars” fans let out a collective howl of anguish earlier this year when it was announced that one of the casualties of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm was the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” But though that fan favorite series was canceled without a satisfactory conclusion, there’s still a chance to get an animation fix. Lucasfilm is now working on a new animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” set to premiere in fall 2014 on the Disney Channel with a one-hour episode and then move to Disney XD.
Set in the two decades between “Episode III” and “Episode IV,” the series will follow the adventures of the Rebel Alliance as they attempt to evade the growing might of the Empire.
Simon Kinberg, writer of one of the upcoming “Star Wars” spinoff films, will serve as an executive producer of the new series and also write the first episode.
Earlier this year, Kinberg spoke with Hero Complex about the prospect of working in an established universe with a legacy as rich as “Star Wars,” explaining, “I’ve worked in franchises where they have a long legacy, like the X-Men, or like Sherlock Holmes even, where you have a big fan base, and you have a lot of material to draw from. But I haven’t worked in anything like ‘Star Wars.’ It’s definitely like the cultural referent for our generation. So it’s daunting and exciting.”
Kinberg will be joined by fellow executive producers Greg Weisman and Dave Filoni, who was also supervising director of “The Clone Wars” series, a job he’ll also have on “Star Wars Rebels.”
Filoni’s return should bring relief to fans hoping to have some sort of connection to the previous series. Though the details of the plot are being kept quiet at this point, it’s hopeful that the new series, which will debut with a one-hour special, will continue to evolve some of the stories and characters established in “The Clone Wars” — especially Ahsoka, Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi apprentice.
Fans have been worried about her fate ever since she was introduced in the TV series. (She isn’t anywhere to be seen in the films, so many have feared she was killed.) Ahsoka was last seen in the finale of “The Clone Wars’ ” fifth season walking away from Anakin and the Jedi Council. So is it possible the rebels will find her hiding out on some backwoods planet, like Yoda? No one’s talking yet.
The new series will be produced by Lucasfilm Animation, which was also behind “The Clone Wars.”
The truly hardcore fans can buy a ticket to Germany for this July’s “Star Wars Celebration Europe,” where Lucasfilm has promised it will provide the first look at the new series.
— Patrick Kevin Day
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