Hosted by David Collins, best known as PROXY from the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series and Han Solo in Star Wars: Smuggler’s Gambit, the “Heroes of Star Wars Rebels” panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 kicked off with a new Inquisitor vs. Kanan Jarrus lightsaber duel clip from the highly anticipated animated series. Those who joined David on the stage included executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg and the main Rebels cast: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Tiya Sircar, Steve Blum, and Taylor Gray. Though no video exists of the panel, the live blog is currently available as well as an audio recording captured by Pete Morrison of Rebels Report.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Amy Beth Christenson used a previously unused hilt from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the design of the Inquistor’s spinning lightsaber. She was the concept artist for that video game series.
- When voicing Kanan, Freddie Prinze, Jr. uses hand motions to act out the Force pushing/summoning scenes.
- The character-based comedy seen in the original films will continue to play a part in the series, as seen with the Zeb and Ezra clip down below.
- Vanessa Marshall and Tiya Sircar were inducted as honorary members into the Mandalorian Mercs.
- Filoni brought up the fact that Star Wars has always had strong female characters and went on to say that they need to continue that and keep that alive.
- The audience was introduced to another clip with Hera and Sabine investigating a destroyed hangar. Whether this clip will be released remains unknown.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. said that Kanan has a darker side. He reminded everyone that Kanan was young when Order 66 happened and that he is very emotional and untrained in the Jedi way.
- As for Clone Wars characters appearing in the series, Filoni said, “Let’s be honest, it would probably be insane for me to create that show and for absolutely nobody to show up. But at the same time I feel very strongly that these new characters need to stand on their own…”
- New stormtrooper types will be introduced in the series.
At the end of the panel, fans were given a brand new trailer cut by Lucasfilm’s Kevin Yost.
As with any other trailer, I like to pick it apart and select certain instances to focus on.
First up, we have the appearance of R2-D2 and C-3PO. The interaction between Chopper and Artoo is already something I’m especially looking forward to enjoying. As previously described by executive producer Dave Filnoi, R2-D2 is the dog and Chopper is the cat, and as a result, they’re bound to clash in the most innocent of ways. In the latest Hasbro figure packaging from SDCC, “C-3PO and R2-D2 unknowingly play a part in helping the Rebels intercept a shipment of Imperial weapons.” The two droids were loaned to Governor Pryce on Lothal by Senator Bail Organa, according to the Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide by Adam Bray, “Now they have been given a new mission: helping to negotiate an Imperial arms deal. On this mission, they meet some of the rebels.”
Freddie Prinze, Jr. had mentioned during the panel that Kanan has a “darker side” and swirling emotions from his past. I find it intriguing that he’ll be learning along with Ezra, since his Jedi training was cut short as a young boy. Given his unchecked emotions, I’m curious if his relationships with the current crew of the Ghost keep him balanced. What would be the result if something dire happened to one of them? Would he be thrown off balance, like Anakin before him? Would he be tempted to turn to the dark side to seek more power in order to protect his loved ones? Personally, I think Kanan’s darker and rougher elements make him susceptible, but I find that his ill feelings toward the Empire will keep him grounded.
Hera Syndulla on the offense in the Phantom! For some reason, I only ever imagined her in the Ghost, but it would make sense that she would take the smaller attack shuttle for stealth and speed. I also hope to see Hera outside of the ship and on the ground with the others. I know she’s crucial for getting away in the nick of time, but it’ll be interesting to see her out of her element and on the front lines with the rest of her team.
Ezra’s energy slingshot is the most unique piece of accessory on the series and it’s a shame that no one seems to appreciate it. Most adult fans have expressed their need to see the unique weapon disappear as soon as possible without even considering several factors. First, this is a series predominantly aimed at children. The slingshot is not only highly marketable, but it’s something that children will connect with the most. Second, it’s refreshing. We’ve seen the traditional blasters and lightsabers. Ezra’s slingshot is a fun and innocent twist on self-defense. Third, it symbolizes his youth. I don’t see him wearing it forever, but it’s the accessory he relies on the most and it probably helped him out of sticky situations. It’s disappointing when people brush it aside and call it “kiddish,” “stupid,” or generally desperate to see it go away. Just like a lightsaber is an extension of a Jedi, this is an extension of Ezra and who he is as a rebel.
According to the Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide, Ezra appears to develop a minor crush on Sabine (or maybe he just simply admires her). Given that he’s young and unaware of his Jedi background, I could see him being conflicted with his own emotions. As a fangirl of all things romance, I think it’s terribly sweet if he actually shows signs of a crush on someone who’s two years older than him. Although we haven’t seen much of them, the two characters remind me of Aang and Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender–sweet, confused, and awkward. Many fourteen year old boys and girls struggle with their own feelings, and I know many of us have also been on that boat.
The biggest reveal of all came through a HoloNet News report that showed Master Jedi Luminara Unduli held prisoner on Stygeon Prime. As pointed out by Pete Morrison of Rebels Report, Stygeon Prime also appeared in the first issue of the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic. In previous literature, Luminara died in Order 66, but similar to her Padawan, Barriss Offee, her story has now changed. What is the purpose of keeping her alive? Is this to lure and trap other Jedi, like Kanan and his ragtag group of rebels? Whatever happens, I don’t see this as being a positive end for the Mirialan Jedi.
As for the image on the far right, one of the Imperial officers held up Ezra’s image and said, “This is the Padawan I encountered on Stygeon Prime.” It seems the mission Ezra undergoes at a later point in time to infiltrate the Imperial Academy may go awry given the unforgettable events that happened while retrieving Luminara at the prison.
Besides the trailer, Lucasfilm and Disney also released two new clips. In the first, we see a beautifully animated duel between Kanan and the Inquisitor. In a previous post, I proposed that the Inquisitor was an individual who enjoyed playing cat and mouse with his targets. This clip proves that he finds thrill in the hunt. Additionally, we see the worry and fear in Kanan’s eyes when the Inquisitor came too close to taking Ezra’s life. His internal battle of attachment and keeping his emotions at bay is one I’m most interested in seeing develop throughout the series. In the second, we see the character comedy duo between Ezra and Zeb. To be honest, I thought I was watching something straight from Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is a wonderful compliment because that series is adored by everyone of all ages.
At the panel, fans were also given ID cards with the following information:
“Your Empire would like to officially welcome you as a citizen of Lothal. While this registration identifies your profession within our glorious galactic system, it also means reaping the benefits of a stable and secure tomorrow. Your local HoloNet News channel will provide you with the latest information about your duties as an Imperial citizen while keeping you up to date on the most significant issues in your system, and the galaxy.”
The new HoloNet News site is powered through Tumblr, a microblogging platform and social networking website. The site currently contains three short videos of Imperial news updates narrated by Altin Castle:
- HoloNet News Report: Imperial Registration Program
- HoloNet News Report: Wookiee Revolt Quelled on Kashyyyk
- HoloNet News Special Report: Lothal Jobless Rates Hit All-time Low
Spoiler free reviews:
- A Gushing Spoiler Free Review of Star Wars Rebels! by Jason Ward | Making Star Wars
- SDCC 2014: Thoughts on the First Episode of Star Wars Rebels by Amy Ratcliffe | IGN
- Star Wars Rebels Preview Screening Report by Pete Morrison | Rebels Report
- Star Wars Rebels Premiere First Impressions by Benjamin Hart | Star Wars Underworld
- Video Blog Reaction: Star Wars Rebels One Hour TV Movie by Peter Sciretta | /Film
Image Credits: Disney Television Animation, Lucasfilm Animation.