Ever since the news first broke that the Walt Disney Co. purchased Lucasfilm in October of 2012 and planned to release all new Star Wars films, reactions have been split between fans. Most took to social media forums such as Twitter to express their displeasure over the $4 billion deal and concern over Disney potentially turning their beloved space fantasy saga into an animated song and dance routine. It wasn’t long before their fears were at least partially realized; after the announcement came that Lucasfilm Animation was producing another Star Wars animated series titled Star Wars Rebels, set to appear on Disney XD in the Fall of 2014.
Some fans were confused as to why Disney would cancel the popular series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, only to create a whole new show with a different animation style altogether. The grassroots campaign to Save the Clone Wars was even created, in hopes of convincing Disney to reverse their decision and to see the adventures of characters like Ahsoka Tano continue on their television screens. In a statement intended to address these concerns, Lucasfilm‘s President Kathleen Kennedy expressed her gratitude for the continued support from fans, while promising more exciting adventures in the future.
"April 29, 2013Dear fans,Thank you for your passion for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.What fans think of Star Wars is extremely important to everyone at Lucasfilm. It is incredible how deeply the show connected with fans around the world and we are so proud of Dave Filoni and the Lucasfilm Animation team for creating such an amazing series.After five critically acclaimed seasons of The Clone Wars, we felt the time was right to wind down production. As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars feature films, we have also decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming.I’m pleased to share that Dave Filoni and many members of his Clone Wars team are already hard at work developing a new Star Wars animated series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. I’m hoping we will have more details to share with all of our fans soon.Please know how much we appreciate your support.Sincerely,Kathleen Kennedy"
Shortly thereafter, Disney and Lucasfilm began to woo the ever doubtful Star Wars fan base over from the dark side by providing several juicy inside looks into the production of the show. Over the last year or so, the hard working crew over at Lucasfilm Animation have released videos detailing the characters, story, music and overall design of Rebels. In May of 2013, Lucasfilm released a video featuring Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni speaking with Pablo Hidalgo about the development of the new show. In the video, Filoni briefly discussed the time period in which Rebels would be set, how the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie was influencing the look of the show and how excited he was to be working with fellow showrunners Greg Weisman and Simon Kinberg.
Enjoy the first ever official word on Star Wars Rebels, as Lucasfilm‘s own Pablo Hidalgo sat down with Dave Filoni at Skywalker Ranch, back in May ’13:
At San Diego Comic Con last week, Dave Filoni unveiled an all new trailer for the upcoming animated series during The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels panel. The hundreds of lucky fans in attendance were treated to the latest work of Lucasfilm editor Kevin Yost, a close friend of Filoni‘s whose previous work includes some incredibly exciting clips such as this trailer for the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The new clip; titled A Look Ahead, provided exactly that. DSOTF is here to provide you with a list of twelve things that you may not have noticed while watching the trailer.
First, enjoy the latest trailer for Star Wars Rebels, set to premiere this October on the Disney Channel:
1. [0:00-0:12] We’re already back to classic Star Wars within the first few seconds. The classic Lucasfilm Ltd. logo flashes across the screen, accompanied by a musical cue which Rebels composer Kevin Kiner effectively borrows from John Williams‘ original Star Wars film scores. As the logo fades and the trailer begins, our eyes are bombarded by a very familiar scene. The Ghost, the freighter within which our heroes traverse the galaxy, rockets past the camera followed closely by a squadron of Imperial TIE Fighters and an Imperial Star Destroyer. The next shot provides the reverse angle of the scene, which fans will instantly recognize as lifted straight from the iconic asteroid field sequence in The Empire Strikes Back. It looks like Filoni and crew aren’t joking around about paying homage to the original trilogy.
2. [0:26] STORMTROOPERS! This shot bears an extraordinary resemblance to another iconic scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Much like when audiences were first introduced to the fearsome armor clad foot soldiers of the evil Empire way back in 1977, here we see Imperial Stormtroopers blasting their way through the hallway of a… ship? We’ll just have to wait and find out.
