Whether you saw A New Hope in the movie theater (known solely as Star Wars back then) or through your television set, we all came away with awe-stricken expressions on our faces. The story, characters, mythology, and sense of adventure inspired us to dream and imagine ourselves in a galaxy far, far away. After watching Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, not only will you re-experience the same joyous wonder from your youth, but you will crave more once it’s done. Written by executive producer Simon Kinberg and directed by Steward Lee and Steven G. Lee, the one-hour movie special continues the rich storytelling process previously seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars with elements captured from the old trilogy, particularly A New Hope, which will appeal to adults and children from this newer generation.
The story is that of a young boy with Force abilities and his journey as he mixes in with a group of rebels whose goal is to rectify the damage caused by the Empire. Sound familiar? It shares similarities with A New Hope, but I can assure you that the story in Star Wars Rebels is spun differently with stunning results. The references to the classic films are neither forced nor carelessly thrown in, and instead, the occasional quote and shared themes help the story along in its own unique way. Each line, each character expression, and each musical note shows the amount of thought and effort put forth by the writing and animation crew. Of course, Star Wars: The Clone Wars demonstrated that kind of passion, so to see Rebels live up to that level of storytelling and design captured my full attention and support.
For an entire hour, I sat at the NYC press screening with the brightest grin on my face and a giddiness unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Not even the negative comments about the animation style and design from certain pockets of social media could bring me down. I believe people are unreasonably harsh when it comes to that visual aspect of the series. Personally, the designs and the hints of Ralph McQuarrie’s influence look exquisite, and the motions and colors are warm, vibrant, and inviting. The team really outdid themselves by experimenting with a variation of what was done in the past and committing to a style that speaks to younger present-day audiences. If you’re unable to see the difference between The Clone Wars and Rebels at first glance, observe the side-by-side screen captures from both series and the differences should immediately pop out at you. You’ll see the realistic, dark and stiff movements of The Clone Wars versus the fluid and vibrant nature of Rebels. And of course, that doesn’t make one better than the other; the style is just different. In my honest opinion, Rebels (like its predecessor) hits it out of the park.
On another note, one of the things I’m constantly defending is Ezra’s slingshot. People keep describing it as childish and using childish in a very insulting way. Not only would it offend me if I were a child, but since I’m a child at heart, I really do take offense at the way people use that word. Ezra’s slingshot is childlike and bears childlike traits, but it’s such an impressive weapon. The way Ezra uses it just makes it look so cool. There is one instance when he comes face to face with a small group of stormtroopers and he doesn’t even hesitate to use it defensively. He let’s the energy shots fly and basically stuns a few of them before Kanan could turn around. I am beyond impressed with his skill, ingenuity and quick thinking, and I appreciate that the creators took a chance on something different and refreshing.
As an advocate of diversity and representation in media, I can’t stress how wonderful and equally exhilarating it is to have a lineup of diverse characters (as well as cast and crew). The story of Star Wars exists in such an expansive universe, and because of that, there’s no reason why we should limit the storytelling, imagination, or creativity. Representation is an important aspect in our society that should also exist in a vast galaxy with unlimited possibilities. Seeing Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine as diverse characters makes the series doubly exciting and inspiring.
To reiterate, Star Wars Rebels is a must-see series in this fall’s lineup of new television programming. It’s entertaining for both children and adults, and anyone who tells you otherwise may not fully grasp what Star Wars is truly about. Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion will premiere at 9pm ET/PT on the Disney Channel on October 3. The series, Star Wars Rebels, will continue starting October 13 at 9pm ET/PT on Disney XD.