Spark of Rebellion
A major aspect of post-Lucas Star Wars has been a back-to-basics approach and a conscious return to the characters and aesthetics of the most celebrated era of Star Wars: the original trilogy. Like them or not, the negativity surrounding Episodes I-III can’t be ignored and so far Kennedy’s guidance in returning to the era and aesthetics of Episodes IV-VI has been right on the money. There’s no doubt about it, to make the transition complete – Clone Wars had to have the plug pulled. But as soon as one door closed, another opened and Filoni and his animation team were given a new assignment: Star Wars Rebels.
Rebels was designed to be a stepping stone between the two trilogies, taking place in between Episode III and IV with an all-new cast of characters. It was clear that the advent of the show happened quickly, but over the course of Celebration’s animation-themed panels, a narrative emerged of a shockingly rushed production that miraculously pulled itself together. The basic premise of the new show, as well as core character designs and overall aesthetics, were completed in a “mad dash” – a paltry two months. Rebels had to be on track to debut in a timely slot that would stimulate the new Star Wars hype; also, Hasbro had to get started on action figure designs. As such, the voice cast was decided within a week.
The series’ first season does a fair job of establishing fun characters and an intriguing status quo before finally thrusting them into a larger world in a climactic season finale. At Celebration, fans were treated to not just a trailer for the second season, but for those lucky enough to make it in, a screening of the two-part premiere of season two. In the premiere, any remaining childishness of Rebels is swept away. The crew of The Ghost now find themselves dealing with their own version of Empire Strikes Back level shake-ups, punctuated by their first encounter with Darth Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones. Season Two is anticipated to debut this summer and features not just everyone’s favorite Sith Lord, but also characters from The Clone Wars.