Every good team has “the muscle.” Great characters like Teal’c from Stargate SG-1, Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis, Toph Beifong from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Chewbacca have served as the smart, strong, and intimidating types. Also falling under that description is Zeb Orrelios, a military-experienced fighter and crew member of The Ghost. Based on the original Ralph McQuarrie concept art of Chewbacca, Zeb is part of a new species with a bone to pick with the Empire, often acting out aggressively against the stormtroopers.
Voiced by Steve Blum, Zeb has an intriguing accent that is reminiscent of Hudson’s Scottish accent from Gargoyles. I’d love to know more on how Blum and the crew went about developing the voice for Zeb, since his voice stands out from that of Kanan and Ezra.
Zeb also starts to develop, albeit reluctantly, this older brother relationship with Ezra. Zeb and the rest of the crew appear to have been together for some time, and suddenly, Ezra becomes the newest member. When you’re surrounded by people who know each other, you might start to feel like you’re intruding or that you don’t belong. Zeb seems to offer some kind of support, even if he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to do it. Following Ezra around and making sure the kid doesn’t get into too much trouble is something I’m definitely looking forward to. In many ways, it reminds me of Han and Chewbacca’s relationship.
Lastly, Zeb’s reveal stirred up much-needed conversations in the fan community because he was the fourth male to be introduced, leaving the two females to be introduced towards the end. Many (mostly male) seemed to believe that there was no issue and that certain (female) fans were complaining and making something out of nothing. The reality of the fact is that the reveal of these characters and the first wave of Hasbro toys from NY Toy Fair have been geared towards the male audience. Targeting and hyper-targeting a specific group perpetuates this social construct that boy toys are for boys in the blue aisle and girl toys are for girls in the pink aisle. It’s a growing barrier that some in the fan community are trying desperately to break down. What bothers me most is that some fans don’t see anything wrong with this. Many are conditioned to think that this is normal, and as a result, end up giving excuses to these big companies–excuses like “they’re saving the best for last.” I disagree. Saving the best for last is complying with this archaic business model. Her Universe exists because no other company believes in the buying power of the female fanbase. The next time you walk down a toy aisle, ask yourself why this gap between the genders exists–open your eyes and realize that this divide is conditioning children and parents to think a certain.
Featured Image Credit: Lucasfilm.