Being a huge fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the world premier of Star Wars Rebels was a mixed bag of emotions for me. On one hand, I felt Rebels had a very hard act to follow. The series clips leading up to the premier gave me the impression that this may be a day care toddler series that would only add to my sorrow as I continued to mourn the death of The Clone Wars.
On the other hand, at least I was getting a new Star Wars series within a year or so after watching The Clone Wars season finale on Netflix. Sometimes the force is like that. One day you are witnessing your home planet Alderaan being destroyed by a Death Star, and another you are getting your groove on with a bunch of Ewoks.
I went in to Star Wars Rebels pretty fresh, only having watched one clip prior to the premier. In the opening introduction, we are immediately introduced to the planet, Lothal. Was very refreshing to see the series writers were finally taking me somewhere new in the SW universe (EU Novels not withstanding) where we meet our young thief, Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray). I originally had concerns about the character being the center of series due to my fear of Disney making the new series to kiddie for my taste. He wasn’t. He was surprisingly very likable. It is there on Lothal, where after a theft gone bad, we meet the rest of the cast of Rebels who take on their ship as both the crew and Ezra try to escape the Empire from an attempt at stealing supply crates.
Rebels leader, Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) had more of a Han Solo smuggler vibe than the typical wise and robed Jedi that we have seen countless times before. Based on the timeline, I assume he was a youngling when the order 66 was executed in Revenge Of The Sith. Really gave the series a real sense of history after just finishing The Clone Wars series. I hope as the series evolves, that we will get treated to an origins episode for the character.
Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steven Blum) plays the typical hard-nosed muscle character that we have seen before. Not a very deep character, but it is early in the series. I must admit, I did chuckle when I saw him leave one of the characters behind in an Empire ambush. Wasn’t expected, but it did add some depth to “Zeb” for me.
Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) plays what I imagine will end up being a bit of a romance arc with Ezra. Again, nothing we haven’t seen before but I think as the series moves forward, there could be some interesting chemistry between the two. Then again, who know’s, this is Disney after all.
Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) plays the momma of the crew. She is also the pilot. She is good at giving guilt trips that get little 14-year-old boy’s taken prisoner. Not the most interesting character of the crew, but again…we are only 2 episodes deep.
Can’t forget about their little A protocol droid, Chopper! Now look, I love R2D2 just as much as the next guy, but I was so refreshing to see a new droid with personality that isn’t just a simple R2D2 clone.
I think the theme here would be key word, “refreshing.” The entire premier felt like a fresh start to tell new tales in the SW universe with fresh new characters, villains and planets while still maintaining the very spirit of adventure and magic that made Star Wars such a huge hit back in 1977. Even though we only got a glimpse of series Seth villain, The Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs), I felt a satisfaction of mystery and the unknown as we get to learn more about just who the hell this guy is and where he fits in the Sith movie timeline. After all, there are always only two Sith.
Animation was good at times and great at others. Again, the CGI of The Clone Wars set the bar pretty high for me. I hope as the series continues, that the animation will improve. I will say that the overall presentation is pretty sharp and has a nice animated and unique charm to it.
All in all, this was a fun hour of Star Wars entertainment that should satisfy the adults and appeal to the kids as well. Even under the Disney umbrella, the series still managed to kill some Stormtroopers…which I appreciate. Sure, I don’t think we will ever see the epic and brutal action/death scenes of the Clone Troopers from The Clone Wars series, but it was nice knowing that people could die in this new series.
Hopefully, we will actually get some dialogue from the Stormtroopers in the next episode. I also look forward to the original film trilogy cameo’s that are sure to come and add a lot of geek factor fun to the adult viewers. Watching the Obi Won Clone Wars cameo really gave me a cartoon passing of the torch feeling for me too. Just like Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, I feel the force is strong with this series and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.