Following the Star Wars themed programming on Disney XD late on August 4, fans got a 7-minute preview of the one-hour Star Wars Rebels special scheduled to premiere later in October. The extended preview received a positive reaction from fans and media in general. As with any preview or trailer, I like to break it down and highlight my favorite moments.
In this special extended preview of Star Wars Rebels, the Empire arrives on Lothal — bringing tyranny with them. Imperials and stormtroopers establish an intimidating presence on the planet, enforcing strict new laws for trade and arresting citizens for expressing dissent of any kind. A young boy named Ezra, however, discovers that a mysterious group is attempting to steal cargo from the Empire. Intrigued, he tries to take it for himself – and ends up on the run from both Imperials and this small band of rebels.
Enter the Empire (0:10-0:44)
Ezra staring out into the distance instantly reminded of Luke on his desert home world, who stared into the two bright suns on Tatooine’s horizon. Both heroes saw their surroundings and probably thought, “This is it. This is where I’m destined to live for the rest of life,” completely unaware of the adventure that awaited them. I am quite fond of the pastel colored background because it seems peaceful on the outside, but we know the Empire is making it rot from the inside. The colors also complement the smooth and sleek design of the characters themselves–very soft and easy on the eyes.
Ezra’s need to investigate and put himself in situations he ought not to meddle in establishes the rebellious nature of the show. Some fans aren’t quite sure what to make of him yet (similar reactions to Ahsoka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars also existed before she became a fan favorite), but I know he’s going to be a fun character.
I hope we see a full opening sequence when the series premieres, since we only saw the logo appear with a hint of the theme Kevin Kiner unveiled at WonderCon 2014. Star Wars: The Clone Wars had the logo, theme, moral, and recap voiced by Tom Kane, so it’d be great to see Star Wars Rebels with its own spin at an introduction.
Trouble at the Market (0:45-2:08)
“I remember what it was like before your ships showed up–before you Imperials ruined Lothal like the rest of the galaxy.” With one simple sentence, anyone who is brand new to Star Wars has caught up and has an idea of the conditions existing throughout the galaxy, especially Lothal–which also happens to be the first time the planet’s name is mentioned in the series. Star Wars: Rise of the Rebels by Michael Kogge mentions how the Imperial Academies recruited bullies to be officers and stormtroopers. The poor fruit merchant experienced that bullying firsthand, but Ezra came to the rescue–sort of.
I like that Ezra helps others only to then help himself. He is a true survivor in that aspect and the streets of Lothal shaped him to be that way. It’s fun to see the show start off with one of his mischievous tricks and pick up from there with no dawdling in communicating who he is and what he’s all about. I also find it highly amusing that Ezra imitated an accent when talking to the Imperial officers. It’s worth listening to over again if you missed it the first time around.
Sensing Through the Force (2:09-2:50)
Brilliant use of sounds in this particular scene to convey the Force and the invisible pull between Ezra and Kanan. It made me feel like I was also part of that connection because I knew exactly what was happening, even though Ezra wasn’t exactly certain himself. The entire setup and introduction to Kanan was superbly done. You are so focused on him and how he’s clearly reacting to Ezra (or rather, some disturbance in the Force) that you barely notice Sabine and Zeb hidden off to the side. And of course, Kanan being Kanan, he shrugs off the feeling entirely. Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller details Kanan’s struggle with the Force, so I recommend picking up a copy when it’s released on September 2.
Chaos at the Market (2:51-4:02)
Since Ezra is our focus character in the series, we observe and experience everything through him and his perspective. As a result of that, I enjoy being an observer with him as he closely watches the rebels interact on the street. He’s clearly intrigued by the shady business that’s transpiring on the ground below, and we can’t help but be intrigued with him.
My two favorite parts of this preview feature Kanan Jarrus. The first is pictured above when he casually greets the troopers in his speeder. There’s nothing I love more than someone who faces danger with an air of nonchalance.
Another thing to take note, when Kanan shoots, he aims straight for the heart. If older fans had any worries that the show would cater to a young audience and do away with any violence, then they’re in for quite the surprise. None of the rebels hesitate in drawing their weapons or rendering the enemy unconscious in order to get their job done. Either you get the Empire or the Empire gets you. Certain fans expect non-stop action and criticize the series for its childlike look and themes, but quickly forget (or ignore) that the series is character driven and made for all ages. Violence will be present because these are the dark times and heavy themes will be addressed, but the characters and the show itself is for the child and Star Wars fan in all of us.
The Mando on the Roof (4:03-4:46)
Sabine’s nimble jump onto Ezra’s speeder bike makes for another fun encounter between two characters that have never met before. I find it interesting that she first aimed her blaster at Ezra. I wonder if she actually intended to shoot him before backing out and detaching the crate or if her intention was to intimidate him. Whatever the case may be, her comment about Zeb ending him makes for another great laugh, especially since Zeb expresses that sentiment later on during the chase.
High Speed Chase (4:47-5:43)
My second favorite part is when Kanan offered his hands in the middle of the speeder bike chase and jokingly begs the trooper to arrest him. Just to reiterate, that’s something that I adore about Kanan, and something that Hera makes note of in Miller’s A New Dawn. In many ways, Kanan approaches the situation as foolishly and humorously as Ezra would–a match made in heaven, if you asked me.
The End of the Road (5:44-7:22)
Finally, succeeding in stopping Ezra, I like that Kanan seemed impressed by the kid and his efforts. I can only imagine the journey these two will embark on together in order to understand and further refine their abilities as Jedi. Will they be the equivalent to Obi-Wan and Anakin or will they be a different and potent mixture all on their own? The answer to that lies with the rest of the episode and the series.
Overall, the 7-minute preview gave fans a taste of what’s to come, and it’s also a wonderful thing to see Star Wars back on the television again. Here’s hoping a premiere date will be announced soon!