To help promote the release of the upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, Disney XD has been airing a series of “shorts” over the past four weeks. The fourth and final “short”, titled Not What You Think, premiered this past Monday and featured the show’s primary protagonist, Ezra Bridger.
This latest look at Rebels finally introduces us to Ezra, a young force sensitive resident of the planet Lothal. In the clip, we witness an Imperial TIE Fighter in pursuit of another ship, The Ghost. While the TIE closes in on it’s prey, the larger space freighter returns blaster cannon fire. Landing a crucial hit, the freighter makes it’s escape as the TIE fighter crashes onto the planet’s surface.
Having witnessed the entire scene, Ezra races towards the downed fighter. Once he reaches it, he realizes that the unfortunate Imperial pilot inside has survived the crash. Despite the pilot’s protests, our young hero climbs aboard the still smoking ship and opens it’s top hatch.
The hatch opened, Ezra gazes down into the now open cockpit to see the TIE pilot’s fearsome black helmet facing him. Removing his helmet, the pilot turns to glare at the young intruder.
"“Hey, don’t say thank you or anything.”“Thank you?! Please. I’m an officer of the Imperial navy! I didn’t need your help.”"
Proving himself the bold one, Ezra leaps down into the cockpit to confront the pilot face to face. Instead of attempting to subdue him however, he applies some slight of hand to relieve the foolish Imperial of his ship’s flight records. Before the pilot has a chance to respond, Ezra snatches his helmet and leaps up out of the fighter and makes his escape.
"“… I didn’t come to help! I just came to score a little tech for the black market, you Loth-rat!”"
Finally realizing that he’s been had, the enraged Imperial turns his fighter’s blaster cannons upon Ezra. Fortunately for our hero, he senses the danger and is able to avoid the TIE’s deadly fire. Not believing that Ezra could evade his attack, the pilot is caught off guard. Ezra seizes the opportunity to launch a powerful energy charge towards the fighter, from the slingshot-type weapon on his wrist. The first few charges land against the window of the TIE cockpit, failing to reach their intended target. However, Ezra is able to launch one of his stun bolts directly into the still open top hatch of the fighter. This last energy charge falls into the TIE cockpit and knocks the pilot unconscious.
Ezra Bridger claims an Imperial TIE pilot’s helmet as his own, in the Rebels clip Not What You Think.
Finally safe from Imperial retribution, Ezra reclaims the helmet he stole and strides off towards his next adventure…
"“This helmet is the property of Ezra Bridger! Or it is now, anyway.”"
Star Wars Rebels concept art that was revealed during at WonderCon.
This clip was first shown at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends in Orlando, back in early June. The talented young actor who portrays Ezra Bridger in the show, Taylor Gray, was on hand during the final weekend of the event to promote Rebels during an onstage interview with host Ashley Eckstein.
Upon first viewing this clip, the audience’s attention will no doubt be drawn to the planet that Ezra calls home. The bright, beautiful fields of Lothal are quite unique. Rolling hills are covered in rock-like spires that reach as far as the sky can see. It’s an environment that is unlike any we’ve yet to see in Star Wars.
Longtime fans of the saga will be pleased to discover that Lothal‘s visual designs follow that of artist Ralph McQuarrie‘s early concept art for Star Wars. This will come as no surprise to any fans who have been paying attention to the promotional material for Rebels that has appeared over the past year or so.
Ralph McQuarrie‘s early concept artwork showcasing the planet Alderaan.
An Imperial TIE Fighter crashes onto the planet Lothal in concept art clearly inspired by the work of Ralph McQuarrie.
Something else that will jump out at viewers when they’re watching the clip is the lack of music to start. The sounds we hear are of the wind rustling through the tall grass of the planet Lothal, accompanied only by the cheerful whistling of Ezra as he wanders along. Those who are paying attention may recognize the tune that Ezra is whistling to be the actual main musical theme of the series.
