It's a fascinating time to be a Star Wars fan with all the new content on the horizon. For some, there is nothing but excitement as they don't hesitate to embrace anything new bearing the Star Wars moniker–be it books, games, TV, movies or other merchandise in its various forms. But for others, there is a certain amount of fear associated with the changes that have recently occurred or are coming soon. Perhaps they embraced the Expanded Universe and were disappointed by its transition to “Legends” status. Or maybe they were big fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show and are still hurt by its cancellation. Still others might be Original Trilogy purists who hated the Prequels and now look at the Sequel Trilogy with trepidation as it will feature “their” characters but under the stewardship of Disney.
But to me, what is most interesting is that this is not a new phenomenon. Because Star Wars has always been about change–and defying expectations. For instance, in the novelization of Return of the Jedi, Owen Lars is said to be Obi-Wan's brother, anyone who's read Leigh Brackett's original draft of The Empire Strikes Back can testify to the fact that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader weren't always the same person, and of course Star Wars was not given the subtitle “Episode IV A New Hope” until it was theatrically re-released in 1981.
There's a reason that attachment is forbidden for a Jedi, because if you think about it, the Prequel Trilogy films are some of the most subversive movies ever made because they continually challenged the audience's perceptions of the Force, the Jedi, and the general context of the Original Trilogy. By having a new character like Qui-Gon Jinn confront and ultimately become the teacher (in regards to joining the Force and retaining one's identity after death) of established icons Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas seems to be suggesting that there is always more of the story to be told.
Which brings me to Star Wars Rebels. This show will be, in essence, a weekly re-defining of the Saga in general and of this time period specifically. Just as the Prequels and The Clone Wars did before it, this show will canonically explore the events of a history we only thought we knew. And though we've only seen clips to this point (including the first 7 minutes of the pilot), we've already been challenged to accept the fact that a few Jedi did escape Order 66 and the previously established The Force Unleashed subplot no longer “counts.” These revelations and everything still to come from Star Wars Rebels have re-framed the context of Episode IV –and will continue to do so.
I will be writing up a full review of the first episode of Star Wars Rebels upon its release, but for now, here are some quick thoughts on what's been released to this point:
** The voice cast is top-notch and is full of huge Star Wars fans who really seem to appreciate being a part of this project (previous Rebels Reactions guest Vanessa Marshall for example), and it's especially cool to see James Arnold Taylor back–albeit briefly to this point–as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi. One has to wonder if any other The Clone Wars actors, particularly Ashley Eckstein's Ahsoka Tano, will make an appearance at some point.
** Many people have made the comparison between Ezra and Aladdin from the eponymous 1992 Disney film, and while I can see the similarities, I'm also reminded of the descriptions of a young Han Solo from early drafts of Revenge of the Sith. That, combined with Lucas' well-known aversion to throwing away concepts, provides another potential source for Ezra's appearance and behavior. Besides, if we're going to see a form of the “Hero's Journey” with Ezra, he's gotta start off as a bit of a scoundrel and stealing food from someone he just helped certainly qualifies.
** The Inquisitor is not a Sith and this was recently confirmed by Pablo Hidalgo. For some, this might not be that big of a deal, but I appreciate this greatly as I believe the “Rule of Two” plays a huge part in the Palpatine/Vader/Luke Skywalker dynamic, and the presence of another Sith–even one that could be disposed of before the Original Trilogy–creates an unnecessary distraction. Additionally, this clarification potentially opens the door for Dark Side Force users in the Sequel Trilogy who don't have to be Sith and while preserving their destruction by the Chosen One in Return of the Jedi.
** The show's portrayal of Ezra and Kanan being able to sense each other through the Force reminded me a bit of Highlander, and yes, that's a good thing.
** Kanan, Zeb, and Sabine make for a very tight and disciplined unit. The introduction of Ezra into this dynamic will be fun to watch.
** The repetition of dialogue was fun (“…he's gonna end you/I'm gonna end him”) and I especially enjoyed the whole “Who is this kid?”/”Who are these guys?” bit as it called to mind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid–and that's definitely a good thing.
** I loved the music cues and sound effects–especially the TIE fighter. Overall, Rebels felt like it belonged in the Star Wars universe and I can't think of a higher compliment to make.
Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis.
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