3. [0:36-0:41] Fans of The Clone Wars can relax a bit. In the first of several callbacks to the popular animated series, we learn that not only has Luminara Unduli apparently survived Order 66, it appears that she has been captured by Imperial forces. As implied by fellow Order 66 survivor Kanan, we should expect to see our heroes attempt to rescue her. This plot sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
4. [0:44] A Mandalorian… female?! Diehard Mandalorian enthusiasts and Star Wars fangirls alike can rejoice as we are introduced to Sabine, possibly the most dangerous crew member of The Ghost. Here, we can see her kicking some serious Stormtrooper butt.
5. [1:07-1:12] Enter The Inquisitor. Finally, we see our heroes encountering the newest Star Wars villain, The Inquisitor. Voiced by the fantastic British actor Jason Issacs, this guy looks pretty badass. Plus, he’s a Pau’an. You know, from Utapau. There’s another clear reference to the prequel era for ya, fans.
6. [1:17-1:20] Look sir! Droids! No Star Wars adventure would be complete without R2-D2 and C-3PO. Where do they fit into the story of Rebels? We may not know that yet, but we can count on some comedic moments from Artoo and Threepio, not to mention the other astromech droid that appears in this scene. That grumpy bucket of bolts is named Chopper and he’s awesome.
7. [1:28] All the McQuarrie references. The folks over at Lucasfilm Animation have made it no secret that the legendary artwork of Ralph McQuarrie would be a huge influence on the look of Rebels. There’s no clearer indication of that than the two droids standing opposite of Artoo and Threepio in this shot. The aforementioned Chopper was based on early McQuarrie designs for R2-D2 and it appears that Filoni and crew also borrowed McQuarrie‘s early concepts for Threepio as well, as evident in the protocol droid standing next to Chopper.
8. [1:34] Those are some mean looking Imperial Officers. The guy with the awesome 70’s style sideburns is called Agent Kallus, who we know will be playing a large role in opposing our heroes. That other Imperial next to him though, looks quite creepy. He reminds us a bit of Chief Bast, who played right hand man to Peter Cushing‘s Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope.
9. [1:36-1:40] YO! That Twi’lek is one heckuva pilot. Here we see some of The Ghost‘s ace pilot Hera Syndulla in action. Voiced by the lovely Vanessa Marshall, we’re betting that Hera is going to turn out to be one of our favorites on the show.
10. [1:52] Are those Imperial Academy students? They sure ain’t clones. One of them looks really young, too… wait a minute! That’s Ezra Bridger, the primary character in this here story. Blink and you’d miss it!
11. [2:03-2:05] That slingshot is not as lame as your friends told you it was. Ezra‘s wrist mounted slingshot has become the target of a lot of fan ridicule on the internet. It has been confirmed that Ezra is only 14 years old; so a slingshot makes a lot of sense, actually. Not only that, but it appears to be able to take out Imperial Stormtroopers.
12. [2:08-2:16] This show is actually funny. It’s important for fans to remember that humor was a big part of what made the original Star Wars films so much fun. Here, we’re treated to a sample of the friendly banter between musclebound Zeb Orrelios and Ezra. Zeb is voiced by Stephen Blum, quite possibly the hardest working man in the business. We’re looking forward to a lot of comedic bits involving the characters from Rebels, like in this scene right here.
There’s so much more Star Wars goodness in just this trailer alone, it’s impossible to fit in all in at once. You’d have to admit, though. Rebels looks impressive… most impressive.
If all that weren’t enough to get you excited for the new animated series, Disney XD premiered an extended preview just last night. We’ve included the 7 minute clip for you, below.
Enjoy, Dork Siders!
Are you still doubtful of Disney treating Star Wars properly? Do you still miss The Clone Wars? What do you think of Star Wars Rebels so far? Leave us your thoughts below!