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Highlights from the ‘Star Wars Rebels’ L.A. Press Conference and Periscope Interviews

Star Wars Rebels, "The Lost Commanders" Captain Rex

The highly anticipated return of the second season of Star Wars Rebels is just a few days away, and to celebrate, a special press conference was held in the Los Angeles area on Friday, October 2. Featuring supervising director and executive producer Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein, Vanessa Marshall, Freddie Prinze, Jr., and Dee Bradley Baker, the discussion confirmed previously known details and shed more light on new ones.

When Star Wars Rebels gained more speed throughout the first season, people kept wondering about the fates of Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex and whether they’d interact with the Ghost crew. However, bringing Rex and Ahsoka into the mix needed to serve a purpose.

“Their story had to serve the story of the rebels. That was the most important thing,” Dave Filoni said. “I couldn’t just haphazardly bring them in because I like them. I love the characters of Ahsoka and Rex. It was hard to let them go after so long telling their stories, but it had to be purposeful. So for a long time on season one, I didn’t even want to have them in it. It would be brought up to me by different members of the Story Group, I think because they wanted to be nice and say, ‘We’re open to this.’ Yeah, but it’s not right. Kanan, Hera, Ezra, Sabine, Zeb–they have to own that space. So once you know them and you understand their character dynamics, suddenly you’re around the table and you go, ‘Wow. I wonder what Kanan would think of Rex.’ And you realize, he probably wouldn’t think much of Rex. That’s very challenging because the kid who grew up with Rex loves Rex, but if I was able to create a group of kids who love Rex and they also separately loved Kanan, now we have a conflict. But you also have a boy (Ezra) that didn’t know the Clone Wars, like any kid that didn’t watch The Clone Wars. So they’d go, ‘What’s the problem with Rex?’ So that, we found really interesting and that helps serve the relationship of Kanan and Ezra really well.”

“And then Ahsoka really helps serve the story as far as if you want to have Vader in Rebels, you can’t just bring him into it because he’s going to crush them. They don’t stand a chance. Ahsoka has a personal connection to Anakin Skywalker that we believe people are interested in. Plus, she’s a Force wielder that’s way more progressed enough than Kanan. She’s had much more training from Anakin Skywalker, one of the greatest of all Jedi, from Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Yoda. So she brings that lineage to the rebels, but her perspective is, ‘Yeah, that didn’t work for me. I walked away from it.’ Which is also challenging when you get to Ezra because he’s a kid, one of the first kids that’s growing up where there is no Jedi Order. There is no Temple for him to go to. There aren’t 10,000 examples of what it means to be a great Jedi Knight. He’s making it up, being a student as he goes, as much as Kanan now has to make up the training based on his memory of when he was a child. Those are all interesting story problems for Star Wars Rebels to have that made it worthwhile to bring [Rex and Ahsoka] into it.”

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

One of the biggest moments of the first season, without a doubt, was the return of Ahsoka in the season finale. Social media exploded with reaction videos and an overwhelmingly positive response. With her now in the picture, fans are curious to know how she will play a role in relation to Kanan and Ezra.

“Most of the time, for me with Ahsoka, I think that she’s looking at this world and these friends, especially Kanan and Ezra, and it reminds her of the way things used to be and things aren’t that way now,” said Filoni. “All that got taken from her and she’s trying to figure out how does she move forward herself. She very much respects them and cares about them and is happy for them, but she doesn’t have that anymore and she wouldn’t even inject herself or include herself in what’s going on there–except in very minimal ways as she figures out her own path.”

Throughout the first season, fans desperately wanted to see more Hera and Sabine, especially their origin stories and how they came to be part of the Ghost crew. The second season will definitely tap into those stories.

“We have a much more diverse group of characters as far as some are weapons experts, some are great pilots, one’s making it up as he goes, one’s a clear cut warrior,” Filoni explained. “We spend less time on what their skills are and more time developing who the people are. I think in season two, what’s most exciting is you will learn a lot more about where they came from and what drove them to the position they’re in on Star Wars Rebels. For example, if you didn’t know The Clone Wars, you go a whole lot today as far as Kanan having to explain to Ezra what happened to him and why he feels the way he does about Rex. And you’ll have episodes where we’ll just focus in on Hera and all about her–we have more than one [episode] this year, actually, which does explain two parts of Hera’s backstory. One is very much [that] she is the pilot and what that’s about, and one gets into her family and father and why she’s not part of Ryloth and what’s happened there. Her father is a big revolutionary in Clone Wars, so you almost think it’ll be natural to be alongside him, so we get very specifically into those character backgrounds in season two, which I think we all found really exciting.”

