Star Wars Rebels - Everything You Need To Know Ahead of Tonight's Premiere
Tonight will see the first on-screen entry into Disney and LucasFilm's new Star Wars canon as the one hour Star Wars Rebels premiere airs on the Disney channel at 9pm ET/PT. The show came under a lot of fire when the first few snippets were released online. Many people claimed it was too childish, while others were just upset that it wasn't Star Wars: Clone Wars. But in the months that followed, more footage was released and slowly the faces of fans ceased displaying their go-to grimace and instead raised their eyebrows with curiosity as they saw some of the classic George Lucas icons reborn.
To ensure you're fully prepared for tonight's event, we've assembled a guide with everything you need to know about Star Wars Rebels, from the characters to the timeline and beyond. Starting with the official trailer.
When is Star Wars Rebels Set?
Rebels takes place in during the 2 decades or so that unfold between the end of 'Revenge of the Sith' and the beginning of 'A New Hope'. It's 14 years since we saw Anakin Skywalker transformed into Darth Vader, but there are still 5 years before his son, Luke, will first connect with Obi Wan on Tatooine. This is a time which sees the galaxy emerging from a state of flux with the Empire we all love to hate now established as the ultimate galactic superpower. It is during these dark years that an emergent rebellion starts to take shape.
Who are the 'Good Guys'?
The key protagonists of Star Wars Rebels come in the shape of the typically rag-tag crew of the starship, Ghost. Here are the key players:
Voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. Kanan is dubbed the 'Cowboy Jedi' by EP David Filoni. Kanan serves as the figurehead for the crew of the Ghost, he orchestrates the missions and dishes out orders and sarcasm with aplomb. Although Kanan is a Jedi, he's nothing like the disciplined Masters that came before him. After Order 66, Kanan had to hide his talents, and he has never quite reconciled himself with the old Jedi teachings. Expect his Jedi abilities to be used with ever increasing regularity throughout the course of the show.
Ezra Bridger is voiced by Taylor Gray and serves as the show's main protagonist. A 14 year old street urchin, Ezra finds his way into the companionship of the Ghost crew and struggles to adjust to having to work in a team. He's spent his entire life fighting the Empire, not for ideological reasons, but simply to survive. After meeting Kanan, he starts to discover that his strange talents are actually the makings of a great Jedi Knight.
Voiced by the talented Steve Blum, Zeb is the muscle of the Ghost crew. Hailing from a planet called Lasan, Zeb witnessed his people, the Lasat, being wiped out by the Empire. Now he's on a mission to exact revenge on the Empire and the more violently he can do it, the better. You may also notice that Zeb looks remarkably similar to Ralph McQuarrie's original vision for Chewbacca. A coincidence? We think not!
Hera is the Twi'lek pilot and matriarch of the Ghost. Voiced by Vanessa Marshall, Hera spends most of her time getting the team out of sticky spots, but when she's not flying, she's dishing out advice that balances out the rough and ready nature of Kanan and Zeb.
Sabine is a Mandalorian warrior and weapons expert. A disruptive personality, when Sabine isn't blowing stuff up, she's leaving her mark with graffiti. Being a Mandalorian, Sabine is already becoming popular with Star Wars fans and you can expect her customized, pink Mandalorian armor to be the subject of cosplays everywhere very, very soon.
Who are the Bad Guys
Unsurprisingly, the antagonists of Star Wars Rebels are the many members of the Galactic Empire. However, instead of focusing on Palpatine and Darth Vader, Rebels introduces a couple of highly trained and sinister special ops bad guys.
Agent Kallus is a highly trained member of the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB). His job is to ensure that the Empire's domination goes unchecked, whether that means wiping out Rebel cells or suppressing civilian populations, Agent Kallus is your all-purpose bad guy.
Voiced by Jason Isaacs, The Inquisitor's sole task is to hunt down and kill the few Jedi that survived Order 66. He may look like a Sith, he may have links to the Dark Side like the Sith, but he is NOT a Sith. The Inquisitor answers to nobody apart from his boss, Darth Vader, which tells you just about everything you need to know about the importance of his mission to the Empire's plans. The Inquisitor makes Kallus look like a playground bully.
Cameos? You betcha. As well as Obi Wan voiced by James Arnold Taylor (Clone Wars), and R2-D2, you can expect a whole load of cameos from familiar faces and even more familiar voices. Billy Dee Williams voices Lando Calrissian and Anthony Daniels slips back into gold to voice C-3PO.
What Can You Expect?
EP David Filoni has stated on numerous occasions that, although the show sits between the prequel and original trilogy, thematically Star Wars Rebels is an original trilogy show. If you ask me, that's a good thing. The original trilogy is what made us all fall in love with this universe. The sounds, the vehicles and species are all going to be reminiscent of George Lucas's original saga. Naturally this will leave the show open to a lot of criticism by purists, but everything I have seen appears to be incredibly sympathetic to Star Wars lore.
There a multiple nods to Star Wars concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie. We've already mentioned Zeb's likeness to the Chewbacca concepts, but the Rebels effects team has gone as far as to use the original Kodak 5247 film stock from A New Hope as the template for visuals from Lightsabers to TIE Fighter flight styles. This means that the action sequences will be remarkably reminiscent of those from Episodes IV thru VI. Instead of the constant glowing lightsabers used in the prequels, the lightsabers in Star Wars Rebels will flicker and wobble just as the ones held by Hamill and McGuinness did.
This attention to detail gives me hope that Rebels will become a great show. Sure, there are going to be childish moments, most of which will come in the shape of the irritating droid, Chopper. But Rebels has to do this to appeal to children as well as seasoned fans. This is, after all, a cartoon. But the fact that this is going to be the most in-depth exploration of the years leading up to the Battle of Yavin, and the fact that this is the first visual exploration of the new canon means that Star Wars Rebels is essential viewing.
When Does It Air?
After tonight's hour long 'Spark of Rebellion' premiere on The Disney Channel, Star Wars Rebels will head over to Disney XD for a regular Monday night slot starting October 13th at 9pm.