Rebels Impressions: “The Machine in the Ghost”


This past Monday, Disney XD premiered an all new exclusive look at the upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels. The three minute clip, titled The Machine in the Ghost, featured several characters from the new show. This was the first of four new “shorts” that Lucasfilm Animation has produced in order to introduce fans to the heroes of Rebels, as well as promote the series premiere on Disney Channel this October.

The Machine in the Ghost features the voice talents of Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla and Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan Jarrus. Check out the awesome new Rebels clip below:

In the clip, our two heroes find themselves under attack by a squadron of Imperial TIE fighters. Hera; ace pilot and captain of The Ghost, orders cantankerous droid Chopper to repair the ship’s damaged shields. She uses the ship’s internal communications to contact Kanan, who makes his way towards The Ghost‘s heavy cannons in order to blast the pursuing TIE fighters into space dust. Kanan is unable to take them all out before one of the fighter’s blaster fire knocks out The Ghost‘s internal com. No longer able to contact Kanan, Hera orders Chopper to repair the ship’s communications instead.

Chopper makes his way towards the rear of the ship to complete his new task. Before he can make it that far, Kanan stops the grumpy astromech and orders him to return to the cockpit and fix the shields. Chopper reluctantly returns to the cockpit and Hera responds by sending The Ghost into a dramatic maneuver worthy of Han Solo. She makes quick work of one of the remaining TIE fighters before sending Chopper once again to repair the communications.

By this time, Chopper has had enough of taking orders from both Kanan and Hera. He decides to take matters into his own mechanical hands and wheels past Kanan, towards the ship’s rear blaster cannons. As the last TIE fighter swoops in for another attack, Chopper ignites the guns and turns the Imperial ship into a cloud of debris.

Making his way once again to the cockpit of The Ghost, Chopper proudly informs his fellow passengers that he’s taken care of the final TIE fighter. Kanan and Hera thank him before ordering him to return to his uncompleted repairs. Hera then enters coordinates into her navicomputer and The Ghost soars into hyperspace!

The Ghost comes under fire from a pursuing Imperial TIE fighter.

Rebels’ heroic droid Chopper blasts an Imperial Tie fighter.

The Machine in the Ghost was one of several clips that were first shown during Disney‘s Star Wars Weekends, back in the month of May. The event; which lasted five weeks, featured a different Rebels voice actor each weekend. The first weekend brought the lovely Vanessa Marshall, who was interviewed onstage by Ashley Eckstein [Ahsoka Tano, Star Wars: The Clone Wars] during the Behind the Force show. Following the interview, Eckstein introduced the exclusive clip which was eventually aired on Disney XD.

When viewing this clip, fans will be instantly transported back to the first time they ever saw a Star Wars film. The team at Lucasfilm Animation have truly tapped into the spirit of the original trilogy with this new show. The design of the ships, the sounds of blaster fire and even the Kevin Kiner musical score all evoke strong memories of Episodes IV, V and VI.

From the outset, we hear the familiar screeching of twin ion engines and the hissing sound of TIE fighter blaster fire. As The Ghost rockets past the camera, we hear the roar of the space freighter’s engines which sound a lot like those of the Millennium Falcon.

We get a glimpse of the Imperial squadron leader from inside his TIE fighter’s cockpit. This is another image that old school Wars fans are all too familiar with. It’s encouraging to see that Dave Filoni and his crew are anything but shy when it comes to borrowing heavily from the original films.

The scene changes to that of the chaos erupting inside of The Ghost‘s cockpit. We can hear klaxons blaring throughout the ship as Hera Syndulla alerts Kanan Jarrus of the growing danger by hailing him with the internal com. This particular sequence is so incredibly ripe with amazing sounds. The alarms ringing, the buzzing from the astromech droid behind the pilot’s seat, the loud thud of Imperial blaster fire splashing against the ship’s hull, all accompanied by the fantastic musical score… it’s simply Star Wars at its’ absolute best.