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Filoni also revealed that we will be seeing a new trailer next week, featuring Tiya Sircar’s character, Sabine Wren, and the kind of journey she’ll undergo during the second season. “I think it was important to flesh out all of the characters, especially a character like Sabine. There’s so many interesting things, [like] just the fact that she’s Mandalorian. We dealt with so much of the Mandalorians in Clone Wars. It has a whole history that I’ve diagramed on white boards and Pablo Hidalgo tries to track these family houses and who belongs to what. It’s a very complex world and one that I know fans are interested in, so I just think the idea that she’s from this warrior culture gets brought to the forefront as we move forward because I think people would want to know about it. I mean, she–like anyone–has parents and a family and what were they like, and now that we know that there was such a history on Mandalore, were they involved in any of that?”

“This was a strange discovery this season,” he went on to say, “But I found there to be at least two faces where we were filming something and had developed a character, and then I realized, ‘Oh, that character had been on screen in Clone Wars, but I didn’t even know it because they had the helmet on.’ But when you think about it, it’s reasonable to assume that this character was standing right there, because in Clone Wars, there was just a background character wearing a helmet, you would never know. Sometimes you find these people in the story, I would say that’s a bit of the case with some of Sabine’s history. She wasn’t around to see any of that, since she was a young child.”

He also went on to say that she becomes a very important character later on in the series. “We’re working very far ahead in the show, and as the characters have evolved, I would argue that where we end up in the future on Rebels, Sabine kind of elevates and is every bit as important as Ezra as far as what you think of as dynamically moving the show about and where [it goes] because they’re both kind of the young people dealing with this war. And it just became more and more important to have them elevated and have the mentor characters [be] supportive.”

Sabine and Hera aren’t the only characters being fleshed out in the second season! Filoni also revealed that even Chopper gets a background story. “Chopper gets his day. There’s a massively huge Chopper episode. When I talk backstories this year, everybody gets it. You will find out where Hera found Chopper, why and how she rebuilds him. It’s actually really important … and he does get a friend this year.”

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Looking forward to Chopper and the rest of the crew’s journey when the season picks back up, but before then, here’s a few more highlights from Disney XD’s Periscope interviews:

  • Ahsoka will be in about 10-13 episodes, according to Ashley Eckstein, (although she did state that she didn’t remember the exact number). She specified that Ahsoka will be a recurring character. “Ahsoka is there to help with the rebels, but she’s also on her own mission, so she has her own questions and she has her own journey that she’s on.”
  • Dee Bradley Baker also said, “Rex is peppered in there fairly often in the second season as well.”
  • When asked about Ezra and the dark side in the upcoming season, Dave Filoni said, “I think you’re going to see that after his encounter with Darth Vader, Ezra really struggles with that and the power of the dark side and what it means for him.”
  • In terms of the appearance of bounty hunters, Filoni went on to say, “You will see a new bounty hunter this season. We’ll have our first bounty hunter pretty much that we’ve had on Rebels that’s not a smuggler or some type of pirate … Boba Fett? Always a possibility, but so far? No, no Boba Fett.”
  • Fans desperately want to see Wedge in the series and others inquired about Darth Maul, but Dave only said that we’d have to wait and see.
  • Since we know that Sarah Michelle Gellar is playing the Seventh Sister, a fan asked if there were six sisters prior to her. Filoni said, “I would say that that’s a logical conclusion. That’s an entirely logical thing to assume, that she’s the seventh–the latest version–so we’ll have to see what that means.”
  • When asked whether Kanan trains Ezra more in the second season, Freddie Prinze, Jr., said, “Kanan will not stop training Ezra. He is his Master, even though he’s sort of faking it till he makes it. He ran one time in his life–one time–when Depa told him to, and I think he regrets that and I don’t think he’s going to run away from anyone ever again.”
  • Freddie also talked about Sabine, “Season two gives a ton of amazing information … If you pay attention to the words [Dave Filoni] is saying than ever before, he talks about family, he talks about clan, he talks about history. You just have to read between the lines and you’ll get a ton–a ton–of Sabine love.”
  • In a separate Periscope interview with Oh My Disney, Freddie confirms that the Seventh Sister is the same species (Mirialan) as Barriss Offee. “She’s an awesome, awesome villain. We get to have fun with her all year long. Kanan and her go at it. Ahsoka and her go at it. Ezra and her go at it. Some of the other rebels do too, but they get beat down.”

Make sure to also catch up with the following Star Wars Rebels interviews and articles:

Star Wars Rebels returns on October 14 at 9:30PM EST on Disney XD.

(Featured Photo: Lucasfilm)

3 comments on “Highlights from the ‘Star Wars Rebels’ L.A. Press Conference and Periscope Interviews

  1. Pingback: Sabine, Ezra, and Fenn Rau Travel Back to Concord Dawn in “Imperial Supercommandos” – The Wookiee Gunner

  2. Pingback: ‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season Three Premiere Date – The Wookiee Gunner

  3. Pingback: Hera Syndulla Takes Flight in “Wings of the Master” | The Wookiee Gunner

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