Convention season is well underway with only three more months before San Diego Comic Con (the mother of all cons) descends upon the geek community. Further up north in Anaheim, California, Star Wars Rebels made its presence known at WonderCon 2014. Moderated by David Collins, the “Behind the Scenes of Star Wars Rebels” panel featured executive producer Dave Filoni, voice actor Vanessa Marshall, and art director Kilian Plunkett.
The panel kicked off with the “Spark” teaser trailer. As Dave and the others spoke, concept art focusing on various aspects of the series graced the screens.
To view more concept art shown at the panel, visit the recap at the official Star Wars blog. Credit: Disney Television Animation, Lucasfilm Animation.
Dave spoke highly of Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera Syndulla in Star Wars Rebels, informing everyone that she had watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars and is a big Star Wars fan herself. Hera was the focus throughout the first part of the panel with a range of concept art shown on screen. Designed by artist Amy Beth Christenson, Hera was envisioned as a Togruta before settling on a Twi’lek for the species. Zeb’s species was also something that went through several different phases, including Ithorian and Snivvian.
At this point in the panel, the audience was shown the exclusive preview clip of Hera Syndulla’s skillful flying tactics.
Not only did the clip demonstrate the breathtaking animation, but the scene also showed the kind of dynamics we will see play out between Hera and Chopper and Hera and Kanan.
Although I wasn’t there, I’m sure the crowd burst into cheer when Hera took down the pilot of the TIE Fighter. One of the things I hope the show dives into is the repercussions behind those sorts of action. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the clone troopers were fighting droids, for the most part. We cringed and felt the loss whenever a clone trooper fell in the heat of battle. Stormtroopers are merely pawns in the Empire’s gain for power, following orders and doing the Emperor’s bidding. The game has changed now and neither side is fighting droids. Behind each cockpit is a man (or woman) made of flesh and blood. It will be interesting to see how this change of the enemy is handled throughout the series–if handled at all.
Following the clip, the room opened up for fan questions. Dave confessed his love for Disney’s Tangled and mentioned how he had asked animation supervisor Keith Kellogg to adopt some of those elements from Tangled and incorporate them into Rebels. As a result, the animation for Rebels is more “animated” and involves less of trying to capture the realism as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Filoni also discussed that this sort of approach took him back to his days working on Avatar: The Last Airbender, so we will be seeing a blend of these various styles.
As for the focus of the series, the story will revolve around the main characters (heroes). Hera Syndulla, for example, will be in every episode of the first season. This is a shift from The Clone Wars storytelling process, which jumped around from character to character.
The biggest announcement at the panel was the return of composer Kevin Kiner. Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will recall the extraordinary work Kiner did for the series, and you can listen to those songs at his official website.
According to Kiner, the sound for Rebels will pull in a lot of the tones and emotions from Star Wars: A New Hope. As the panel began to wrap up, attendees were given the chance to hear the theme for Rebels, which you can hear towards the end of the Kiner video above.
Before the hour came to an end, Dave Filoni invited a family of Star Wars Rebels cosplayers onto the stage.
Dave brought a family cosplaying on stage http://t.co/8q9jc2e82u—
Rebels Report (@RebelsReport) April 19, 2014
The staff at Eleven-ThirtyEight tweeted a similar picture of the cosplayers and added, “Seriously, people–this picture makes me so happy I can’t stand it. Diversity matters.” I couldn’t agree more. Diversity is important because young children are now able to see themselves on screen and feel more included.
Lastly, Chris Hamilton of Star Wars Kidscast grabbed this picture of Steven Blum (the voice of Zeb Orrelios) at FanExpo Vancouver earlier today. No word on whether he mentioned Star Wars Rebels during his Q&A session.
Star Wars Kidscast (@SWKidscast) April 19, 2014
For more in-depth recaps of the Star Wars Rebels panel at WonderCon, check out the following links:
- WonderCon 2014: Star Wars Rebels Panel Report by the StarWars.com Team, Star Wars Blog
- WonderCon: Star Wars Rebels Clip and New Details Revealed by Eric Goldman, IGN
- ‘Star Wars Rebels’: Composer Kevin Kiner channels John Williams for new series by Patrick Kevin Day, Hero Complex