Music and sound effects are only a small portion of what makes this feel so much like classic Star Wars, though. Every fan knows that some witty banter between our heroes is absolutely required. Luckily, the writing team at Lucasfilm knows exactly what they’re doing. The first lines of dialogue that we hear from Vanessa Marshall‘s Twi’lek character are practically lifted straight from Princess Leia herself.

"“Kanan, we have a small situation here! If you care to blast one of those TIE’s out of the galaxy, I don’t think anyone would object…… oh and as I recall, raiding an Imperial supply convoy was your plan, love.”"

The sarcastic tone that Hera‘s voice takes in this sequence barely masks the affection that she expresses with the word love. As we’ll see later in this clip, her and Kanan appear to have a little bit of romantic chemistry between them.

When Kanan finally settles into the gunner’s chair and begins to return the Imperials’ fire, we hear the clicking of The Ghost‘s blaster cannons and the volley of lasers that they release into the stars beyond. These are also distinctly Star Wars type sound effects, but with a slightly different touch. Supervising Sound Editor Matthew Wood [Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars] and his crew deserve a ton of praise for their work, with this sequence alone.

As the action continues, Kiner‘s score erupts with a classic John Williams musical cue. All of this adds up to an intensely gratifying scene. This is Star Wars, no doubt about it.

With another direct nod to Episode IV, we see a shot of the pursuing TIE fighters sweeping from right to left, as the camera pans past the front of The Ghost. What’s also very impressive here, is the detail of the surrounding starfields. It’s easy to miss, since they are in the background but the attention paid to lighting and movement pays off big in the overall look of what we’re seeing.

Fans will almost certainly flock to the antics of Chopper, that spunky little astromech droid that we mentioned earlier. It’s a fact that his design was heavily influenced by early Ralph McQuarrie concept art for R2-D2. It’s funny to see how Chopper utilizes his robotic arms to help him express his excitement or in this case, his displeasure for the orders that Hera is giving him.

"“Chopper! Go back to com control and fix it! …… I know you’re fixing the shields but I need com operational to coordinate our attack, now go before I pull your battery.”"

The camera shot that looks up to Kanan as if from the perspective of Chopper is fantastic. This is the Rebels team at their creative best, at least from what we’ve seen of the show thus far. This is yet another of the subtle nods to Episode IV, which number too many to list, even in this three minute clip.

Freddie Prinze, Jr. provides the voice of Kanan and he’s great. You can really tell that much of the actor’s facial expressions inform the animation of his character’s. This is actually true with Hera as well, and other characters who we’ll meet later.

When Hera takes The Ghost into some daring evasive maneuvers, Kiner‘s brilliant score once again takes center stage. Borrowing even more heavily from the original John Williams score is quite effective and fans should expect more of it from the upcoming series.

The Ghost‘s targeting computer should look familiar too. The Millennium Falcon, anyone?

Near the end of the clip, after Chopper saves the day, we see more traces of that romantic connection between Kanan and Hera that we mentioned before. If you’re left wondering what that’s all about, you may have a chance to learn by picking up the new novel A New Dawn, written by John Jackson Miller and available for purchase on September 2nd. The book will focus on the two characters in a time period set briefly before the events of Star Wars Rebels. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for that one.

Rebels heroes Kanan and Hera share a special moment after a victory on The Ghost.

Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus throw a questioning glance at their astromech droid, Chopper.

The clip comes to a close with one final joke at Chopper‘s expense, then our heroes blast off into hyperspace. The Star Wars Rebels logo flashes across the screen, along with the classic musical cue Rebel Fanfare.

This three minute “short” left us wanting so much more. If it’s any indication of what’s to come, then all Star Wars fans are in for a real treat. The Force is indeed strong with Star Wars Rebels, it would seem.

Dork Siders! Don’t forget to program your DVR’s to record the next Star Wars Rebels exclusive sneak peek, scheduled to air on Monday night following Gravity Falls on Disney XD!

Thanks for reading our in depth analysis of The Machine in the Ghost. Did this “short” remind you of the original trilogy as much as it did us? Are you fan of Chopper? What do you make of the chemistry between Kanan and Hera? Let us know what you thought of the clip by leaving a comment below!