Star Wars: Rebels had its debut Sunday on Disney Channel before it begins proper on DisneyXD. Taking place after the prequels and some time before the original trilogy, Rebels follows a group of, obviously, rebels trying to fight back against the Empire as best they can. When the show starts there are only five members. (Yes, I include the droid.) It ends with six, and I don’t think I’m spoiling the obvious. It’s more about how he joins rather than will he.
I can say without spoilers (although to be honest a lot of trailers spoiled the big reveal..idiots!) that if you were put off by the prequels and The Clone Wars because you knew what was coming, Rebels might work out better for you. If you wanted a ragtag group opposing the Empire in your Star Wars then this is also what you wanted. The rest of this review will contain spoilers, but if you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. For the rest of you who don’t care about spoilers or already saw it, read on.
Star Wars: Rebels follows a team of rebels (the episode is entitled “A Spark Of Rebellion”) as they try to help those victimized by the Imperial Empire. As the trailers ruined for everyone who saw them, one of them is a Jedi, but not like the Old Republic versions. Our focus character is Ezra, a young street thief who happens to steal the wrong crates and gets caught up in the actions of the rebel group as they plan to rescue a group of Wookies. Ezra must learn that sometimes it’s good to help others…and that he’s Force-sensitive and thus a potential Jedi.
The character models are different from The Clone Wars. The features are closer to actual people but not trying to be photo-realistic. That way lies madness, but it is closer to early teasers for The Clone Wars. The tie-fighters and star destroyers make an appearance in this but the rebels fly a transport ship I haven’t seen before. Die-hard fans have probably seen it somewhere in the Expanded Universe but it’s new to me at least. They look quite good, as do the character models and backgrounds. There’s improvement from the previous show. The voice actors are also very good in bringing the characters to life.
What about the characters themselves? Ezra is our focus character, a street rat who thinks everyone is only out for themselves…until he sees the Rebels in action. He’s a bit cocky but deep down he’s a better person than he thinks, as demonstrated when he risks his life to help a boy Wookie being chased by a Stormtrooper. I’m curious to see what becomes of him in the episodes to follow.
Kanan is a Jedi, one of the last, and one that may not be standing on protocol. If you thought the Jedi were too stuffy or arrogant in the previous cartoon this one may be more your speed. He’s kind of a mix of Luke and Han, but the better qualities of both. Maybe a bit more Han. He kept his true identity as a Jedi a secret until it worked into the story to reveal himself…and that reveal was ruined already by trailers so nice fail, marketing. Kanan appears to be becoming Ezra’s teacher.
Sabine is more than Ezra’s potential love interest, if they indeed go that route. She is also the explosive expert, using everything from bombs to spilling red explosive powder in the shape of the Imperial symbol. She’s pretty skilled in making things go boom and like Ezra she’s an orphan. We don’t know what happened to his parents but hers were definitely an Imperial victim. She’s going to be fun.
My favorite is the pilot, Hera. I just like her personality. I don’t know if she and Kanan are an item but they’re at the very least close friends. She also plays well off of the Astromech Chopper, who looks like a version of R5D4. On the flip side is Zeb, who right from the start shows how much he hates Ezra, even leaving him behind when they’re caught in an Imperial trap. However, he does feel bad about it and the kid seems to grow on him. We’ll have to wait and see if I hate him or not as we go on.
And yes, I plan to watch more of this show. Who is the Inquisitor? What plans does he and the general have? Will we see Governor Tarken and will he actually be the future Grand Moff (and will his VA pull off a good Peter Cushing impersonation)? And will we get a Darth Vader cameo before the series ends? If you didn’t like the previous series give Star Wars: Rebels a try and you might like it.