Not only is this a neat trick pulled by series composer Kevin Kiner, but it raises a few interesting questions. Is the main Rebels theme also Ezra‘s theme? That would make sense, since this young orphan with a talent for the Force will most likely serve as the focus of the show. Much like Ahsoka Tano did for the popular animated series The Clone Wars, he should serve as the prism through which younger audiences view the universe surrounding Star Wars Rebels.
Take a listen to the exciting new main theme for Star Wars Rebels composed by Kevin Kiner, below:
Ezra Bridger, the young hero of Star Wars Rebels, watches as an Imperial TIE fighter pursues The Ghost.
The clip continues as we follow young Ezra‘s gaze towards the clouds above him as the sounds of space battle suddenly break the relative quiet of Lothal‘s grassy plains.
This particular sequence is by far the most effective we’ve seen from this new show, as far as recapturing the pure spirit of Star Wars.
While watching the shot of Ezra looking up towards the sky, an interesting thing is happening in the viewer’s mind that they may not be aware of. By only hearing the sounds of battle before the ships soar down past the cloud cover, you might get the sense that Ezra has conjured up the two ships out of thin air… almost like he imagined them into existence.
It’s as if he is one of us as younger Star Wars fans, strolling along by ourselves through the backyard of our childhood homes, or down the streets that we grew up on. We may have paused to glance upwards towards the sky, towards space, imagining what lie beyond the stars… in a galaxy far, far away…
I can recall as a young man, wishing that the galactic civil war that served as the backdrop to my favorite movies was actually occurring in my galaxy. I’d have given anything for the chance to rush off and join the Rebel Alliance and fight the evil Empire alongside my heroes, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
There’s no way I could ever relay here in precise fashion, the number of times that I must have glanced upwards towards the clouds and pictured in my mind a squadron of Imperial TIE fighters chasing after the Millennium Falcon. The iconic imagery of the original Star Wars films had such a profound affect on my imagination as a child, that I can still close my eyes and go to that place where creatures like mynocks and space slugs really do exist.
Star Wars Rebels concept art featuring the character of Ezra Bridger on the planet Lothal.
The very first time that I viewed this clip was at Star Wars Weekends. At that time, the clip was titled Property of Ezra Bridger. I can remember leaving the theater where it was shown, feeling like I was six years old again.
The team of animators, writers, voice actors, sound designers and artists behind this show had done something special. They’d succeeded in presenting something that was exciting, yes, but this was so much more. For the first time since 1983’s Return of the Jedi, I was witnessing brand new Star Wars content in it’s purest form.
Now, I am no prequel hater. I adored those films when they were released and I still celebrate them today. However, those three films are incredibly different from the original trilogy. The differences go way beyond visual effects or scripts. The stories themselves were so much bigger in Episodes I, II and III. The series The Clone Wars followed these huge stories, sweeping across the galaxy and including hundreds of characters.
The original three films focused on a more personal story, centered around a much smaller group of characters. This is the same storytelling that we’ll be treated to in Star Wars Rebels.
This most recent clip is a great example of this focus. Here, we have one lone character confronting another. Our hero, a fourteen year old kid, thrown into sudden conflict with a single member of the Imperial navy. It’s an incredibly effective way to tell a story. It’s the same way in which George Lucas told us Star Wars stories for nearly four decades.
There has been much derision of the character of Ezra among fans, particularly on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. What these fans don’t realize, or have quite simply forgotten, is that Star Wars is meant to appeal to the child in all of us. Much like we all were in love with the films of the 70’s and 80’s, a whole new generation is poised to grow up with the new era of Star Wars adventures, beginning with Rebels. Ezra Bridger is the perfect representation of this new generation, just like Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano were before him. He’s not what you think, he’s you.
We are all Ezra Bridger.
Find out more about Ezra Bridger, the young hero of Star Wars Rebels, in the behind the scenes video below:
Well, Dork Siders… that’s all of the exclusive clips that we’re promised before the October 3rd premiere of Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion. If you missed any of our in depth coverage of Rebels, you can find more in the links below.