With Star Wars Episode VII on the horizon, Disney are keen to capitalise on their latest acquisition. Since 1977, Star Wars has continued to grow in popularity with each generation being introduced to the franchise through film, television, video games and toys. With the popular opinion that the Star Wars Prequels are a disappointment, a significant amount of pressure is being placed on Disney to produce a series or films and television programmes that are more engaging and encompass the excitement of the original Star Wars Trilogy.
This desire ultimately led to the popular animation, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, being canceled. There was initial an outcry by fans upon the announcement that the series is coming to an end. However, Disney were quick to announce that a new animation is in production entitled: Star Wars Rebels.
Star Wars Rebels is set 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and prior to A New Hope. The series charts the early days of the Rebellion which is started by a young Jedi ‘cowboy’ called Kanan. (played by Freddie Prinze Jr.) He’s joined by an assortment of crew members aboard his YT freighter (The Ghost) including a droid whose nickname is Chopper.
Prinze recently expanded upon why Star Wars Rebels is set during the formative years of The Rebel Alliance:
“In the original movie, you see a bunch of guys in orange jumpsuits running around and not know who they are… This is the start of it: the sacrifices that those orange jumpsuits made and the families those orange jumpsuits lost and the hatred that you would have for somebody who would literally kill your wife and child because they wanted your property.”
In the recording studio, Freddie Prinze Jr. and his fellow cast members are provided with a translation of Chopper’s various bleeps and whistles. This allows the actors to react to the droid’s personality in a believable way. Prinze adds:
“He’s cantankerous because he acts like a grumpy old man most of the time… We know specifically what he’s saying about us, and if he’s saying it under his breath or directly in our face. He’s very outspoken, I’ll leave it at that.”
It has been suggested that Star Wars Rebels will be completely different to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Instead of an intergalactic conflict that involves billions of beings across the galaxy, Star Wars Rebels is a more intimate story. The tiny band of Rebels are on the run from the might of The Galactic Empire and to survive, the crew of The Ghost resort to guerrilla tactics against their enemies who also include arms dealers, warlords and gangsters.
The primary villain of the series is a Sith known as The Inquisitor. Simon Kinberg who is the executive producer of Star Wars Rebels, describes the character as:
“The Inquisitor’s a physically imposing threat… but what’s really terrifying is his ability to read people, understand their fears, prey on those fears and almost twist their perceptions so that they don’t totally have control over themselves any more.”
While there will be an assortment of heroes and villains to feature in the series, Kanan is the main character of the series. Unlike the wooden representation of Jedi in previous films and television series, Kanan is a wise cracking Jedi who is more akin to the likes of Han Solo or Lando Calrissian. To further differentiate the character from his Jedi peers, Kanan is forced to keep his abilities as a secret or risk being found by The Empire. This includes the Rebel leader having to give up his lightsaber and substitute it for a blaster.
Prinze who plays Kanan expanded upon the backstory of the character:
“He’s been forced to shove a massive part of his life under the bed, so to speak… Is he living a lie? At a certain point, the lie kind of becomes the reality. And to suddenly be forced back into your Jedi ways, it’d be a bit of a challenge for him. And pretty awesome, too, when you can see what a Jedi can actually do… He definitely has seen more than what a young man should see. And what he had to see was pretty much the worst thing you would have to witness.”
Source: USA Today