Fans of Star Wars have had to prove themselves a patient bunch over the last year or so. When the news broke that Lucasfilm was being purchased by the Walt Disney Co., there also came confirmation that there were at least six new movies in the works, the first of which was set to appear in 2015. Though there are still nearly 500 days left until the release of Episode VII, fans should have their thirst for new Star Wars content at least partially quenched with the upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels.
Earlier this week, Disney XD premiered the latest in a series of animated shorts which feature a look at the characters of the much anticipated new series. Titled Entanglement, the third of four clips focuses on Zeb Orrelios, a huge alien with a surly disposition.
Enjoy the latest Rebels short, which features veteran voice actor Steve Blum, in the video below:
"“… it’s possible I may be a little late.”"
While watching Entanglement, longtime fans of the Star Wars saga should feel right at home, right from the start of the clip. Here we see several different alien species from across the galaxy, including Rodians, Aqualish and even Ugnaughts. They have all made their home on the planet Lothal, it would seem.
We get our first look at Zeb as he makes his way down an alley while searching for Kanan Jarrus. Zeb slowly comes to the realization that he’s chosen the wrong alley. Using his comlink, Kanan informs him that he’s late in meeting him at the planned rendezvous point.
We see right away that Zeb is a huge, gray alien with a large, scary looking weapon strapped to his back. Unfortunately for the Imperial Stormtroopers that he encounters, Zeb knows how to use that scary looking weapon to his advantage.
These particular Stormtroopers have decided to spend their time harassing a local merchant, an Ugnaught selling some fruit. One of the Troopers kicks the merchant’s astromech droid to the ground, which prompts the poor sap to present some credits as evidence of his honest trade. Either from plain ignorance, or just because the Imperials are jerks, one of the Troopers assumes the merchant’s actions to be a bribe and attempts to place him under arrest.
Luckily, Zeb comes to the rescue. Smashing the Troopers’ helmets together and knocking them unconscious, he unwillingly attracts the attention of more Imperials. Our hero proceeds to lead his would be captors in a chase down the alley, much to the chagrin of Kanan, who continues to berate Zeb for his truancy through the comlink.
"“Right… so, I’m definitely going to be late.”"
Zeb makes his way around a corner at the end of the alley, only to come face to face with an Imperial TIE pilot. Zeb makes short work of the pilot while continuing to evade the blaster fire of the pursuing Stormtroopers, all the while continuing his argument with Kanan.
Proving himself quite agile for a larger fellow, Zeb manages to get the drop on his pursuers by climbing atop a TIE fighter and leaping down to ambush them. He handily takes down four Stormtroopers in style, finally putting his scary looking weapon to good use.
Zeb Orellios, wielding his weapon of choice, an AB-75 bo-rifle.
Kanan continues to argue with Zeb through his comlink during the ensuing battle. Zeb breathlessly defends himself, claiming that he had no choice but to pick a fight with Imperial forces.
"“Oh, that’s great! You get lost in the middle of a mission and decide to start your own battle… again!”“Didn’t decide… it just… happened!… this time.”"
The TIE pilot which had been previously knocked out by Zeb suddenly regains consciousness and finds a nearby blaster rifle. While he holds Zeb at gunpoint, he attempts to contact his superiors for reinforcements. The Imperials on the other end of the pilot’s comlink demand to know how an entire squadron of Stormtroopers could be rendered helpless.
An Imperial TIE pilot attempts to subdue Zeb, the hulking Lasat alien in Star Wars Rebels.
Zeb proves too much of a challenge for the lone unfortunate Imperial, as he leaps back onto the side of the TIE fighter and disposes of the pilot once again. Finally, the Imperial’s reinforcements appear, which seems to bring a smile to Zeb‘s face.
"“Zeb, are you embarrassing the Imperials again?”“Honestly, Kanan… it’s hard not to.”"
Proving yet again that Stormtroopers are terrible shots, dozens of blaster bolts miss their target as Zeb easily dodges their fire. Meanwhile, a stray bolt strikes the fuel compartment of the TIE fighter that Zeb is climbing on. Realizing just in time that he hasn’t chosen the greatest hiding spot, he somehow leaps clear as the fighter erupts into a gigantic fireball.
The Imperials effectively dispatched, Zeb calmly strolls through the black smoke emitting from the remains of the destroyed TIE fighter. He approaches his new Ugnaught friend, who appears relieved that his rescuer has emerged victorious. As a sign of gratitude, the merchant offers credits as a reward but Zeb refuses, choosing to enjoy one of his fruits instead.
Imperial Stormtroopers descend upon Zeb Orellios, in the new Rebels clip.
The clip ends with Kanan informing Zeb to stay put, as yet another squadron of Stormtroopers rapidly approach our hero.
Entanglement begins with the sounds of commerce filling the backstreets of the city in which our scene takes place. The lack of music allows the planet’s atmosphere to make an impression on viewers. Rebels composer Kevin Kiner shows great restraint here, waiting until the opportune time to insert some very familiar music into the scene.
Not only does the music in this clip evoke memories of a particular scene from Lucasfilm‘s 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the action that unfolds is quite similar.
Check out the classic scene from Raiders, wherein our hero is involved in a chase through a marketplace not unlike the one seen in Entanglement. Pay close attention to the musical cue composed by John Williams.
Garazeb Orellios, or just Zeb for short, is quite an interesting character. Since he’s a large, imposing alien, he’ll no doubt draw comparisons to Chewbacca the Wookiee. These comparisons are well deserved.
Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni and his crew at Lucasfilm Animation have made it apparent that the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie would have a heavy influence on the look and design of the show, and it’s characters. This is especially true in the case of Zeb. The alien’s design was lifted straight from McQuarrie‘s conceptual work for Chewbacca during the production of 1977’s A New Hope.
Early designs for the character of Chewbacca, drawn by legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie.
Not only does Zeb himself reflect the style of McQuarrie‘s early work, so does the scenery. In this particular clip, we get several glimpses of city life on Lothal, including crowded streets, a busy marketplace and some dangerous back alleys. Fans who are familiar with more of early McQuarrie paintings will recognize the similarities.
More early concept art for Star Wars, painted by Ralph McQuarrie.
What does all of this Ralph McQuarrie nonsense mean to fans? What impact will it have on Star Wars Rebels? Quite simply, the show is going to look and even more importantly, feel like classic Star Wars. It’s interesting to note that since the events of Rebels take place approximately four years before the Battle of Yavin, early designs of Star Wars characters and locales are extremely fitting. If you think about it, all of McQuarrie‘s concepts are being used as blueprints for the look of the Star Wars universe during the time in which Rebels is set. It’s brilliant.
Ralph McQuarrie‘s early concepts for a cantina brawl in Star Wars.
There is only one remaining animated short scheduled to air before the October 3rd series premiere. Tune into Disney XD this upcoming Monday evening, to catch the fourth and final exclusive clip, titled Property of Ezra Bridger.
In case you missed the first two shorts, we’ve got in depth looks at those as well:
DSOTF reports on The Machine in the Ghost
DSOTF reports on Art Attack
You can catch the final exclusive look at Star Wars Rebels, this upcoming Monday on Disney XD. The clip, titled Property of Ezra Bridger, is scheduled to air at 9:29pm EST, following the show Gravity Falls. It’s a good idea to set your DVR’s, Dork Siders!